Programming laptops

I’ve recently been receiving numerous requests on AIM by other teams. About 95% are looking for a cheap laptop (Pentium 2) and don’t know where to get one. I’ve recently purchased a Pentium 2 laptop (dell latitude CPI-r, 500 mega hurts, 192 MB ram, and 13 GB hard drive) for $200 (after shipping and purchasing a wireless card). I got the laptop off of Ebay. I’m posting this to try and stop all the Private messages I’ve been receiving, but if you have any questions you can IM me at Phillysteak527, But if you are PLEASE tell me who you are before you start asking questions. I also wanted to try to help you from getting riped off.

  1. Before bidding read EVERYTHING!!! on the advertising page

  2. Check the sellers feedback, If there are numerous problems with their items DO NOT BID!!!

  3. If your going to buy a laptop without an operating system ( The one I got didn’t come with an operating system) Make sure you have a windows xp startup disk (from another computer you own, I used my uncles CD because he has a dell desktop.) because you will not be able to access the CD drive though DOS.

  4. Check to see how much shipping is going to be BEFORE you bid, a lot of the laptops I almost bid on we’re going to cost 50-70 dollars for shipping

  5. Be POSITIVE you can fix any problems that are stated in the description (mine was missing the battery holding clip on the bottom, I just had to swap it out with a broken laptop my cousin had).

  6. When you find a laptop your going to bid on, wait until there are about 1- 1 1/2 minutes before bidding, this way someone won’t win the bid by a dollar or 2 (happened to me about 5 times already). If you bid too early you’ll probably lose because someone will be waiting to Bid snipe you.

  7. Make sure the laptop will run the programs you need it too, I’m using mine for programming the FRC robots and also for programming My own robots so it’s necessary to run MPLAB and other compilers.

  8. If your account is NEW and you don’t have any feedback MAKE SURE that the seller doesn’t require contact from you. You might have to send him an e-mail confirming that you have a paypal account (if you don’t have one get one or use your parents account because most sellers require paypal). If the seller requires the confirmation and you fail to do so, he can cancel your bid even if you win the laptop.

This is the guy i got my laptop from, I guess i kinda trust him because it came as he said it would, but if you look around you might find a better deal. good luck. getgoing

you can also e-mail me at, DO NOT put my name in the subject field because it will get put in the junk folder (which i don’t look at) :smiley:

MIT Flea can be a good place to pick up cheap toys if you live in MA around Cambridge.

Yeah a friend of mine who goes to MIT told me about it. But most of them probably buy laptops off EBAY, refurbish them, and then sell them for about twice the price. I believe he called them “Craptops” :smiley: .

Haha, yea. Me and a friend bought like 5 computers there for $11, and they do work, not very well, but they do enough to program stuff.

Please don’t just happen to have a Windows XP disc somewhere that you use to install it. Please have an actual legal license to install Windows XP on that computer. So if you don’t have one, buy one. FIRST teams have in the past been threatened with legal action because of software piracy; there’s no need for it to happen again.


I don’t want to sound rude or anything…but is there any particular reason people are harrassing you as opposed to some other random person?

While that is a good warning for people to heed, note he said ‘startup disk,’ NOT ‘install disk’

Let me clear up a couple things.

  1. Most people that we’re contacting me found me through myspace

  2. The only reason you need the Windows XP disk (any one will do) is so you can boot up the computer and access the CD drive. Because win 98 SE, win95, win NT, and win ME are NOT bootable disks (I’ve tried) you need to start off with XP. After you have access to your CD drive you can then go about installing a LEGAL operating system.


What you need to do is educate yourself on the legalities of software licensing, I recommend reading for more information.

Um… I’m slightly confused. Why do you need to be able to access your CD drive to install a new OS? Well, I mean, the BIOS will handle booting from an install CD.

And if the computer you’re getting is so old the BIOS can’t boot from CD, don’t bid. :wink:

Uhm, that link is a bunch of BS, its like the people who claim there is no law that you have to pay taxes. If you want to hold a legal license for Windows (and by legal I mean alibied by the EULA, because it is a contract you agree to when installing windows), you can’t use a copy from another computer, particularly an OEM copy, as OEM copies have specific limitations to them. Maybe you aren’t liable in criminal court, but you are still breaking the contract of the EULA and thus liable in civil court. There is no way to get around the fact that by installing the software, and opening the package, you agree to the EULA, and are violating it by installing multiple copies of the software. At most, you could claim that as long as you don’t use both copies at the same time it is legal, but it definitely is not to have them both running at the same time on two different computers.

Software piracy is a real crime. Microsoft didn’t just make it up so that everyone would buy lots of copies of their software. It’s just like with music or books; when you buy a copy, you own the media and the right to use that one copy for your own use. You don’t have the right to make more copies and distribute them.

For some reason, it’s a lot easier for average people to not feel bad about electronically stealing software or music, but it really is just as bad as walking into a store and taking something without paying for it. Though it’s very widespread, I don’t think it’s something we should encourage on a great forum like ChiefDelphi.

The reason you need to have a bootable disk for your OS is because most laptops have a modular drive bay (for switching between a floppy disk drive and a CD drive). When the OS is erased from the computer the drivers that allow you to access the modular drive bay are gone. The laptop I got did not come with a floppy drive so using the WIN 98 SE startup disk was out of the question. All you have to do though is put in the bootable CD, and change the setting on the laptop to boot from the CD instead of the hard disk (there was fragments of the prior OS still on the hard drive on mine). Also if the person who owned prior to your purchase and they decided just to wipe the whole drive clean of everything including DOS (and the file on mine) then your really really really need the bootable OS disk. O By the way the Win 98 SE disk that i mentioned is Legal :]

P.S. Another reason you need a WIN XP bootable disk is because Win 98, 98se, nt, and ME are not bootable disks so it won’t automaticly boot up if you pop it in the cd drive and start the computer (I tried, with original legal disks though :smiley: )

I know for a fact that the original retail and oem copies of Windows 98, 98SE, NT, ME, 2000, and XP are all bootable via the CD. No drivers should be needed to access the modular bay, it is the same as having the cd directly wired to the motherboard. If you have an original disc, then there should be no problem booting from it once you change the boot order in the BIOS. Often when people make copies of these discs they just copy the files instead of making a direct copy, and then you loose the bootable part of the cd.

That would be theft. Copyright infringement is not the same.

This is why everyone should be using Linux…

Ignoring the legal wrangling, both involve making use of things that are not authorized. (Think about it–I theoretically steal a textbook, I theoretically download an album from the internet in an unauthorized fashion.)

And, to ask the question nobody’s asked–would it make your grandmother proud?

Many in the open-source movement strongly reject software piracy or “copyright infringment” because they realize how much a lawsuit could jeopardize their work.

It seems to me that copyright infringement is essentially the theft of intellectual property. Neither is exactly gracious professionalism, and discussing both are explictly against the rules of this forum.

The thing is, you should be able to use a copy of Windows that you bought on your computers. Why should you have to pay $300 every time you get a new computer? According to US copyright laws, it is not infringement to make additional copies or adaptations of computer programs (as stated here). You are not stealing anything from Microsoft. You are using what you paid $300 for.

As per it being illegal to discuss this, then I apologize. I’m not trying to tell people to go out and pirate software, but rather I am trying to have an intellectual debate on how Microsoft manipulates its customers.

Thanks for clarifying…I agree that moving software from machine to machine is probably legal under the terms of your license agreement, though possibly not with some OEM distributions.

In any case, as Matt said before…don’t pirate software!