1. This forum section is a read-only archive which contains old newsgroup posts. If you wish to post a query, please do so in one of our main forum sections (here). This way you will get a faster, better response from the members on Motherboard Point.

Do you use an OLD laptop as main PC? What do you use it for?

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Guest, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I wonder what the oldest laptops in current use are, and for what kinds
    of daily use.


    I've been mulling getting a new laptop for 2-3 years, yet I am still
    using my 1999 one. I changed many parts w/ spares (thanks, Impact!) and
    it's *acceptably* stable and usable.

    1999 Tosh Satellite 2540 CDS
    K6-ii @ 333 MHz
    96MB RAM
    20GB HD
    Xircom pcmcia Ethernet

    Win 98 FE + MSOffice 2K + Opera + Skype (barely! net2phone used to work
    better but they fucked up my acct, tough!) + IrfanView for pics + AVG +
    Spybot S&D + an old but goodie ZonAlarm Pro I got as a present from the
    ZoneLabs CEO for some particularly insightful (wow!) user feedback
    (thanks Gregor!) + MemTrax for memory management + Process Explorer for
    figuring out what the heck goes on in the guts of this machine (now
    even Microsoft recommended, genuflecting to Mark!)

    + lightweight FLOSS from PDF reading to system task scheduler, Psi for
    multi-network IM, spamfilter, ssh, PGP, VLC and Zinf for multimedia,
    the GIMP (old vers!) etc.

    Gave up on Clamwin, Open Office, Firefox as way too slow though.
    Maybe on the next comp!

    I also have Zenwalk Linux 2.8 for general fun & windows maintenance
    (multiboot with XOSL) but little used as this is my main work comp, and
    even on a lightweight Linux OO, VMs, etc. either don't run fast enough
    or not at all. + I'd have to recompile the too-up-to-date kernel to
    drive the Jurassic era audio chip.

    Clients (mgmt consulting) look puzzled at me when I do general office
    productivity, lots of Excel and PowerPoint presentations with tons of
    pics in them, & discover that my lappie does more than theirs with 10x
    the memory and 6x clock speeds, incl. giving them user level password
    restricted access to my folders (they mostly use XP Home :), and
    getting NO vx, spyware, etc EVER since '99.

    Not to mention opening any strange file thrown at it, incl. semibroken
    Office ones (thanks, Open Office!) while of course clients struggle
    with "unknown" formats :-0

    If Win 98 goes nuts, as it does, Linux lets me step back to a pristine
    system, which I upgrade & tune up before putting a new copy on ice on a
    nonwindows partition.

    I even have Unix-like separate partitions for OS + apps, data (incl.
    all the application data, put in very visible folders), temp, swap, &
    one just for registry backups and critical antivirus files & other odd
    things like housing the bootselector.

    Among other things, partitions have their wildly different file-change
    dynamics segregated unto themselves, and this turns defrag into a 30
    min. job from a 5 hour one.

    One bizarre thing I do, I keep an external air extractor ready to aid
    the internal fan, as this old machine now spends more time with the CPU
    gunned to 100% than at buy time.


    - Do you have an OLD laptop as your main PC?

    - What OS and apps do you use on it?

    - Any longevity/efficiency suggestions?

    - And what kind of practical work do you use it for?


    This could be a fun thread!



    (I'd love to read from incompetent speling chalengged ungramatical
    monkyes berating me no end for using such a desperately obsolete OS,
    I'm sure there could be quite a few. Bill & Steve love their sweet a**,
    I'm sure. OTOH, some of their money is now saving lives all over the
    world. :)
    Guest, Sep 10, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. Guest

