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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
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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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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
 

bleachershane

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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.

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.

View attachment 156854 View attachment 156855

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
After doing the same as you and finally managing to get the correct legacy inf driver for the Radeon X2300 installed, it all initially looked good. Upon restarting Windows 10 began doing some odd graphical things, explorer and settings windows began flickering and hanging and it virtually became useless. It was absolutely the right driver as it came from the 13.1 ATI legacy package. Just wondering if after some use your mum found the same problems? Thinking of reverting it back to Windows 7 to make it at least usable!
 
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After doing the same as you and finally managing to get the correct legacy inf driver for the Radeon X2300 installed, it all initially looked good. Upon restarting Windows 10 began doing some odd graphical things, explorer and settings windows began flickering and hanging and it virtually became useless. It was absolutely the right driver as it came from the 13.1 ATI legacy package. Just wondering if after some use your mum found the same problems? Thinking of reverting it back to Windows 7 to make it at least usable!
The only problem I got with the driver is, rarely, after the PC boots, the logon screen turns black. I have to put it on standby with the on-board button, then boot it again and the logon screen shows normally. No flickering or anything. It's also possible your GPU is faulty. The PC is still used by my mom so I will check if I have the driver files on it. I will send you the exact driver if I get it.

I think I've found the drivers you need. Keep in mind I never got CCC to work, so basically the only thing you get is proper resolution and hardware acceleration of sorts for video playback. Games lack some driver support.

 
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The only problem I got with the driver is sometimes, after the PC boots, the logon screen turns black. I have to put it on standby with the on-board button, then boot it again and the logon screen shows normally. No flickering or anything. It's also possible the GPU is faulty. The PC is still used by my mom so I will check if I have the driver files on it. I will send you the exact driver if I get it.
for me looks like driver problem, sorry if i miss something, what OS that you run on that?
 
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for me looks like driver problem, sorry if i miss something, what OS that you run on that?
It's a compatibility problem caused by running ATI legacy 10.02 drivers for Vista, on Windows 10. But Windows 10 offers much better performance than 7, so it's better to once a month put it to standby and back on :rockout::toast: Maybe it even fixed itself, my mom never complains about anything and she's on it like 1-2 hours every day :laugh::roll:
 

bleachershane

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The only problem I got with the driver is, rarely, after the PC boots, the logon screen turns black. I have to put it on standby with the on-board button, then boot it again and the logon screen shows normally. No flickering or anything. It's also possible your GPU is faulty. The PC is still used by my mom so I will check if I have the driver files on it. I will send you the exact driver if I get it.

I think I've found the drivers you need. Keep in mind I never got CCC to work, so basically the only thing you get is proper resolution and hardware acceleration of sorts for video playback. Games lack some driver support.

I honestly did not expect a reply considering the thread is just over a year old! This is promising, I am going to give the specific legacy driver you've pointed to a go and see if that helps, I know that I should very probably let this laptop go but money is a little tight and I just need a basic machine capable of running Office and Web browsing, thankfully I have no plans to game with this laptop! I very much doubt there is a graphics card issue as it runs flawlessly with Windows 7 and with the Basic Graphics Driver in Windows 10, the moment I finally got the inf I needed from the 13.1 legacy drivers, it looked as though it was going to work (native resolution), but as soon as I went to use the machine, the strange problems started. One problem with this machine is that you cannot set the a dedicated amount of RAM for VRAM usage in the BIOS and I was wondering if Windows 10, with this driver, was having issues with the memory allocation for the graphics card and the system. Only have 4GB (2x2GB) RAM at the moment and finding reasonably priced 4GB DDR-800 200pin sticks is proving a challenge! Anyhow, I'll report back once I can try the version of the legacy driver you installed, and thanks for your help, much appreciated!
 

bleachershane

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It's a compatibility problem caused by running ATI legacy 10.02 drivers for Vista, on Windows 10. But Windows 10 offers much better performance than 7, so it's better to once a month put it to standby and back on :rockout::toast: Maybe it even fixed itself, my mom never complains about anything and she's on it like 1-2 hours every day :laugh::roll:
I got around to trying the 10.02 drivers last night to no improvement (although as X2300 wasn't listed in the driver list once the inf was loaded I wasn't entirely certain which model to select, I have read different things about the X2300 being a rebadged X1350, etc). If there's any other tips you have, they'd be gratefully received!
 
