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Reviving my 1998 Micron Transport XKE Laptop!


hey everybody it’s lon seidman and the other day i did a live stream with my old 3do game console from the 90s we played an old demo disc and a lot of you liked that the stream actually did really well for a live stream on my channel so i thought it might be fun to get a couple of other older devices up to par so we can start doing more of those kinds of streams and i found my old college laptop the other day this is a micron transport xke it has a pentium 233 mmx processor inside and it still works it booted right up believe it or not it’s running right now with windows 2000 but i think i’m going to go back to windows 98 and what we’re going to do today is get windows 98 installed onto one of these compact flash adapters so we can get a little solid-state hard drive going on with this thing and i’ve got two compact flash cards i’m not using that will go into this and that’s going to be kind of a fun little project to do today i’ll be live streaming the actual work here as i record this video so some of you may have already seen this now i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that

everything that we have here in this video i paid for with my own funds although my dad bought me the laptop i guess i should say all of the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewing or approving what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now with a hardware tour and then we’ll take it apart and get these new storage devices installed now i think we paid about 2500 bucks for this back in 1998 but when it came out it was like six thousand dollars look how expensive this was this is a ad that was in a magazine back in 1997 and this one we purchased right before micron switched over to the pentium 2 laptop processors which were a lot faster so they were kind of liquidating these machines but this thing really was high spec for its day and check out what it had a 233 megahertz mmx processor i don’t know if i got 48 megs of ram on mine i think it had 16 but that was an option that was available i think i did have the three gigabyte removable hard drive has a 13.3 inch active matrix display really high-end mobile pci chipset here a super fast cd-rom on board a lot of cool stuff as you can see here i think it even came with microsoft office as well now you’ll notice a big gap here that’s where the battery used to go i took the battery out because it was failing and i figured it was time to properly dispose of it what was neat about this machine is that it was modular so when you pulled the battery out you could slide in the floppy drive or another hard drive if you wanted to so it was kind of neat to have those options and you also have a another modular slot here where the cd-rom drive is let me see if i can get it out real quick and so my recollection is that you could put the cd-rom in here or a second hard drive and then you also had the option to put a battery on this side too because i remember taking a trip to china and i had two batteries on this thing it weighed a ton it weighs about seven and

a half pounds without a battery about nine pounds with the battery so it really added a lot of weight or you could have a floppy drive in the cd-rom with no battery or you could have again two batteries or a battery and a hard drive and no cd-roms you had some things that you could slide in and out i do have the floppy drive somewhere i don’t think it’s at the house but that is something that i did have and it came with when i first got it now there was a ton of connectivity on this beyond the modular design let me show you all the ports this thing had so on the right hand side here let me give you the overhead view to give you a better view of everything here you had a little port here for connecting a mobile phone and i remember doing this with my motorola whatever phone i had back then you could just plug in a special cable here and interface with the mobile phone to get the laptop on the internet it also had a built-in modem that was software upgradable to 56k it was 33.6 when it first came out and then it got the upgrade so all that was built right in which was great they had a game port adapter here for connecting up pc game controllers this was also a midi controller for musical instruments and then a new feature was a usb port this was one of the first machines with usb because it was a new technology back then there was also analog video out which looked terrible but you did have a video out here for composite and you also had s video and so there were situations where you might be on a projector and that’s all it supported but it just didn’t look so great this is where the hard drive is located so again you could put a second hard drive in but the main drive is here and you can easily pull out this little module to swap it out and they sold additional modules so you could very easily pop hard drives in and out some folks would have linux on one hard drive and windows on another your power switch is here and then your ram was upgradeable through the