    TeK Guest


    Your not alone thats for sure. though i would say your pretty far over
    on the spectrum of older machines still in use (and that being p2 class
    k6-2 333mhz, but if it still access's the internet, heh) i still use a
    dell latitude cpx p3 650mhz with an updated bios for upgrades. 256mb
    ram, 20gb HD, ati rage pro w/8mb video ram running windows XP w/service
    pack 2. and a xircom pc card for ethernet, hot swappable 24x cd-rom and
    floppy drive. and its fast, so fast i cant warrant a purchase of a new
    laptop to replace it. i dont consider any laptop a replacement for a
    desktop (no matter how loaded they supposidly are) so if you game
    heavily and like to upgrade often for it, then thats desktop territory.
    but if you need something mobile for work, and for light entertainment
    (or just basicly a new toy to fiddle with) staying behind the
    technology curve with even a used laptop can be a wise decision, and
    save you easily over 5-600+ dollars with purchase (just check out e-bay
    and craigslist) i feel i probably paid to much for mine new, compared
    to the deals dell gives out now (this was from the first gen mega
    powered laps) so until something happens to this one ill still be using
    it, then ill consider more of a used one maybe next time, or one of the
    great advertised deals dell has out at the time, and probaby nothing
    (today) over $600 for what i use it for. so congratulations! that can
    be considered one hell of a "hack" you have there (using it for very
    functional needs to this day) -Have fun :)
    TeK, Sep 10, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  3. Guest

    tiM` Guest

    Until recently, I used an old IBM TP600 (P2 300, 4gb hdd etc.) as my main
    home office / net machine. Running Knoppix.
    However, it died recently, and sue to it's age, and the opportunity of
    upgrading to a Thinkpad T23 (P3 800-1.1, 40gb hdd!), I decided to allow
    the 600 a dignified death, and didn't resurrect it.
    The T23 runs debian, and Mozilla / Oo_Org run much faster on it :)

    I also have a pretty old acer travelmate 212tx (I think), running as a
    mail / file server, 24x7. Dead battery, keyboard *rearranged* by a 2 yr
    old, pcmcia card slots failed, but it keeps on going using a usb/ethernet
    adaptor and an external usb hdd for storage. It does amuse that
    downloading off the internet is actually faster than the usb 1.1 connected
    tiM`, Sep 10, 2006
  4. Guest

    zwsdotcom Guest

    Compaq Armada M300, PII-333MHz, 128MB RAM, running Win2K - operating as
    the bittorrent machine, webcam engine and print server in my office
    (shares three printers and some HDD sharepoints to eight computers).

    It still works perfectly well, but I keep the lid closed and operate it
    over VNC.
    zwsdotcom, Sep 10, 2006
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Cool guys! Know what, years ago my laptop was already once slated for
    turning into a server, as a client gave me a nice ( at the time) Tosh
    for the duration of a bunch of projects. As they begged me to have it
    back I resurrected this old machine which was already running Debian
    Woody headless (ssh) with two network cards, but not serving files yet.

    That's where it'll end up when the time comes.

    I've ben thinking of staying behind the curve in laptop upgrades, the
    probl is I live in Italy and I much prefer non-italian kb's (US, French
    Canadian, or Swiss, which is wonderful for working in several European
    languages), those are hard to come by used, and int'l shipping is
    rather expensive %wise on cheapo hardware.

    In desktops I've reached the point where throwaways are more powerful
    than my bought-new main comp. I have almost merged 3 desktops into one
    much better than my P3/866 with 4 OSs (3 mutiboot + one on VM).
    Leftovers may still turn into a Beowulf cluster (I need to teach a
    protein-modeling friend, who'll use much better HW). The switch, of
    course, is leftover from a co., an office tenant of mine, that went
    belly up. Missed rent cost me n times my computing budget.

    The triumph of good-enough computing!
    Guest, Sep 10, 2006
  6. Guest

    Jeanette Guest

    Jeanette wrote

    I am still daily using my Sager Celeron 400mhz 128 mb of ram with 10 gig
    IBM hard drive.

    I use this laptop daily. It runs Windows 98se patched as far as it can
    be. A software firewall. Netgear wireless card. Office 2k. AVG,
    spybot, adaware.

