Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

Some people would probably think this a curse, but for me, this is like hitting the lottery.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the Fujitsu FMV-5100 NU/W — a true Pentium I laptop, coming to you direct from June 1996: 100Mhz, 16Mb of RAM, jp106 keyboard, 56Kbps PCMCIA modem card, floppy drive and an 800Mb sliver of a hard drive, equipped with the crowning achievement of Microsoft, the pinnacle of technological wonderment, that bastion of information wizardry … Windows 95.

Right now the list of shortcomings is … short ( :P ), with only two streaked columns on the LCD, a loose key cap and a few scuffs here and there. I don’t know if the floppy drive works (I have my doubts; it doesn’t grunt on startup), but it’s altogether amazing for a machine that dates back a dozen years.

Oh, but no USB.

And no ethernet.

No optical drive.

No modem dongle.

The good news is that there is a PCMCIA port, which means I can probably get a wired ethernet connection working; the hard drive is easy to remove, so I can probably put a little larger/little faster one in there; and the memory is expandable, with an empty slot on the back.

And that means … no problem!

The order of business for this little monster will be a bath, then a transplanation of the hard drive to another machine, to block-copy the existing drive into a file (which I think can be done … I do it for OLPC systems, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t). Then wipe the drive and start experimenting. A proper command-line Ubuntu installation will probably be first.

Joy! :mrgreen:

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24 Responses to “Jackpot!”

  1. 1 Mads 2008/11/06 at 7:52 PM

    Commandline installs are fun. I do it on servers all the time, and while it gets boring pretty fast, the “I-know-I-can-script-my-way-out-of-this” factor is much higher on a ubuntu install than on a MS server 03/08 install


  2. 2 Ankur 2008/11/06 at 11:38 PM

    Oh these legacy laptops are so much fun!!

    I still have a Toshiba Tecra 8000, a Pentium II laptop 299 MHz 256MB RAM (upgraded) and 6GB HDD and it looks very similar to the one you have though it has a USB port and an optical-drive bay!!

    Came with Win 98, but nw runs happily on Xubuntu 7.10

  3. 3 Freduardo 2008/11/06 at 11:49 PM


    Looks like a fine machine. I wonder how low you could get the boot time on that thing …

  4. 4 zmjjmz 2008/11/07 at 1:20 AM

    What I would do is up the RAM to 48MB, and swap in an HDD with Damn Small Linux.
    Then I would buy a DWL-G650 (not sure if you’ll be able to find it, but it’s available on Amazon) and put it in the PCMCIA slot for a wifi connection, and voila.
    You have a decent machine.

  5. 5 Tony 2008/11/07 at 1:57 AM

    I think the key to getting this ‘lappy’ to run anything at a worthwhile speed is adding more RAM.

    It seems to still be a good box, and of course we all know you will make it better!

  6. 6 johnraff 2008/11/07 at 3:30 AM

    I’ve got this old Toshiba with somewhat similar specs – 16MB Ram, 160MHz CPU, 1.5GB disk. Has ethernet card and usb socket though. Originally came with Win 95, now running a minimal install of Win 98. Not snappy, but bootup and shutdown times are pretty fast. Using it as a music player, but eager to hear if a command line install of Ubuntu is a possibility with only 16MB of RAM!

    • 7 devnull0 2010/01/25 at 4:32 AM

      i was unable to install woody way back on a toshiba laptop with 32mb, even in text mode.

      ended up taking out the hd, slotting it in a higher spec machine, and doing the install like that.

      ran like a charm. very low power usage, and a build in ups… only for 15m though.. :-)

  7. 8 Mikko 2008/11/07 at 6:12 AM

    That is a lot like my old Toshiba Satellite with P100. It came with 8 MB, but now has the maximum of 40 MB. I used it for some time with Debian Sarge but now it has been hidden somewhere for a year or two. I’m not even sure whether it has Slackware or Minix installed on it at the moment.

  8. 9 Sir_Sid 2008/11/07 at 12:46 PM


  9. 10 Tony 2008/11/07 at 9:02 PM

    I meant to add this to my original post.

    Your “new” laptop also looks like a candidate for a complete exterior paint job. At that time you can also see what can be added to any internal parts to make it better. Who knows – you may be able to find a faster CPU for very little or even repair the floppy drive, maybe even add internal wireless??

    The possibilities are endless. Most of all Have Fun and take plenty of photo’s.


  10. 11 colonelcrayon 2008/11/09 at 9:43 AM

    Me wants :)

  11. 12 evidex 2009/11/29 at 11:46 PM

    All the pics are gone here mate :(

  1. 1 Three’s the charm « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2008/11/07 at 10:48 PM
  2. 2 An ecstatic slowness « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2008/11/09 at 9:07 PM
  3. 3 Meanwhile. … « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2008/11/10 at 11:24 AM
  4. 4 Slitaz to the rescue « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2008/11/11 at 11:44 PM
  5. 5 Goals and resolutions « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2009/01/08 at 11:24 AM
  6. 6 Jackpot, again! « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2009/08/15 at 11:02 PM
  7. 7 Ubuntu 9.10 at 120Mhz, 80Mb « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/01/16 at 8:30 AM
  8. 8 I’d like to thank the Academy. … « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/01/20 at 10:48 PM
  9. 9 A Windows XP-ish Debian at 120Mhz « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/01/24 at 8:22 AM
  10. 10 Sound’s ironic « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/04/05 at 10:04 AM
  11. 11 Old hardware a handicap? Au contraire! « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2010/10/25 at 11:17 PM

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Some recent desktops

May 6, 2011
Musca 0.9.24 on Crux Linux
150Mhz Pentium 96Mb 8Gb CF

May 14, 2011
IceWM 1.2.37 and Arch Linux
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

Some recent games

Apr. 21, 2011
Oolite on Xubuntu 11.04
L2300 core duo 3Gb 320Gb

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