Compaq, however, has other plans.
I popped in the Quick Restore boot disk and its associated CD, went through a few "bla bla bla, all your documents will be destroyed, bla bla bla" messages until I was asked for my computer's serial number. No problem! So I type it in. Then Quick Restore scoffs, "HA! That's not a Compaq serial number! Try again you filthy pirate!" So I think, "Hmm, maybe that thing I though was a zero is actually the letter 'O'" and I try again. "HA! That's not a Compaq serial number! YOU'LL NEVER GET IN YOU FILTHY PIRATE!" So I try different combinations of the serial number with upper-case, lower-case, changing that '1' to a lower-case 'L', etc. but each time Quick Restore tells me it's invalid.
Google to the rescue!
Compaq Presario Quick Restore Problems
QuickRestore kits with the 242569-001 or 242569-002 boot diskettes will not accept valid CPU serial numbers.
Sure enough, my Quick Restore boot disk is 242569-001. So I try the solution on the page and type in
A:\ uiabomwr 028
and the computer reboots. I get back to the serial number screen and try typing in the serial number. "HA! You thought you could beat me! WRONG AGAIN!" So I try a bunch of variations like I did before and try using the solution on the above page many times. "BWAHAHAHAHA! YUO AER TEH LOSE!!!!!!111`` COMPAQ STRIKES AGAIN!"
Now I want to shoot somebody in the face. I've also decided that instead of donating this computer it's going to die a terrible death in the scrap heap.