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Reviving an old HP laptop for my mom!

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Hey guys! i wanted to tell you about breathing some new life in an old laptop.

The story:
The company where my mom works was clearing out some stuff and she came across an old, almost unused laptop. An HP 6910P, a gem from the good old days with basically no signs of use. It was sitting in a closet for almost 10 years. She decided she wants to use it as her secondary PC, just to surf the web etc. from the confines of her couch, hehe. She asked me to look at it and try to get it to work.

IMG_20200527_160847.jpg IMG_20200527_160911.jpg

Getting it to work:
The laptop came with the companies Windows XP installation, which I instantly removed and put on a fresh install of Windows 10. Or at least tried to. As soon as I would try to boot the Windows setup, it would just hang on me. Nothing a BIOS update can't fix, right? WRONG. Even after updating the BIOS, the PC wouldn't boot into Win 10 setup, so I had to opt for Windows 7.

After installation, I noticed the laptop was slow, loud as hell and felt very hot. I fired up AIDA64 and when I say fired up, I mean it. Idle temperatures were around 90 °C for the CPU, 70 °C for the GPU and it was throttling with no workload whatsoever, oh dear. I opened her up, dusted her off, changed the thermal paste to some quality Arctic MX-4 and would you look at that, idle temperatures are now around 40 °C and the laptop is virtually silent, whoah!

The laptop sports an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 with a frequency of 2,4 GHz, with a whopping 4 MB of L2 cache, haha. A dedicated GPU, the Mobility Radeon X2300. The RAM is some shitty 2 GB DDR2 667 MHz memory, we're gonna need to upgrade there. And the hard drive, oh the hard drive, an 80 GB Seagate Momentus, which is actually a 7200 RPM drive, fast for a laptop, but still slow as hell for today's standards.

Now that we've fixed the temperature issues, let's try to get that Windows 10 to work. I insert the same USB as before, run the automated setup and would you look at that, upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 worked flawlessly!! But there's two more issues with the PC. It takes almost 3 minutes to boot and open a web browser. Also, the GPU driver is not working so the screen is working at a non-native resolution.

I fixed the GPU driver problem by forcibly installing legacy ATI drivers through device manager, easy fix that took 5 minutes to do. The PC runs okay now, but it still takes a lot of time to open new windows and programs. I check the speeds of the hard drive with HDTune and the speed reported for read was a measly 10 MB/s. Out with the old Momentus and in with something new, a 120 GB Kingston SSD, which is more than enough for a PC used only for web browsing. I used EASEUS Partition Manager to clone the old drive to the new one and it was just plug and play from there.

The SSD really did it's magic. It's nice to see a PC boot in less than 10 seconds! I even recorded a boot video but I can't upload it here, what a bummer.

IMG_20200527_142011.jpg IMG_20200527_142150.jpg

The PC now works cool, silent, fast and responsive. My mom is happy and uses it everyday. And it's 15 years old!

Expenses:
some thermal paste (not even 1 €)
Kingston SSD (30 €)
5-6 hours of my time (priceless cause ma' is happy)

Stuff left to do:
buy another stick of 2 GB RAM or change them both to have 4 GB running at 800 MHz
replace the battery because this one is flat
 
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nice to hear that, btw moving into win 10 is enough for old laptop, when you have more apps it may turn slow
 
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That battery might be on the recall list, so you might be able to get a free battery.
 

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Them were the HP glory days IMO. I still use a 2510p (see sig) as a typewriter because of the amazing keyboard.
 
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nice to hear that, btw moving into win 10 is enough for old laptop, when you have more apps it may turn slow
I'll just upgrade the RAM to 4 GB and I think the PC is more than enough for light office work

That battery might be on the recall list, so you might be able to get a free battery.
I'll be sure to check that! Thanks for pointing it out! :toast:
Them were the HP glory days IMO. I still use a 2510p (see sig) as a typewriter because of the amazing keyboard.
The old HPs were fantastic, especially these bulky models. I hope this one lasts!
 
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I love the old laptops with a real CPU socket and easy access.
 
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I love the old laptops with a real CPU socket and easy access.
If I get a replacement chip, I'm changing it, too! If anyone has a compatible one available let me know!
 
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SSD's work wonders for old systems like that, it's a night and day transformation, and yes, you need to now upgrade the RAM as a matter of urgency, 4GB would be OK(ish), 8GB would be rockin though :rockout:
 
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If only for office stuff, why not install an xfce linux like xubuntu?
 
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SSD's work wonders for old systems like that, it's a night and day transformation, and yes, you need to now upgrade the RAM as a matter of urgency, 4GB would be OK(ish), 8GB would be rockin though :rockout:
The platform doesn't support more than 4 :D

If only for office stuff, why not install an xfce linux like xubuntu?
Ma' is used to Windows, she gets Windows. Also Microsoft Office etc. I think she won't be doing anything more than browse the web or read some PDFs anyway. :)
 
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Should of stuck with Windows 7 on the laptop, Windows 10 on a mechanical HDD is a compete and utter dog! worse the vista, if you want to keep with 10 then get a cheap SSD and double the RAM and it should run OK but 7 would be better on a SSD and 4GB of 800MHz RAM.

Written to you on a old 2007/8 Compaq:
Specs:
2.4GHz AMD Turion X2 UltraZM-87 (Upgraded from a 1.8GHz Single core Sempron)
2x2GB DDR2 800MHz (Max this old laptop can take)
60GB Vertex SSD
Nvidia 8200M
Windows 7 (Upgraded from Vista)
 
Last edited:
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Should of stuck with Windows 7 on the laptop, Windows 10 on a mechanical HDD is a compete and utter dog! worse the vista, if you want to keep with 10 then get a cheap SSD and double the RAM and it should run OK but 7 would be better on a SSD and 4GB of 800MHz RAM.

Written to you on a old 2007/8 Compaq:
Specs:
2.4GHz AMD Turion X2 UltraZM-87 (Upgraded from a 1.8GHz Single core Sempron)
2x2GB DDR2 800MHz (Max this old laptop can take)
60GB Vertex SSD
Nvidia 8200M
Windows 7 (Upgraded from Vista)
I did go with an SSD right away, I was planing it from the get-go anyways. :) And another 2 GB stick of RAM is coming so it will be fine :D
 
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It's very satisfying giving new life to an old machine and knowing that it's going to be used daily.
All of us should recycle more like this.
 
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Software Windows 10 Pro x64
It's very satisfying giving new life to an old machine and knowing that it's going to be used daily.
All of us should recycle more like this.
When she mentioned she found an old PC and wants to use it, I was actually quite happy to work on one of these, and I already knew what had to be done before I got it. Lovely little machine, let's just hope the capacitors last :D
 
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