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2002 Time ICEDESK Desk PC Restoration And Exploration


I bought this weird desk PC from a community centre that was about to be demolished. So lets fix some bad capacitors, change the optical drive, put some nice quiet fans in it, and finally crack the Windows 2000 login passwords to see how it was originally set up!

Thanks: Thanks to Steve’s Tech Shed ( for the password reset tipoff, dbk for the pencil trick and KrisG for the Register link!


This, believe it or not, is my latest computer acquisition. It was made by a British PC manufacturer called Time way back in 2002 and it’s called the ICEDESK - and no, that’s not just a clever name, it is indeed a PC built into a desk as I’m sure you can see.

Although I’m not quite sure where the “ice” part comes from - but anyway…

I’ve already had loads of fun with this on the channel: I told the story of how I rescued it from that crumbling local community centre just days before it was due to be demolished, and of course when I got it back to the studio I did what any normal person would and got DOOM up and running on it - and that was quite the adventure in and of itself, as I’m sure you’ve seen in the previous video.

And over on the second channel I actually tested out SBEMU on this thing, which is a Sound Blaster emulator for these later AC’97 machines, and I’m very pleased to report that that actually all worked perfectly fine, and if I’d known that at the time it would have saved me a huge amount of time with the whole DOOM thing.

But anyway, I haven’t forgotten my roots as a serious-


Computer upgrade and maintenance and repair type channel, and indeed there are some very, very urgent fixes and things that need to be done to this thing if it’s going to survive any length of time when it’s in my care - and I do really want to keep this around the studio because I think it’s going to be a really useful machine to have.

So in this video I want to do a recap - because the capacitors are some of the worst I’ve seen, so that does need doing very urgently.

I want to fix the fan noise issue that we came across in that first video, swap those fans out for some quieter ones and also put some new thermal compound on the CPU.

And as we discovered in that first video, the optical drive doesn’t work properly and just makes a horrific noise, so I think I’m going to swap that out for a burner - I wanted to put a burner in this anyway because it’ll be a lot more useful - and also poking around this thing I discovered that the front USB ports were upside down for some reason?

So I’m not sure if someone’s had a crack at repairing this or if it was some kind of manufacturing error - to be honest, knowing what I know about Time as a manufacturer, they probably built it wrong in the first place!

I also want to have a look at the Windows 2000 hard drive that came with this thing and see if I can get into that, because I think I’ve decided despite my silly comments about Windows Millennium Edition previously I think I do want to get it back up and running with the original Windows 2000 environment, because I think that would be quite useful.

Finally there’s quite an interesting story about a lawsuit around this machine - and the reason there isn’t any information out there, or indeed many examples of this thing, which I think is quite an interesting story so I will also tell that at the end of this video.

But for now, I think without any further faffing about, we really need to get on with this recap and all of those other little maintenance jobs - so let’s get on with it.

…and wow, those capacitors! I mean they are definitely some of the worst I’ve ever seen in any of the computers I’ve worked on over the years. I mean just look at these - they’re horrific, the leakage from them - and they’re basically victims of the capacitor plague, so I probably don’t need to explain this to most of the viewers of this channel, but hey, let’s go over it while we have a look at some of this soldering footage.

So a capacitor basically acts like a small battery, and although they’re not really used in the same applications as batteries generally with electronics - they can be, and they are - but with electronic circuits like this they’re essentially used to smooth out power, to smooth out spikes in the power supply to these sensitive electronic components and decoupling and filter capacitors and that kind of thing.

In the early 2000s there was an era that was known as the “capacitor plague” era and basically these things have a liquid inside them called the electrolyte and it’s not supposed to leak out, but there was a big manufacturing issue that affected a load of the capacitor manufacturers and capacitors that were made during this era are notoriously leaky and the stuff that leaks out of them is actually quite corrosive and can damage the PCB underneath, so I’m really, really lucky in this case that it doesn’t seem to have caused any serious damage here, and we can actually clean it up quite easily.

