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Lilla's notes on Inspiron 7000 - Main - Last updated 13Dec98

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Dell Links

To make suggestions to Dell system designers

If you would like to make a suggestion to our engineers you can do so at this address comments or suggestions for DELL's product development team Or, if they change this link, going to: Select Communicate with Dell, E-mail Dell Support, and then the option that says You have comments or suggestions for our development team. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

Here's some things that many i7000 owners and potential owners would like to see fixed/added:

To arrange for service

To have service arranged, you can, 1) contact our Mobile Computing Hotline at 800-822-8965 for Corporate/Government Accounts or at 800-247-9252 for Direct accounts. You will be connected to a Portables Technical Specialist who will help you resolve the issue; or 2) you can send us e-mail verifying the following information: * Contact Name * Current Address * Daytime Telephone Number * Service Tag (verify) We can then arrange the service for you. A brief recap of the problem would also be helpful. It is actually faster to call on the phone to arrange service, as they can do so immediately. E-mail tends to slow the process down a bit. We can normally reply back to you within two business days. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

To check the status of your order

You can checking the status of your order at Dell Order Status Tracking System

To track your order once it ships

A: You can call Dell's automated number for phone tracking [or use carrier and carrier tracking number provided by Dell Order Status Tracking System (see above)] and they'll give you the carrier and carrier's tracking number. You can then go to carriers web site and track the order properly. I had the same problem with my Precision 610 a couple of weeks ago but this seemed to get around the problem. Beau, newsgroup

A: Once your unit ships, you can Email Customer Service with your Order Number and request the carrier's shipping number for tracking purposes. Use Dell Customer Service Online Email Form

A: UPS uses the dell order number as a reference number -- enter your order number here: UPS Shipment Tracking System and viola! You don't need to provide the shipper account number or postal code. Enjoy the new machine! Brad Gillespie, newsgroup

To request your price guarantee protection

Within 30 days of when your orders ships (or is it the date on your invoice?) call Customer Service at 800-624-9897, follow the prompts to return/credit, to request your price guarantee protection. If your system goes down in price, Dell refunds you the difference - but only if you request it within the alloted time (not even one day late is allowed). This can amount to hundreds of dollars.

You can post your rebate request on the cust svc board @ and be sure to print out a pricer of your exact config the day you post the request. You can only request one rebate w/in the first 30 days from invoice date, so it's best to wait until the 28th day or so. Sandy Pardue, webtalk

Customer Service told me it was ok to email it the request to them also Lilla

I called customer service, and was put on hold and finally told to call back - several times. The price drop happened with about 8 days left in my 30 days. By the time I actually got through to Dell, it was just outside the 30 days, and they refused to honor the price drop. Bill Herder, webtalk

Sources of Information and Support

Dell's WebTalk - Online Forum run by Dell Tech Support - for posting problems, and sharing solutions.

Posts roll off about every 22 days (may depend upon volume). There is no searchable archive.

Darrell's Dell T@lk Help Site Message Board - a *new* online Forum with a topic area for Inspiron Notebooks.

DellTalk is like Webtalk, except that it is offers peer-to-peer support. It is not monitored by Dell Tech Support. DellTalk forum software is better than what Dell is using for WebTalk. DellTalk has a better search engine, and the information posted on DellTalk will not roll away after 20 (or so) days.

If you've got some valuable information to share, you might want to post it on DellTalk (even if you post in WebTalk). It is also a place that you can post your questions, and share your solutions and insights.

You will need to complete the Delphi Forum Membership Form the *first* time you access this Forum. This is a free service. Thanks to Darrell for providing this service.

Newsgroups - offer peer-to-peer discussion and support on i7000 and other notebooks

The newsgroups contain only the most recent posts, say maybe two weeks, the length of time a post stays on the server depends upon your Internet Service Provider. You can search the newsgroup archives using DejaNews Power Search

For example, try this "power search" to locate posts about DVD on I-7000:
under power search type: (7000 | i7000 | i-7000 | i7k | 7k ) & dvd ! toshiba
under forums type (optional): comp.sys.laptops (leave blank to search all newsgroups)
then click the Find button.
To the dejanews server, the symbol "|" means "or", "&" means "and", "!" means "not"

Online Information for Inspiron 7000

General Specs

Dell System Support Page for Inspiron 7000 at or go to and then click on Inspiron, then click on 7000

Technical information at this site (above) includes:

Motherboard Chipset, Bus Speed, CPU

Intel Pentium II 300MHz CPU. Intel's site providing information on this CPU. There are now two formats: Intel Mobile Module Package (IMM) and the newer Mobile-Cartridge Package (IMC?). i7000 uses the earlier IMM Intel's Mobile Pentium II CPU page is at

Q: Does Inspiron 7000 use a 100Mhz bus motherboard?

A: No, it supports 66MHz external BUS frequency, per

Q: What chipset does 7000 use?

A: The chipset on the portable systems is the 82440BX. The chipset can support 100 MHz bus speeds. However, the Inspiron 7000 does NOT take advantage of 100 bus speed as I previously mis-stated. It runs at the 66 MHz bus speed. We are updating any conflicting documentation we may have on this matter. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

For information on the Intel 82440BX chipset, use this link: Intel® Chipsets - Drivers and Utilities at

A: 100 Mhz bus ... not so, Intel will bring out a mobile processor with a 100 Mhz bus sometime in the 4th quarter of 1999. Robert Siegel, Email

A: The 100Mhz is supported by the machine, but I understand it won't actually be available by the Intel CPUs until a later date. I'm guessing when Intel releases the new mobile processors with the 100Mhz, the 7000s will begin supporting it. (They probably won't be upgradable tho). Rik, newsgroup

A: Intel's current 440BX chipset for MOBILES can only utilize the maximum external bus of 66MHz. Intel plans to ship mobiles with 100MHz front-side bus in 1999. I believe the upcoming Pentium II 333MHz for mobiles will include a 100MHz front-side bus. Chewie, newsgroup

A: Keep in mind that thus far, the only official 100mhz-bus CPU's are the 350, 400, and 450 on desktops. A 266 won't run with a 100mhz bus (not while remaining a 266 anyway). The 300's aren't obviously one or the other, but thus far Intel hasn't put out a 300 that was spec'd to run at 100mhz X 3... so unless Intel changes that for the mobile market and comes out with a later version of the 300 designed to run at those settings, don't expect any mobile to use a 100mhz bus until we get into the 350+ range at the earliest. Frank Garcia, Newsgroup

A: The front side bus speed of the I7K is 66Mhz even though the BX chipset supports a 100Mhz. Betty Visotski, newsgroup

A: Desktop and mobile mobos are VERY different, although they have improved them as of late, mobile boards are still on-chip design. The later ones now provide desktop slots for video and sound but not with quite the upgradeability of desktop boards... Erick, newsgroup

Q: When is the 366MHz Mobile Processor expected?

A: No laptops have 100 MHz busses yet. According to Intel, the timeline for a 100 MHz bus laptop motherboard will be around September 99. Bryan, newsgroup

A: Straight from Intel: 10-26-98 The 366MHz Pentium(R) II processor, in the mobile format, will be introduced in the first half of next year. No announcement has yet been made concerning the introduction of the 100MHz bus to laptop systems. Dave Cawthorne, Intel Technical Support, Webtalk


A note from Lilla: If you think you will max out the memory in your i7000 someday, then you want to get 128MB on one SIMM installed in the factory-access-only memory slot. As of about 26Nov98 Dell is offering 128MB simms on US i7000's. Having a 64MB SIMM in the factory installed slot limits your max ram to 320 (384-64) instead of 384, unless you upgrade later. The cost of replacing the intial 64mb factory installed simm is pretty steep: $500? for 128MB replacement simm + cost of shipping your i7000 both ways (plus inconvenience of being without your i7000 for a few days) + Dell service charge to install the upgrade, for a total of abt. $600 vs. $400 to go from 64MB/1simm to 128/1simm initially.

A: Error in Dell online i7000 memory max. At this link it says 192MB max. It should say 384MB. Lilla

Q: If a 128 simm is developed will the 7000 accept the new ram and go beyond the original spec on the web of 192?

A: Yes, the hardware will support the 128 meg SODIMMs, but this may require a BIOS upgrade as well. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q: Where to buy memory, including 128MB Simms?

A: See Austin's Dell Inspiron 7000 Information Page for links to memory sources, including 128MB SIMMs for the 7000 at And if you find other vendors to add to the list, please advise Austin.

