I opened up the computer and removed one component at a time until the computer booted properly. The component causing all the problems was the dail-up modem. This computer did not even have an ethernet port. It was used at a church as the main computer. The church was required by its conference to at least have internet/email access. Since the church (a small church fewer than 100 members) used the computer for no other reason than to access email there was no value in the church paying for broadband access. It turned out that the church had been hit by lightning and their phone system was damaged, which in this case included the dial-up modem.
The next issue for me was finding a dial-up modem locally as the client was hoping to have the computer fixed before the next Sunday so that bulletins could be printed etc. Luckily a local computer store (Computer Mega Mall) had a few dial-up modems laying around and sold one to me for $10.
After installing the modem I had the displeasure of hunting down the correct driver and moving the driver via a flash drive onto the old desktop. Remember the desktop had no network access so the whole process of moving a file to the desktop seemed quite primitive. Fortunately the driver installed without difficulty and the modem worked, although I had no way of completely testing this.
Do you have any similar stories of trying to repair old and obsolete or nearly obsolete tech? Have you ever refused to fix an old/obsolete machine? All comments welcome.