Now these were a bit of a weird value: they’re 3300uF 6.3V, which I didn’t happen to have in stock so I’ve had to order these in from RS components so I’ve waited a few days for these to arrive but yeah, really nice to get these in and get those horrible crusty ones out and clean up the horrific mess that they left behind.

So, with that urgent job out of the way, we can turn our attention to some niceties and some slightly less serious fixes - and the first thing that I want to address is the fan noise. Now, that first video, trying to record that - and I actually had to use noise reduction in the edit on that because the fans were just so loud - I mean, they were much louder than they came across in the video. So, what I’m going to do is I’m going to swap the fans for some Noctuas, which is a brand I’ve used quite a lot on the channel - no affiliation whatsoever, just really happy with their products.

You could say I’m a massive fan.

Anyway, we’ll do the CPU first as that’s right here in front of us and of course I’ve already removed the original heatsink and fan so I could do that recap. So it’s just a case of getting that cleaned up with some IPA and cleaning up the original heatsink and of course that’s going to involve removing the original fan from that heatsink.

What I’ll do is reuse that and just bolt the new fan straight to it.

Now taking a closer look at this AMD Duron CPU I spotted that it’s actually of the era that could be overclocked using a pencil, believe it or not. It was a bit of an old trick that was doing the rounds back in the day - and it was someone on my Discord server that actually clued me into this.

Now I’m not going to do this in this video because I think it’s a bit outside the scope of the video and it’s a bit of fun that I think I want to save for a future project. But yeah, is it something I should give a try? I think it will actually work on this CPU.

So with the new fan bolted onto the original heatsink, it’s just a case of applying some thermal compound - and of course, as always, we need to be sure to do that in the correct pattern, so we don’t offend anyone in the comments section.

Then the heatsink just clamps back on as it was before, and that fan connector is exactly the same as the original fan, so it’s just a case of plugging that back in. And that’s another job done!

So, now we turn our attention to the power supply. Now, this is a FlexATX power supply, and they are notoriously noisy because they have these small fans in them, and because the air flow through them just isn’t very good, so trying to push that much air using such a small fan is inevitably going to make a lot of noise but Noctua do these quiet replacements that are just a drop in replacement - not quite as easy as the CPU because the original fans are hardwired but the solution that I came up with was to chop the Noctua extension cables in half and then solder the plugs to the original PCB where the original fans were powered and then the new ones just plug in and then they screw back in using the same screws and the same original fan grilles and that’s actually quite a nice neat job.

The next job on the list is the optical drive situation.

Now the original drive in this unfortunately isn’t very happy - it makes a horrible loud clicking noise and I tested it later off camera and it doesn’t actually read discs so it’s going to need some attention.

I’m not going to chuck it away, I’m going to see if I can fix that but I do have a plan for this computer which is to use it as a bridge machine - I want to be able to write DVDs and CDs on it, and of course use the floppy drive to transfer files to and from other machines as I’m working on them.

So I managed to track down this quite nice DVD writer - well, I say quite nice, it’s absolutely filthy - but some IPA, our good old friend will make short work of that, and another unfortunate aspect of it is that it is quite yellow, which is a bit of a shame considering how clean the original drive is so I might see if I can retrobrite this a bit later on in the year when the sun’s out.

But that’s the DVD drive sorted and ready to go in, so I will take the original drive caddy out - and that’s just a case of removing the USB ports just to get those out of the way, and the way this drive caddy fits is quite interesting - so it’s basically just a massive metal bracket that’s held in with one screw - and that screw was actually stripped as well, so I’m not sure if someone else has tried to replace the drive at some point or maybe that’s another factory error. Who knows?

Anyway, easy enough once that’s out to take the original drive out and of course drop the new one in there, and then that whole thing can be slotted back into the case and screwed back into position with no problems at all.

And of course there’s those USB ports - I had to get those out of the way anyway to get this drive sled thing out - and they were upside down which was a bit weird but it’s perhaps another indication that someone’s had a go at this before. So I’ll turn those over and put those back in the correct way up and then the PC is ready to go back into the desk.

