Doh! I was “helping” my brother in law with his antiquated laptop by clearing the spy ware off of it. I apparently checked the wrong box with HijackThis and now I cannot get back into Windows. When the laptop is rebooted the windows setup screen appears asking for a user name/company, then license agreement, and finally the Windows 98 Product key (from the CD case).
No one has the product key. This computer is ancient and has been passed through three separate owners (all in the family - given, not sold) since the original owner bought it from Dell. The original owner is looking for the Windows CD or any documentation, but it is a long shot as it was 3 computers ago for her. The other owners never had any of the documentation.
The computer is truly antiquated (IMHO) but is the only one they have. The computer is a Dell Inspiron 5000 laptop running Windows 98. Other than that I do not know what the specs are. HijackThis identified a lot of crap that I was taking off and I obviously checked something I shouldn’t have. All the backup information/files for Hijack this are in a folder on the desktop (lot of good it does).
Here are my questions:
- What can I do to at least get the vital information off of it.
- Can I get the computer running back on windows 98 without getting the product key?
- If 2 is no, where can I get the (a) product key?
- I have a free (meaning not being used) copy of Win2k Pro that I could use to upgrade this machine. I have not tried anything with it yet as I hope that the original owner comes up with the CD or that some brilliant doper will help me. Several concerns: I do not know if there is enough disk space for 2k… I do not know if I can actually upgrade without wiping the disk… I do not know if the Inspiron 5000 can run 2000 without exploding (this computer is ancient). And most importantly, I am worried about doing more damage and making it harder to recover their vital information.
Does anybody have any general advice regarding this upgrade (Oh, I also have a free, again - not being used, version of XP home I can install…)?