Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Toughing it Out

The replacement power supply for the Toughbook CF-27 arrived today. After lunch, Lisa plugged it in and the power light came on, which was a good sign.

She booted the machine and the Panasonic POST screen appeared, which was good. Then Windows2000 started to load. Good. Login screen appeared. Not so good, because Lisa isn't used to these (her WinXP machines are configured as single user), but we Alt-Ctrl-Del'd to the login, which showed user Administrator. We tried the password the machine's former owner gave us. No luck. We tried every reasonable variation of the password. Nothing. Phooey!

Next idea: Try swapping the hard drive in the Toughbook with one of the known good hard drives (with WinXP) that we have in stock. As we have several out-of-service IBM T30s, each with a valid XP license, this doesn't seem like software piracy to us. Lisa went and got one of the other drives and removed the Toughbook's hard drive. Wow, what a casing it has! Double-insulated against shocks, it is just the sort of thing you want to have if you find yourself dropping your computer off a table regularly. Unfortunately, the computer refused to boot from this drive. It POST-ed, but didn't even get to the load screen. Phooey.

So we went back to the other drive and took the computer to her father's house, where I did some research. Google Is My Friend. I found a site (that I can't link to here because I'm logged in through work and found this page, which led me to utilities you can use to clear the administrator password on a Win2K machine. But how to make it run? The Toughbook doesn't have a CD-ROM drive, how how was I supposed to use the downloaded files?

I asked Lisa, "do you happen to have a USB floppy drive and some blank floppies?" By golly, she did! She went and got them, and I downloaded the utilities that made a bootable floppy and hard drive drivers necessary to get at the hard drive on this new machine. Following along with the instructions, we were indeed able to blank the password on the machine. After removing the disks and rebooting, we pressed Enter on the login screen with trepidation. It worked!

The Toughbook is now accessible! Mind you, it's not the most usable machine we've had, as it's a Mark 1 with only a Pentium MMX 266 processor, 128MB RAM, and a whopping 4 GB (yes, that's f-o-u-r) hard drive, most of which is carrying the OS. But Lisa is happy with it.

Now she wants a CD-ROM drive for the thing. Unfortunately, it's a highly proprietary type of drive, so replacements are in the >$100 range.
Tags: computers, lisa

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