Compaq Presario 1210 Hard Drive Replacement And Wireless Experience

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I realize this Compaq Presario 1210 is an old laptop hardly worth
messing with anymore. Sadly I paid $2000 for it back in 1997 and don't
have the heart to dispose of it. The hard drive crapped out on it a few
years ago and it sat collecting dust under my bed. I pulled it out and
decided to try and get it working again, sort of a pet project.

The first thing I needed to do was get a new hard drive installed. It
originally had a 1.4GB hard drive. I did the Internet research and it
appeared the BIOS would allow up to a 8.4GB hard drive. Used hard
drives on eBay in this range were bid up to around $30 with shipping. I
found a 20GB refurbished hard drive on for the same price
so I gave it a try. I popped it in and the BIOS only recognized 8.4GB
but it worked just fine. I could have messed with an overlay file and
tricked the full 20GB but I was happy with just the 8.4GB, which was a
huge step up from 1.4GB. The moral of the story is you can install a
bigger drive, it just won't recognize the whole thing, but it'll
work. I'm not sure if you can push the next barrier at 32GB. Beware!

Luckily it had the full 80MB of RAM installed so it still had a little
oomph. It wasn't going to run anything other than Win98SE and it runs
just fine. I learned the hard way that there is a difference between
16-bit PC Card and 32-bit Cardbus. This laptop is strictly a 16-bit PC
Card computer. It didn't seem to damage anything when I inserted a
32-bit Cardbus wireless adapter but it didn't work. It is getting
harder to find 16-bit wireless cards, but I did manage to find a
Netgear MA401 802.11b 16-bit PC Card. I plugged it in and it worked
perfectly right away. I also bought a Netgear FA411 10/100 Ethernet
16-bit PC Card for wired applications and it works great too! This card
is also very hard to come by nowadays.

So for $50 bucks I've got this little laptop running pretty good
again. It makes a nice little netsurfer for out on the back deck.

I'm still debating on if I should pop for another $90 and get a new
battery or just keeping plugging it in?

I guess the moral of the story is don't give up on that little old
laptop sitting around collecting dust. There just might be some life
left in it after all.

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