Category Archives: Windows XP

IBM Thinkpad X41

One of the last generation of Thinkpad laptops branded as IBM before Lenovo was introduced. Let’s take a look at what software was included with a typical IBM Thinkpad install.

Desktop after a fresh install, complete with an IBM custom wallpaper and a link to the Access IBM for the OEM Link.

Access IBM

A program that goes through the features of the ThinkPad and allows easy access to common functions that Windows does not typically cover. It also has links to various support topics and articles, acting as an electronic alternative to the bundled documentation.

A shortcut to Access IBM appears in the Windows Help & Support center.

IBM Update Connector

Checks for driver updates and any new versions of bundles software. In a domain environment you can also set up your own IBM update server where approved and tested updates can be distributed, instead of downloading from IBM directly.

Battery MaxiMizer Wizard

Helps monitor the battery health and how to get the best battery life.

ThinkVantage Technologies

Shows off the different features of your ThinkPad like the rescue and recovery software to recover any missing or corrupted files. The active protection system with shuts off the hard drive when a fall is detected, possibly a sensor is embedded into the laptop to allow it to detect this.

SONIC Expresslabeler

Adobe Reader

Appears to be present but not completely installed by default. Opening it for the first time reveals some sort of unarchiver. Also a look at an interactive wallpaper also provided by IBM, which displays a graphical view of the hard drive and its space used, and the calendar which shows the correct date (But not any schedules or reminders). There’s also a section for email, but I have yet to get this to show anything, possibly only works with Outlook Express.

InterVideo WinDVD

DVD playback software for the included DVD drive, this does not function in the virtual machine as it complains about the lack of copy protection. Even Windows Media Player had issues playing a DVD.

InterVideo WinDVD Creator

You can create and burn your own DVD video discs, intended for use for home movies (Through I wonder if DVD-rip torrents could be imported and burnt in this way). here we can create and manipulate the DVD home menu using its own design and navigation. Alternatively, a static slideshow can be created using photos captured from a digital camera.

IBM (Sonic) RecordNow!

A popular CD recording utility I’ve seen bundled on various laptops from this era (Toshiba A60). You can burn a regular ISO image or an audio or MP3 CD. Sonic would later be acquired by Roxio and would be integrated into their products.

Norton Antivirus / Internet Security

Typical virus protection of the year, Norton AntiVirus was bundled with various IBM products. Norton has the ability to scan and detect any virus embedded in email applications, providing you use an email client that Norton supports (Like Microsoft Outlook)

I’m surprised it even allowed a version this old to be activated, I doubt it would perform well against modern malware.

Desktop Themes

Two desktop themes come included, which feature their own sounds, desktop icons and wallpaper. Both will use the Luna silver theme

Wallpaper

Three wallpapers are included, with the second one being a dynamic active desktop wallpaper mentioned earlier.

Screensavers

A few screensavers that show off and advertise the features of the laptop.

Control Panel

Various control panel applets that have been preinstalled by IBM

IBM Active Protection: controls the freefall hard drive protection

ThinkPad Configuration: Supposed to change various options for your Thinkpad

Misc

Sony VAIO PCV-RD620G

A mid-2003 desktop PC that functions as a media center of sorts, and features dual optical drives (CD burner with a DVD reader) and remote control with an IR receiver. Some models featured an analog TV tuner and a dial-up modem fitted to one of the PCI slots.

VAIO Style

Recovery Wizard

Our VAIO journey starts with the Recovery Wizard, which takes us through the formatting process.

Remarkably it looks like a Windows 2000 environment.

Post Install

The Sony-branded OOBE, which presents the opportunity to register with Sony and Microsoft.

Norton Internet Security comes bundled with the laptop which provides virus protection for a year since it is activated, along with a firewall. Norton also integrates itself into Internet Explorer, providing popup protection. It also appears within Windows Explorer itself.

After the first bootup, we are prompted to insert one of the VAIO recovery disks, these are tied to the machine and will not work inside a virtual environment, and rely on different copy protection

Interesting, Norton seems to be able to pickup and download a few updates, considering this product is nearing 20 years old that’s quite impressive. But I doubt these cover the latest virus definitions, Norton possibly still operates the server that holds these aged definition updates.

There are a few programs missing since the final part of the recovery wizard specifically checks that you are running on a Sony VAIO PC. I wonder if this checks for the exact model, or if there is just the Sony string in the BIOS, would this work for other Sony models?

SonicStage

SonicStage was the software used to manage and playback Sony’s ATARC format audio, which was their own property audio format that was initially used on the first MiniDisc models, and was later used for their Walkman digital music players. ATARC was more efficient than MP2 and MP3 at higher bitrates but compared less with AAC or WMA. ATARC was also only supported on Sony products, and even then not all of their electronics supported it, Sony Ericsson phones in Europe had no support for ATRAC, and neither did the first PlayStation or the PlayStation 2, with the PS3 introducing support for the codec.

