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Thinkpad ideas, please. Answered

I seem to have acquired an elderly IBM Thinkpad.  It appears to be fully functional, but...
  • It's running Windows 98,
  • It has a single USB socket, but does not recognise any of the pendrives I plug into it.
  • It has a floppy drive that can be plugged in the side
  • It has no wifi.
  • I have never done anything constructive inside the guts of a computer.
So, basically, it's useless to the modern laptop user.  Raw materials.

Any ideas?


A tiny sticker on the back says "ThinkPad 570". I think it dates back to February 1999.

It's not a terrible system, I carried a Thinkpad 380 for school up until 2007.

Do you have a laptop (I'm thinking no, since you disappear on vacation)?

Try these generic USB drivers and if you can get it working, buy a cheap USB wifi adapter (can probably fool win98 into using win2k drivers) and use it as a vacation lapt]op.

In the house, we now have three decent laptops, a netbook, and this ThinkPad, but I was staying with in-laws who only switch on their wi-fi when they are actually using their internet, in a town with no internet cafe or public wi-fi.

I don't need to get it running as a laptop - I was wondering if I could do anything clever with it as raw materials or a controller.

The ThinkPad is bigger than an EeePC, but ...


Love your use of xkcd to illuminate your point but does it answer the question or does it create more Q's?

It just sits there looking awesome - no reason to be snarky.

My comment was a reply to Kiteman who has used xkcd images before. I thought I was being witty, rhetorical and possibly even ironic. Well obviousy not. I have the xkcd "tree" as my screen saver (in full colour" and I love it.) Sorry I got distracted away from your original question because I have never seen a Think Pad and I don't know what it does. Good luck with it.

Apologies; I read your comment in entirely the wrong tone, it seems.

Don't let her scare you, just get one of these...(that was her secret identity before the witness protection program, it's just her way of spreading holiday cheer.)

It raises a lot more questions, many of them containing expletives.

I'm one of those folk who are quite happy to use computers, but "lift the bonnet", and I'm at a loss.

However, since this laptop is officially landfill, I am open to suggestions.

Think of it as a more grammatically-correct version of those threads asking for the full design schematics of a project that is clearly way beyond their ability - want to build space station, full parts and price list plz!

Ahh, well then, set it up with a webcam and some motion detecting software and automate your bird watching.

Digital picture frame seems to be the best option!

put Ubuntu Netbook 10.10 on it and buy a usb wifi thing.

now you have a useful laptop with wifi that runs at BLAZING SPEEDS! even on the slowest computers

As I recall, win98 did not have native USB drivers and need to be found separately.

Otherwise, data logger, webcam captures, etc.

win98 A does not, SE does recognize partitions on usb out of the box =)

Try and put a Linux on it ?


Probably enough to get you started. I think my first SuSe install was on Floppy.

If it has ethernet, you're in business - hook 'er up and go here to determine which file to download and install (I had to do this recently to a Win98 box without any USB drivers). Hopefully it has antivirus, but if you just connect long enough to download the necessary file and disconnect right away, it'll probably be OK. That will at least get you USB stick capabilities...

I turned my old windows 95 thinkpad into a digital picture frame, and also installed command and conquer on it for nostalgic video gaming fun!

Will it network?


Make a MAME arcade console. Use sugru to mod the joystick. Have the kids drop quarters(shillings?, farthings?) in a jar to use it.

If you can handle loading images via floppy drive (resizing to 1024x768 or whatever the native resolution is to reduce filesize), sounds like a perfect candidate for a digital picture frame.