A: I was searching for other vendors that have 64mb memory upgrades for the Inspiron 7000 and found one at the Outpost ( that lists 64mb PNY memory for the I7K for $128.95. It also lists the same PNY part number and price for the Inspiron 3000 and 3200 models. Although I couldn't find 64mb memory for the I7k on Dell's site, I did find 64mb PNY memory for the Inspiron 3000 for $130.00 through their on line store. If this is the same memory that the I7K uses, you could save $80 by buying and installing the memory upgrade yourself rather than ordering the optional $200 upgrade at the time of your notebook purchase. You would also have "Dell approved" memory. Any opinions on this? John A, newsgroup

A: The Inspiron line, from 3000 to 7000, all use standard 144-pin SDRAM SO-DIMMs. You can feel comfortable getting your own RAM, as long as you are aware that many vendors, including Dell, won't honor your warranty if they find out you put in your own memory. Lie about it whenever you call for tech support. Plato90s, newsgroup

A: I purchased a 64 MB SO-DIMM from for 121.95 + 5.95 shipping by Kingston (# KTD-INSP/64). Works good. Dave Nichols, newsgroup

A: Try Kingston. The I7K uses SO-DIMMS, but on the Kingston site they allow you to choose the I7K out of their database. If you buy a 64M SO-DIMM for the I7K, you well save about $70.00 US over the Dell price. Shawn Hosp, newsgroup

A: BTW, got two viking 64mb sodimms from provantage and they installed with no hassle to get 192 mb...just had to resize the suspend to disk partition. I love this machine! Just used the two slots under the upgrade cover, in addition to the existing 64 mb. I didn't attempt to mess with the factory mounted slot. Count Scrofula, newsgroup

Q: I know you have a remove a mem cover on the back of the laptop, is there any warranty seal to remove before opening that cover? Dolphin, newsgroup

A: I have 128M of RAM and I just checked, one of the slots is still open. I didn't think about it before, but I guess it makes sense that one of my 64 meg chips is in the hidden slot. There is no warranty seal over the memory slot, or the HD or the video card slot for that matter. Mark Hilgart, newsgroup

Game/Midi Devices

A: There is no MIDI/Joystick port on the Inspiron 7000 or the 7000's Port Replicator. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: I have the MS sidewinder USB version. Best joystick I've ever owned. Very smooth operation in games instead of being jerky like some other brands. Offworld19, Newsgroup

A: Buy MS Freestyle. A good pad w/ USB port. you can use it in digital mode, or analog joystick mode for flight sims. Playing Unreal, I use the d-pad to move left and right, look up and down. to move forward, I just tilt the pad forward. need to strafe? give a'little tilt left or right. This pad rocks. Adam Hunter, newsgroup

A: I have tried a MS Sidewinder Precision Pro USB joystick and it works great. Bill Herder, webtalk

A: Microsoft just came out with another USB joy stick which is very cool and will work great with I7K machines. This joy stick is much smaller than the previous USB version. Hoang Nguyen , webtalk

A: Logitech Wingman Force uses either USB or serial port -- I use it on the USB port and am quite pleased with it. Frank Garcia, webtalk

A:Unfortunantly, unlike parallel-to-USB and serial-to-USB, a joystick-to-USB adaptor would require different drivers. So unless you joystick comes with a USB adaptor, you're out of luck as of now. Jason Litka, Webtalk

A: Just an FYI, you can't use a standard Analog or Digital joystick w/ a USB port. The timing and voltage, attenuation, yada, yada is all different. Even w/ an adapter like the one provided by Microsoft in the new Sidewinder USB joysticks can blow the USB port if used w/ non-MS joysticks. You can take the gamble and try, but I wouldn't recommended it. I've seen alot of blown USB interfaces recently because of this issue ... Tony Maddonna, webtalk

A: Roland has a USB Midi. Edirol S-MPU64 and

A: The Musical Notebook Computer has good info on midi interfaces, PCMCIA Cards, Software synthesizers, digital audio recording, etc.

NewMedia PCMCIA Gameport

Note from Lilla: As of 29Nov98 it appears that NewMedia is almost out of business... When I accessed their site it says: Sorry... Due to lack of payment, this site has been placed on hold. bla bla bla

A: Check out NewMedia's PCMCIA card at and look for their product GAMEPORT. It is available at for online sale (I paid about $60.00) The card works great. Alistair Erskine, Webtalk

A: I am using a joystick connected to a PC card (New media game port): in order to have the PC card to work, I have to disable the Microsoft joystick adapter driver in the system configuration, otherwise there is a conflict. It seems that the Maestro [ESS Sound] chip is recognized by win 98 as a pnp device having also a midi/joystick and loads the driver for it, even though there is no such port on the I7000. Everything is ok if I disable the microsoft joystick adapter, but if I enter the suspend mode, I don't get sound when I resume the computer. Rebooting the computer always solves the problem. The loss of sound happens also if I hibernate the computer (Fn A), but it never happens if I reboot. It seems therefore that the Microsoft joystick driver is necessary to resume the sound after suspend mode. No one at Dell could solve the problem.Yes, the device manager controlling gameport and music card is ESS. It'd good to prevent win98 from detecting a gameport that is not present. At Dell they don't know how to do it (I called a couple of times). Stefano Catarsi (please email me if you have a solution to this problem, or have any thoughts to share.)

A: I remember someone mentioning this for NewMedia Game Port. See if it works for you: 1) Go into Control Panel|System|Device Manage|Sound, video, and game controllers. 2) Delete the game port entries. (Prior to your installing your game port, there was one put there by Dell. If you delete them all, you'll get it. If you had installed no other game port devices, there would just be the default. That should be deleted.) 3) Reinstall the game port device of your choice.

A: Don't delete the existing game port only disable it so the system won't redetect it. Mine works perfectly! Swag, newsgroup

Ports and Card Slots

Q: Ports and Covers?

A: There is no cover over the ports, so they are more liable to be damaged when traveling. Computer Shopper.

A: As you explore this machine, you'll find that every port, bay, and removable cover is labeled with a small icon, so you know exactly what's supposed to go in what spot. PC-Mag Review.

Q: Card Slots?

A: Both slots support Cardbus, bottom slot is ZV capable. Dell/Max Murphy, WebTalk

Q: Card Slot button won't push back in. Now What? I just got my new Inspiron 7000 and accidently pushed in one of the two ;buttons; to the right of the PC Card. It's the one on top, and it will not go back in. Help! I'm pretty sure it's simple to fix, but I can't find anything about this in any manual. Edward Lazaroff, WebTalk

A: Yep. It's not very intuitive. First, you need to push the button in to eject the card from the slot. Remove the card completely. Then, push the button in as deep as you can, and it should hold in the recessed position. Now insert the card. The button should stay pushed in. To eject the card, press the button in to make it pop out. Then press it again to eject the card. Joel Rittvo, WebTalk

A: If you cannot get the button to stay retracted, then you can arrange service by contacting ... Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Internal Keyboard

Q: Keyboard layout and feel.

A: See this link for layout:

A: It's the exact same layout as the CP/CPi models from the Latitude line. Newsgroup.

A: The new Inspiron has the keyboard you like, the Home/End/Pg cluster. It's very similar to the HP 7100. Erick, newsgroup

A: Keyboard is ok. I am used to this Microsoft Natural on my desktop, so a laptop keyboard feels pretty cramped. But its not bad and I find I can stumble my way along faster than I might have previously thought. I like having the arrow keys to the right in an inverted ;T; arrangement. I don't like having the tiny INSERT-DELETE-HOME-END-PGUP-PGDN keys way up at the top right. Other keys are large enough for me but a bit spongier feeling than what I am used to. Bruce A. Mallett, Newsgroup.

A: If you've ever used a Dell Latitude CP/CPi, the 7000 has the same keyboard (layout and feel). The keyboad feels nice (I actually like typing on it better than the 3200). Rik, newsgroup

A: I just upgraded from an Inspiron 3000 to an Inspiron 7000. I've had the new 7000 for about a week now.

How to remap keys

Q: The only real defect in Dell's outstanding I-7000 keyboard is the absence of a delete key on the lower right .... where there are TWO (2) not one BLANK key sites. Go figure! How do I Re-assign key - ALT to DEL? Robert Siegel, webtalk

A: There is no native utility to do this, although it can be accomplished through other utilities, including many shareware keyboard remapper programs. These can be found at: NOTE: Dell does not recommend or provide support for these programs. Any problems encountered with installing these programs should be reported to the program vendor directly. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: I have searched for programs that will remap the *right* Ctrl and Alt keys or the Win key, but have not found anything. Allan Oseroff, webtalk

Keyboard BIOS

The following posts are reference points. These posts are about LM P133, but may provide insight into understanding i7000 keyboard BIOS. Will be replaced with i7000 info when available.

Q: [Reference point only. This post is not about i7000.] I am using Dell Latitude LM P133, windows 98. Taq number: 636GQ. I need a latest keyboard bios for this machine (cause Fn-pgup and Fn-pgdown do not work sometimes). If the keyboard bios comes together with flash bios, why does my keyboard bios still say A00, although I have upgraded to LMa11a03 flash bios. Primus, webtalk

A: [Reference point. This post is not about i7000.] The Keyboard bios and the bios that you flashed are two totally different things. the keyboard bios is actually a chip inside the machine that has to be replaced if you want to upgrade it. actually, i don't know that there is an upgrade, but many have to have them replaced due to "possessed" keyboards on their Inpirons. I hope this helps. Chris Mueller, webtalk

A: [Reference point. This post is not about i7000.] My LM P133 Keyboard BIOS is also A11, it is a chip, has to be replaced by Dell. Mine was done for free by Dell even though it was out of warranty. Peter Gilvarry, webtalk

External Numeric Keypad

See Dell's Online Technical Information on Using an External Keyboard, Keypad, or Mouse: Inspiron 7000

PS/2 External Numeric Keypad

Problem: I prefer to use an external numeric keypad. I connect it to the laptop's ps/2 port and hit NUMLOCK. The external keypad works great. Unfortunately, the "built-in" numeric keypad is also activated. Thus, I cannot use the keyboard to type *normally* and *simultaneously* use the external keypad as is normal for notebook computers, including a Dell Latitude I used a while back (exact model unknown). The problem I'm having must, therefore, be some bug / mistake in the Inspiron 7000. I have read messages from other Inspiron 7000 owners complaining of exactly this same problem on Dell's WebTalk. When will this be fixed? This is unacceptable. Scott Sillett, webtalk

Problem: According to Dell Technical, a numeric pad plugged into the USB port (small narrow port beside the keyboard port) will work. Unfortunately, I have a Dell ps/2 keypad. Edmond Gregory, webtalk

How to report this problem: If you have this problem (actually everyone has this problem although you won't be aware of it unless you plug in an external numeric keypad) described in this section, goto Dell's webtalk, search in conference "18-Inspiron 7000" for a topic with post a message titled "Numeric Keypad"area with a description of your problem and your Service Tag number.