Wow, that really is a night and day difference with that fan noise - it’s so much quieter. Probably one of the quietest systems from this era that I actually own now, so I think that fan mod was well worth doing.

Really, really pleased with that - and of course it means that I can leave this thing running even when I’m recording and it won’t be too much of an issue so very, very good stuff.

So now it’s time to turn our attention to the operating system and of course that original mechanical IDE hard drive that was installed in this thing when I first got it.

Now it’s not a case of trying to get access to their personal files - I’ve already had this thing plugged into an IDE to USB adapter and I’ve managed to have a dig through the files, it’s all boring council admin stuff and it’s not stuff that I should have access to anyway so this will be wiped and won’t be released and I won’t be showing any of that.

But what I am interested in is how the OS was actually configured originally - whether there’s any kind of branding or custom wallpapers or any other sort of customisation that the manufacturer did, because I think this is the original operating system install and I haven’t been able to find any recovery media for this so it’d be cool to see what was originally installed on it.

Now, as it happens, Windows 2000 and earlier Windows NT password protection was cracked a very, very long time ago. There are various tools out there that you can run from a live USB environment that will just be able to reset the password to whatever you want, and I already know that there are quite a few users set up on here, so I think I’ll go in and just reset those - have a log in and have a poke around and see what I can see.

So I’ve got a USB stick set up ready to go with that - I will put a link to the tool down in the description, but I think it’s just a case of sticking it in, rebooting the computer and seeing what we can see.

Right - I’ve never actually used this before, but it looks like we’re in - it’s listed all of the users that I managed to find before so that’s very promising. We’ll just go with the default - we’ll reset Steve’s password, I do want to go through and change them all but it seems to be defaulting to him - I think because he’s an admin user.

So we’ll just select that.

“Blank user password.”

Should we just blank them all?

Let’s blank everyone’s password.

“This user probably has a blank password.”

“Try login with no password.”

OK, well that’s useful! OK, perhaps these all have blank passwords, that’s interesting.

We’ll just go through, so we need to do this by RID - so, 01F4 is the administrator.

I’ll just blank their password.

“This user probably has a blank password.”

“Total login count 23.”

This is really interesting - I find it very hard to believe that all of these users will have had blank passwords, but OK, I guess we’ll go through and I’ll just run through and blank all of these, and then we’ll reboot and see where we are.

Right, so if the tool is to be believed, all of the passwords were blank anyway - although some of the accounts were locked so I did go through and unlock all of those. So, yeah, here goes nothing I guess!

“Password has expired.”



OK, well, it seems like we’re in! It’s like one of those hacker movies!

So this definitely tallies with my own personal memories of using Windows 2000 - it is slow!

Of course, that mechanical hard drive doesn’t help - I’ll probably get it transferred over onto a CompactFlash card.

But, yeah, we’re logged in! Let’s see what comes up…

…if anything.

I’ve turned the ISO right down on the camera so you can actually see what’s going on on the screen now. Unfortunately it doesn’t go any darker than this but hopefully that looks clear - it looks clear on my monitor here.

So we have ZoneAlarm on here, which has detected a new network configuration - I’ve just left that up because I thought that’d be quite interesting to look at, but of course we can cancel that - and it also has - yeah, ZoneAlarm Pro - and we also have a full blown installation of Norton - is it Norton?

Symantec, sorry, Symantec Antivirus, which was complaining that the virus definitions were out of date a minute ago.

Definitely not helping with the incredibly sluggish performance of this machine!

Now, it looks like we have a definition file from 2011 on here, which is quite interesting, because as far as I could see, no new documents had been created on this machine since 2004 and it turns out that the first the first user that I’ve used here, who apparently was the last person to log on - Jean - doesn’t have any documents at all, but she does have these two templates, which I’m quite happy to show you because there’s no personal information on here.

We’ve got “Certificate for Best Behaviour, Lower Bradley Community Play Scheme, Summer 2004, presented on Friday the 20th of August 2004,” so that’s quite interesting to see - and we have a certificate of of attendance as well from the same date, “Lower Bradley Community Play Scheme, Summer 2004.”

