I've got a laptop which is something around 30 years old, and I like to just run that old machine again, but the problem is when I press the power button, it only lights up the screen and beeps at boot.

It shows nothing on the monitor after that, but I'm pretty sure it's not the monitor's problem since all the features on the monitor work fine (like increase/decrease the light) and there is no crack in the LCD.

I was just wondering where should I begin searching for the problem. And before anyone asks – it's a Zenith laptop model ZWL-184-97.

  • There is a high percent chance it is the motherboard, though any components that you need to replace in a laptop that is that old will not be easy to find or to actually replace. Laptops from those days were just not built to make getting into them very easy.
    – MaQleod
    Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 19:37
  • Sounds like the motherboard to me too. I would search ZWL-184-97 on Google. It returns a few that you might buy for parts. Otherwise, it may take a great knowledge of electronics to find what it bad and replace the specific component on the board...if possible.
    – KCotreau
    Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 19:47
  • Hey studiohack, like it or not, that was an answer. Keep you nose out.
    – KCotreau
    Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 20:03
  • @studiohack - you were mentioned.
    – slhck
    Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 20:12
  • 2
    @slhck - well, his nose was
    – Linker3000
    Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 20:14

2 Answers 2


Is there an OS installed? Have you tried booting from a floppy (DOS 3.1)? And I believe it's 25 years old, 30 years would put you in Osborne luggable time zone.

  • This would likely boot from DOS 6 too... Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 18:51

Replace the CMOS battery. Im sure after 30 years its dead and the BIOS settings are lost. Lost BIOS settings would cause the machine to beep. The issue is whether or not the BIOS settings can be easily reconfigured.

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