How to start an old laptop going?

  old china 13:40 18 Mar 06

I just acquired an old laptop from work. The spec is so low that no one wanted to use it and so it's getting some tlc from me.

It's a Dell -- model TS30G. It has a floppy drive and 2 PC card slots, no CD-ROM and no usb port.

No body can find any manuals and it had Windows 95 before they wiped all data off and gave it me. I now find the disk is blank with no operating system.

From the bios,it says 16MB ram, 1.6 gb hard drive, and has 133 MHz Pentium processor.

How should I install an operating system on this laptop? I have Win98 Second Edition on a CD. I've heard about creating a bootable floppy but not sure whether it is relevant here.

Q1. How do I find out whether the laptop can support 32-bit PC cards, or only 16-bit cards?

Q2. I would like to be able to use usb-adaptors on this laptop. As it has no usb ports, can I get usb ports with PCMCIA interface. Are these always 32-bits PC-cards? If my laptop can support only 16-bits (so back to Q1!), then the 32-bits PC-card interface won't work on the laptop. Is that correct?

Q3. I have an external CD-ROM with a PC-card connection which I use with another old (Acer) laptop. Can I use this on the Dell? Both the Dell and the Acer are about 8 to 9 years old.

Q4. I understand that the minimum RAM is 16Mb for running Win98 is 16Mb, and the min RAM for Win98SE is 24Mb; also Win98SE is recommended for internet use. Would it be better to install Win98 and see I can get internet or install Win98SE and see if the laptop (with only 16Mb ram) would take it?

I should add that my Acer laptop (with 32Mb RAM) was running Win98 and it crashed when I tried to install a 3Com wireless adaptor. I then upgraded the O/S to Win98 Second Edition and the installation of the wireless adaptor was successful. This is perhaps because min O/S for the 3Com adaptor is Wind98SE, and I can get other Wireless 11g adaptors that can support Win98?

  amonra 14:44 18 Mar 06

With only a 1.6 G HD I'd be tempted to for forget Windows and try Linux. Far smaller footprint and would probably run quite happily on that spec. Otherwise offer it to your local museum.

  wednesday 13 14:50 18 Mar 06

you would also need a better processor to run most programs smoothly

  terryf 16:48 18 Mar 06

It sounds like the only use for this is as a decoration on a coffe table, I did a Google search and the only place I found was on Ebay with HD stripped out. I think you could spend time (and maybe money) that would be wasted

  Forum Editor 16:57 18 Mar 06

of Windows (except Win95) to run properly, and to be brutally honest this laptop is fit only for the bin.

  diy 21:08 18 Mar 06

Remove the hard drive and connect to a higher spec pc, click here , install 98SE and refit to the old laptop.
Boot up and see what happens.

  Forum Editor 18:01 19 Mar 06

What will happen is that it won't work. The 98SE will have created a registry on the hard drive that relates to the hardware/software configuration that is installed on the PC. The installation will not work properly when the drive is back in the laptop.

  Diodorus Siculus 18:51 19 Mar 06

If you have a floppy disk drive, I will send you win 3.1 on 8 floppies. It'll run fine on that spec!

  Jackcoms 18:54 19 Mar 06

With that spec I'd stick with pen and paper if I was you.

  gregori 21:00 19 Mar 06

I think Diodorus Siculus has the best idea. Windows 3.1 (and DOS) would be running on a far superior machine than it was designed for. It will therefore not disappoint you. Also install CALMERA to make it look and feel like Windows 95. Visit my website for more tips. click here

  old china 23:58 19 Mar 06

I have a 13 year old son who likes building computers and this laptop could be his project (wouldn't matter he messed it all up!).

If we could have this laptop working, we could leave it at my parents (who are computer-free) -- handy for doing homework when my children are visiting their grandparents.

It looks like Windows 3.1 or Linux (suggested by amonra). Any more opinions on Linux?

I would very much like to take up Diodorus Siculus' offer. Thanks.

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