SonicStage was very similar to iTunes in concept and acted as a way to play purchased songs from Sony’s CONNECT store. As these files were protected by DRM, an account and correct authorization was required to playback the songs purchased by the user. SonicStage could also sync and transfer songs to supported Walkman players, and only Walkman players.

This was during a dark period of time where record companies insisted that much purchases online had to be digitally protected using some form of DRM, which meant purchasing music from one vendor would mean you could only play that track on software or a device that the vendor had support for. This meant music purchased from iTunes could not be played back on a Walkman or a Microsoft PlaysForSure device without burning it to a CD, then reimporting it as MP3 or whichever format the program and device supported, basically the analog hole.

Was it any wonder people turned to piracy?

DRM free music stores later came about, and many vendors eventually started offering DRM free downloads for their songs and all was well. Then the music industry went one step further and insisted streaming was the next best thing, meaning you no longer owned or had direct access to music, instead of being steamed from the cloud for a monthly fee.

As for Sony, the CONNECT store closed down in 2008, and Sonic Stage was discontinued and replaced a few years later with MediaGo, which was mainly intended for the Sony PSP but could work with compatible Walkman devices. Sony would later try again in the music market with Quircity, a streaming playroom before being rebranded to PlayStation Music, and then been killed off in favor of Spotify on the PS4.

For a company that has its own major record label, Sony does suck with online music services.

Screensavers & Wallpapers

Theirs a VAIO screensaver bundled which is a bunch of stock photos taken with a few transition effect applied, with stock music being placed in the background.

You can of course customize it with your own photos, or memes if that is more your thing.

Various backgrounds, these would blend in with the laptop design and supported a variety of resolutions (whilst the internal LCD would use its optimal resolution, Sony provided different wallpaper resolution’s in the event you connect an external monitor.

PrintStudio

Appears to be a creative photo editing application where you can import photos from a digital camera (maybe a Sony CyberShot camera) and apply effects or add clip-art to them. You then have the option of printing these out or attaching them as an email. you can also create greeting cards with this, so it acts similar to Microsoft Publisher in a way,

Netscape browser version 6, a popular alternative browser (Didn’t Microsoft discourage OEM’s from doing this? Sony clearly didn’t give a fuck)

Moodlogic

I think this is some sort of last.fm service from before its time, where it will organize and find similar artists depending on the ones currently in your library, whilst organizing your current music collection. This no longer works and requires a connection to a server that is long since defunct. It sort of similar to Apple Genius playlists.

Memory Stick Formater

Formats a Sony Memory Stick, nuff said. Not sure why you can’t do this in Windows Explorer, possibly due to Magic Gate encryption?

Quicken 2004

Software that Sony loved to bundle with their VAIO systems, is some sort of account and spending management software.

AOL

An advert for AOL, looks a bit basic for 2003 standards.

Help & Support

Sony’s help center branding

External Links

Sony Support

Dell Dimension 1100

A low-end desktop system released by Dell in 2005, paired with a Pentium 4 and 512MB of RAM with onboard Intel graphics. Typically paired with a 15inch LCD monitor. Nothing really special about the system and there’s a distinct lack of Microsoft Works unless it was included in a separate CD.

Typical Dell desktop background of the era. I remember this was used on the Inspiron 9100 also. Notice the AOL being branded as LOL, not sure if that occurred on the actual system or something that got renamed

Software

Let’s look at the software bundled

McAfee

Dell and McAfee are commonly seen together, and this system was no exception to that. Like Norton, this acts as both the antivirus and the firewall for the system.

McAfee firewall will pop up if a new program tried to connect to the internet or access a network resource.

Dell Support

A utility that pops up whilst your in the middle of a SimCity/Civ session and causes the game to minimize itself, only for Dell Support to prompt you about a rip off offer, then when you try to restore the game it freezes and you have to kill it in task manager and you lose all your unsaved data.

In all fairness its useful for first time computer buyers, bot the occasional popups will get annoying after a while. There is an option to reduce or turn off the alerts.

Google Desktop

A software application that allowed you to search Google from your desktop, and included an indexed desktop search client. This also placed a search box on your taskbar of which will bring results from both the web and files/folders that are local to the PC. This would give a similar experience to the Windows Search feature that was introduced in Windows Vista, although Microsoft would also release Windows Search for Windows XP.

A sidebar included widget-like functionality, similar to Mac OS X Tiger that was released at the time. As its a Google produced, expect it to data mine the hell out of you, I’m sure most people took the time to read the privacy policy.

