Dell Inspiron 5000* Unofficial FAQ

*and other Compal N30 series machines

(There are NO other models hosted here, so you need not try to find any others here. Instead, try Bay Wolf's site.)

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This document was last updated on Sep. 20, 2013 at 01:52:21 EDT.
This page (http://Kropf.net/i5000/) was served at:
Dec. 16, 2017 at 08:49:41 GMT
Dec. 16, 2017 at 03:49:41 EST

Introduction

General

Dell specific

Windows

Audio

Display

DVD

Miscellaneous

Drivers/operating systems

Hardware upgrades

Software upgrades

Software compatibility

Performance tips

Benchmarks

Utilities

Spare parts

    Supply

    Dell part codes

Introduction

Welcome

This document was originally created and maintained through year 2002 by Damien Guard and was adopted in 2003 by Brett Kropf. Damien's FAQ is archived at http://damieng.com/reference/faq/5000e.

I, Brett Kropf, first acquired an Inspiron 5000 from a customer who had spilt water over the keyboard and damaged the system board, but didn't want to pay the nearly $1,000 estimated by Dell to repair it. I eventually purchased a working system board from a credible eBay seller, and was soon impressed with the 15" LCD and other popular features.

I have since purchased an Inspiron 5000e for myself and a few more Inspiron 5000(e) computers for friends and family members. My family is using the FreeBSD Release 5.2 UNIX operating system on both Inspiron 5000 and 5000e models. I use an Inspiron 5000e (with the excellent resolution 1600x1200 LCD) as my own FreeBSD UNIX workstation which I use to administer a 'server farm' of multiple SCO UnixWare7 servers via XFree86 'X' windows. The 1600x1200 UGA display is sharper than my (now retired) 21" ViewSonic PT813 Trinitron monitor at 1280x1024 resolution! I regularly have five or six 1600x1200 virtual desktops, each usually populated with more than 10 X windows for equipment monitors, browser windows, and scrolling logs. I moved my noisy monitoring server (which doubled as my workstation) to the back room, and my office is now nearly silent as I sit at 'command central' with my I5Ke!

Damien's FAQ helped me to quickly become familiar with the Inspiron 5000 series, and I consider it an honor to continue maintenance of his original excellent work. I hope you also find it helpful.

Warning/Disclaimer

I do not work for Dell and certainly do not represent Dell in any way. Neither I nor Dell will take responsibility for the application or misapplication of these instructions and their consequences to your software, hardware, data, configuration or warranty.

Use at your own risk. If you are uncomfortable with this, then you are not the intended audience.