Status: There are several threads in this conference on this topic, one of which asks for Service Tag numbers on this issue. We are passing them along to our engineers. Our engineers are currently looking at the issue. As more information becomes available we will pass it along. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk 2Dec98

A: When I plug in my separate numeric keypad, it does not disable the embedded numeric pad in the keyboard. The Sales literature (and every other lap top I've ever owned including my Latitude) allow the use of NUMLOCK on the numeric keypad without turning on the embedded keypad. Help please. I'm an accountant and business appraiser. I need my numeric key pad! Edmond Gregory, webtalk

A: I have finally reached the point of returning my I7000 over this issue. If I could only get a commitment that a bios update would be released to fix the problem I'd be willing to wait - but I cannot get a commitment from Dell to fix this screwy engineering mistake. I'm contacting the sales department to return the machine. It's worthless to me without the external keypad. Edmond Gregory, webtalk

A: When I attach an external keyboard or keypad to the ps2 port of the I7K, the embedded numeric pad is not disabled. This is the most annoying thing I have ever encountered on any laptop. I agree with Edmond. I have used many laptops including the Latitude and have never had this problem. This is a pain in the XXX. Is there fix for this that I'm missing somewhere? Kenny Orr, webtalk

Kenny, it sounds like you are saying that when you have an external keyboard plugged in that you cannot use the built-in dedicated number pad in the normal manner because numlock on causes UIO JKL NM, on external keyboard to produce numbers instead of letters - as it does on the internal keybord. Please tell me it isn't true? Lilla

A: I am a heavy numbers user. i was about to buy an external keypad. This problem concerns me very much. Please get it fixed asap. will it be fixable in a bios update or will I have to return my machine. Tom Sakai, webtalk

Q: I e-mailed Dell and got response to hold down the FN key & NumLock but that doesn't work. I am trying to use a Micro Innovations PS/2 numeric keypad model KP-17B, but I cannot disable the built in numeric keypad in the keyboard. My bios is Dell Inspiron D266GT Rex A02 (023A). I would not mind permanently disabling the built in numeric keypad as I never use it. Val Harrop, webtalk

A: To Disable Numlock: In the file CONFIG.SYS found on the root directory of C:\ add the line NUMLOCK=OFF and save and restart. If you are running Windows NT you must edit the registry. You can find a registry edit file to turn num lock off for NT4 on my web site go to Tech Tricks , Registry Hacks, and NT you should see it, download the file and right click and choose install and reboot ****file only for Windows NT 4.0****** edit the config.sys for Windows 95/98. Dino Roger, webtalk

Unfortunately, the above procedure will not help when using the numeric keypad because as I understand it, NUMLOCK must be ON to use the external keypad. Lilla

Parallel Numeric Keypad

A: I dug out my old relic of an ALPS parallel port attached key pad. With the ALPS drivers depressing the NumLock key on the keypad does not affect the laptop keyboard keypad. It works just fine! It is however more clunky & I don't know what it will do to printing as I am not sure it supports bi directional data transfer. That is not a particular issue with me as I am normally attached to a network anyway. I assume that the serial keypads also would work. That doesn't mean that your engineers should stop working on the PS2 issues, but at least it offers a stop gap resolution. I love my machine overall & am really pleased. Val Harrop

USB Numeric Keypad

A: I don't know if any are currently available, but you could check. An email I receive from usbstuff said they would have one in January. USBSTUFF sells usb devices. Lilla

A: According to Dell Technical, a numeric pad plugged into the USB port (small narrow port beside the keyboard port) will work. Unfortunately, I have a Dell ps/2 keypad. Edmond Gregory, webtalk

Heat, Fan and Noise

A: I am brand new to lap tops, and I noticed that the rear portion of the bottom became quite warm...especially laying it on bare legs. I mailed Dell, and they said it was normal. Perry Marshall, webtalk

Q: Has anyone experienced any unusual noises from their internal fan? I'm not exactly sure what a "normal" noise is, but my wife is *extremely* sensitive to the noise to the point to where she has to leave the room whenever it kicks on. Greg Postlewait, webtalk

A: If the fan makes louder than fan type noises or is unusual, it may need to be serviced. DELL/David Whiteley

A: My fan usually kicks on when I'm playing games like Forsaken or Descent II. Otherwise, during eight hours of word processing, it never turns on. Mine is not very loud. It simply sounds like a fan whirring along. It runs for about fifteen minutes, then shuts off. Be glad that yours does turn on, otherwise your system might melt like chocolate in your hands! Peter Telep, webtalk

A: The 7000 has a fan port on the right-rear of the system designed to circulate air through the system and dissipate heat. The system will run warm, as is expected. But it should not get overly hot. Dell/Brian McCullough, WebTalk

A: The I7000 system will get warm, that is to be expected. For this reason, we do not recommend keeping these notebooks in your lap. The hard drive seems to get warmer as it is a solid device that retains heat. It is picking up the heat from inside the system, but due to the laws of thermodynamics, it takes longer to dissipate this heat. It therefore gets warmer than the rest of the unit. If your unit is exhibiting problems such as shutting down or performance problems after being on for extended periods, it may be exhibiting a heat problem. Otherwise, it is functioning normally. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: This PII/266 [I-7000] runs very cool. The only time I can feel any heat, even after its been on 4 hours straight, is if I touch the metal port connector bracket along the back. And that is only slightly warm. Bruce A. Mallett, Newsgroup.

Q: I have played around with my Inspiron 7000 (266, 14.1, 64 RAM) for about a week now and the only things I do not like about it are the so-so sound from the built-in speakers (located under the palm wrest but ported thru small slits on the sides for some reason), and the amount of heat it generates. While the top of the computer stays mostly cool, the bottom gets rather hot. Dell uses its so-called Hypercool technology on this laptop as on the Latitude, but from what I can tell it doesn't work so well, or are all PII's uncomfortably warm? Would a 300PII actually be cooler? (per other posts I have read). DougD2000, newsgroup

A: From what I've read, the 300 CPU is supposed to run a little cooler than the 266. This is due to a better fab process so it uses a lower voltage. Erick Reyes, Webtalk

A: I have NO problems with heat. I don't normally put the PC on my lap, however. I am using RAIN (cpu idle software), and I have changed the power settings to turn off the disk drive as soon as possible (3 minutes?). To set the disk drive idle time go to start, settings, control panel, power management. The cooling fan never runs on mine... Posts on the comp.sys.laptops newsgroup seem to indicate that the drive generates a good portion of the heat... My 7000 runs for 8 hours at work, and the case is just above hand temperature... Larry Lueck, webtalk

A: I have an I7k too. When I first got it, the fan never came on, that is until I installed some apps that use the cpu a lot. If the app really works the video card, such as Quake 2, the fan is all ways on. It seems that the video card generates more heat in the machine than anything else. The fan is there to cool the thing anyway; laptops parts are spec'd to run at higher temps than desk tops. It will drain your battery faster though. You can also try rain or waterfall. I have rain running on my machine and it seems to help keep the system a little cooler. Vilkas Visotski, newsgroup

CPU Idle Utilities for Win98

A: One way to reduce heat is to install a CPU Cooling Utility (RAIN). RAIN is easy to install and there's *NO* apparent performance loss and it may prolonged battery life 20%. It's a 120Kb download and best of all... it's FREE! RAIN ( can be downloaded (under General Utilities) at: You can also read the FAQ for RAIN & WATERFALL at: RAIN will have no effect in Linux, NT, or OS/2 as these OSes already halt the processor when it is idle. Don't know why Micro$oft didn't include this functionality in Win95/98. Also, there will probably be little noticeable heat reduction for laptops with a Tillamook CPU since they run cooler due to their low-voltage design. One user pointed out that some programs keep the CPU busy even when they are doing absolutely nothing. Word 97 is one of the biggest offenders. Also, using a screensaver or an animated pointer will require additional CPU activity. You can also try Intel's CPU Idle. It's available at the same site as Rain10. WaterFall Pro is available at: John560e, newsgroup

A: Rain and Waterfall - CPU Idling software for Pentium or later is available at They have a good FAQ which explains why your cpu load meter will always show full when running CPU idle software. This can be alarming unless you understand what's causing it. NT has CPU idling built-into the operating system, Win98 does not. Lilla

A: Hi, there is a nice program called cpu-idle by Anreas Goetz which executes the HLT command when the CPU is idle. You can find it at it will keep the cpu cool enough so that the fan needn't be turned on at all during normal operation, except you are running cpu intensive programs. I can run my laptop up to twice as long on battery using linux: Under linux the cpu is automatically set on HLT when idle if you are running a kernel that supports apm. Hope this helps, Selim

Q: I am the delighted owner of a new I7K, received mid-November. My question is this. I am trying to setup the Waterfall Pro CPU cooler and it is asking for the type of motherboard in order to define the proper software. John Chamberlain.

If anyone has his information please advise and I'll post it here! Lilla

External Keyboard

A: When I attach an external keyboard or keypad to the ps2 port of the I7K, the embedded numeric pad is not disabled. This is the most annoying thing I have ever encountered on any laptop. I agree with Edmond. I have used many laptops including the Latitude and have never had this problem. This is a pain in the XXX. Is there fix for this that I'm missing somewhere? Kenny Orr, webtalk

It sounds like Kenny is saying that when you have an external keyboard plugged in that you cannot use the built-in dedicated number pad as expected and normal because numlock ON causes UIO JKL NM, on external keyboard to produce numbers instead of letters - as if you were using the internal keyboard. Is this true?

Internal Touchpad

Touchpad Features and Latest Drivers

Q: Why doesn't the "Virtual Scroll Bar" feature work with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0?

