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I bought this laptop several years ago, with windows 98 se. It can only be recommended for web surfing and word processing really, as with a Celeron 600mhz processor it is sometimes painfully slow.
I tried putting windows xp on it, and although the specs seem up to it, in truth it is unbearable slow and took approx 6 mins to boot up from a fresh xp installation! I left xp on for a couple of weeks, before downgrading to windows 2000, which runs ok and is a better os than 98.
The laptop is quite slow, but can be used to play music and simple games. I only have the model with the cd drive, but I tried to connect a dvd drive via usb and play a dvd, but it was really jerky and unwatchable. I think the problem could be the Toshiba only uses usb 1.1, which is much slower than usb 2.
Another problem with laptops this old, is the inability to connect modern devices to them. For instance; the Toshiba has only one usb port and infrared (as opposed to bluetooth or wifi). I have used a usb hub with the laptop, but it's just a pain to have to use a hub just to use a usb memory stick and connect to a wifi network (via wifi usb dongle).
There are some useful ports on the laptop, such as the composite video port, which means you can easily connect the laptop to a tv. A simple wire is required, and getting the laptop to output to the tv was much easier than my new laptop with Hdmi. The pcmcia (or pc) card slot is very useful. I think you can have two cards plugged in at once, although I just use one for a wifi card, thus solving my multi usb problem!
The keyboard is reasonable, feeling a little flat, but the keys are large enough to allow quick typing. Rather than a touchpad, the toshiba has a track pad/ball, which is slightly more difficult to use, but you can get use to it. The left and right mouse buttons are large enough to press with your thumb, while using the track ball with your first finger. There are also 2 keys above the left mouse button, which are the scroll buttons. These are useful, as you can scroll down/ up a page like a scroll wheel on a mouse, but they are not as good as modern touchpads and gestures.
The main disappointment with the laptop, and the reason it's only got 3 stars not 4 from me, is the display. The hinges have worn out, meaning the lid flops about a bit and the display is always a little dim and lacking contrast, which can be adjusted slightly from a wheel on the side. I haven't used the laptop for several months, as the display had an annoying horizontal line across it (about 1/2 way down), but I turned the laptop on today and the display was completely blank (no backlight or anything). I've tried adjusting the contrast via the wheel, but no difference. The rest of the laptop still works, as I can connect it to a tv via composite and use the Fn F5 command to switch to the tv display.
Overall this laptop is ok. It is quiet, until the fan comes on with any processing. It is a little heavy to carry around, but as expected for a laptop of its age. The battery life is also good, considering its lack of use. The display breaking is really annoying, as it's the first thing to have broken on the laptop and rendered it practically useless, unless I have it connected to a tv all the time.
Back in the day this was an amazing laptop - I had (and still use for the internet and word processing) the version with Windows 2K (still capable of running XP) with 256Mb RAM and a 16Gb HD.
The laptop runs great, it is fast for a laptop of it's specs. It comes with a DVD drive and CD writer, which is very good for backing up files and the laptop is more than capable of watching movies.
The hard disk space is a little small, but if you have a USB key and CDs then you can just back up stuff and still have easy access to it.
One disadvantage is that it lacks a wireless networking card, so you can't just connect to a wifi network - but for £10 or so you can buy a card to go in the PCMIE slot and you can connect straight away.
Overall the laptop has a great build quality, is very cheap, is fast for its specs but lacks a few nice features.