port here at the bottom kind of odd to get such an upgradeable machine right on the back here we have the power input you have a ps2 mouse and keyboard adapter this is your serial port the regular serial port they also sold a docking system for this and that’s what would link up over here you had microphone in and audio out right there this is an infrared port there’s another one on the front and you could use that to communicate with pocket pcs and that sort of thing you had a parallel port here for printers at one point i had a zip drive connected to this parallel port and later a cd-rom burner and then we have a vga output over here which is probably what we’ll use on future streams to play some games on it now on this side it looks like i have a network adapter plugged into it but there were two pc mcia or card bus slots here so you could get two type two cards i believe they were called or a type three card which would take up both slots which is what this one is and this one has a modem along with telephone passthrough so you could plug a phone in and make calls and then there was also an ethernet jack here for 10 100 ethernet i think it’s 10 100 and it looks like there’s some lights or something that you could connect with a breakout box there as well this is a zircom ethernet yeah it’s 10 100 so that’s something that we’ll maybe play with to get it on the internet although i’m kind of nervous about connecting this to my network with windows 98 so that is all the ports and you’ve got that other infrared port there on the front so lots of stuff on here now this had a again a 13.3 inch display active matrix it looked pretty good there was a lot of backlight

bleed and i remember when i first booted it up because my laptop that i had prior to this was a mac powerbook 180c that had a beautiful but very tiny active matrix display this one looked good but not as good as that primarily because it was larger and again when you had dark things on screen you would get some of the backlight bleeding through that display did work the last time i booted it up yesterday hopefully it will work when we start installing the operating system so we’ll give that a go and then like the thinkpads at the time you had the little pointing nub here mine is worn off but there was a blue pointing now that you could use or a tiny little trackpad here and this trackpad size was about the size of the track pads for every laptop back then so it’s not unusually small it just was very tiny in general the keyboard still works not bad got some big keys with some decent travel you get all this room here so you can make it work really nice stereo speakers on this one as well so just a really cool machine for its time and now what we’re going to do is get that hard drive installed and hopefully we can get windows 98 installed on this old machine all right so we’re going to first pull out the hard drive module here and there’s a screw that locks that in place look how long this this screw is here it’s kind of crazy so let’s pull this out now i think i’ve got a three gigabyte hard drive in here now and it doesn’t want to give itself up here too easily so i need to figure out how to get that thing out of there so it’s not the original hard drive it’s one that i put in a number of years ago so as it turns out there was a second screw that i had to undo here i do have the manual for this the

manual was online for it my big concern though is that while i could find the manual pretty easily i could not find the um the drivers for this so there might be some drivers that may not work i did locate the video driver so i have that but i’m not sure about the other stuff all right so this is the hard drive that i pulled out of it and this is definitely one that i bought later for a while i was just buying these ibm hard drives whenever i had the opportunity so this is a 3.2 gigabyte drive and i think the original one that i had crashed or i wanted more space at some point so that’s what we’ve got in there right now and this is just your standard ide and you can see just how much room there was for a larger physically sized hard drive if you needed that so what i’m going to do now is unscrew the hard drive that’s in here and then we’re going to attach up our new compact flash based things let me get to this real quick and we’ll be back when it’s done so we’re going to now disconnect the drive it’s got a proprietary connector here so while it is ide you have to get your drive into the pins here on this little thing and then it will connect to the laptop with that connector there so let’s get this hard drive out and unlike sata these things have pins that stick out so you gotta be really careful not to damage the pins on the way out here so we’re just going to give it a light pull or a little bit heavier than the lighter pull and get that out of there now the compact flash adapter that i’ve got here actually supports two cards and i’m not sure if the computer will work with both of them but we’ll stick it in we won’t screw everything down we’ll just put it in and see if it works so what i’ve got here is an old 8 gig card

from my one of my older cameras so i just cleared off some photos of that last time i used this card was about 10 years ago and the same for the other card here we’ll put on the other side of it and these cards are both currently formatted fat32 and i have some drivers that i was able to locate as i mentioned that i downloaded to this card so we’ll see if we’re able to get at those if not i’ve got a usb stick we can use all right so we’re going to put those in there and we’re just going to attach this up back to those pins okay so we got everything connected we’re going to slide that drive back in i’m not going to screw anything down just yet because i’m curious if this thing is even going to boot up with it or at least post as they say so now what i’m going to do is get the screen open here we’re going to get the power connector and we’re going to see if it detects that drive and there’s no battery in this so if we lose power it goes out now one thing i didn’t cover in my initial overview was this little digital panel here this kind of gave you an indicator as to what the system status was and uh yeah it looks like i got to plug it in first so let me plug it into power i didn’t have the other end plugged in i always i’m always nervous to leave these old power adapters plugged in when i’m not attending to them so that’s what happened there so we’re gonna hit the power button here and there we go good okay so it is uh powering up and it is recognizing a hard drive i’m gonna hit f2 here to jump into the bios on it and our cd-rom drive is a little flaky so we’re going to deal with that in a second i found that the cd-rom motor here is getting

stuck so sometimes i have to give it a little a little nudge and it usually unsticks but that was something it did a little bit earlier you might need to wd-40 that or something at some point to loosen it up this cmos battery appears to be dead on this but what i want to see is whether or not it is picking up the hard drive that we have installed on it so i’m going to go over to the hard drive here and it looks like it’s not seeing anything so perhaps this adapter isn’t working or the other issue here could be that it is not liking having two of those cards installed all right so we managed to figure out what the issue was and it related to these two cards that we were using i did try this card on its own and then this one on its own and these are newer compact flash cards that i think had some kind of udma controller on there and the computer just didn’t like it so i found some older cards i’ve got one of these pnys that i put into it that’s only four gigabytes but that’s enough to get started and now the computer has detected uh that four gigabyte ide compact flash adapter here uh as the primary drive so what i’m gonna do now is get the cd-rom reinstalled here and we’re going to exit the bios here and just boot up although i’m getting a lot of beeps here so let me shut it down let’s reboot it and see if we can get windows going now all right we’ve been having some trouble getting the install going but the disc was already formatted with fat32 so i figured i would try to maybe force the disk to get formatted to something that windows might like better so we’re going to enable large disk support because we do have a four gig card installed in there i’m going to hit yes and what i’m going to do is just delete the active partitions here let’s take a look and see what partitions it detects

so it’s got this fat32 one here i’m just going to delete this one completely and oops and then see if maybe creating a new one with this utility might work better because it keeps getting us through the setup process and then dumping us out so i’m going to go ahead here and get rid of that and let’s hit the thing here and hit yes okay so now it’s deleted now i’m going to create a new primary partition and i’ll create the primary dos partition here and you want i haven’t done this in so many years do you want to wish yes and we’ll just have it use all of the available space and now we need to restart our system for the changes to take effect and we’ll do that okay so let’s uh hit the control alt where’s the delete key there it is delete and reboot this thing and we will come back and hopefully be able to format the drive and move on from there okay so let’s reboot into windows setup here and let’s format the drive and hopefully when this formatting is done we will get windows installed and operating all right we have made progress here and now we’re going to go through the rest of this congratulations on choosing windows 98 by the way the the screen didn’t scale very well so the text doesn’t look all that clear here but once you get into the native resolution which i think is 1024 by 768 things look a lot sharper but this was a really nice display again for the time and now it’s going to go through all of the hardware detection we are putting in 98 second edition and my hope is that a bulk of the drivers that it needs are on the windows installation cd because i looked around for some of the old you know restore cds for this pc online and i couldn’t find anything but the original manual so hopefully

this will be a relatively smooth process this is going to take a while so we’re going to let this run its course here and hopefully we’ll have a windows 98 system booting up here shortly we’re going to give it the old c windows here and have it go through the motions and it says it’s going to take about 40 minutes all right while we’re getting the windows installation going as we were doing the live stream here i stumbled across a photo of this thing in use back in april of 1998 i was the student body president at the university of hartford that year and i had my own office and i used to take the laptop to the office with me now this is uh outlook express running that’s what i was using for email now you’ll note here the configuration that the laptop was in uh so we had the cd-rom drive in on the right-hand slot and that is the very same cd-rom that is on it right now and then in the other slot you can see i had the floppy drive now in this configuration i did not have the battery installed so if the power got pulled out or i wanted to get up and walk away the computer would turn off because the battery just wasn’t installed but you had again the option to put the battery in here and leave the cd-rom in or pull the cd-rom out and put the battery in its slot but you couldn’t have the floppy the cd-rom and the battery in all at the same time but the good news was you could buy another battery if you wanted to and have that as an option there again very upgradable you also note that the little nub is definitely more visible there and the ethernet that it was connected to was through a linksys pc mcia card that i bought and we had coax ethernet there so the card had a little breakout connector and on it was a bnc connector for connecting coax cable and it also had the rj45 connector that we’re familiar with today for ethernet and you could choose which of those two you’d want to use wi-fi was not yet available widely to

