Question Request opinions on a good XP laptop

Mar 18, 2019
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I want to buy a (used?) laptop computer for out in my shop. I have never owned a laptop b4 and rarely touched one so I have almost zero experience with them.

My preference is to use WinXP and also install Linux Mint down the road.

My eyes are a factor too, so I'd prefer a nice large screen. I also need WiFi, USB, and at least a CD drive.

There are a few cheap machines to be had online, but as stated, I'm not sure about track records, quality, reviews, etc...

Any input on brands or features to make sure I look at, or which to avoid would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Wolf
 

USAFRet

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At this point in time, for an "XP laptop"...anything available in your area, and that still actually runs.

I would not buy online....rather something local you can actually power up and see it run.
 

robert600

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Those old IBM thinkpads always had a rep for being rock solid. They were very popular with businesses so they'll be a ton of used bits and pieces for them.

Stuff to look for/at that may not be obvious:

the hinges: stay away from anything that doesn't open and close perfectly ... when the hinges break down, they often break the case so ... not as easy to fix as you might think it would be.

heat: give it something reasonably intensive to do ... if it runs too hot ... don't buy it. It's normal for a laptop to have a 2 speed fan so ... don't be dismayed if the fan suddenly speeds up and heat pours out the vent - that's normal and good but ... it shouldn't stay on high speed for too long ... the temp should drop rapidly and the fan should drop back to normal speed. At normal speed, the fan should be very quite ... if it isn't be wary ... getting at the fan often requires completely dismantling the laptop (it's usually under the motherboard).

smokers: I tear down a lot of laptops ... the difference between a 'smokers' laptop and one from a non-smoking environment is amazing. That yellow gunk coats everything - don't buy a smokers ex laptop.

keyboard: check all the keys for functionality ... it only takes a minute ... if the one that opens the bios doesn't work ...you've got a big problem.
 

onespeedbiker

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Apr 13, 2019
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I would second a Thinkpad. I have three using XP from ebay and all three are still chugging along. I would advise against a latitude d500 as after a while some start blinking themselves off due to the CPU melting nearby solder connections.
 
What is the primary purpose of this laptop?
How strong does it need to be?
What is your budget?

Do you really need the portability of a laptop?
If not, you are better off with a small desktop machine and a monitor of suitable size.
19" is about the largest screen you can get in a laptop. And they will be expensive.
24 and 27" monitors are inexpensive.

If you want wifi, you are going to connect to the internet.
For that, XP is not a good way to go for security reasons. At least look at windows 7 or 10.
If you need a dvd burner, your options increase if you can use a usb attached cd drive.

Is there a need for Linux?
If so, laptops usually need specialized keyboard drivers that may not be available.

I also am in the thinkpad camp.
On ebay you can find them refurbished.
They will be graded A/B/C as to condition.

Whatever you do, plan for a ssd for the OS.
A SSD is the key to performance in an old laptop.
 

r00tb33r

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I would recommend that you go with the Linux Mint as the primary host OS and run Windows XP in a VM because that would allow you to use new hardware as the host, whereas you would have difficulty finding XP drivers for new hardware.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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Thank You all for your input.....

The reason I settled on looking for a laptop vs a desktop is so that it can be easily tucked away when I'm sawing lumber, painting, blasting air tools etc.....

The primary purpose of having a computer in the shop is so I don't have to run back and forth from the house when looking up info guides/videos on various repair jobs or other tasks new to me. (Youtube is still good for some things.)

I only started playing with Linux recently, so I'm not familiar enough with that OS as most of you and probably won't even install it out in the shop unless it becomes a necessity.

Also, I have upgraded hardware on the desktop I mainly use and am aware of getting things to work with the older (XP) OS.... but there are so many work around options available now it just takes a little digging.

Even though folks bring up "security issues" so often when XP is mentioned on this forum, I believe hardware issues are more of a problem. (Unfortunately, I'm not rich and famous enough to be a target for most cyber thieves). :*(

So, I don't need a high powered gaming machine or anything near that..... just an older reliable computer that still runs the older OS and connects to the net with my WiFi.

Thanks again,
Wolf
 
Mar 18, 2019
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I would second a Thinkpad. I have three using XP from ebay and all three are still chugging along. I would advise against a latitude d500 as after a while some start blinking themselves off due to the CPU melting nearby solder connections.
Is not the Latitude a Dell product? Are Dell and IBM the same manufacturer but sold under different names?
 

USAFRet

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Even though folks bring up "security issues" so often when XP is mentioned on this forum, I believe hardware issues are more of a problem. (Unfortunately, I'm not rich and famous enough to be a target for most cyber thieves). :*(

So, I don't need a high powered gaming machine or anything near that..... just an older reliable computer that still runs the older OS and connects to the net with my WiFi.
No, but your system is useful as a node in a botnet.
 
Is not the Latitude a Dell product? Are Dell and IBM the same manufacturer but sold under different names?
Thinkpad was originally a IBM product.
The whole division was sold to Lenovo.
Thinkpad is one of the product lines that Lenovo makes and sells.
The orientation for thinkpad is for business users.
Lenovo make other lines for home users and gamers.

Dell is an entirely different company.
 
My best suggestion is to look for a refurbished thinkpad laptop in the 15" size
It should include a ssd for windows, or you should plan on upgrading a HDD for perhaps$50.
4gb of ram can usually be upgraded, but really, 8gb is better.
Here is a refurbished T530 which ticks off all of your requirements for $234.
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16834850921
Yes, it comes with windows 10 pro and a dvd drive.
If you like the navigation of windows 7 or XP you can install a free app called windows classic shell.
The thinkpad units are designed for business travelers and are relatively rugged.