Revision history

Date Updates
2006.Feb.18 Added 3 parts suppliers and updated some Dell Part Numbers
2005.Mar.3 Added note regarding latest generic Synaptics touchpad driver. Thanks to Joseph Gershgorin
Updated links for updated Synaptics drivers.
2004.Mar.21 Added note regarding attempting to install Rage Mobility 128-M Video Graphic Adapters into Inspiron 5000 models.
Added Hitachi-IBM TravelStar 7K60 thanks to Mike Jaras in Sweden: "works great and the performance increase is great".
And 80 GB Drives from Dell thanks to Andreas Rasmusson in Sweden.
2004.Feb.27 Updated link from http://perso.club-internet.fr/farzeno/firmware/dvd/ldvdf.htm to http://forum.rpc1.org/dl_all.php thanks to Brian.
2003.Jul.16 Added note regarding 256 MB Memory Modules.
Added TuxTops Obsidian N30W thanks to Brett Glass
2003.Jun.9 Added ActionTech 56K Modem information.
Revised DVD/CD-RW drive section.
2003.May.27 Revised Displays to include POST codes and Physical Size.
2003.Apr.27 Re-ordered Revision history to most recent at top.
Revised answer to: Is my hard drive supposed to make a noised when turned upside down?
2003.Apr.7 Brett Kropf adopted this FAQ and began maintenance
2002.Sep.21 Added Compal N30W BIOS 1.07a - thanks to Jarron Johnson
2002.Feb.24 Added hard drive carrier info to What hard drives are supported? - thanks to Todd Radel
Added DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive to Can I add a DVD/CD-RW drive?
Spell checking and typo fixes
2002.Jan.24 Added Lucent/ActionTec LT WinModem driver to BeOS section
2001.Dec.3 Updated release notes with important notice
Deleted Todo section
Deleted Stay Updated section
Added N30W/5000 video drivers
Added IBM TravelStar 48GH drive
2001.Nov.13 Added service manual link to What hardware is used in this machine?
Added more retailers models
Added MicroTech FlexNote NT 4 support link
Added more places to get used/reconditioned 5000e's to Where can I get a 5000e? - thanks to Conrad McDonall
2001.Nov.7 Now updated to cover all N38W variants, new section and changes all over the places
Reviewed every single listed machine in the Who supplies this machine to update/check details
Added PowerPro III:16 - thanks to Donald Stratton at PowerNotebooks
Rewrote the whole BIOS section, new links, tips, procedure
Fixed lots of links, removed dead ones
Checked and updated the various drivers where applicable
2001.Oct.30 Added latest Compal BIOS to What is the latest BIOS? - thanks to Igor Loginov
Updated benchmarks to new Sysoft Sandra 001
2001.Oct.23 Added all Dell's official 5000e Windows XP drivers/support files (thanks to Tyler Schallhorn for notifying me)
Dropped using a version number for the FAQ's revision - a date is better
2001.Oct.18 A whole host of updates from Conrad McDonnell:
Added: OpenStep section to drivers
Added: E-Stock Ireland as reconditioned 5000e provider
Added: MiniHobby and Xtreme to other manufacturers selling this machine
2001.Oct.12 Updated: Newer unsupported (Dell provided, not 5000 specified) drivers - thanks to Thorsten Schuster
2001.Oct.2 Updated: Added Windows ME to How do I enable the SPDIF output on my port replicator?
2001.Sep.21 Updated: Windows XP drivers section to mention Windows 2000 TrackPad driver
Updated: How can I play DVD's from other regions? to mention no known permanent solution for DVD region tab
Added: TeamExcess as a spares and machine supplier - thanks to Jon Abbott
Added: Eraser to the useful files section
Added: New Stay updated section to send e-mails when the page updates
2001.Sep.18 Updated: Windows XP drivers section to cover getting TV/Out and OpenGL support
Added: Return to Castle Wolfenstein MP Test to compatibility section
Updated: What memory modules are supported? to include current prices
2001.Sep.13 Updated: How can I play DVD's from other regions? to mention RPC under Windows XP
Plus a whole host of updates from Conrad McDonnell:
Updated: How can I make my LCD turn off when I close the lid? to include Windows 98/ME
Updated: How can I play DVD's from other regions? to mention Region Killer
Updated: Spares - correction to 8MB board description
2001.Sep.6 Cleaned up all the HTML, made it XHTML 1.0 compliant, fixed hyperlinks and bookmarks, contents and added links to W3C validator
2001.Sep.5 Added: Can I add a DVD/CD-RW drive? to Hardware upgrades - thanks to all who sent info
Added: Can I upgrade my processor? to Hardware upgrades
Updated: How do I setup my monitor's correctly? to include revised Windows 2000 and new Windows 98 sections
2001.Sep.4 Updated: How do I output digital audio via the SPDIF connector? to cover Windows XP
Added: Pre-made registry changes for those answers that contain registry edits.
Added: United States supplier to the Spare Parts supply - thanks to David Wolfskill
Updated: What is the latest BIOS? to include Compal BIOS
2000.Dec.11 All new FAQ for Dell Inspiron 5000e.

Feedback

Submit your comments, corrections, and/or suggestions by clicking here.

General

Who manufactures this machine?

Compal is the company that manufactures the N30 series and supplies it to other retailers for re-branding and as such it is available under many guises from a multitude of suppliers. See Who supplies this machine? for a list of them.

What are the various models?

There have been three major revisions to the N30 range. They are:

Model Major differences
N30W 4MB or 8MB Rage Mobility P
N38W2 8MB or 16MB Rage 128 M3
MMC2 processors to 850MHz
Up to SXGA+ 1400x1050 LCD resolution (apart from Dell UXGA 1600x1200)
N38W3 16MB Rage 128 M3
uPGA-2 processors to 1GHz
Up to UXGA 1600x1200 LCD resolution

The Dell Inspiron 5000 used the N30W model and the Inspiron 5000e the N38W2 model. Dell has never offered a N38W3 model.

Most machines currently on the market are based around the N38W2 model, with some now offering the N38W3. The original N30W is no longer available.

Most items in this FAQ apply to all these models.

Who supplies this machine?

Each model listed contains some basic details on the features and options that retailer has chosen to offer with the machine.

The various models and options are as follows:

N30W
Brand CPU LCD Video Media drives Hard drives Weight Operating systems Warranty Notes
Compal N30W ? ? 4MB
8MB
DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
ZIP
LS-120
4GB-18GB 14.1" 6.1lbs
15" 7.2lbs
n/a OEM only No longer available
48Wh battery
Dell Inspiron 5000 Pentium III 450MHz-750MHz 15" XGA 4MB
8MB
6x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
LS-120
ZIP
to 12GB 7.7lbs ? 3 year No longer available
59Wh battery (3 hour)
WinDVD
TuxTops Obsidian N30W
Now Qli Linux Computers
Pentium III 600MHz-650MHz 15" XGA 8MB 6x DVD-ROM
?
to 18GB ? Linux ? No longer available
? Wh battery
N38W2
Brand CPU LCD Video Media drives Hard drives Weight Operating systems Warranty Notes
Compal N38W2 Pentium III
Celeron
14.1" XGA
15" SXGA+
8MB
16MB
DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
ZIP
LS-120
to 20GB 6.37lbs XGA
7.13lbs SXGA+
n/a OEM only 60Wh battery
Dell Inspiron 5000e Pentium III 600-850MHz
Celeron 600MHz
15" XGA
15" SXGA
15"UXGA
8MB
16MB
8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x4x20x CD-RW
8x4x24x CD-RW
5GB to 32GB 7.43lbs XGA
7.54lbs UXGA
Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows 2000
3 year No longer available
59Wh battery (3 hour)
WinDVD
ePortables NW38W2 Pentium III 600-850MHz 15.1" XGA
15.1" SXGA
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x4x20x CD-RW
ZIP
LS-120
to 32GB 6.86lbs XGA
7.8lbs SXGA
Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows 2000 Pro
1 year
2 year (option)
3 year (option)
4 year (option)
None
MaxStation MaxBook N30 Pentium III 600-850MHz 15.1" XGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x CD-RW
DVD/CD-RW
ZIP
LS-120
to 12GB 7.42lbs ? 1 year MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
Micro Flex FlexNote 38W(2) Pentium III 600-850MHz
Celeron 366-400MHz
14.1" XGA
15.1" SXGA
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x CD-RW
DVD/CD-RW
ZIP
LS-120
6GB to 32GB 6.86lbs 14.1"
7.8lbs 15.1"
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows 2000
Windows NT
Linux (Red Hat 6.2)
1 year
30 day DOA exchange
MiniPCI v.90 56K Lucent fax/modem
Lifetime technical support
Corel WordPerfect Suite 2000
Mini Hobby MHB990M5 Pentium III 650-850MHz
Celeron 600-700MHz
15.1" XGA
15.1" SXGA
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x DVD-ROM
4x4x20 CD-RW
ZIP
10GB-30GB   None
Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows 2000
1 year MiniPCI v.90 56k fax/modem
Sceptre 69002 Pentium III 650-850MHz 15" XGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
ZIP 250MB
LS-120
to 30GB 7.6lbs Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows 2000 Pro
1 year 52Wh battery
Xtreme XL-22 Series Pentium III 800MHz-1GHz 15.1" XGA
15.1" SXGA
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x4x20 CD-RW
DVD-ROM/CD-RW
ZIP
6GB-32GB   None
Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows 2000
1 year
2 year (option)
3 year (option)
No longer available
Car adapter
Secondary hard-drives
N38W3
Brand CPU LCD Video Media drives Hard drives Weight Operating systems Warranty Notes
ARMNote N38W3 Pentium III 700MHz-1GHz 14.1" XGA
15" XGA
15" SXGA
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x4x20x CD-RW
ZIP
10GB
20GB
30GB
6.86lbs 14.1"
7.8lbs 15"
Windows XP Pro 1 year 59.9Wh battery
Carry case
MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
ePortables N38W3 Pentium III 1GHz 15.1" XGA
15.1" SXGA
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x4x20x CD-RW
ZIP
LS-120
to 32GB 6.86lbs XGA
7.8lbs SXGA
Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows 2000 Pro
1 year
2 year (option)
3 year (option)
4 year (option)
MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
Gericom Millennium 3 Pentium III 850MHz-1GHz 15.1" SXGA+ 16MB 8x DVD-ROM 10GB
20GB
30GB
3.5 kg Windows ME
Windows 2000 Pro Windows XP
1 year
3 year (option) 4 year (option)
MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
Separate hd+carrier options
UK, German and Austrian sites/offices
GlobalSystemMax SW15 Pentium III 850MHz,1GHz
Celeron 750MHz
15.1" XGA ? 6x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
CD-RW
ZIP
10GB
20GB
30GB
7.3lbs Windows 98SE
Windows NT 4.0 Workstation
Windows 2000 Professional
Windows XP Home
Windows XP Professional
1 year 2 year (option) 3 year (option) None
MaxStation MaxBook N30 Pentium III 850MHz-1GHz 15.1" UXGA 16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x CD-RW
DVD/CD-RW
ZIP
LS-120
? 7.42lbs ? 1 year MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
Micro Flex FlexNote 38W(3) Pentium III 850MHz-1GHz
Celeron 700MHz-900MHz
14.1" XGA
15.1" SXGA
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x CD-RW
DVD/CD-RW
ZIP
LS-120
6GB to 32GB 6.86lbs 14.1"
7.8lbs 15.1"
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows 2000
Windows NT
Linux (Red Hat 6.2)
1 year
30 day DOA exchange
MiniPCI v.90 56K Lucent fax/modem
Lifetime technical support
Corel WordPerfect Suite 2000
M-Tech 30W Pentium III 800MHz-1GHz
Celeron 700MHz-800MHz
14.1" XGA
15" XGA
15" SXGA+
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
24x DVD-ROM
4x4x20 CD-RW
DVD-ROM/CD-RW
10GB to 48GB 6.37lbs 14.1"
7.13lbs 15"
None
Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows 2000
Windows XP Home
Windows XP Pro
1 year
2-3 year (option)
LCD insurance (option)
MiniPCI v.90 56k fax/modem
10/100 internal network (option)
DC invertor car adapter (option)
PowerPro III:16 Pentium III 800MHz-1GHz
Celeron 700MHz, 800MHz
15" XGA
15" SXGA+
16MB 8x DVD-ROM
4x4x20 CD-RW
32x CD-ROM
ZIP
LS-120
to 30GB 7.11bs Windows 98SE
Windows ME
Windows 2000 Pro
1 year
4 year (option)
52Wh battery
MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
QliTech Emperor
Tuxtops Obsidian 30W
Pentium III 850MHz-1GHz
Celeron 700MHz
15.1" SXGA+ 16MB 8x DVD-ROM
4x4x20 CD-RW
24x CD-ROM
CD-RW/DVD-ROM
20GB
30GB
7.8bs Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop 3.1
Debian GNU/Linux 2.2
Linux Mandrake PowerPack 8.1
RedHat Linux 7.2
Slackware Linux 8
SuSE Linux 7.3 Personal
SuSE Linux 7.3 Pro
1 year
3 year (option)
52Wh battery
MiniPCI v.90 56K fax/modem
WinBook Z1 Pentium III 800MHz-1GHz
Celeron 750MHz
15" XGA
15" SXGA+
8MB
16MB
8x DVD-ROM
24x CD-ROM
4x4x20 CD-RW
DVD-ROM/CD-RW
ZIP
10GB
20GB
7.4lbs 15" Windows 2000 Pro
Windows XP Pro
1 year
3 year (option)
60Wh battery
WinDVD
Adaptec EZ Creator v4