So apparently Jean was in charge of those.

And just having a poke around here and just seeing what sort of software was installed on here - so we have a copy of Office - I didn’t actually check what version of Office that was, I probably should have done that.

Oh, OK, so Office 2000 installed on here, and that probably came bundled with the machine.

I guess Antivirus probably was as well.

We’ve got PaintShop Pro 7, Adobe Reader 6, we’ve got some Epson software here - Epson PhotoQuicker - which I seem to remember used to come with scanners and digital cameras and that kind of jazz. I’m just having a little poke through here just to see what’s installed so of course we’ve got the Office Small Business Tools - nothing too exciting really at all.

ArcSoft Photo Printer and Business Card Maker.

So I will have a poke around the other user accounts but there is something that I did want to do just for Jean’s sake - just for old times sake. Of course one of her favorite things to do with this PC was to listen to that Mozart CD I guess, although you know, I only have very limited evidence to go on, but that’s what was in the drive when I got the machine so let’s see - let’s not do that - it was trying to download artist information - so this is “CD Deluxe CD player.”

That new DVD drive that I’ve installed is spinning up, and let’s have some Mozart…

Well, sorry Jean, I tried, but that’s not working for some reason, I’m not quite sure why, it’s just skipping through all of the tracks. What a letdown! But anyway, let’s have a look at some of these other user accounts and I’ll see if I can find anything interesting.

I’m now logged in as Marianne and not really much different to report here - there is an address book on the desktop and it is full of contacts - obviously I’m going to have to blur this out because there’s all sorts of personally identifying information on here. So I guess Marianne was actually actively emailing people and stuff. I could have a look at Outlook actually - perhaps I’ll have a look at Outlook in a minute. Marianne does have a lot of documents to do with stuff like grants and figures and that kind of thing - so maybe Marianne was the treasurer or something along those lines, bookkeeper or accountant.

No real serious accounting stuff in here, but still quite interesting to see.

I guess we can open up Outlook and see what’s in here…

Ah, OK. So that’s the setup wizard, so evidently that’s not been run before. I don’t know if there are any other email clients on here - maybe was there one built into Windows 2000? I can’t remember. Oh, it was Outlook Express.

So, Marianne’s emails, and it seems they were using Outlook Express for email - nothing really exciting in here, I’m not going to go through and read them because that’s incredibly nosy of me, but it is really genuinely just boring admin stuff. The interesting thing on here would be the dates like I mentioned before - 2004, the latest dates I can find on anything, apart from that virus definition update file, which is a bit strange, but yeah, not many emails on here, not much going on really, and I think one of these people is actually another user on this machine, so that’s quite interesting.

Yeah, so just out of interest, I’ve just popped back on as Jean and gone into Outlook Express and indeed no emails in there - although I do see that there’s a shortcut to-

Go away!

…shortcut to full blown Outlook on the desktop so maybe Jean was using Outlook, maybe it was Marianne that was using Express?

No, again, so that’s just gone into the setup wizard. So no emails for Jean, unfortunately.

So there’s a user called Steve, and Steve has some photos on his desktop - and to be honest, it’s not very exciting stuff. There’s pictures of the local playing field and things like that, obviously all relating to the community centre but I have potentially found a photo of Steve, so if this is you, please do get in touch, and I’ll be happy to send your photos on.

Again, just having to poke around Steve’s documents and stuff, and it’s literally all just work related. I think Steve was some kind of manager looking at what he has in here, but really nothing of much interest again whatsoever, just letter templates and that kind of thing.

I’ll just see if he has Outlook set up - no he doesn’t.

Does he have Outlook Express set up?

Obviously we found that other user, Marianne, who had a few emails, but not a lot.

Oh, it looks like Steve was an Outlook user. We’ll work offline.

We’ll make it the default mail client.

…and, yes!

So, a few more emails in here - but again, the dates are just just 2004 really, so yeah- 2005!