Core Photo Album 6

Photo management application. This is designed to gather can collect images from an external source, such as a digital camera or an external SD card.

You can edit and apply different effects like sepia, or add a digital frame if you wish, and then export and save or print to a photo printer. Different effects include red-eye removal, which was common on a digital cameras of the time. Alternatives included Microsoft PictureIt, Adobe Photoshop Elements,

This copy was part of a trial, and expires after 60 days of use.

QuickBooks

Some sort of accounting software is designed for small businesses like a high street shops. It makes several mentions of creating business so I’d say it’s for a commercial environment in comparison to Microsoft Money which is more for home/personal use.

This appears to be a full back-office management system since it allows for you to create customer accounts, useful for booking appointments. In this was in functions similar to Microsoft Access

MyDVD LE

I assume this is intended to create DVD discs and backups, but will not function since this technically isn’t a Dell machine.

Musicmatch JUKEBOX

A popular music player and an online digital music store, that was mostly backed by Yahoo. Here you could purchase music to transfer to a supported music player. Alternatively, it can function as a standalone music player, as an alternative to Windows Media Player. MusicMatch was later discontinued in 2006.

AOL

The 9.0 desktop client comes included along with a free internet trial

Sonic CINEPlayer

A DVD player of some sort. However, this will not function in a VM and will inform that its intended for only Dell computers. The full screen interface appears very similar to Windows Media Center.

Roxio Creator LE

CD burning and authoring program that supports the use of burning audio CD’s and can burn ISO disk images.

Compaq Presario 700 (VMWare)

An early Windows XP era laptop released around 2002, not to be confused with the Presario C700 which was HP branded. Windows XP Home Edition was the operating system bundled with the restore CD

Restore Process

This one used a slightly different way of restoring the default image, and I believe this is due to the copy being modified so that it will restore on any machine, instead of being tied to a specific model.
Here you must manually select the recovery image (located on the CD drive) and then proceed with the installation. If the hard disk is blank (Which it will be if we have just created the drive) the software can automatically initialize and format the disk and will create the correct partitions.
Once this has been set up, the recovery process will begin and the system will notify once it has been completed.

Hello blueness my old friend

After the first reboot, we will most likely run into a BSOD, since we had installed it in a virtual machine instead of actual hardware, it’s expecting a motherboard that’s completely different. At this points It’s Hirens time

Hirens Boot CD

Same as the eMachines system, we just need to reset the hard disk controller to clear the error. After a reboot we are onto the OOBE.

OOBE

Once we cleared the BSOD boss fight we move on to the OOBE (Out-Of-Box-Experience) where we set up the system for the first time. You will notice the Compaq branding and will be informed of the Compaq Advisor, which is some sort of assistant. At this point you can also register your system, although I doubt there is much point,, Microsoft probably discontinued the registrations servers and Compaq has since been absorbed into HP.

Desktop

After that, we are presented with our new desktop, along with a funky wallpaper. There are several of these OEM wallpapers that are available in different colours. I’m not sure if these are reflective of the laptop itself or Compaq just whacked a few different colours for the user’s preference. It kinda reminds me of the original iMac with its various colours and shades.
Of course, you also have the regular Windows XP wallpapers if you prefer.

Interestingly it will try to install a driver for a Compaq Easy Access Internet Keyboard. This has little to no effect on the VMWare keyboard. On the desktop, there are a few internet shortcuts to various affiliate links like ABC, Disney,

VMWare

As this is pre-Service Pack 1 we are limited to how we can install the VMWare add-ons, the later tools require service pack 3 and will fail to install on an old Windows XP install. We can however download and mount an old version of VMWare Tools
Be careful with this, as these tools were intended for the version of VMWare they were released with. I got a BSOD when trying to display one of the 3D screensavers, and had to upgrade to a later version to fix the issue.

Software

There isn’t much included, there is Netscape 6 and RealPlayer 8 bundled, and Microsoft Works and Money 2001

Compaq Advisor

Seems to be some sort of help/assistant program, sort of similar to the Windows Help & Support but more tailored to the Compaq-related stuff. The actual Windows Help & Support has a few customizations made to it, mainly with some Compaq stuff added.

Microsoft Money 2001

There isn’t much included, there Netscape 6 and RealPlayer 8 bundled, and Microsoft Works and Money 2001

Microsoft Works

Version 6 of Microsoft Works comes bundled here, which serves as a basic productivity suite. It contains a word processor and spreadsheet software, along with a variety of templates to choose from.