    It dual boots with Damn Small Linux which runs extremely fast but I have
    to use the 3com nic card with it since I can't get the wireless to work
    with Damn Small Linux.

    I have recently started considering getting a new laptop so I can have
    wireless under Linux and an xp partition.

    Jeanette, Sep 10, 2006
  7. Guest

    Al Dykes Guest

    An old laptop can make a decent full-function firewall and webserver
    accessable from both the public internet and the home LAN. This
    is a machine which, once set up, is managed remotely.

    A laptop gives you a full kbd and monitor when you *do* need hands on
    the console and the battery gives you a goodly amount of UPS capacity.
    It draws less power than even a small PC, which can add $10-20
    bucks/month to the house electricity bill.
    Al Dykes, Sep 11, 2006
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Small Linuxes got better over the last few years, both from-CD &
    installable, several having both personas, sometime in just one CD.

    Try a somewhat less minimal distro. 400MHz & 128MB is plenty but you
    should have a few 100MB devoted to a swap partition, though, esp. for
    CD. On HD all smallish distros install in well under 2GB.

    Yes, DSL is EXTREMELY responsive when run "all from RAM", but you won't
    be able to do the same with a a 300-400MB distro and 128MB.

    Consider Vector, Zenwalk, Peanut, Feather, Puppy, grml (lots of light
    desktops, but geeky, & full install is 2GB+), Mepis Lite (not sure they
    keep it up to date though), and Xubuntu / Ubuntu Lite (whichever is
    still alive), Wolwix or KateOS. If you feel anticapitalistic, whatever
    that means, consider Blag. Yes there is one explicitly anticapitalist
    distro, Bill, now sit.

    Yesterday I installed Zenwalk 3.0 on my Toshiba K6-II 333MHz 96MB 20GB.
    Seems quite solid, actively developed, community growing. Yet I know
    I'll use Linux more on this comp only after it's retired from business
    and freed from the MS-Office / OpenOffice yoke.

    Also, seriously consider Opera as a full service browser. IMO beats
    anything Microsoft _and_ open source both in horsepower per tonne and
    in features.
    Guest, Sep 11, 2006
  9. Guest

    E Brown Guest

    An ex-girlfriend of mine still uses the IBM 701C I gave her as a
    birthday present just before the turn of the century. It's a 486-75Mhz
    model with the original 700-something MB hard drive and 40MB of RAM.
    She's never upgraded it because she says it does everything she wants
    - running Windows 95, Office 95, and a 16-bit wifi card. I think she
    also likes the attention the expanding keyboard garners in Starbucks.
    She does eye my 701 with envy - it's got the 133Mhz upgrade and
    64MB of RAM. I loaned it to her once while I worked on hers, swapping
    her hard drive into it. The woman insists my X31 with 1.4GHz, 1GB RAM,
    and 7200-rpm drive doesn't seem any faster than her laptop, while the
    133Mhz 701 seems like greased lightning to her - and she may be right,
    considering how bloated the software on my modern machine is compared
    to hers.
    I use my 701 only in emergencies, though. My true back-up machine
    in a Sony VAIO C1XS Picturebook - running at 400Mhz, it's an
    electronic miracle of compact functionality. It's been my travel
    machine for years.
    E Brown, Sep 12, 2006
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I tried Puppy Linux last night.

    I hadn't looked at the distro in a long time. Cool, fast, many
    interesting tricks, many options for saving sessions, installable,
    extensible, modern kernel - so it might have appropriate WiFi support.
    Give it a try.

    If your laptop has a burner, consider burning the .iso image on CD-R
    (maybe not CDRW) as multisession, and booting with the "puppy 5"

    It will store all your sessions sequentially.

    As the OS is <80MB, a 700MB CDR should last a while.

    When it's full, you can move OS and data to a new one.

