USB & Win95b to Win98se

Compaq / Lte elite 4/75 cx
June 17, 2010 at 09:15:27
Specs: Windows 95b , 75MhZ / 24MB RAM
My sister has this very old laptop computer, it's a Compaq LTE Elite 4/75cx, built around 1996. She is 'in love' with it and want's USB and a CD-ROM drive added to it.

I have told her that it would be difficult if not impossible
to get USB working on it with win95b.

It has two type II PC card slots, a parallel port, a PS/2
port, a serial port and a VGA port. Also, a non-working
floppy drive.

I have searched and surfed the web trying to find a USB
PC card, but all I find is CardBus cards and those will not
engage the electrical pins because it has, as some of
you may know, a built-in deterrent, in fact my brother had her buy a CardBus to USB adapter but of course it does not fit, nor when the deterrent was removed to make fit, would it work.

So, now she wants Windows 98SE, or whatever measures are needed, so she can have USB. So, how can I get win98 on this thing without a CD drive and/or USB? It has 24MB RAM and a HDD of something like 768MB. Oh, and, did I say, the floppy drive does not work. She has a retail genuine MS Windows 98se CD-ROM including the a serial key.

Another thing, all my computers are Apple Macintoshes and I have little experience with Windows, but I do have one Mac-Intel that can boot Windows if I ever wanted to.

See More: USB & Win95b to Win98se

June 17, 2010 at 09:21:19
Get her to love something a little newer.

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June 17, 2010 at 09:48:35
I think this could be done but it wouldn't be simple. The laptop would require a working network connection with another computer on which the Windows 98 CD was shared. You could then copy the installation files to the laptop.

I have not done this so could not provide detailed instructions. It would be difficult and even a small error or problem could leave you with an unusable system with no way to restore operation. I think that only someone who is very experienced with Windows 95 and DOS would have much chance of making it work.

I think it is time to to replace this aging computer with something more modern. It is time to move on.

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June 17, 2010 at 09:49:39
Thank you, I appreciate your help.

She has not used the computer for several years. My sister is beginning to come out of a long and deep depression and wants to re-start her writing career in which she employed this computer.

She is a very strong willed woman and if I could I would convince her to get a newer laptop, with at least her desired USB and a CD drive.

Thanks again.

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June 17, 2010 at 09:58:51
Then break her will. What you (or she) is proposing is, to put it in Spock terms, totally illogical.

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June 17, 2010 at 20:10:43
What does she want to connect to the USB? Except for keyboards, mice and some old printers, most USB hardware wants at least ME. That includes flash and other external drives. Well they'll work with 98 SE if you can find drivers but that's usually the problem.

So even if by some miracle you get it upgraded it may not work with what she wants attached to it. And that's nothing persistence will change.

You're not really green until you're soylent green.

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June 17, 2010 at 20:58:21
Doesn't make any difference what operating system is used with this laptop as there is no way to plug a USB device into it.

There are no; zero; nada; USB ports on that thing and there is no; zero; nada; way to add USB ports to it.


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June 18, 2010 at 06:09:13
Really, the only reason she wants USB is for flash drives
so she can transfer files between this computer and her
and her family's real computers.

My suggestion to her was to use a PC card to
CompactFlash adapter/reader on this computer and a
USB CompactFlash reader on her *real* computers to
transfer files. This solution works fine in my use of this

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June 18, 2010 at 07:31:11
Since she can work with that ancient machine, see if you can get her to fall in love with something like the one below. If she's not willing to work with Linux, just wipe the drive & install Windows.

Refurbished IBM ThinkPad T20 - $135

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June 18, 2010 at 08:34:45
Nice reply's in here... NOT!

Okay, it is very possible to install a PCMCIA card with USB functionality. I have a laptop that only has PCMCIA and serial connectors and I have both an ethernet card plugged in, and a USB card plugged into the laptop.

If the PCMCIA card is not installing, I would lean toward user error, and not electrical connections.

WIndows 95b has USB support, but 98se is a nice upgrade. Just locate a retail install CD on eBay for $5.00 and install. If you need a CD-ROM, locate a parallel CD-ROM drive on eBay, again, can be had for next to nothing. I have one on my 386sx-16 machine.

