So to make my little Toshiba a little more useful and mobile, I purchased a wireless card and a PCMCIA CF card adapter.

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Why the CF card and not USB?
It is possible to just get the PCMCIA to USB adapter, but I don’t really like it that much. Here are a few reasons why I prefer a PCMCIA CF adaptor.

  • I already own a CF to USB adapter.
  • I don’t like bulky USB ports hanging out.
  • A CF card fits neatly and adds an extra drive.
  • A PCMCIA CF adaptor is half the price of a PCMCIA USB adapter.
  • If my CF card in the Libretto dies, I have a spare CF card within reach.

Enough reasons, so let’s start…

Used hardware/software:

  • Windows 95 CD ROM
  • Drivers (found in download section)
  • PCMCIA CF adapter
  • PCMCIA Cisco Aironet 340

Installing the Cisco Aironet 340

Go to the device manager and select your Cisco Aironet 340 PCMCIA card and update the drivers.

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During the installation you will be asked to provide a workgroup and a computer name.

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Reboot the computer and you will be asked to provide a network username and password. This time you can fill in whatever you want.

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Now with the drivers done, install the Cisco utilities.

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Now add the settings of your access point. I use an open guest network at home which shows a login screen. It’s the easiest to setup for this card, as the card doesn’t really support any encryption beyound WEP(128bit key).

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With these associations done with your AP, you will need to add TCP/IP and NetBEUI. NetBEUI is a protocol used for translating names to IP’s, I don’t believe you really need it but I’ll just add it to be sure. TCP/IP you need for sure! It’s the backbone of modern day networks, but Windows 95 doesn’t includes this protocol by default.

Easy to fix. Go to the ‘Network’ part of your ‘Control Panel’

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Once there add the two protocols: ‘Microsoft>NetBEUI’ and ‘Microsoft>TCP/IP’

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With this done you should be able to ping your router. (Tip: Start > Run > ‘winipcfg’ shows your current ipconfig was ‘ipconfig’ wasn’t supported yet by Windows 95)

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Now open your Internet … This will show you a wizard to configure your internet. The only thing important with this wizard is ‘use Local Area Network’. (Also I don’t want messaging.)

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Start the browser, and voila you are online. Strange enough the Microsoft welcome page doesn’t seem to cope quite well with such an old browser.

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Luckily google (is the only one that) does.

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That’s it for adding wireless to such an old machine. Now let’s expand our disk space.

Adding the PCMCIA CF Card

So if you installed the PCMCIA drivers, you can just insert the card and Windows 95 will pop up a ‘New Hardware’ found wizard.

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The drivers for this IDE/ESDI card can be found in the downloads section below. Just move to the folder where you extract them and your new CF card is ready to use. I find a CF card an easy way to transfer files between two PC’s.

Downloads
Cisco 340 Aironet driver package: 340-Windows-95-Bundle-2.1.exe (4,96 MB)
IDE driver: 0901_INT82371.ZIP (13,3 KB)

Don’t bother with the Windows 95 floppy edition. It kept asking for the install floppy once Windows 95 installer booted. This is becaus ethe PCMCIA floppy drive is a very odd piece of hardware for the operating system. So save yourself a few hours of trouble and construct a solid state drive out of a CF card and an IDE adapter and preload the windows disk on this.

Original tutorial found: here

For installing Windows 95 you will need:

Hardware:

  • External PC with a CF card reader. You’ll find these things dirt cheap (if not already owned), sometimes 19 in 1 readers.

 

  • 2.5″ IDE to CF adapter. I found one on dx.com, and costed me around € 1.86 with free shipping.
  • CF card. I used a 133x speed 4 GB to replicate the original Libretto 110 configuration.
  • The Toshiba Libretto PCMCIA Floppy Drive

Software:

Preparing the IDE to CF adapter

Like in the tutorial I recieved my CF adapter with pointy sticky pins. But instead of using scissors to cut these connectors I used a file to narrow the card. If done carefully this gives a smooth edge to all the pins. Also you need to cut pin 20 (KEY) to make it fit. (You don’t really need this pin anyway)

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And in the end instead of using cardboard to keep the components safe I used clear thick packing tape. This shields most potential electrical current and avoids scratching the lower motherboard.

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Install, and close up the Libretto.

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Time to boot it up! Insert the Windows 95 boot disk and press the power button. It’s alive! (If not: bang head against wall and hope you didn’t damage your Libretto)

Partitioning the CF flash card and loading the install CD

Start by partitioning and formatting your CF card in DOS. WARNING: Do not use your current computer to format and partition. Your old Libretto won’t understand a thing of this new technology. You will be able to install your operating system but once your operating system is installed you will most likely be left with a black blinking cursor.