consumers at that point so you just didn’t get up with your laptop it stayed on the desk for the most part uh when you were connected to the network and that is what was at play there very cool stuff and a nice little nostalgic look at this thing in action 23 years ago just about all right the third time on boots a charm here hopefully we are rebooting for a third time after it did all of its hardware detection and let’s hope it gets going i will say um that it does feel a lot faster running off the compact flash card than it does running from the old spinning hard drive that was in here before it does feel a lot quicker this machine by the way has i think i upgraded it to about like 96 megabytes of ram i’m not sure how the module math works out on that but there is a good amount of memory on this one now more so than what it had when i first got it it looks like we got to copy a few more files here and so once this is done we will pick it up and hopefully everything will be working all right so we have now hopefully installed a display driver on here i had to actually pull the compact flash card out and stick it in my mac in order to get this thing to work so we do have audio functional and hopefully when this comes back up the display driver will be working now it looks as though it’s a lot sharper than it was before and as you can hear we’ve got audio coming out of the speakers so things are starting to come together here but the display still is not perfect the resolution here is just not right so i’m going to jump into the control panel and see if we can get that fixed i didn’t find a driver for the chipset not for this computer specifically for the graphics um so that could be an issue here but let’s get up to the native resolution of 1024 by 768 and if i remember correctly i could put this into true color i think at that no i have to go to uh high color 16 bit uh at 10 24 by 768 and if we do the restart here let’s try to do it without restarting i

have to restart anyhow okay let’s there we go yeah we’re good awesome so now we’ve got a full version of windows 98 running here off of the solid state drive a little camera focusing issue here let’s get my camera back in focus there we go and we’re good to go now i don’t have this on the network yet i’ve got to track down some network drivers for that that pc mcia card that we have on here but i can probably play a pretty mean game of solitaire although i don’t see it on my list of programs here so we’ll have to poke around for that but we can maybe load up outlook express just to get something running here on the windows desktop so we do have that going and we can sign up for our msn internet isp now one thing i did get on here let me go into the command line real quick or command is i did install doom on here which i downloaded from the internet archive so we can maybe give a go with doom real quick here and try that out in dos so let me get this installed and we will take a look and see how it runs all right so as you can hear we’ve got doom running i’m actually just running this on top of windows so we might get a little bit better performance here if we were to boot into dos directly but look how nicely this runs now this again is a 233 megahertz chip on this one so i would expect games like doom which came out a number of years before this machine was made to run pretty nicely here but yeah good stuff so i am super excited about this now what i want to do in an upcoming live stream is play around with some older pc gamer demo discs that i have in my back room because i was subscribed to the magazine and the early days of those discs would run really nicely on this machine now when this one came out again i bought this in 98 and it came out in 97.

By that point you had the 3d accelerator cards kind of taking over the pc gaming world so this could run a lot of current triple or for the time current aaa titles but they were really starting to gravitate towards the 3d accelerators namely the voodoo cards at that point so the games that will be the best on here will be probably the games from the early 90s that were designed to run again without a 3d accelerator card games like doom here maybe even quake to some degree as well so we’re going to come back to this now that we’ve got everything working here but i’m super excited to kind of get some new life breathed into this system and as clunky as it was to get windows 98 installed it wasn’t as bad as i thought it was going to be so i’ve got my video driver working i’ve got the sound working i do want to work to try to get it connected to the network to some degree which will be easier than having to pull the compact flash card out every time i want to move files back and forth and i’ll look around too to see if i can find some usb drivers for the usb port here and i could then do some sneaker netting of usb storage devices to that port there on the side but all in this laptop is pretty much ready to go for the project that i have for it and it’s so nice to just see how well it’s working and how good the display works here after all this time so we’ll get as much use out of we out of this as we can before it finally bites the dust on us but so far i think we’re in pretty good shape that’s going to do it for now until next time this is lon seiben thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters brian parker jim peter tom albrecht frank lewandowski mark bollinger and chris allegretta if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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