Questions on fixing up my 17 year old laptop (with pictures)

Eric212

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Hello, I pulled my old laptop that I used in college out of storage. It’s not too useful for many modern applications but I want to tune it up so I can keep it around for nostalgia sake. Maybe use it for word processing or playing older games that ft the specs of the machine. I find vintage computers interesting and this one is quickly becoming more and more “vintage” with each passing year.

It powers on and runs fine. The only obvious hardware issues are a dead CMOS battery and the hard drive is pretty loud when spinning. I remember it was getting louder before I put it in storage so this isn’t a surprise. I pulled it apart and removed the old CMOS battery and ordered a new one. Thankfully the old one hadn’t leaked. I also removed the HDD. I’d be interested in replacing this with some sort of SSD. I don’t have any lofty dreams of making this computer “fast” at least by today’s standards but I like the idea that a SSD is silent and if it gives the computer a little boost in performance then all the better. I would just want to make sure I’m not making it slower in any way. I believe this is an IDE HDD and I found a few online that appear like they will work, HERE is a link. Would that be suitable for my situation? Are there better options available?

The laptop is a Compaq Presario 1201z, manufactured in 2001
AMD Athlon 4 @900 MHz (codename Corvette) RAM: 320 MB
The hard drive that I’m replacing is 15 GB

One thing I hear to watch out for on older hardware is bulging capacitors. I looked closely at the capacitors on the motherboard and they all look fine except for one, but I can’t tell if it’s bulging or if it is just made differently and is supposed to look like that. Can I get an expert opinion on this? (see pic below)

I'm also open to any other suggestions of things that I should check, replace or upgrade to improve it's usability (within reason for it's specs of course) and longevity, because I plan to hold on to it. I actually found another one of these for sale on ebay pretty cheap so I'm thinking of buying it just to have for spare parts.

Thanks!
Eric












 

13thmonkey

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That SSD should work, BUT I'm not sure that trim passes over PATA, and older OS's will not be SSD aware, have no trim, and so will not do garbage collection well, so don't expect it to act like a new SSD for long.

 

tejayd

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Funny, I have had laptops I felt the same way about. Recently I finally trashed them (pulled all their processors for nostalgia). Except my win 98 think pad from highschool. Battery is shot, but still runs as fine as could be expected. I'm sure it's going to the bin someday. Just can't get myself to do it yet.
 

Unolocogringo

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Understand the nostalgia part of it.
The yellow cap looks suspect or it could be the camera angle. But it does look slightly rounded on top. It should be completely flat or flat with x indention stamped in the top for greater strength.
 

ikaz

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Yeah good luck with finding old working HD not to mention old drivers for the laptop probably limited though i'm guessing that was a Windows ME maybe if your lucky Windows XP compatible laptop.
 

Unolocogringo

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https://www.amazon.com/Western-Digital-7200RPM-CACHE-WD400BB/dp/B000070G4C
New 40 gig WD 7200 rpm hard drive for 22 dollars 80 gig for 32 dollars.
nothing bigger needed for OS and games of the time.
I still have my old P3 1.26@1584 512 mb ram and a 6800ultra video card for old games. Still has an original WD 40 gig drive in it.
The processor, memory and ram were part of the original set up with a modded bios Asus TUSL2 motherboard. My Massively(at the time we were on air cooling only) overclocked TI4200 held the Mad Onion 3DMark top score for about 6 months on this all new computer at the time.
So it has it's memories.
I later tossed the 6800 in and gave it to my son for college work and gaming. Later when he upgraded, I got it back, cleaned it and put it in the closet in the basement.
For Win98 and WinXP games it still rocks.
 

Eric212

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Thank you to everyone who replied so far, I really do appreciate your input.


Is THIS one incompatible? I see people adapt machines much older than this one to use some sort of solid state media such as compact flash, etc. But maybe this one isn’t new enough OR old enough to fit any of those solutions, haha.


It came with Windows ME preinstalled when new. I still have the original restore disc that came with it if I wanted to set it up as factory again. A couple years after I bought it I completely formatted the HD and installed Windows XP. Currently it has XP SP3 on it. Back then I got the copy of XP from a friend of mine who obtained it from a questionable source, so needless to say I don’t have the ability to re-install XP unless I find another copy. I’m sure they must be out there though. Back when I installed XP on it I lost a few functions but nothing that I ever missed, just some of the custom buttons (blue scroll buttons in front of the track pad and the “internet zone” buttons next to the power button). Everything else worked fine right after installing XP.


Thanks, I may end up going that route. 40 GB would be plenty, I remember thinking 15 GB was amazing when I first bought it… how could I EVER fill 15 GB?!?! ;)
 

13thmonkey

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That SSD should work, BUT I'm not sure that trim passes over PATA, and older OS's will not be SSD aware, have no trim, and so will not do garbage collection well, so don't expect it to act like a new SSD for long.

 
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