OK, so he was using this machine as late as the 12th of August, 2005. That’s a new discovery, that’s quite interesting I guess - and we’ve got the names of some of the other users on here, so they’re actually emailing each other using this machine, just again, and I know I keep going over this point, labouring this point over and over again, but it really is just boring council admin stuff.

You’re really not missing out on much by staring at this blurry window here!

There’s a user called “User” - I think it’s probably just one of the built in accounts on Windows 2000. I don’t think this one’s ever even been logged into because ZoneAlarm’s just popped up with this initial setup thing. I checked out the documents and Outlook and everything else and there’s absolutely nothing in there so I don’t think this account has ever been used.

“Guest” - another one of the built in accounts, and this one even has the “Getting Started with Windows 2000” intro thing running, so this one really hasn’t ever been logged into. We’ve got ZoneAlarm popping up as well. Nothing to see on this one either.

I think the last one that we need to check out, of course, is the Administrator account.

…and again, nothing really interesting to report at all - probably to be expected. They weren’t using the admin account day to day, so that’s good to see. Nothing in the My Documents folder - there is this folder called “Virus Tools” on the desktop - I’m not quite sure what these are, I’ve not come across those before, so let me know down in the comments if you have any idea what those might be, and there is the Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 on the desktop - I think they got up to Service Pack 6 on 2000, did they? Or maybe I’m thinking of an earlier version of NT.

But anyway, that’s all of the user accounts on there, and really not much exciting going on at all. Kind of ties in with what Darren told me - the guy that I picked this up from - that basically he’d never seen this thing being used in his whole time there.

But hey, still interesting to have a poke around and unfortunately no kind of branding or customisation, no Time logo on the desktop or anything like that, so maybe the hard drive’s been replaced and Windows has been wiped? Maybe that’s why those drives had been removed at some point, I’m not quite sure.

But interesting to find out what was on here, and I guess I can set this up with a completely bog standard vanilla Windows 2000 install on a CompactFlash card and have that authentic experience with Office 2000 and Paint Shop Pro 7 and the rest of it.

So, sadly, not really much to be gleaned by poking around in those user accounts, particularly to do with the initial setup of the machine which is what I was really interested in - and it’s been a bit of a recurring theme that I just can’t find information on the Time ICEDESK - I can’t find any marketing for it, or recovery media, or manuals, or anything like that which is really, really odd.

But I do have a potential explanation now, because it turns out that a couple of my Discord members actually used to work for Time back in the day, believe it or not, very small world that we live in, and one of them pointed me in the direction of a news story on The Register.

Now, this dates back to 2003, and it covers a lawsuit from a fellow British PC manufacturer called i-desk Solutions, who specialised in - you guessed it - PCs built into desks, and it turns out that the Time ICEDESK was actually just a direct ripoff of one of their products that they supposedly had a patent on, or at least a patent pending on, and they successfully sued and got damages of £200,000 - and that also resulted in the Time ICEDESK being taken off the market.

So that probably explains why there’s just no information or no other examples of this thing out there - I imagine they stopped selling them pretty sharpish, and I don’t know if that resulted in some kind of recall or what, but it certainly does help to explain a lot, and it’s the one little morsel of information that I’ve managed to dig up on this very weird and interesting machine.

So thanks for sending that over, that’s really interesting, and of course a big thanks to everyone else who sent suggestions and things - I’ve put some on screen credits in the relevant places but I’m sure I’ve probably missed a few people. I’ve had so much feedback off of that initial video and off of the social media posts and stuff, and so much interest in this weird PC, so thank you ever so much for all of that, it’s been all been really positive - and speaking of thanks, of course thanks are in order to my supporters on Patreon, Ko-Fi, and the YouTube channel membership page - without you, it would be very difficult for me to justify buying silly things like this and making videos about them.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Thank you ever so much for watching and I’ll hopefully see you next time!

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Relevant Links:
Part 1 (Doom On A Desk):
Capacitor Plague:
Noctua 60mm CPU Fan (Affiliate):
Noctua 40mm PSU Fan (Affiliate):
AMD Pencil Overclock Trick:
NT Password Reset Tool:
Time Lawsuit Story:

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