Use the boot disk with fdisk utility to create partitions. Type: ‘fdisk’ and create a DOS partition.

Also don’t forget to execute ‘fdisk /mbr’ and ‘fdisk /cmbr 1’ this will repair any errors that might be present in your MBR record. Once this is done format your partition with ‘format c:’. Once completed open the Libretto again one more time and insert the CF card in the card reader on your computer.

Copy the install disk and the Windows 95 drivers to a folder (I used C:\INSTALL\WIN95CD & C:\INSTALL\LIBRETTO\DRIVERS) on the newly created partition and reinsert in your Libretto. Power on, again and boot once more from recovery disk. Move to your install CD folder ‘cd C:\CDWIN95’ and run ‘setup’.

Installing Windows 95

Here we are. Windows 95 install.

Just install all defaults, except where you need to select the type of installation. Choose ‘Portable’. This will install additional laptop components.

 

Installing the drivers

As always with Windows 95, you feel a bit like a crashtest dummy. When it boils down to drivers, the Toshiba Libretto is no difference. The genral rule for this device is: never thrust or install Tishiba drivers unless you are sure. If you fail to do this you will definitely have issues with wrong or conflicting drivers.

Video driver

The video driver is pretty straight forward. It’s ripped from the Windows 98 driver package and works perfect without adaptations.
Extract the L1008VID.EXE file from the VIDEO map.

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Once extracted go to your screen settings. (Trough control panel, Display)
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Press ‘Advanced’ and click on the ‘Change’ button to change the display driver.

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Select ‘Have disk’ and navigate to your fresh extracted video driver folder.

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Sound driver

This driver is a bit trickier. If you let the installer handle this installation you risk losing your floppy drive access. Let Windows 95 device manager sort it out.

Open L100SND9.EXE, this will extract all needed files.

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WARNING: press ‘n’ here. Or you will be left with a dead floppy drive!
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Navigate trough Control panel and System to your device manager. Select the sound driver (OPL3-SA3 Sound System). And update the drivers.

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Navigate to the directory that has been created by the installer script. Should be: ‘C:\Audio.tos’

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And again navigate once more to ‘C:\Audio.tos’
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Reboot, and done.

Toshiba control software

These will install your Toshiba BIOS utilities and power management software. The install is a bit different like usual installs nowadays. Navigate to your control panel and use ‘Add/Remove Software’. Check the tab ‘Windows Setup’ and press ‘Have Disk’.

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Use the install path of the driver package (map ‘L100CTRL’) and select ‘Toshiba Utilities’. Go to the ‘Details’ section and select all utilities.

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Toshiba Windows 95 update

Pretty straight forward, this will update all Toshiba used drivers of Windows 95.

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PCMCIA cards

This one is by far the most annoying. The trick here is not to lose your floppy drive. One wrong floppy driver for your floppy drive and you will be stuck with it forever.

Extract the ‘750INF95.EXE’ file and press ‘n’ to not install it.

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Now go to your control panel and press the PCMCIA option. Press twice ‘No’ to activate 32-bit PCMCIA cards.

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Reboot and go to your device manager. Update the ‘PCI CardBus Bridge’ device.

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Update the driver and navigate to the directory created by ‘750INF95.EXE’. These should be in the ‘C:\Inf_95’ folder.

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The installer will twice ask to keep newer versions of a file. This is normal, as we have updated these files with the Win95 update in the previous step.

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Do this for the second PCI CardBus Bridge too (as the Libretto 110CT has two PCMCIA slots).

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Voila, now you have two PCMCIA slots:

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Once you insert the PCMCIA floppy drive it should automatically find and install the driver named ‘PCMCIA TOSHIBA Floppy’. If the driver isn’t found, direct it to the ‘L100CTRL’ folder. This folder contains the correct driver.

Phew, finished!

Note: I don’t have the IR drivers for Windows 95, so they aren’t included. You will be left with an unknown device, this is the IR port. As of writing I haven’t found a working driver and I don’t really have a need for this port.