A: We are aware that the Virtual Scroll Bar does not work in IE4.0. You will need to do the following to get the Virtual Scroll Bar working:

Erroneous information:

The TouchPad can be disabled by going into the BIOS setup. Press F2 during the boot up. Switch the TouchPad to disabled. Dell/unnamed, email 13Nov98

Correct information as provided by i7000 users:

The TouchPad CANNOT be disabled in BIOS A02 and A04. As of Dec98 no other BIOS is available. The only way I've found to turn off the touchpad is to disable it in the System control panel. This information is provided by i7000 users as documented in the BIOS settings section of this page, and in the External Mouse section of this page. Lilla 24Nov98

A: I find that this Synaptics touch pad is very responsive and easy to use. It just seems to do the right thing. I like the built-in, imaginary ;scroll bar; along the right hand side. Basically just pretend that the right hand side of the touch pad is a scroll bar. By moving ones finger up and down at the East edge once can scroll the current window. Bruce A. Mallett, Newsgroup.

A: If you load the latest drivers from Synaptics, you can disable the taps feature from the systray icon. That way you won't get bouncing cursors... [from accidental touches]

A: If you haven't downloaded and installed the latest Synaptics Driver, ver. 5.0.17 [as of 21Oct98], from their website, you are really missing a great improvement. It allows scrolling in both directions as well as zooming and panning plus other great features. Better than a wheel mouse. This is a great, great improvement that I would HIGHLY recommend to all you other I7K owners. Rauk Friend, webtalk

A: When using an external mouse, you may want to create a separate hardware profile and check "Disable in this hardware profile" for the touchpad properties in Device Manager. Dell/Brian, Webtalk

Q: I downloaded this driver (5.0.17) and like the properties it gives you, but, since I installed it, the pointer does not move smoothly when the battery is charging. It pauses and stutters across the screen in sequence with the flashing battery charging light. If the battery is fully charged (solid light) or on straight battery or straight AC (battery removed) the pointer moves perfectly. Scott Calnan, webtalk

A: Scott, I recall reading a similar sounding post. The solution was found to be going into pointer driver and changing the update/refresh rate of the pointer from fast to slow. That fixed it for that person. Scott posted that this worked for him too. Lilla

How to test your TouchPad to see if it is compatible with NT

Note: If you think you might want to install NT at some point, you might want to test your touchpad as explained below.

Q: Our company recently purchased 2 Dell Inspiron 7000 laptops, and they appear to have different touchpads. Under Win98, I ran the utility from Synaptics [download] to test for the Synaptics TouchPad (The laptop uses Synaptics drivers). On machine #1 the software finds the touchpad, and on machine #2 it says nothing is detected. Dell was very polite in trying to assist me with the problem; however, since the TouchPad works fine under Windows98 they do not think the TouchPad is broken, which leaves me to believe that the two laptops are using different TouchPads. Funny, since they both were ordered with the same hardware configurations. Under NT, the first laptop detected a "Microsoft Port Mouse (Including BallPoint)" during the text based portion of NT setup. The second laptop got this: "No mouse or other pointing device." No matter what we try, we cannot get NT to detect the TouchPad. Jerry Kelly, newsgroup

A: Jerry: There is not a lot I have to offer on this, as we do not provide support for NT on this system. I suggest getting the latest NT driver directly from Synaptic's website. You should also test the hardware by running Dell Diagnostics on the touchpad. See Troubleshooting section below. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: I'm having the same problem with my Inspiron 7000. I discovered that running tprev.exe after exiting to the Win98 command prompt _will_ detect the touchpad, or ps/2 mouse. My guess it is a "plug and play" issue since Win98 supports Plug and Play, while NT 4.0 does not. Interestingly, if I boot directly to the Win98 command prompt, tprev.exe fails to detect the touchpad or ps/2 mouse. I have Bios revision A02 (023A) in case that makes a difference. Sound and video drivers work great, but without a touchpad, NT is useless. Frank Bourgeois, webtalk

A: Problem with NT and Touchpad. I returned my i7k for service and they fixed it. Is is the only way to get it work as I was informed by Dells support staff. Works great now! Rudolf Dellinger, webtalk

Troubleshooting the Internal TouchPad

I suggest getting the latest NT driver directly from Synaptic's website. You should also test the hardware by running Dell Diagnostics on the touchpad. Boot the system off the Dell Diagnostics Diskette and choose to run specific tests. Arrow down to the Mouse test, hit the spacebar to select it, and then go to the RUN menu. Choose to Run Selected, and the test will start. If this fails, then the touchpad has problems and needs to be serviced. If it passes, then we are looking at a software problem. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

External Mouse on PS/2, Serial, USB, Cordless

Note: If you experience this problem you can report it via Dell's webtalk. Search conference "18-Inspiron 7000" for topic "Mouse with Wheel Problem" and add a reply to that thread describing your problem. If you don't find a thread by that title, then create one using that same title as that will make it easier to do a search for this problem.

PS/2 mouse with wheel

Problem: PS2 mouse/wheel doesn't work on i7000, as reported below.

Reference point: PS2 mouse/wheel works fine on i3000. Just downloaded and installed the 5.0 drivers from on my Inspiron 3000. Running Windows 98, and occasionally using a PS/2 Microsoft Intellimouse. It is the Intellimouse 2.0 with wheel. Works Great!!! The touchpad now has many more options (including sensitivity adjustment), and the support for the Intellimouse is a long time coming. Once the PS/2 mouse is plugged in it disables the touch pad. Bill Davis, webtalk+Emails
[Note: I included this post as a reference point for how the driver works on another Inspiron model. This may indicate that it is the hardware, and not the driver. Lilla]

Status: A fix for the PS/2 mouse with wheel problem is in progress. [The problem being that the touchpad does not fully disable itself when a ps/2 mouse is plugged in to the ps/2 port] Dell/unnamed 13Nov98 email

Workarounds that should solve most users problems for now, as provided by Dell:

Lilla: This solution will provide use of both advanced mouse/wheel and advanced touchpad features.

Lilla: A02 and A04/r6 do not have a setting to disable the Touchpad. If there are other BIOS versions out there that have this setting, please advise me and I will include that fact here.

A: Connecting a mouse to the PS/2 port, and having it work, seems to be impossible. Installing software for an external mouse seems to deactivate the software for the built-in Synaptics touchpad. The touchpad resets to its default settings, including the tap touchpad = mouse button click setting. In addition, the touchpad does not deactivate when an external mouse is being used. The only way I've found to turn off the touchpad is to disable it in the System control panel. Furthermore, reinstalling the Synaptics driver deactivates or hobbles any external mouse software. I've tried 2 mice: a Logitech FirstMouse with wheel and a Microsoft IntelliMouse Pro. Scott Sillett, webtalk

Q: I cannot, no matter what I do, get the Wheel on the Intellimouse to work. I have tried connecting it to the serial port with the adapter. No luck. I tried disabling the touchpad. No luck. I tried going into the BIOS and disabling the Touchpad. My BIOS A04 release 6 has no such option. I called Dell Tech Support. They advised that there is NO WAY to get the wheel to work. Period. They say they have not done it on an I7K. Chris Gengaro 21Nov98

A: Chris, if you reinstall the mouse drivers, you should be able to select the wheel option and turn it on directly after install or reboot, I can't remember. Then reinstall the touch pad driver. I got the wheel to work this way in everything except html pages. The wheel works for them, but it scrolls at about one pixel per click of the wheel. Vilk

A: The book says the touch pad is disabled if you boot up with a mouse installed but Dell technical support says the book is wrong. Also can not change sensitivity if you have used an external mouse driver to install your mouse per Dell tech. supt. Robert Luscomb, webtalk

Q: When connecting an Intellimouse to the PS/2 port of the Inspiron 7000, the wheel doesn't work. When plugging it into the serial port, it works. However, I want to use the serial port for an external modem. Any ideas how to get it to work? I could care less about having the built-in touchpad working.

A: The latest driver from Synaptics is said to include support for "wheel" devices. I believe this driver only works for Serial and USB wheel devices, not PS/2. You may need to seek this alternative. To get this driver, go to: Download the Touchpad Driver for Windows 9x to a directory on your hard drive. Run the filename that you downloaded, and it will extract itself into several files. Run the Setup or Install program to install the driver. Dell/Brian McCullough

A: Actually, we did try that here [meaning try to install Microsoft PS/2 mouse with wheel as they sell this mouse with their desktop systems]. We were able to get the USB and serial mouse working with the wheel feature and the new drivers. We were not successful using the PS/2 model however. That is why I suggested the other alternatives. Brian McCullough

A: Here's a tougher one . . . I always use an external mouse and Dell tells me that I can't disable the touch pad. I keep hitting it while typing and the cursor jumps around. Totally screws up the typing. I downloaded the latest driver. Well, then I read that you can adjust the sensitivity. If you go to mouse and then to touch they have a slide bar. Fine, but as soon as I plug in the external mouse the touch portion of the menu greys out and defaults to the lightest touch position. Can't I set the sensitivity just because I have the external mouse plugged in? I need my external mouse and I need to type, now what? Later Jerry writes... It is totally hot-swappable. [hummmm.... is the ps/2 port really hot swappable on the I7000? If not, it could damage your computer. Lilla] On or off you can plug it in or take it out and it will work. The touch pad also works at all times. I wish I could disable it, but I can't. Jerry Dwyer, webtalk

A: Unfortunately, in installing the IntelliMouse driver, I killed the touchpad options, so I have to figure out how to reinstall that now. Mark Hilgart, newsgroup

A: While I like the built-in Synaptics touchpad in the 7000, I'd like to use my Trackman...........either with the pad or interchangably. Documentation Very limited! Seems with PS2 connection, Logitec will overwrite Synaptics drivers. boring re-install I'm using Synaptics 5.0 driver, from their site, by the way. Serial even less known. Anybody got an easy way to switch from one to the other........And back ?? Bill Seckler, webtalk

PS2 mouse with wheel (functionality: advanced mouse features with basic touchpad features)

A: I have Kennsington ps/2 wheel mouse. No problems, wheel and everything works, still have touchpad active, but I did not install touchpad drivers so I have no fancy touchpad features, but don't need them. David, email

Serial mouse with wheel (functionality: advanced mouse features with basic touchpad features)

