I picked up this rather cute Asus eeePC 900 for £2 from a car boot a few years back but it’s only now I’ve been trying anything with it.
It’s a Windows XP-based model that originally came with Windows XP Home but due to this device seemingly coming from a school - based on the marker pen school name which I’ve since rubbed off with IPA - it was running Windows XP Professional possibly to have it domain joined.
I’ve used the Offline NT Password Reset tool to clear the password enable the local administrator account (called "user") to access the laptop.
Redundant software has been removed. I left Office 97 installed for nostalgia. I've been mainly using this old XP laptop like this to do some admin stuff that doesn't run on my Windows 10 laptop. Whilst I am happy to leave this as-is, there are some niggles.
I am experiencing an issue with connecting it to Wi-Fi where it is expecting some form of radius certificate. I think it has some policy or something set somewhere as LAN works just not Wi-Fi. I tried a USB Wi-Fi adapter too with no joy so isn't an issue with the Wi-Fi (tried multiple access points and the USB Wi-Fi adapter works in other PCs).
My plan is to restore the device to the factory image but I am having difficulty finding the exact restore disc set for this model in English.
Archive.org has the correct disc for 900 (Windows XP Home with SP2) but it is in Dutch. There is a Russian one too. The English language version is for the 900A version (Intel Atom) and ships with SP3 and less desirable for retro computing with SP3 being bulkier.
It would appear that the earlier install of Windows XP Professional broke the recovery partition. Until I can find or someone sends me the English disk, I’m going to install the 900A version.
This blog serves as my record of the steps taken.
I've first taken an image of the existing install with CloneZilla. I was getting an error trying to boot newer versions such as the 2.7.2-39-i686 version, but 1.12-67-i486 does work to create the image. Hopefully I can restore the image back if anything goes wrong and I have preserved the original configuration.
Whilst both the Dutch 900 and English 900A DVDs are bootable, Rufus and belenaEtcher are unable to to write working bootable USB drives from the restore DVDs I found on archive.org. As such, I will need to burn them to DVDs and boot from it using a USB DVD Drive that I have.
I tested the ISOs in VirtualBox but I get a BSOD using the Dutch 900 version. Interestingly the English 900A one does "work" and I can get all the way to the desktop.
I wanted to try the Dutch 900 version and then see I can change the language to English during the OOBE experience. The English 900A version does give you the chance to select the language and keyboard so I am hoping that the Dutch 900 version allows the same (note: it doesn't).
I'd really prefer the SP2 build, but I had doubts on being able to set to fully to "English". I may as well try the 900A image first.
But first I need some blank DVDs so whilst I wait for those to arrive, I thought I'd try a quick upgrade.
My eee PC 900 only had 256MB of RAM, and some of that is shared with the graphics hardware. I had a spare 1 GB stick of SO-DIMM 533 so I quickly popped this in. Thankfully, MemTest 4 worked a treat to test the RAM once install and I have just shy of 1GB of RAM left for Windows by the time the graphics hardware took its allocation.
I burned the 900A restore image to a DVD and booted from it. As it is for a slightly different machine, most of the drivers, including the touch pad, were missing after the install.
Bad news is that the Wi-Fi issue still exists.
As most of the drivers are missing, what I have done is burned the Dutch restore disc to a blank DVD and used this to install just the drivers.
I now have a fully installed image, albeit using 900A level restore media but with older device drivers.
I am still trying to get hold of the restore media for a 900 in English. There's plenty of the "Support" discs in English, but these don't contain the recovery images, only drivers and software.