Thursday, July 26, 2012

Project Dell Dimension XPS H266 part 2.

Hello all. This is part 2 of my story of getting a Dell Dimension XPS H266 up and running again. With this computer i also got another old computer, A Dell Dimension 486/33 desktop PC which also didn't work when i got it and still doesn't. I think it has some sort of BIOS problem but that another story. I stripped it of most of the non-important hardware and that left me with a ISA sound card, an ISA scanner controller card, another CD-ROM drive and a IDE cable.

Now seeing as the XPS H266 only had a onboard sound card intergrated on the motherboard i thought seeing as it has three ISA slots why not see if it works in there. So i took the side panel off the XPS, stuck the ISA sound card in a free ISA slot, put the side panel back on and proceeded to install the software drivers. As this is a old sound card that only has DOS/Win 3.1 drivers i had to install it through DOS on Win95 and once i got it all installed it worked.

Next thing i did was replace the CD-ROM drive with a CD/DVD-ROM drive that was actually in my current computer seeing as it is a ATA drive. That went well too. I decided that it would be interesting to try and install Linux on this PC as Linux runs very well on old hardware and it would be a up to date operating system so if i could figure out how to connect it to the internet i could. It took me a while to decide which distro to install but i decided on Debian in the end as it has really good hardware detection and fairly good minimum requirements too. Getting it install however wasn't easy. Because this computer didn't have any form of Ethernet (only dial-up) it was going to be interesting. After trying to install from both the first installation disc and the netinst disc which didn't work i ended up booting from PLOP boot manager on a floppy and then booting to the first installation disc on a USB stick which was installed to the USB stick using UNetbootin.

After getting Debian installed i set about trying to connect to the internet and the only way i could think of was by using a spare USB wireless dongle i have. After a while i got that working and i could connect to my wireless router and update it. I've also made it so i can SSH into it as i only have one monitor and having to switch the VGA cable around is a bit of a pain.

And thats caught you all up to where i am now. If you want to know if i do anything else with this computer then follow me on twitter as i post on there when i do these things(If i remember that is). Now on to the specs of this beast:

Dell Dimension XPS H266

CPU: Intel Pentium II with MMX running at 266MHz with a 32KB internal cache

Motherboard: Intel 440FX PCIset

Memory: 4 SIMM sockets, 2 used, 2 available. 2 32MB EDO RAM modules installed.

Expansion slots: 7, 3 PCI slots, 4 ISA slots.

Graphics card: Matrox Millennium MGA-MIL/4 PCI 4MB

sound cards: Yamaha OPL3-SA2 and SC400 Rev. 4G Sound FX Gold-16

TV card: Win/TV-PCI PAL-BG/I 60134 rev C2V

Modem: Sportster Voice 28.8 Faxmodem

Hard drive: Western Digital 8.4GB ATA

Optical drive: TSST TS492C CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive

Zip drive: Iomega zip 100 internal ATA drive

Floppy drive: NEC floppy disk drive

Fans: 1 rear 9.2cm, 2 front 6cm.

PSU: 200W

OSs: Windows 95 OSR 2.1 and Debian squeeze 6.0

And finally a few pictures of this computer:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Project Dell Dimension XPS H266 has started!

Hello all. A few weeks ago i got a old Dell Dimension XPS H266 tower PC that had the RAM go bad in it and it had no hard drive and i thought to myself this would make a great PC for old PC games that only run on DOS/Win95 so i set about first finding some RAM for it which was easier said than done and then set about finding a hard drive, not that easy either.

As this is a fairly old computer it uses 72 pin SIMM EDO modules either 16MB or 32MB in size and can take up to a maximum of 128MB of RAM. Doesn't sound like much does it? It's surprising how quick it actually is. More on that later though. So i searched the internet for days trying to find the right type of RAM and finally i found some. As usual eBay came to the rescue. I found a couple of sticks each 32MB in size. That would give me 64MB of RAM to play with. not bad.

So i got them, took the old out and put in the new and they worked! One down one to go. Next up was the hard drive and it was a bit easier to find the right one. Again as this PC is fairly old it uses the ATA IDE interface for hard drives and optical drives. eBay came good again and i found a 8.4GB Western Digital  hard drive that looked like it should work so i got that, whacked it in, turned the computer on and it was being recognised by the BIOS. Two out of two and everything was going well.

With this computer i also got Windows 95 OSR 2.1 (I think) so as Win95 can run both DOS and Windows programs i set about installing win95 on this computer. Installing Win95 was a fairly painless process and soon i was booted into Win95. I then started to update it. First i installed the latest version of DirectX that is compatible with Win95 which is DirectX 8, Then i installed the latest version of Internet Explorer that is compatible with Win95 which is IE6, I got the two USB ports working and installed the drivers for all the hardware. So i now have relatively up to date installation of Win95.

And thats the end of this blog post, Next time the story continues as i install more hardware and see what this thing is really capable of. I'll also post detailed information about the hardware and a few pictures of it.

Se you next time.