PowerMac 9600(1 ghz G4)
512mb RAM
50gb SCSI
ATi 9200 PCI

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June 18, 2010 at 10:53:43

There is no 16bit PCMCIA USB adapter. Not now and apparently not ever. 32bit cardbus is a yes; 16bit PCMCIA is a no.

Good working parallel port floppy and cd-rom drives are not cheap nor do they all work with all machines. A 486/75 with 24Mb RAM is gonna have trouble running a Backpack.

Make me a liar and post back the manufacturer and model number of the pcmcia usb card you're using or shut up!


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June 18, 2010 at 13:10:58
Compaq LTE Elite 4/75cx

Business Support Center
Compaq LTE Elite Notebook PC series


Maintenance and Service Manual:

NO mention of Cardbus, 32 bit, or 32bit

There are 16 bit Type II and Type III slots and cards, and Type II and Type III Cardbus slots and cards. All Cardbus slots are 32 bit, but are backward compatible with 16 bit cards.

If the laptop supports Cardbus, that's almost always mentioned in the specs for the laptop, and in the manuals for the laptop, often many times.

The Maintenance and Service Manual for this series does not mention Cardbus, or 32 bit, or 32bit, so it probably cannot support Cardbus cards.

Cardbus cards cannot physically plug into 16 bit card slots because of the way the edges of the card and 16 bit slot are designed, so if a Cardbus card won't plug it, the card slot is definitely 16 bit, only.

"# I have a old notebook computer with only a 16-bit slot. Is there a way I can get a 16-bit PC Card to support Firewire or USB 2.0?

While it may be technically possible to get these interfaces working on a 16-bit slot, it probably wouldn't work too well. The 16-bit interface has a maximum theoretical data rate of approximately 20MBytes/second. The actual maximum is probably closer to 1/4 or 1/2 of that (40 to 80Mbits/sec). USB 2.0 is spec'ed at 480Mbits/sec and Firewire is 400Mbits/sec. The data rates of these modern interfaces are too high for the 16-bit PC Card interface and 386/486/P1 class machines. We know of no 16-bit PC Cards that support these modern interfaces. "

There may have been USB 1.0 or USB 1.1 PC Cards at one time (there were USB 1.x PCI cards for desktop computers - I have one), and if so , that would probably work in a 16 bit slot, but when I searched it seems there are no new USB 1.0 or 1.1 PC cards, and I couldn't find any used ones either.

Also, there's the problem of USB 2.0 controller drivers. Usually the PC card does not come with 98SE drivers and they are not available on the manufacturer's website.

Windows 98SE and previous Microsoft operating systems have NO built in support for recognizing flash drives, or USB 2.0 controllers; Windows ME was the first Microsoft operating system that supported recognizing flash drives.

It used to be flash drives and USB cards came with Windows 98, and/or, more often, 98SE drivers that you could install, but that's no longer the case. You can still download 98SE drivers from a few flash drive manufacturer's web sites, but I've found these drivers to be a better solution.....

If you're not sure whether you have Windows 98 or 98SE, RIGHT click on My Computer - Properties.
Whether it is 98 or 98 Second Edition is shown on the right on the first page you see.

Generic USB Mass Storage drivers.
These allow many USB devices that have no drivers for 98 and 98SE to work in those operating systems.


Win98 original, modified from the 98SE version.

Both say:

"Remove ALL drivers for USB flash drives in Device Manager"

NOTE that I have not had to Un-install previously installed drivers.
If you want to do that, those are listed in Control Panel - Add/Remove Programs.

The 2.x versions support the recognition of many USB devices.
The 3.x versions also support the recognition of USB 2.0 controllers.

NOTE that the 2.x versions have NO Un-install; the 3.x versions DO - in Add/Remove Programs.

After you have installed these drivers, after you have plugged in or installed a USB device that hasn't been plugged in or installed before, you are prompted to have Windows search for drivers - do that, it will find the drivers, and that same USB device is detected automatically when it's plugged in or installed after that.

These drivers work for many devices, but there are some they can't detect.
E.g. Apple never made drivers for their devices for previous to Windows 2000, so an iPod , iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano, etc., cannot be recognized.

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June 18, 2010 at 14:16:48
Cardbus wasn't offered in a laptop before about 3rd quarter of 1997; a year or two after this particular machine was manufactured.


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