Q: Second, I have an external mouse (I've used a Logitech FirstMouse and am currently using a Microsoft Intellimouse Pro) connected to the Inspiron's serial port. I'm not using the ps/2 port because I want to use the wheel feature of the mouse. Contrary to your response (quoted below), the Touchpad *still* works when an external mouse is connected to the serial port. The problem I'm having is that installing software for an external mouse hobbles the Synaptics touchpad software. In addition, reinstalling the Synaptics software partially disables the external mouse software. How do I fix this problem? why doesn't the "wheel" feature of a wheel mouse work when connected to the ps/2 port? I hate to use up my only USB port for a mouse! T. Scott Sillett, webtalk

A: I downloaded the new synaptics drivers which purportedly supports the ps/2 wheel mouse. However, they disable the wheel functions of Microsoft's driver and software. Here's what I did:

  1. If you plan on using the mouse for most operations, then forget the synaptics driver.
  2. Download the latest wheel driver from microsoft's site. You'll get software that enables you to use the wheel mouse. However, this software will disable the synaptics driver. BUT the touchpad will still work, sans the bells and whistles available with the synaptics driver.
  3. Connect the serial adapter to your wheel mouse and plug it into the serial port--this way there's no chance of a PS/2 conflict. My wheel mouse runs on my Inspiron. Your wheel mouse should have come with an adapter to do this. If not, I think you can get one at any computer store. Good Luck! Peter Telep

A: With a Serial Mouse connected to the system you have to disable the Touchpad [in Control Panel]. Once you disconnect the Serial Mouse you will have to reinstall your Touchpad drivers. Kevin Asberry DT10321 Dell Online Services

The above post makes no sense to me, but I'm adding it just in case it provides a clue to someone else.

Cordless mouse with wheel

A: I am using a Logitech cordless wheel mouse with my new Inspiron 7000, with the new 8.2 drivers from Logitech. However, the wheel is not recognized in either Windows 98 or Windows NT 4. You can't scroll with it, and when you look in mouse properties, the picture of the mouse shows only two buttons without the wheel. Otherwise, it works like a regular 2-button mouse, and the touchpad remains active. Does anyone know how to make Windows recognize the wheel? Hien Nguyen, webtalk

USB mouse with wheel (functionality: advanced features of both mouse and touchpad)

A: Best solution - forget about the MS Intellimouse, and get a Logitech USB Wheel mouse - cost me $45Australian. I installed it, then installed the new version 5 (I think) Synaptics Touchpad drivers, and now I have the wheel that works in EVERYTHING, plus my touchpad is fully active also, including all the advanced features like finger scrolling etc. -- Pete, Brisbane, Australia, newsgroup

Q: I have an Inspiron 7000 with a Synaptics touchpad. I have to do some pretty detailed work, so I went out and got an MicroSoft USB Intellipoint mouse. The mouse works great after I got the wheel working, but the wheel in IE4.0 moves the page so slowly that it is useless, while in other apps it works great. Does anybody else have trouble with this, and if so how do you fix it? As for the touchpad, it works great too, except in IE4.0. I have downloaded and installed the latest drivers (5.0) and it allows for virtual scrolling in IE4.0, but the page streaks so bad when you scroll you have to stop just to read anything. Anyone else have this problem too? I just want to know if it is my machine or just the drivers. Vilkas Visotski, newsgroup

Lilla: I think this problem may have a solution. See "Internal Touchpad" heading in this section for Synaptics post on how to solve the Touchpad IE4.0 problem.

A: Vilkas, I have the exact same setup [Microsoft USB Intellipoint mouse] and I disabled the Synaptics drivers (v5) because they conflict with the Intellipoint software. Howie, newsgroup

A: I had the same problem [wheel would not work] with my PS/2 Logitech wheel mouse. Based on what I learned from Tech Support, since both the wheel mouse and the Touch Pad are PS/2, the wheel would not function. I got a Logitech USB wheel mouse and now the wheel works fine. Good luck. Sidney Chan

Port Replicator

Link for Port Replicator

Q: What ports are on the Port Replicator II? Brian Quay, Dell Webtalk

A: The port replicator for the 7000 has these features:

A: I ordered the I-7000 and a port replicator which included a 2nd AC adapter which I overlooked at first. It was tucked in a slim box on the outer edge of the shipping carton. I almost through it out by accident! Ted, Webtalk

Q: I7000 and replicator 2? Can I connect a monitor, keyboard, mouse, 10baseT network cable, AC Adapter, USB scanner and USB videocam to the replicator and leave them attached while I dock and undock the portable? Does the battery charge while the AC Adapter is connected and machine is powered off/on? Ted Galatis, WebTalk

A: You can connect all the devices you mentioned except for the network cable, as there is no network port on the replicator. You will need to use a PC-Card for this. All the other devices you mentioned can connect directly to the replicator. The battery is always charged when connected to an AC power source, whether the system is on or off. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q: Port replicator and leaving lid open/closed? For those using CRT! Many notebooks have suspend switches which are activated when the notebook is closed. Does the DELL Inspiron 7000 need to be at least slightly opened to prevent the notebook from suspending while docked, or does the computer know better while it is docked? Hans Omli, Webtalk

A: *sigh* I received some wrong information originally on this again. I tested it myself, and it is as Michael stated. The system WILL work with the lid closed while docked. If the lid is closed while the system is undocked, it will Suspend. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: I got my I7k and Port Replicator today. Believe it or not, it does not go into suspend mode [a good thing] when the lid is closed. I use an external monitor, keyboard and mouse and the lid is down. I have an LCD external monitor hooked into the port Replicator. To get my machine up and running I open the lid, turn it on, close the lid and from then on it works perfectly. It does not go into suspend mode [a good thing]. Michael Fraleigh, Webtalk

A: We always recommend performing a shutdown when docking or undocking the system. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: The replicator also has separate keyboard & PS/2 mouse connections while the computer has one. I use the port replicator with an external keyboard & a ps/2 logitech mouse. When undocked, I use the cheapest USB mouse available & have not run into any problems. At the moment there is a problem with using an external keypad attached to the PS/2 connection, and some problems with using a PS2 connected mouse. Val Harrop, webtalk

Sharing desktop devices with notebook via a swicthbox

Q: I have a desktop computer with devices (monitor/keyboard/mouse) which I sometimes want to use with my laptop. Is there a switchbox that will allow me to do this?

A: Yes, the Cybex Switchview KVM switch box allows me to connect up to four computers to one keyboard, one mouse and one monitor. I have the port replicator connected to the box. This allows me to use my 19in monitor when I'm at home. You can toggle between the different computers using a Ctrl, Ctrl, A (B, C, or D) key sequence or also by a button on the box. It has worked flawlessly and comes in either a 2 or 4 computer model and is very reasonably priced vs. other KVM switches (KVM - Keyboard, Video, Monitor). I purchased it from Datawarehousecomm? You can also cascade multiple boxes together to connect to even more computers. I had to purchase separate sets of cables for my desktop, server, and port replicator that all connect to the switch box. Then I connected my monitor, keyboard and mouse into the box and was able to use either the hot-key sequence I described earlier or a button to switch between the different systems. I purchased the port replicator mainly to avoid having to plug in so many cables whenever I'm at home. I still have to plug in a network and telephone cable, but at least I don't have to keep plugging in the keyboard, video, mouse, and AC adapter. The box and cables were $400 or so which is definately less than purchasing a monitor for each system. Also I save a lot of desk space. I highly recommend this solution. If you are only interested in connecting 2 computers they have a 2-port version that is even less. David Ely, newsgroup

Docked and Undocked Profiles

Q: Will I need different hardware configuration for docked versus undocked so the machine will not look for the hardware devices connected to the replicator when I boot while undocked?

A: Yes, you will need to build a separate profile for this dock configuration. The system does not build this docked profile for you. The Port Replicator is basically just a pass-through for the system to external devices, and is transparent to Windows. The system when docked for the first time may detect many if not all devices and try to load drivers for them. This is why you will need to make the dock profile BEFORE docking for the first time. You can then choose the dock profile at boot time, and configure the devices from there. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

Q: I created two new hardware profiles, docked and undocked. I enabled the 3Com card that came with the I7000 in the docked profile only. However, when I boot to the undocked profile, I still get the message that explorer can not find the network drive. I mapped the network drives permanently. Is there any way around this problem other than to map the network drives manually when I boot to the docked profile? Ted Galatis, webtalk

A: I belive if you hunt around you can find an option in Windows that says not to try to find the network drives until you try to use them as opposed to re connecting all of them at the start. Ronald A. Dowty, webtalk

A: Ronald is correct. You can find this setting under Start | Settings | Control Panel | Network. Properties for the Network adapter. Dave Dykhuis, webtalk

System BIOS

Status: Dell is currently looking into developing and ACPI compliant BIOS for the Inspiron 7000. When or if this will become available, I cannot say as I do not have that information. As far as what Dell will support in the future I also cannot speculate as I do not have access to that information. When Dell reaches a decision on this, some sort of announcement should be made. 2Dec98

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) What is it and why do I want it?

