Back in 1998 when I was 16 my father bought me my first Windows computer – a Toshiba Satellite 320CDT laptop from PC World in Chester. It had a 233mhz Pentium MMX CPU, 32MB of RAM and a 4GB HDD with Windows 95 installed.
Although new to Windows, it didn’t take long for me to realise that Windows 95 left a lot to be desired. I upgraded to Windows 98SE at the earliest opportunity and boosted the RAM with an additional 64MB taking it to 96MB in total. For the next few years I used that little laptop extensively and I learned a lot from it.
Tired of BSODs I eventually upgraded again to Windows 2000 which offered a much more stable environment at the notable expense of speed and responsiveness. Eventually it became time to upgrade to a desktop and the Toshiba was handed down to my younger twin sisters who, as it turns out, thoroughly abused it.
I dug out the machine while at my parents’ house a couple of weeks back. I was quite mortified to find the keyboard and screen covered with various bits of food, the modem cable was missing, the track pad nipple was missing, the little door covering the PCMCIA slot was missing and the charger socket was loose which meant the laptop would only charge if you held the cable in at a certain angle. Considering I had always kept the machine in good order I was not impressed. I decided to rescue it in the interest of nostalgia and brought it home with me.
The first thing to do was get all the food stains off it, which was quite easy with some wipes after taking out the keyboard. Next I got onto eBay and found a replacement modem cable, track pad nipple and PCMCIA door. I ordered one of each and then set about fixing the loose charger socket. I doubt I’ll ever use the modem again as I have a wireless network card that will fit this, but it’s better complete than incomplete nonetheless.
After finding a service manual for the laptop (mirrored below) I was all set. I opened it up to discover that the machine had obviously been pulled around by the cable as the solder was cracked and broken on BOTH pins! No wonder charging was so hit-and-miss! A little touch-up with a soldering iron and that too was fixed.
Over the next couple of days the various replacement parts arrived and eventually the laptop was as good as new – apart from the Windows installation which was full of all kinds of freeware/adware/spyware. I decided to reformat and re-install, which was easy as I’ve kept ISOs of all my OS disks over the years.
Interestingly Windows Update no longer works for any browser older than Explorer 6 SP1. As Windows 2000 comes with Explorer 5, I had to find an offline installation executable to manually update that before I was able to download the other 100+ updates required through Windows Update.
After hours and hours of downloading and installing updates I now once again have an as-new Toshiba 320CDT laptop, fully up-to-date (as far as Windows 2000 is concerned at least) and ready to go. It’s too slow to use every day, but as it’s where it all began for me I do feel much better having restored it to its former glory.
If anyone else is restoring a 320CDT, here’s a list of resources and software that might be of interest: