me and my friend "destroyed" the home desktop (wich was 5 years old back then) trying to install a new video card. we where very inexperienced and had no idea what to do. after some trial and error we got it to start up recognising the grafphics card.
but then a eries of other problems came up ending in a presumebly dead computer.
now 3 years later armed with all the knowledge i could find on the internet i tried to fix it.
unknown motherboard. (from intell in a 10 year old IBM pc)
unknown cpu. but it is also 10 years old and again from intell.
ATI radeon x1600 pro
and then a hard drive i think is dead.
2 cd players.
100w power supply.
all rigged together on my bureau, the cpu is probably not any warmer then 40 degrees celcius becouse i can touch it and not feel hurt. (wel i can touch the metal plates touching the cpu...)
and all the wires are right.
this is what i ended up with:
i can start it. at first it told me there where no operating systems found. wich is not strange.
(although i do not recollect formatting the disk in any way)
with windows 7 32 bit in the drive it told me to install more ram, so i found some more ram and put it in.
now in the windows 7 installation menu it can't find a hard drive.
is the hard drive formatted wrong? because i can hear it spin (and feel to)
is it just broken? or is there something more sinister going on?
the strange thing is that i can only start it up every 5 minutes or so.
every time i turn it off and on, the cpu cooler goes in overdrive and i get nothing on the screen.
5 minutes unplugged make it work again...
is my motherboard dead? is my hard drive dead? is there something else dead? is my information complete?
is have never actually done anything like this. although i have read about it a LOT.
Could be either the mobo or the hard drive. Try plugging the hard drive into a different spot.
I personally wouldn't use such old pieces for a desktop use windows build. At least not for someone to use as a main computer. I'd put either puppy linux or xubuntu on something like that if it needs to be used to get respectable response times out of it.
I wonder if your hard drive is even big enough to hold Windows 7. I think it requires 16GB or 20GB. If you're talking hard drives from the 1990s, a 20GB hard drive would be HUGE. I don't think they even broke the 10GB barrier until like 1998. So that could be a problem right off the bat.
I'd start by going to ebay and getting an old copy of either Windows 98 or 95, or even Windows 3.1, and see if one of those will fit on your hard drive. Personally, I liked 3.1 the best of that era, but by the end of the decade, some programs went to requiring Win95 or above to work. So it depends on what kind of software you're looking at running.
Also, the start/stop symptoms you're describing sound exactly like overheating. So I'd check for airflow problems and the like (does it even have a case fan? If so, does it work?) if it keeps happening.