At this link we can read:

ACPI/OnNow. Power management has historically been used on portable computers to reduce power consumption and increase battery life. PC97 advocates that all desktops and portable computers support power management at the operating system level. Microsoft is including software support for power management of devices in the Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0 operating systems. ACPI will permit the operating system to switch the computer to a low-power state during low-usage times. This feature also allows OnNow functionality; for example, the system can be "awakened'' instantly for external requests, such as incoming faxes, a user pressing a key, or a network-based systems management application request.

i7000 users waiting/hoping Dell will provide ACPI/OnNow BIOS support

A: In NT5b2 if you want power managent and Cardbus to function you need ACPI. Supposedly beta3 will feature APM and Cardbus support for non-ACPI laptops but that will not be out for 2-3 months. The BIOS is flash upgradeable. Whether or not DELL will provide an ACPI BIOS [via flash upgrade] to provide what most other vendors in the marketplace *already* have is another question. Nathan Mercer, webtalk 26Nov98

Q: I wanted to get a laptop that will be good for the future. it seems that Dell does not want to support new advances with the old hardware. I dont want to send this laptop back because of this. any ideas. Eaton Blumenstein, webtalk

A: Eaton, unfortunately, the Inspirion 7000 BIOS is not ACPI compliant. I know of no current plans to develop a compliant BIOS. Sincerely, Robert Windisman ~DT19295 Dell Mobile Online Services 13Nov98

Q: BIOS doesn't support ACPI which is needed for NT 5.0 which we should _all_ be upgrading to sometime next year. Hans Omli

Q: The processor, chipset, video card, etc. all seem to be ACPI-compliant. Is the BIOS the only non-compliant component, or are there other non-compliant components?

Q: How about ACPI? Is it possible for future BIOS upgrade to support ACPI? Brian Quay, WebTalk

A: The hardware is ACPI compliant, however software support for ACPI is not yet available. No firm date for ACPI software compliance is known at this time. Dell/Max Murphy, WebTalk

A: ACPI will not be fully supported by Win98 until SP1, due out by year-end.

Q: The I7K bios currently doesn't support ACPI - are there any plans to add this support in future versions of the BIOS? Jim Lewallen, Webtalk

A: Dell is looking into the possibility of including ACPI compliance in future BIOS releases, although nothing definite is planned at this time. Should this become available, it will be posted on our website. Dell/Brian McCullough ;15Oct98;

A: The NEC Versa LX is comparable to the Inspiron 7000, though a 15" LCD is not available yet and you should expect to pay a bit more. However, the NEC includes ACPI support, an LS120 drive option, dual-monitor support, any many other features not found in the current Inspirons. Hans Omli, webtalk

A: The HP7150 is currently ACPI enabled, has the ATI video card implemented with dual view and simultaneous LCD/TV. It also has all of the other features of the Inspiron except the extra 4M Video ram. It also has a LCD battery gauge. I think that the IBM 770X series is also ACPI compliment and support NT directly. Graham Parkinson, webtalk

BIOS versions

Q: What happened to BIOS A-02? Jim, webtalk

A: The BIOS was pulled in favor of a new version (A-04 I believe) which should be released to the web soon. Dell/Brian McCullough ;22Oct98;

A: Softex Corp wrote to me today in regards to a driver problem and said "Did you upgrade the latest level of BIOS for inspiron 7000 (A04). Talk to DELL about the upgrade for BIOS." I talked to DELL tech support and they told me it isn't released. Marc Johnson, webtalk 4Nov98

A: Try updating the BIOS. My main thought here was that before a user exchanges their battery, they might want to update their BIOS. If corrupted, it could affect the battery but there isn't any specific known problem. DELL/unnamed, email 11Nov98

How to flash the BIOS with a BIOS update

A: Here's how you get the latest BIOS upgrade and run the latest flash BIOS program for your system:

A: You can find a complete index of Dell's downloadable files here: I didn't see any BIOS files for the I7K though. Dave Dykhuis 5Dec98

BIOS settings

A: If you don't want to look at the Dell insignia everytime the I7000 starts goto BIOS and change the Quiet Boot option to disable. Mike Pak , webtalk

A: I have the Revision A02 BIOS, and I can tell you the following about the BIOS setup screen:

  1. There is no way to disable the touchpad in revision A02 of the BIOS
  2. There is no way to disable plug and play support in revision A02 of the BIOS

    Frank Bourgeois, Email 23Nov98

A: I have Bios 4.0, Release 6.0. I do not have an option to disable the Touchpad. No way to disable plug and play in Bios 4. Chris Gengaro, email 22Nov98

How to Stop those Annoying Startup Beeps

A: Loud beeping when booting, but there's a solution. It was related to the PCcard devices installed (I have two). It would beep twice, with a delay between each, when booting. I discovered this because I noticed that when I took out one of the cards and then booted it beeped only once. I went to Control Panel; PC Card (PCMCIA) and found a check box "Disable PC card sound effects" on the "Gobal Settings" tab. That did it. I am free of that obnoxiously loud beeping! Bruce A. Mallett, Newsgroup.

A: As stated by others, here is how to disable the beep sounds, from Domingo Chang: "In control panel, devices, disable BEEP device....reboot. Voila, no more loud annoying beep...course you also lose the beep when swapping out pc cards but what the hell." See how this works for you. DELL/Brian McCullough

A: The sounds are made by two different things: One is the POST beep from the system, and any others that follow are double-beeps that are the PC-Cards being detected on bootup. To disable the system beep, you would need to go into the BIOS and enable Quiet Boot. To disable the PC-Card sound effects, you could use the FN-PgDn keystroke to adjust system volume, or you could go to Control Panel, double-click on the PC-Card icon, go to Global Settings, and put a check mark in the box that says Disable PC-Card Sound Effects. In both cases, after the changes are made, you will need to do a complete shutdown and reboot in order for them to take effect. These are the only ways to disable these sounds. Brian McCullough


Q: This is the greatest notebook for me yet but I am wondering if any other users have a ;loose; keyboard (on the upper left side) that seems to flex up and down while you type and make extra noise. Like it's not fastened down properly. Bill Goodan, Webtalk

A: With the machine off, close the lid and turn it upside down. On the bottom of the unit will be four inset holes that form a line across the middle of the system. These holes will be between the hard drive and the memory slots. Make sure that each of these holes contain a screw, and that the screw is tight (not ;cranked down;). These screws fasten the keyboard to the unit. If you are missing any or they are loose, then this is the cause of your problem. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

A: The upper left side of my keyboard makes a ;flapping; sound while typing. I'm not bothered by the keyboard deflecting under finger pressure, but I do dislike that flapping sound. It is almost as though a plastic shim should go between the upper-left-side of the keyboard's underside and whatever is below the keyboard. Anyone else notice this?

How to test if your keyboard makes a flapping sound: press the ;W; key (multiple times) as fast and hard as you would normally, when typing a letter. Listen to the sound that is generated and try to remember it. Now, while holding down the ;Q; key, repeat the above ;W; keystrokes. If the ;W; keystroke is not quiet, then you have just observed ;keyboard flapping;. * The 4 screws - in line - on the bottom were snug. With moderate torque, I was able to get another 1/2 turn on the screws. The screw tightening did NOT stop the keyboard from making flapping sounds (upper left side)... especially with the ;Q,W,E,R; keys. I'm still waiting for someone to present a solution for this issue. Does anyone know how to remove the keyboard? I'm sure if I could get the keyboard out, a solution would become evident. Vic Oros, Webtalk

A: Whoops. Mine was quiet. Now the left side of the keyboard rattles. I've had the machine 5 days. It's the keys around the S. NOT HAPPY!!!!! Bill Herder, Webtalk

Things to Consider when Ordering

Q: Tax?

A: Dell charges sales tax in Texas, Kentucky, Florida and Nevada. They have to charge it in any state where they have any office or facility so they must do something in those other states. Their quotation form says that for all other states, tax relates to service contracts only. Katsmeow, newsgroup

A: If you buy your computer as business use vs. home use, they charge sales tax. Also... if they have any type of store in your state, I think they charge tax. glacierextreme, newsgroup

A: Your credit card is "authorized" when you place your order, but is actually charged when the order ships. However, that means that your credit limit is reduced when "authorized". That also means that if you use a debit card, you're effectively being charged when you order. Bill Herder, webtalk

A: I paid cash, by check, on October 12, fedexed out, overnite priority, and it has been cashed and is deducted from my account since October 19th. Sandy Osieski, webtalk

A: BTW always be sure to ask about ;special promotions; when you are placing your order. I got a free nylon carrying case. John A

A: Someone else posted that they got a free extra battery.

Q: Price guarantee (rebate if price drops)?

A: Dell customer service told me that I have 30 days from the date my laptop ships to file for a "price guarantee" rebate. The rep told me that all you have to do is call up before the 30, and make the request. Jason Allum, newsgroup

Q: Price of accessories ordered later?

A: I ordered my I7K port replicator 28 days after my I7K invoice and got it for $149. My salesman told me that all system accesories maintain the "with system" pricing for 30 days after computer invoice. BTW, I got it 3 business days after I ordered it (2 weeks ago). DougD2000, newsgroup

Q: Is cost of extra battery same cost if ordered later?

A: Unfortunately I did not think to order a spare main battery for my I7K when I ordered the unit and was charged $159 [$129 with order] plus shipping for it when I ordered it two weeks if you're going to need a spare main battery, order it with the laptop. : ) ps: am getting about 3:20hrs of life off the main battery. [sorry, I lost track of who posted this]

Q: Cost of extra AC Adapter?

A: $35. Notebook includes one, replicator inlcudes one. Thus, if you order a notebook and a replicator, you will get two adapters.

Q: Is price of port replicator the same if ordered later?