OEMLink (Presario Info Center)

Another system I’ve found to make use of the OEM link feature of Windows XP. This acts like a help center that shows the different capabilities of the PC, along with recommended software, some of which might be preinstalled with the system. Some of these are not present here so there might be another disc that includes this.

SynthCore

Also, this appeared in the start menu, it’s some sort of MIDI file samples that came bundled with the soundcard. These play normally on the emulated SoundBlaster but do not sound the same as they would on an actual system.

Control Panel

  • Easy Access Buttons: This lets you reassign the easy access buttons on the keyboard to open different functions
  • Compaq Advisor: Change settings in relation to the Compaq Advisor, appears to have been developed by Neoplanet Inc
  • Automatic Compaq Updates: Enables updates
  • SoundMAX: Opens the soundcard utility, does nothing in this VM since were using a different soundcard

Other

Archive Link

eMachines T2200

Product Information

The Bliss wallpaper, with a touch of eMachines

We all know eMachines, and have probably used an eMachines system at one point in our lives, known for being very affordable (Cheap) computer systems for first time buyers or for people who just need a basic system. Typically found at PCWorld or Currys, These computers are typically paired with either an Intel Celeron or an AMD Durion or Athlon.

Install

eMachines made use of Norton Ghost to operate the recovery media, this initially presented us with a Windows 9x style boot menu which gave us the option to boot into the recovery environment.

Ran into a few issues getting this one up and running. Whilst the initial restore process went through without a hitch, I was greeted with a BSOD upon bootup

Following the guidance on the archive link, I booted into Hirens and ran a script that reset the hard disk driver, which was causing the BSOD.

When the command windows open’s, choose option T first to set the target root, this is the Windows install directory (C:\WINDOWS). Just check that Hirens actually mounted it to C as it may have assigned the hard drive to another letter.

Programs > Registry > Fix Hard Disk Controller

Programs are located in the Hirens Program launcher, Not the start menu

Alternatively, navigate to the CD-ROM root and go to HBCD\Programs\FixHDC.bat to launch the program

After a reboot, we were able to boot into Windows and progress through the OOBE section, which has some eMachines customizations.

OEMLink

The start menu here has an OEM link which I’ve rarely seen on Windows XP systems. This is an option that can be selected in the Windows XP start menu that takes you to online OEM information.

Realtek AvRack

Some sort of bundled media player that makes of the sound cards processing functions, none of these are functional under a virtual machine since it emulates a different soundcard. I was able to play a regular MP3 file but none of the effects would work. These would have included echo and voice pitch changing effects

AIM AOL Instant Messenger

Another popular instant messaging application, this was supposedly popular in the US, but didn’t take off in the UK where MSN was more popular.

ICQ

ICQ was a popular instant messaging program before the likes of AIM and MSN Messanger took over. Each user would have a unique ICQ number. I personally never used it myself since it was already obsolete when I first heard of it (2004) and barely anyone I knew had an ICQ account.

McAfee

Bundled antivirus software, this also comes with a firewall bundled. Sadly this version can no longer be updated and we are stuck with virus definitions from 2002.

Although once you enable the firewall, be prepared for endless connection alerts whenever you open a program or even do anything that uses its own socket.

Winamp

A popular media player bundled with this system. A little redundant with Windows Media Player, unless Winamp is capable of playing a file that WMP cannot.

Microsoft Works

Microsoft’s entry-level productivity suite that provided a word processor, spreadsheet software, and a basic database. To make the program more user-friendly to use, a a task launcher is used to open various elements of the application since this is designed to appeal to users who are not familiar with office productivity software. Here a user can select from a list of tasks they wish to complete, and Works will open the correct template for them.

Some of these are very specific like coaching a sports team or planning a family reunion. Some of these are quite useful, there’s a template to create a fitness log using a spreadsheet that helps keep track of your workouts, or if you want to keep track of road trips.

Microsoft Money

Money 2003 – used to organize your finances and bank accounts, back in the early days of internet banking. Nowadays most banks offer something similar online.

Cyberlink PowerDVD

PowerDVD is software intended to allow DVD video to be played, it was commonly bundled with PCs that came bundled with a DVD drive. Although I’m sure Windows Media Player is capable of doing the same thing so this software would be redundant?

BigFix

Appears to be a utility that monitors your PC’s performance, and is preinstalled from the CD. There are also links to eMachines technical support. In normal operation, it will notify you if a software update or patch is available and will prompt you to install it (It does not install automatically). Although if Windows Update is enabled then this kind of redundant, possibly that would have checked for driver updates also?

BigFix was later acquired by IBM and was renamed IBM Bigfix.

RealPlayer

Realplayer was a popular way to stream video over the internet since it was cross-platform, supporting both Windows and Macintosh.

Compuserve

Another internet service provider provided its own software to access its services.