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old laptop issues



I recently bought and old 266mhz laptop I've been trying to get running and I can't seem to get to boot to a dos prompt or even boot up linux. Its gets through the post ok and even loads the cdrom boot disk up until it checks for usb ports and then it freezes right there. When I try to use a linux boot cd it loads everything up to the point that its about to go to the gui interface and then it freezes. The hard drive latch is broken but it detects the hard drive just fine in the bios other than that I have no clue as to what wrong with it. I anyone could help or give me ideas of things to try I would appreciate it. thx