A: The price is different, but you certainly can order a replicator at a later date! I can't remember for sure, because there were a bunch of questions other than port replicator that I asked at the same time. In any case, I think that the ;after the sale; (ie after 30 days following delivery of the machine) price was either $169 or $179. Bill, newsgroup

PS/2 Port

Q: Does the PS/2 port support a Y-adapter to plug in both an external mouse and keyboard? Brian Quay, webtalk

A: The Inspiron 7000 uses a different keyboard controller than earlier models and it *does* support a Y-adapter for the PS/2 [where earlier models did not]. However, Dell does not sell or support this adapter through tech support. The Y-adapter that was used for testing was actually built internally so I cannot recommend a brand. Please understand that the Y-adapter is *NOT* supported by Dell. Although it seems unlikely that someone would need this type of assistance. Dell/unnamed 13Nov98, email

Lilla: If someone tries a Y-Adapter, let me know and i'll add your experience here. I know that Belkin sells one. Darwin Keyboards sells same Y that IBM sells for Thinkpads, for about 1/2 of what IBM sells them for. Link is

USB Port

For general info, I'd recommend , as well as , which also sells USB devices. Frank Garcia, newsgroup

Q: Does the USB port fully support daisy chaining of peripherals? Brian Quay, Dell Webtalk

A: The USB port on the 7000 is fully induustry standard and supports multiple (daisy chained) devices. Dell/Max Murphy, WebTalk

A: You should get a USB hub that plugs into the single USB port and will give you 4 or 8 ports. I use two 4 port hubs that run my speakers, mouse, game pad, scanner, and printer. All work together fine. Christopher J Killgore, webtalk

Serial Port

Note: For problems related to serial port GPS units, goto top of this page, click on Accessories section link, search for GPS heading and read there.

A: Later...Bruce writes: I found the problem - and just like other users - there was something else using COM1 - it was my Pilot "HOT SYNC" that was in my startup - it was so obvious when I read other comments about the COM1 problem. Bruce Green

A: On my new I7000, I had a problem downloading from an Olympus digital camera (error message: could not find camera). I actually thought it was a WIN98 problem. Olympus told me to disable the IR port while downloading. Download then worked fine. The IR port takes control of COM 1. Hope this helps someone avoid some frustrations. Tony Strupeck, webtalk

Parallel Port

Q: I'm trying to set-up a Canon BJC-210 color printer on my laptop. I tried the infamous plug'n'play feature of Win98 without success. It recognized the printer, but I'm having trouble ever since. It's printing only part of my document. I've tried many things to try fixing it. I even downloaded the most recent driver from the canon site without success. My last try was to modified the type of parallel port in the BIOS. I tried ECP, EPP, bidirectional and normal mode. BTW, the printer used to work on my LMP133ST. Any suggestion? Matthieu Turmel, Webtalk

A: To correct your printer problem,

  1. go into the BIOS of the machine and make sure that the Parallel Port (Parallel Mode) is set to ECP. Save your changes and exit. Let the system boot into Win98 as normal.
  2. Go to Start | Settings | Control Panel. Double-click on the System icon, and select the Device Manager tab. Click the little "+" sign next to Ports COM and LPT. Highlight the Printer Port LPT1, and select Remove from the bottom. Select OK, and then Close.
  3. Back in Control Panel, double-click on the Printers folder. In here, you will see several icons including the icons for the various printers you have installed. Delete all the icons for these printers. Do not delete the Add Printer or Microsoft Fax icons. To delete an icon, right-click on the icon, and choose delete from the list. When this is done, close down any open windows and Shutdown | Restart the computer.
  4. When the machine reboots, Win98 will detect the Parallel port, and reinstall the drivers for it. At this time it may also detect the printer attached to the system. You will need to insert the manufacturer's driver disk into the drive at this point, and select Next to start the driver installation process. Follow the prompts, and at the end choose to print a test page if prompted.
  5. If it does not detect the printer, then go to Control Panel, double-click on the Printers folder, and again on the Add Printer icon. Select Next, Local Printer (you will get this option only if connected to a network), Have Disk, and after you insert the manufacturer's driver disk, select OK. Follow the prompts from here, and select to print a test page at the end.
  6. Printing a test page will verify that your printer is working correctly. If you are not prompted to do this, you can do so after the driver installation is complete by right-clicking on the icon of your printer and selecting Properties. At the bottom will be an option to Print Test Page.
  7. If this does not correct your problem, you may want to contact the manufacturer of the printer to see if there is a special configuration utility you need to run to get the printer working. They can give you more information on this. Dell/Brian McCullough, Webtalk

IR Port

A: To enable IR on your system you need to:

  1. reboot the computer and press the F2 key during boot.
  2. Go to the Devices Screen and enable IR.
  3. Press F10 to Save the settings and reboot the system.
  4. Once you're at the desktop you need to click on Start | Settings Control Panel | Infrared. Click on the Options tab and place a check next to "Enable infrared communications". Click on the Identification tab and give your system a name. Click OK. Close the Control Panel.
  5. Open My Computer and double-click on "Infrared Recipient". Once the next dialog box appears your system will begin polling for IR devices. If you would like to use FAST IR, then you will need to enable it in the BIOS and disable the Serial Port. Then boot into Windows, and run the Setup program on your Drivers CD that we shipped with the system to install the fast IR drivers.

    Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: Brian, happily your directions got my IR port working to HPLJ6P. (Had to disable serial port in BIOS setup tho) Hurray!

There's a big gulf between the directions that you gave here and what's in the manual, which says (Ref & TG, p 2-6): "The default is DISABLED. Dell recommends that you retain the default settings" !!! which is a misleading, not to mention offensive, statement.

A question though. I didn't get a CD called "drivers", there is one called "Dell Inspiron 7000 system software". However, there is no setup program in the root directory of this CD, and there is no subdirecory that clearly relates to the IR port (directories on the cd are Audio, DVD, Modem, Touchpad, Utilities, and Video. No dice in Utilities, but there is a user guide help file there that makes reference to a "Fast Infrared Drivers program diskette." I've searrched diligently and can't find such a thing. I don't see it in Files either... So, how can I get the Fast IR Drivers? Thomas Shanley, webtalk

A: You can get the drivers right here, attached to this message SMC_IR.EXE (55KB) . (I'm such a great guy...) The reason we recommend you leave the settings as Disabled, is you will run into resource conflicts when enabling the FAST IR mode. Most people will not use this, and will therefore not need it. So we recommend you leave it as disabled. Furthermore, if you plan on enabling FAST IR, don't forget to change your Parallel Mode to Bi-Directional. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: I did have one problem with configuring the IR port. Seems that the thing will only accept an IR config if you turn off the serial port (which I needed for my Palm Pilot). Dell support was superb and eventhough I had to mess around with the BIOS for 20 minutes, they got me going one Sunday afternoon!, newsgroup

Q: I can't get the built in com port, the internal modem, and the IR port to work at the same time. They all seem to want either IRQ 3 or 4 EXCLUSIVE. Is anyone else experiencing this problem? and is the a solution or upgrade to fix? Steve Long, webtalk

A: I had problems using a digital camera interface attached to COM 2 when IR was active. Olympus told me to disable IR when using interface because the IR takes control of COM2. All then worked well. As far as I am concerned not much of an inconvenience (love the I7000)to enable / disable IR port. I have not experienced any problems using the Winmodem with IR enabled. Tony Strupeck, webtalk

A: Steve, your problem is you are running out of resources, just as Tony was. Tony's solution was to not use all the devices simultaneously, which frees enough resources to use the devices he needs presently. This is what we recommend as well. The Serial port defaults to COM1. The IR likes this port as well, but if not available will move to the next available COM port. The modem defaults to COM2, but also will move if not available (this is set in the BIOS). So basically you are trying to shove three devices onto the first 2 COM ports, when you need at least 3. If you have any other devices requiring COM ports, then this only complicated the matter further. You should therefore disable one of the devices as Tony suggested to free the resources needed to setup correctly. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

Problem with Hinges

A: My left hinge constantly made "creaking" or "popping" noises while I typed. After a bit of investigating, I discovered that the bottom part of the lcd panel was rubbing against the top part of the hinge cover. Whether this will eventually lead to the hinge cover breaking, I don't know. Several tech support people I spoke with insisted that there was no cause for concern. Dell gave me the option of either sending in the unit for repair (3 day turnaround) or wait to have a new unit built based on the same specs - lead time of 21 days! It only took a week to get the original unit. I stuck a little bit of teflon tape between the gap, and this appears to have quieted things down. Jimmy Huey, webtalk

A: That's interesting: my Inspiron has the same hinge problem. Tech Support said 1) Live with it a while and see if it works itself out; 2) send in for repair, with a 3-5 day turnaround. So far, I'm going by the 1st option but the hinge hasn't quieted down much yet! Mark G Stahl, newsgroup

Internal Fan

A: My fan usually kicks on when I'm playing games like Forsaken or Descent II. Otherwise, during eight hours of word processing, it never turns on. Mine is not very loud. It simply sounds like a fan whirring along. It runs for about fifteen minutes, then shuts off. Be glad that yours does turn on, otherwise your system might melt like chocolate in your hands! Peter Telep, webtalk


Q: 300mhz... How can I tell I got that? Marc, newsgroup

A: When you boot the laptop, you will start at a screen which says DELL in the middle and says to press F2 to go into setup. After you press F2, look at the screen -- it will show the processor speed and the model (300GT, for example). Dell offers the 7000 with either a 266 or 300 Mhz P2. I have an Inspiron 7000, and the CPU speed and model number isn't readily apparent unless you follow the procedure I outlined. Brad, newsgroup

A: Get CPUID utility from EP Brown's site at: Just click on DOWNLOADS on the left... John, newsgroup

Q: How many Spindles?

A: The Inspiron 7000 is a 3-spindle machine. The three features commonly referred to are: battery, floppy, and CD/DVD. Since the Inspiron 7000 is now using a combo drive like the Gateway 9100, it qualifies as a 3-spindle machine where the old 3200's were only 2 spindle as you had to take out the floppy to use the CD internally. Plato90s, newsgroup.