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I got around to trying the 10.02 drivers last night to no improvement (although as X2300 wasn't listed in the driver list once the inf was loaded I wasn't entirely certain which model to select, I have read different things about the X2300 being a rebadged X1350, etc). If there's any other tips you have, they'd be gratefully received!
Now that you mention it, I believe I may have sent you the wrong driver. One left from my attempts to get CCC working.

Do you think there is a way of pulling the folders and .dll files from the already installed package? If so, then I can easily get them from the PC. I'll be home in about 4 hours.

P.s.: I just cleaned it yesterday, boot time is about 10-12ish seconds :p
 

FreedomEclipse

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Just a FYI. MX-4 suffers from a thing called 'pump out'

Youre better off with with a paste from noctua or something that has a little more consistency like Prolimatech PK-3. I have heard that some of the coolermaster mastermaker pastes do quite well aswell.

So if this is a long term thing, I'd be switching pastes
 

bleachershane

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Now that you mention it, I believe I may have sent you the wrong driver. One left from my attempts to get CCC working.

Do you think there is a way of pulling the folders and .dll files from the already installed package? If so, then I can easily get them from the PC. I'll be home in about 4 hours.

P.s.: I just cleaned it yesterday, boot time is about 10-12ish seconds :p
Honestly, you'd be a lifesaver if you could extract the driver from the already installed setup on your mum's 6910p! Turns out there are a couple of ways to do this, this link might help: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.techspot.com/amp/guides/1714-export-old-device-windows-drivers/

That's an impressive boot time for an old machine, aren't SSDs truly one of the best computing based innovations of recent years? They can get some of the most sluggish machines up to usable speeds in no time, there's no excuse in keeping HDDs for operating system drives these days (I still have multiple HDDs for data storage on my PC though).
 
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Memory 2 x 8 GB Crucial Ballistix @ 3400 MHz
Video Card(s) STRIX Vega 64
Storage Kingston 120GB SSD | Kingston 240GB NVMe | Samsung 1TB NVMe | Samsung F3 1TB HDD | Barracuda 2TB HDD
Display(s) 34" ultrawide LG 34GL750B
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Just a FYI. MX-4 suffers from a thing called 'pump out'

Youre better off with with a paste from noctua or something that has a little more consistency like Prolimatech PK-3. I have heard that some of the coolermaster mastermaker pastes do quite well aswell.

So if this is a long term thing, I'd be switching pastes
I have seen and read some articles about pump out and how it affects the longevity of thermal paste. I usually repaste my sh*t every 2 years max. I think the oldest is my GPU right now at 6 months :D

So I think I should be okay as far as this is concerned. I have repasted my GPU 3-4 times already and it's never had this issue, with MX2 or MX4 and it's a hot GPU in my main PC. Interesting. Maybe there isn't enough mouting pressure to make it crack like this?

Honestly, you'd be a lifesaver if you could extract the driver from the already installed setup on your mum's 6910p! Turns out there are a couple of ways to do this, this link might help: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.techspot.com/amp/guides/1714-export-old-device-windows-drivers/

That's an impressive boot time for an old machine, aren't SSDs truly one of the best computing based innovations of recent years? They can get some of the most sluggish machines up to usable speeds in no time, there's no excuse in keeping HDDs for operating system drives these days (I still have multiple HDDs for data storage on my PC though).
As you can see from the images (running beautifully on the laptop), the driver being used is reported as 8.593.100.0, which is I guess the newest driver I was able to get to run. Maybe try THIS driver directly from HP? I believe this is the one I got it working from. I am using 64-bit. Regular installation ofc won't work, so device manager way it is.

Edit: If the driver does not work, try the one HERE
 

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bleachershane

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Okay, in a rather roundabout way I MAY have finally got this to work!

