So, I have an ancient laptop. A Toshiba Satellite 440CDX. I covered it in a youtube video:
Basically, for modern purposes, it’s practically useless. However, it could still be usable in some sense, I feel. So the first step was to get it network connected- it could, for example, server as a file server, or something.
The laptop is old enough- and I guess wasn’t the right model- that it doesn’t have a built-in Ethernet port. I don’t think it was typical in those days to have one, anyway. The only item that appears in the network adapters list of Device manager is the infrared port (remember those?). However, thankfully, it supports Cardbus. So I hopped on ebay and bought some cheap chinese thing for like 4 bucks. it took like 3 weeks to arrive but it made it.
I originally intended to create an “opening” video, where I set it up. I did, but I made an ass of myself by trying to plug the cardbus card in the Expresscard slot of my newer laptop for “testing” which of course didn’t work. Plugging it into the 440CDX- nothing happened. Was it defective? Wouldn’t be surprising, given the price. I perservered, because I guess I had nothing better to do.
I ended up in the laptops CMOS setup, and on a whim I toggled some PC-Card mode from “PCIC-compatible” to “Cardbus/16″ or something.
Upon rebooting, I plugged in the PC-Card… and Poof! Found new hardware appeared.
And thus began my trek to find it’s driver. The CD that came with the device was utterly useless since it was for a completely different component (judging from the INF files, a PC-card for serial/parallel ports, or something). What ended up happening, was I allowed the device to “fail” to install, and used Everest Home, at which point I discovered it was a Realtek chipset. This gave me something to work with. I first tried the closest model in the win98 database, which of course didn’t work, so I downloaded the appropriate driver. As I speak, it is installing now
. I needed to copy the contents of the Windows 98 CD to my flash drive. And I now realize that I used the Windows 98 First Edition disk contents rather than SE, so I’ll have to start the entire shebang again unfortunately. I ought to point out that the flash drive usage is supplemented by the incredibly awesome “unofficial service pack” for windows 98- that can be found here , and adds Generic Mass Storage drivers (whereas normally you would need a special driver for nearly every different drive you want to use). As well as a plethora of fixes/tweaks that make the Operating system as stable as possible. Which is very useful for systems that cannot run a newer OS.
Having now restarted the process with the appropriate(Win98SE) files, with any luck it will soon have network connectivity.
At which point I can forget about the entire thing and toss it back in a closet. But not after seeing how laughable the net is with IE 6 (or possibly 5.5). I might search for a more lightweight alternative but a Pentium 133 machine just isn’t cut out for the contents of the net today. I can’t imagine how terrible this site looks on it. At the very least I open up the possibility to use the laptop as a file server or something. Which would be pointless since it’s HD is tiny. SO some might ask “what was the point”? Well, actually, I did gain something so far:
I’ve now learned more about and actually used PC-Card type peripherals. While I was well aware of the various type I,II, III, etc designations, I was unclear as to the specific differences (PCMCIA on older machines being basically a portable ISA, PC-Card being PCI, and Express-Card being PCI-E). my ignorance shown quite completely by my attempts to plug a cardbus card into a expresscard slot. That, and I’ve now actually (well, with any luck) gotten one working, so there is that. The experience, I guess is the motivating factor. Also, it was totally worth it to hear the cool noise the laptop makes when you remove a PC-Card that it knows about. It’s like a PC-speaker version of the XP/Vista/7 “Device removed” sound. Hilarious, and fairly sure the BIOS is doing it too, which means that it’s really coming from the heart of the machine. Touching.
If the CD-ROM Drive of the machine still worked, I’d probably be testing out lightweight OSS Operating Systems, but unless I shell out 80 bucks for a new CD-ROM for the thing (haha, fat chance) that simply is not going to happen.
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