Q: If you get a bad computer, are you allowed to keep your old system while waiting for the new system to ship out? I got conflicting information from two techs. One told me, sure - no problem. You can keep your old system while waiting for the new system to arrive. Another tech told me, no way. You have to send in your system first - then wait for the new system to build (21 days in my case). Jimmy Huey

Under the Hood

Q: Can I at some point open up my I7K to expose the "guts" of the machine or is it sealed and would break its the 3 year warranty period? Susan, newsgroup

A: Dell's website has the complete Inpiron 7000 Service Manual online for downloading in pdf format (Adobe Acrobat). Prints out as a 5/8'' thick manual. Covers lots of things. Remember though, any unauthorized entry into the notebooks innards can void the warranty. Vic, newsgroup

A: This link illustrates what's under the hood, so we can look at the pictures and gain some understanding. Remember though, as Vic said above, any unauthorized entry into the notebooks innards can void the warranty. Lilla

Base Assembly Component Removal Dell® Inspiron (TM) 7000

User Comments on i7000

A: I've finally abandoned the Macintosh after 10 years of loyal use. Maybe I'm spoiled by the good old Mac's plug and play powers. In any event, all of these glitches in my shiny new Dell Inspiron are giving me hives... My Mac to Win98 transmigration has been a chore, and this i7k mess has only added to my irritation. I sure hope they fix these problems soon. I feel like I bought the beta version of the i7k. Frankly, $3600 is too much to pay for a beta. My 30 day return period ended last week, just before I really had a chance to get to know my glorious laptop. I was out of the coutry for 2 weeks during my 30 day grace period, and I'm tempted to ask Dell if they'll still take the inspiron back. All this shows me how cursory all those glowing magazine reviews of the i7k are. Scott Sillett, webtalk

Note from Lilla: To read about Scott's problems search for Sillet in

A: Its a square box. Very rectangular. Somehow I expected some bevelling, sloping surfaces, or something fancier ala Compaq or Toshiba. But it is nice looking. Bruce A. Mallett, Newsgroup.

A: I have my I7000 sit side by side with my friend's GW9100. His screen just little bit better but not that much. But his speakers are much better. We have the same 14.1; screen. I have not seen any bad pixels on mine. To me I think 15; screen doesn't make much different and the battery will use up sooner than 14.1; about 30 minutes. About the noise from DVDROM and fan, it's not that bad after all. The only one time it's noisy when I played my 3 year old MPEG 1 movie. And that's all. This machine is awesome fast. The unit is warm but it will not burn your laps. My friend's GW9100, he has a problem with the hard drive which he got a replacement later. I hope this info would help. Nick, newsgroup

A: I'm quite pleased with the system. I've got the 300 with 14' 8MB video and DVD. The screen is very large and bright. Mine only has 1 dead pixel. The machine itself is quite sturdy but heavy (I was upgrading from an ultra-portable). It's not too bad though, I carry it around every day. Mike Pak, Webtalk

A: I tried a I7K 14.1; 128MB, 8GB DVD unit and sent it back. It was extremely heavy and bulky and got extremely hot. After about 10 minutes of use it was too hot to touch or set on your lap. The speakers were weak. The DVD unit vibrated terribly was was very loud. Other than that it was fast and the screen was perfect. The price was great. Still, I think a 10lb travel weight is just too much. I'm now looking at some of the 4-5lb models like the Thinkpad 600 or Versa SX or even the regular 7lb notebooks like the Versa LX. William Taylor, newsgroup

A: For those waiting for their system to ship, here is a taste of what they can expect: System: Inspiron 7000, 128Mb RAM, 15.1; screen, 4Gb HD, 8Mb Video, DVD/Floppy combo, Internal Modem, Win98 with Home Essentials. Overall speed: Better than my old 266MHz desktop. Hard Drive: QUIET, bios level suspend Screen: Very bright, slight contrast differential (top to bottom) but not bothersome, locks down very nicely (unlike some other notebooks), 1/4; screen overhang is not bad. Video: LT version of chipset acts just like the regular version, maybe a little slower. Played several games (Forsaken, MDK, etc.) without problems. DVD/Floppy: Tried with S-VHS output, and regular RCA output. Both look great, no jitter, no strobe effect. Color resolution not optimal but not bothersome. Sound a little low, but with amplified speaker or stereo, no problem. Internal modem: Reported problems on newsgroups, and webtalk. I connect WITHOUT problem ever time, with actual throughput (DTE) of 6,000cps (equivalent to about 51,000kbs) Add special setting of ;-v90=21; to Win98 modem strings. Good voice chip, supports distinctive rings, but lacks caller ID feature. One BIG benefit: full solid phone jack integrated into notebook, not those cables/pop-out things you get with PCMCIA cards. Sound: To me, not bad, but the weakest part of this excellent machine. Internal speakers are notebook grade. Plug the card into amplified speakers, you get a buzz. Battery: excellent power storage. Touchpad: comes with nifty software that give it Microsoft Wheel mouse effect. The unit does have a fan, which blows on rare occasion (temp. monitored). I also attach H/PC (Mobilon) to serial port, and Infrared port (at 115k) without any problems. Let me know how your Inspiron fits your expectations! Alistair Erskine Richmond, VA

A: Okay, here's what I got: Inspiron 7000 300Mhz 15" 8 gig HD 128M RAM Psion Gold Card 56K+Fax 3Com Fast Ethernet 10/100 Extra battery 8 megs of VRAM on the Rage Pro DVD. I'll post my impressions so far first. Anyway. Okay, I have to say it... one dead pixel, stuck on. Bottom left though. It's fortunate that it's not in the screen on the one wide-screen DVD that I have, maybe it'll become annoying if I watch full-screen movies.. that's a project for tomorrow. That said... wow. This is amazing :) I went to CompUSA today to pick up a mouse and power strip, and looked at the laptops there, they just don't compare. The screen is almost too bright in a dark room, in a lighted room it's just right. It is hot though, I can't keep it in my lap without jeans on, although putting my 100-CD case in between me and it works pretty well too. DVD works great with Star Trek: First Contact, which I believe is anamorphic. I love the keyboard, I dare say it's better than any desktop I've ever used, once you get used to where the keys are. Everything works fine. The screen is easier on my eyes than CRTs, and I'm used to 17" and 21" monitors. I don't think big pixels are a problem, text looks crisp to me. The way the screens are antialiased at lower resolutions is amazing, I played DOOM and StarCraft which use 640x480 mode and they look perfect. Still can't wait to really test the 3D card, I'll do that when I can get to my copy of Quake II. So far the only annoying thing about it is hitting the touchpad while typing, but I saw an option in the touchpad setup that is supposed to help guard against that called "palmcheck". Speakers aren't *that* bad, but I was looking at a Compaq Presario in CompUSA and it has real speakers... I guess if you really want to listen to music and not just sound effects or speech, you need headphones. It's heavy, too.. I think this laptop and just one programming manual and that'll be all I can carry on my back. Overall I am very pleased with it. I would recommend it (so far, anyway) to anyone who won't compromise on power and is willing to give up a little portability. I looked at the VAIO today, that thing is so tiny! It was a little slower, but wow, it was tiny. I can see why people go for that if they don't need everything in the Inspiron. Mark Hilgart, newsgroup

A: I purchased a 7000 and have been testing it for 20 days. Here are my impressions. 7000- superb, one of the easiest computers to configure. I have about 25 laptops (Toshiba, Gateway,Compac,Micron, Mac) and 200 PC's in my company and often act as the IS "geek", even with my IS team in place. Functionality is excellent, screen is excellent, speed, excellent, a 3 spindle machine means no swapping and trying to figure out what you need. The DVD is a charm. It has an INTERNAL DECODER and plays without flicker or skips. Just put "Blade Runner" in the tray and your "virtual DVD player" automatically recognizes the DVD and Ridley Scott's magnificent masterpiece comes on! Not one bad pixel. NEGATIVES-the thing is a brick! Not that the weight is as much a factor. You must honestly consider that by the time you start lugging around an extra floppy, DVD/CD, battery with a 6.5 lb notebook, you are close to 8.5 lbs. What people do not consider is that the empty weight of most cases approaches 6 lbs. If it is leather and filled with junk, you are at 10 lbs. Will there really be a difference between a 6.5 and 8.5 lbs laptop? NO! The form factor, however does count and the 7000 is a large cluncky beast with very little "svelte" sex appeal! You neet two large hands to handle it., newsgroup


A: Currently, there is no external hard drive option available from Dell. The transfer rate on such a device would be rather slow by most standards anyway. A SCSI external hard drive connected to a Cardbus SCSI PC-Card would most likely be your best option. Dell/Brian McCullough, webtalk

A: Some users have reported that they have had good experiences with Adaptec's SlimSCSI 1460. I personally use and recommend the SlimSCSI 1480, however. It is a CardBus device and offers UltraSCSI performance without the CPU overhead that the 1460 generates. I have used the 1480 without a problem for burning CDs and using my external SCSI Zip drive. While at PC Expo this past June I saw a demonstration of this card in combination with a Quantum Fireball series UltraSCSI hard drive. Performance was greater than 10MB/s (not Mb/s) with Adaptec's SCSI Bench software while using very little of the CPU's time. Installation was a breeze with Windows98, although Windows95 OSR2.1 required that I update one file in my Windows\System folder. Chanh-Duy Tran, Webtalk

A: I use an Adaptec 1480A which works great. Amazing thru-put. I am currently using it under Windows 95 although I understand it works fine under Win98. Steven Weinstock, Webtalk

Q: I have several SCSI devices (a tape drive and a MO) that I would like to use with my laptop. My main purpose is to use it to backup my hard disk using Win98 backup. From my research, I concluded that I could use:

How much faster is PCMIA card over Parallel to SCSI? According to the spec, the parallel to SCSI is capable of 2 Mb/s burst transfer, but the real rate is probably a bit under 1Mb/s. PCMIA card (unless they are cardbus cards, which none of these cards are) are limited to about 2 Mb/s. The USB adapter seems to be limited to about 1.2 Mb/s. Paul Siu, newsgroup


Erick's Notebook Buyer's HomePage at

Austin's Dell Inspiron 7000 Information Page at has links to reviews on the 7000. Here's a few of the earlier reviews.

PC-Mag Review of D300LT - 15; Display

ZDNet Review of D300GT,4161,346787,00.html

Computer Shopper - D300GT - 14.1; Display