    [ Also while you're on it, search for Puppy Linux and a thing called
    smtg like "open source time travel". I laughed my heart out for half an
    hour. A little bit of scientific awareness is required. Then I decided
    to drop everything and become a programmer, specializing in the ASQ
    language. ]
    Guest, Sep 12, 2006
  11. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I quote myself because I did something not too dissimilar,
    also involving FOSS:

    The CRM-SDCP research project.


    Combining Open Source Time Travel and CRM-SDCP
    would lick the terrorist problem in no time, literally.
    Guest, Sep 12, 2006
  12. Guest

    Gomez Adams Guest

    Yeah U r not the only one that use old machine.
    I have Hitachi VisionBook Pro 7000 (Pentium Mobile MMX-200 + 64MB RAM +
    12.1" TFT).
    Unfortunately it does not recognize the all 64MB, the BIOS see only 49MB
    which is strange. In general the laptop is very reliable and works nice
    (I replaced HDD into new Fujitsu 40GB). I use it as controller for
    optical switch (it has COM port which is not so common in new laptops).
    It has DSL Linux (very fast, designed for laptops) and Mandriva 2006 Pro
    + IceWM).

    I like this laptop. I do not thik that new laptops would work such long
    time as this one. It's not a Chinese crap! It was assembled in Korea.

    Gomez Adams, Sep 12, 2006
  13. Guest

    TeK Guest

    I have a friend that has an old compaq 386sx laptop but its not in
    daily use anymore. more of a conversation/novelty piece now. i think he
    said he stopped using it when his carrier dropped support for 2400
    baud, a modem of witch he connected externaly from one of the serial
    ports i believe. and if im not mistaking (and i may be since he has a
    lot of small hand held devices) but i could have swore i seen a whole
    array of "AA" batteries powering this thing sitting in the compartment
    underneath, now would'nt that be nice today? i have a weak latitude
    battery that will cost me anywhere form $150-200 to replace. about
    older laptops lasting longer than new, they say heat is the enemy of
    electronics and the newer systems run much, much hotter than the older
    ones (due in part to more powerfull cpu's/ram/HD's ect) and the funny
    thing i have noticed is that they seem to have less and less
    ventilation vents, my latitdue only has an upper right corner vent on
    the side that cools the cpu's heat pipe and exit's directly out the
    same back corner's fan exhaust. there's nothing underneath for battery
    or ram ventilation! (due in part for dust protection probably) but
    still this thing will cook your lap if you try to use it for it in it's
    namesake design! instead of purchasing an expensive fan powered laptop
    cooling pad, or the lesser expensive tubular designed one (at compusa)
    i bought a little hack for it instead, a $4.99 pastry cooling tray
    (mesh chrome) that sits about 3/4"-1" high at a craft store so i can
    use the laptop on my bed and it now stays much cooler even on a desk.
    and now with all this linux talk floating around i may just do me a
    little install..
    TeK, Sep 12, 2006
  14. Guest

    me Guest

    There is really something to be said for owing cheap
    laptops huh?
    me, Sep 12, 2006
  15. Guest

    E Brown Guest

    I dunno about cheap. The Sony was $3000 when it was new, the 701
    was $4500 new, though I got it later that year (1995) for $1800. :)
    But it's like most forms of expertise - the better you are, the
    less power you need to get the job done.
    E Brown, Sep 15, 2006
  16. Guest

    MG Guest

    Although I did get a Thinkpad T23 (1.2Ghz 40Gb 384Mb) a couple years
    back to help with some intensive tasks and have access to USB, I
    couldn't bring myself to lose two of the previous laptops that shared
    various tasks in different locations in the home.

    My Thinkpad 760ED (133Mz 104Mb 6Gb 2Mb Video ram sxga) has all the
    extras available to it including 2nd HDD caddy which is very handy. I
    run (using separate disks accordingly) DOS 6.22, W95C W98SE W2k and
    its battery still lasts 80mins. I am currently looking to Midi it up
    and move on from my Atari 1040Stf (4Mb) to run my old midi systems. It
    cost me about £40 but I have bought sold/upated several 760's keeping
    the best bits for me and getting the best model out o this process
    over 6 years or so, so has really cost nothing.