Firstly, this is the driver files I used:

SP46004 ATI X2300 8.593.100.0 Driver (Download Zip file of Fully Extracted Driver Package)

Load driver through Device Manager fron .inf file located in: SP46004/Packages/Drivers/Display/LH6A_inf/CH_84776.inf (the .inf will point to the files Windows needs to install the driver, the inf file alone will not install the driver, it must be located with all the other files that come in the SP46004 folder)

Windows should find a single driver for the X2300.

After installing the driver (which should come up as X2300) the laptop blue screened and rebooted. When it rebooted I had the same issue I previously had, Windows Start Menu, Search Box and other options came up as transparent and caused me to not be able to see what was being typed in the search box (although I could reach various things such as Device Manager by typing 'Device Manager' and hitting enter) and I could not see Power options such as shut down and restart which caused me untold problems in terms of getting the machine to turn off and restart!!!

Here's what the transparency issue looked like after reboot (here's the weird thing, a Print Screen screenshot showed it as normal, with a black background, but that's not what I was seeing on my screen, so I had to take a photo on my phone!):
IMG_20211028_130130.jpg


This is the issue I came up against with each X2300 driver I tried to install, and finally, before throwing the laptop out of the nearest window, I Googled 'Windows 10 Transparent Start Menu' and up came a guide on how to turn it on through a registry edit... so I went and did the reverse, turning it from on to off and VOILA, finally, the transparent Start Menu/Search Box/Time and Clocks disappeared and I could use the laptop like normal!!!

Fix Start Menu Transparency issue via registry tweaks
Sometimes an incorrectly configured registry may also cause this transparency issue on Windows 10 Start Menu. If that’s the case, you must correct the related DWORD key so as to remove the transparency effect. Here’s how to edit the registry –

Use WinKey + R to launch the Run dialog.
Type “regedit” and click OK to open the Registry Editor.
When the User control window prompts, hit Yes to authorize the access.
Next, browse to the below path on the left pane –
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Themes\Personalize
Or, you may copy/paste the entire path in the registry’s address bar and press Enter.

Head over to the right side and look for the “EnableTransparency” key.
Double-click this entry and put “0” inside the Value data field.
Transparency issue with Start Menu, Search Bar, etc should now be removed and your start menu should now be restored to a black/coloured background and you should be able to see options (such as Shutdown options) when clicking upon them

Click OK to confirm the changes and close the registry window.
Restart Windows to make the changes effective from the next logon.

Tip:
If you don’t find the “EnableTransparency” entry at the above location, right-click anywhere and select New > DWORD (32-bit) value. Next, right-click again and rename this DWORD key to “EnableTransparency”. Make sure to change its value from “1” to “0”.

Disable Windows 10 Transparency Instructions (Download Txt File with Instructions)

And here's how the Start Menu looks after disabling transparency as above:
6910p Windows 10 (Transparency Enabled after driver install).png


I could now access power submenus for Shut Down and Restart, the search box worked and was visable and when clicked, the time/date box appeared and was visable on screen!

I have now been using the laptop for half an hour or so and it appears to be working. It's a new install of Windows 10 so I would need to get it setup to test further, but I honestly cannot believe how difficult this one was to get going, I honestly began to think there was a problem with the graphics card but it just appears that when installing the driver, for some reason, transparency was being enabled. It makes no sense to me as to why this would have happened but hey ho, they obviously wanted to force people to ditch their old machines and spend cash on new/newer ones (which I was on the brink of doing)!

6910p Graphics Installed.png


Here is what I am getting in Windows display settings and on GPU-Z.

Lastly, and I don't know if this made any difference, I installed DirectX 9.0c as this was not included in Windows 10 and was the final DirectX version that was supported by this graphics card. Really not sure if it is necessary, but it does not appear to have caused any harm (at the moment).

Still have a lot more real life usage testing to do, but I am putting this all here because if anyone comes across this thread (as I had done) when running into major issues getting a 6910p running on Windows 10, the above may help, especially if they run into the same issues I ran into!

I must extend huge thanks to Thimblewad for starting this thread and for assisting me to get this machine up and running! I hope it (maybe) helps to save some other 6910p laptops from landfill...
 
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