Downloads

Toshiba drivers Windows 95: libretto_110_95.zip (1,0 MB)
Toshiba drivers Windows 98: libretto_100_110_98.zip (2,32 MB)
Toshiba drivers Windows NT 4 Workstation: libretto_100_110_nt4.zip (2,80 MB)

Introduction

So I always had a weak spot for vintage computing and nostalgia, and I always wanted an extraordinary old machine. My first idea was the old Sony VAIO PCG-C1VE. Rare, expensive nowadays and not many places to be found. :(

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So my second favourite was the Toshiba Libretto. Also an ultra portable, old and not rare. Just slightly uncommon. The Libretto 50/70/100/110 series can be found with a 6.1 to 7.1 inch screen. Super small for it’s era (1996-1999)! Look at the sleek sexyness of a ’90s netbook:

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But which one would I buy? Let’s look at the specs of the devices I wish to hunt down:

  • Libretto 50      Intel Pentium 75 MHz         16 MB RAM (32 MB max)    810 MB hard disk    6.1″ TFT display
  • Libretto 70      Intel Pentium 120 MHz MMX    16 MB RAM (32 MB max)    1.6 GB hard disk    6.1″ TFT display
  • Libretto 100    Intel Pentium 166 MHz MMX    32 MB RAM (64 MB max)    2.1 GB hard disk    7.1″ TFT display
  • Libretto 110     Intel Pentium 233 MHz MMX    32 MB RAM (64 MB max)    4.3 GB hard disk    7.1″ TFT display

The Libretto 110/100 seems just perfect, 32MB RAM, possibility to upgrade. And enough CPU power to play most old games. I am rather concerned the 50/70 will be too low on memory.

The purchase

Ebay is the only source I could find em these days. However they won’t come too cheap. I bought one (with port replicator and PCMCIA floppy drive) off ebay for £49 (€ 59,67).

So one week later, I am the happy owned of a brand new used Toshiba Libretto 110CT:

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A nice looking, Libretto in good condition. Just a few dirt spots, nothing a little bit of soda, water and some cleaning products wont fix.The screen is still quite bright, lucky me! There are some models on ebay which have yellowish/green dim screens due to age. But mine seems to be crisp bright.

Time to boot it up and inspect my purchase:

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Perfect! This model seems to have Windows NT installed on it. However it seems to be password protected, and I want to peek around to see what drivers and software I can salvage off this Libretto.

No biggie, let’s hack it.

Cracking Windows NT (optional)

Step 1: Grab a Windows 98/95/NT 4.0 boot disk. As Windows NT 4.0 usually is installed on an NTFS file system you need to add it to your boot disk. (See below for download link)

Step2: Boot off the floppy and navigate to C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SAM . Copy this file to a floppy and upload it to a regular modern PC.

Step3: Cracking the SAM file. The windows SAM file contains all users and their password which are stored on the machine. However we don’t need to crack em all, if one administrator account is fairly light secured we can use this to open up all other accounts.

Use SAMInside to start brute focring the password file.

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Bingo! First administrator password found. No need to crack the others, just login with the first administrator account. Open a command prompt (Run > ‘cmd’) and type the command

net use Administrator

Voila, access granted.

Time to look at the installed drivers and copy the OEM NT4 key in case I want to reinstall NT4 in the future. However the OS partition structure is in such a poor state it needs a reinstall and repartition.

Off we go, time to format!

Choosing a new OS

So my operating system which was preinstalled (NT4) seemed to be an ok choice for the little Libretto which sports only 32Mb of RAM. Indeed it might be a secure OS for companies back in those days. However for my gaming needs I don’t like it. It’s sluggish and a RAM hog. The original Libretto’s 110 and 100 came with Windows 95, and my 110CT seems to have a sticker on it saying it supports Windows NT and 98. Let’s compare:

Windows 95
– 386DX or higher processor (486 recommended)
– 4 megabytes (MB) of memory (8 MB recommended)
– Typical hard disk space required to install Windows 95 on a clean system: 50-55 MB The actual requirement varies depending on the features you choose to install.

Windows 98
– 486DX 66 megahertz (MHz) or faster processor (Pentium central processing unit recommended).
– 16 megabytes (MB) of memory (24 MB recommended).
– A full install of Windows 98 on a FAT16 drive requires 225 MB of free hard disk space, but may range from between 165 MB and 355 MB, depending on your computer configuration and that options that you choose to install.

Windows NT 4 Workstation
– 486DX 33 megahertz (MHz) or higher processor.
– 12 megabytes (MB) of memory (32 MB recommended).
– The requirement for the free hard disk space that is needed to install Windows NT Workstation is 110MB.

Clearly Windows 95 has the edge here. It doesn’t uses too much RAM  and it is new enough for the games I am wishing to run. RAM is the only issue with these old PC’s, the Libretto 110CT packs enough CPU power compared the amount of RAM ( I wish I could find a 32Mb stick somewhere cheap :( ). So Windows 95 it is.

 

Downloads:

SAMInside: saminside.zip (3,75MB)

NTFS DOS: NtfsDos302.zip (40,0KB)