    I also have a Toshiba Tecra 740 CDT (166mmx 144Mb 5.1Gb sxga 2Mb Vram)
    and until last week a working screen! But the inverters' just gone.
    This also runs W98SE and a separate disk with W2k and I can access
    DVDs via my external DVD drive through a pcmcia-firewire card of all
    things under w2k. Has a great 13.3" screen, so will look to get it
    repaired. I did pay £230 for this used but later got extra max memory
    for free and a new screen under warranty in 1999. Also got a spare
    Lion battery fro free and both batts last about 2hours each, so a
    useful lump to have about.

    The only thing that lets the older models down is the inability to
    deal with the increasing bloatware from MS - either MS refuses to
    allow an install on them or they require specific video circuits...

    The trick is to get the max ram for the older models and as many
    optional items you can find such as spare batteries, HDD caddies,
    spare HDDs and if they accommodate secondary devices in any bays, them
    too. I have bailed out the more modern machines many times by being
    able to ghost partitions etc using the older units...

    MG, Sep 17, 2006
  17. Guest

    BillW50 Guest

    MG wrote:

    WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!!! I've been using computers since '74 and bloatware
    has nothing to do with Microsoft whatsoever! It's the DAMN PROGRAMMERS
    PERIOD!!! I don't care if they work for somebody or not. And Microsoft
    is better than most of them.

    Take my Toshiba 2595XDVD for example. Has Windows 2000 installed and
    Office 2000. It runs well with these MS products and other MS products.
    Although this is a '99 era machine as well with a Celeron 400MHZ with
    192MB of RAM. But throw something like the freeware version of Trillian
    v3.1 on the machine and you have to wait for keypresses to finally show
    up like 5 to 60 seconds later. You are completely typing blind. And the
    install is far smaller than MS Office.

    The worst bloatware in the world is f**ked up third party software.
    Trust me! And don't get me started on Yahoo IM either.
    BillW50, Sep 17, 2006
  18. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I also have a Toshiba Tecra 740 CDT
    Been there!


    $29.95 + shipping

    My Tosh (Satellite 2540 CDS) had lots of bits replaced over the years
    - main battery
    - VDU inverter
    - display hinge (should have ordered both,
    one gave up a year after I had swapped the other)
    - CMOS battery
    - RAM battery
    - HD (that was b4 I learned that replacing it was a cinch,
    so ended up costing $$$$)
    Guest, Sep 19, 2006
  19. Guest

    Guest Guest

    BillW50 & MG,

    I see you guys have experience with Win2k on memory restricted comps

    My laptop can't go any higher that 96MB RAM. Toshiba said it would max
    out at 160 but they were joking, and they never sold a real 128MB
    module, although they tried to sell fake ones for several years :)

    I am considering W2k mostly as USB support on W98FE is estremely poor,
    USB keys are almost indispensible nowadays, and a USB key would be a
    handy way of doing WiFi.

    Also, the original M$ propaganda for W2k contained claims that it would
    be faster than W9x and better at memory management.

    Spake M$ true?

    Would you recommend switching from W98FE to W2k?
    Guest, Sep 19, 2006
  20. Guest

    BillW50 Guest

    Wow! Yes Windows 2000 is indeed very good about USB devices. And you
    don't need drivers for the common things like cameras, flash drives,
    external HD, etc. Some things like VoIP phones and such may still need a
    driver. Windows98SE also works well, except you need drivers for

    But I don't know about running Windows 2000 on a 96MB machine. What is
    the speed of this processor? I ran Windows on a 128MB with a 400MHZ
    Celeron. And it sure swaps to the HD a lot (even 192MB does). If you
    don't do much other than things like using pre-2000 (year) software and
    mostly do just email and light web browsing, it should be okay if the
    CPU isn't too slow.
    BillW50, Sep 19, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.