The larger 17" workstations become twice as expensive, even if you could find one.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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Here is a refurbished T530 which ticks off all of your requirements for $234.
https://www.newegg.com/p/N82E16834850921
Yes, it comes with windows 10 pro and a dvd drive.
If you like the navigation of windows 7 or XP you can install a free app called windows classic shell.
Thanks for the link.... this machine looks like more than I need but the price is alright.... depending:

I don't want anything to do with Windows 10 and would wipe it completely. What would be involved with wiping this SSD and doing a fresh install of XP if that is even possible.

Do you think drivers are available for a slipstream disk that would cover all the newer hardware on this type of machine?

Thanks,
Wolf
 
Mar 18, 2019
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While I'm still patiently waiting for the right deal to present itself, another thought concerning a WiFi connected computer out in my shop came up.... my current WiFi DSL modem might not have the range to supply a signal to the shop computer. (it will be about 200 feet spread).

There is however a phone line in the shop, (in a very inconvenient location). Would there be any problem with using a second WiFi DSL modem in the shop for just that computer?

I already own another modem, and this would save me from having to buy a signal extender.

Thanks,
Wolf
 

FALC0N

Splendid
Still stuck on XP...:(

Highly unlikely they applied the resources to create XP drivers for that hardware.
You might be surprised.
Thanks for the link.... this machine looks like more than I need but the price is alright.... depending:

I don't want anything to do with Windows 10 and would wipe it completely. What would be involved with wiping this SSD and doing a fresh install of XP if that is even possible.

Do you think drivers are available for a slipstream disk that would cover all the newer hardware on this type of machine?

Thanks,
Wolf
I think there is a chance. I have a similar lappy. I am half-temped to try installing XP on it and see what it can do.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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I looked high and low for a 17" Thinkpad, and the few I did find were over my intended budget. Ended up buying this instead:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Precision-M6400-17-workstation-Laptop-Intel-2-80GHz-8GB-RAM-500GB-FX3700/143352081904?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

It just happened to show up today and I'm playing with it to make sure all the features function as stated. Slow going so far since I never touched Win 10 but I'm making progress.

I still haven't figured out how to confirm if the 500G HDD is Sata or not. In the BIOS settings Sata config is set to RAID, but that doesn't necessarily mean the drive is Sata does it?
 
Mar 18, 2019
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That's a very good idea.
On my office machine I had installed Linux Mint 19.x on a seperate drive with the intention of totaly leaving Winbloze behind..... It still is a duel boot system.

But after going thru all the time and research to install that Vbox and then try to install my version of MS-Money (30 years of banking records) It was beyond flakey..... useless. And I couldn't find a Linux program that would import the data..... So my plan of a quick migration to Linux got cut short with just the 1st program that I needed to have working.
 
I am amazed that XP still works on the internet using Firefox 52.9.1 ESR dated 06SEP2018, as usually Google drops connections to expired browsers. At this point the only browsers for XP still being maintained appear to be the Mypal and New Moon forks of Pale Moon. Windows 7 will be in the same boat in just 5 months, so it's great that OP has made the leap to Win 10.

For just using web browsers, I don't think there is much difference with Windows vs. Linux, at least until they need to go install drivers. The shiny "new" laptop has both an optical drive and USB 2.0 ports to boot from though, so OP can try as many "live" distibutions of Linux as they want with no installation required.

As the M6400 has only two SATA ports inside, you know the HDD isn't IDE because it is working. With Dell, 44-pin IDE went away with Pentium-M so all their Core-2 laptops were SATA. And that's great because you can fit any modern 2.5" SSD in for not only a massive speed boost but also for impact-resistance in the shop.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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I am amazed that XP still works on the internet using Firefox 52.9.1 ESR dated 06SEP2018, as usually Google drops connections to expired browsers. At this point the only browsers for XP still being maintained appear to be the Mypal and New Moon forks of Pale Moon. Windows 7 will be in the same boat in just 5 months, so it's great that OP has made the leap to Win 10.
A while back I was no longer able to login to some of my online banking sites. The bank had done some upgrading and told me my FF browser needed to be updated. Then Firefox told me I had the latest version that would run on XP and I needed to update my OS.... pffff.

The cure was to add a string in "about:config" to FF 52.9.0 to spoof it as being a newer version.

Preference Name = general.useragent.override
Status = user set
Type = string
Value = Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:53.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/58.0
 

USAFRet

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And the reason your bank did that is because they upped their security realm, and out of date browsers did not get that update.
Spoofing the user agent to report as a later version does not give the browser the needed security patches.

That's not a "cure", but rather that is a bandaid on a sucking chest wound.
 

USAFRet

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When you go to a secure site (https), there is actually a lot of back and forth handshaking between their server and your browser.
It's not a simple one time connection.

Currently, the bank and your browser are speaking two different languages.
 
Mar 18, 2019
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As the M6400 has only two SATA ports inside, you know the HDD isn't IDE because it is working. With Dell, 44-pin IDE went away with Pentium-M so all their Core-2 laptops were SATA. And that's great because you can fit any modern 2.5" SSD in for not only a massive speed boost but also for impact-resistance in the shop.
Yes... You appear to be correct on this. I failed to look up the specs on this laptop b4 buying it, and the seller described the drive only as a HDD with no mention of Sata or SSD.

The installed Windows 10 OS describes it as a ST500LM000-1EJ162 "standard disk drive". When I look online Seagate describes it as a Sata SSHD.

I don't think this is original equipment, and I don't believe I'll have too many problems installing XP on it after I'm done playing around with Win 10.
 

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