What are the various screen resolutions available?

The LCD screen resolutions available are:

Mode Resolution POST code * Physical Size **
XGA 1024x768 GT (14.1") or
LT (15.0")
14.1" & 15.0"
SXGA 1280x1024 X 14.1"
SXGA+ 1400x1050 VT 15.0"
UXGA 1600x1200 U 15.0"

* The POST code is the letter(s) displayed at the end of the line which starts with "Inspiron 5000" during the initial system power-up. If the large Dell logo appears, press ESCape to view the power-up messages.
** The physical size is measured from inside corner of the display bezel diagonally to the opposite inside corner. i.e. the corners of the visible LCD display.

Bear in mind that unlike CRT displays LCD is not capable of resolutions other than it's own. To compensate for this the ATI Rage graphics chip will attempt to scale your desired video mode to the LCD.

There are three ways in which it could achieve this (some of which you may have seen on other laptops):

The ATI Rage Mobility takes the third option and is considered the best way of doing it. This does, however, introduce a slight blurring effect that some people may find annoying. It is advised that when choosing a laptop try other peoples to find a screen resolution you find both comfortable and clear before ordering your machine with your preferred resolution.

If you find your native resolution is too high and you don't like the soft image that changing resolution gives then you could try (under Windows) to go into Control Panel > Display > Appearance and try choosing larger fonts and icons.

What hardware is used in this machine?

Type Manufacturer Model
AGP Intel 82443BX Intel® Pentium® II Processor to AGP Controller (440BX)
ISA/IDE Intel 82371AB PCI-TO-ISA/IDE Xcelerator (PIIX4)
PC-Card Texas Instruments PCI-1225 CardBus Controller
PCI Intel 82443BX Intel® Pentium® II Processor to PCI Bridge (440BX)
Processor Intel Intel® Mobile Pentium® III
Intel® Mobile Celeron®
Sound ESS Technologies Maestro2E PCI AudioDrive
Touchpad Synaptics Synaptics TouchPad
USB Intel 82371AB/EB PCI to USB Universal Host Controller (PIIX4)
Video (N30W) ATI Technologies Rage Mobility P (4MB or 8MB) (Original Press Release)
Video (N38W2/N38W3) ATI Technologies Rage Mobility 128 M3 (8MB or 16MB)

You might want to check out the N38W3 service manual for more information.

How can I hard-reset my machine without removing the battery?

Hold down the power-off button for a good 5-10 seconds. Failing that try gently pushing a stylus or straightened paper-clip into the small hole on the right-hand side of your laptop, just forward of the PC-Card slots.

What ports/features does the machine have?

The back of the machine reveals the following ports/features:

The left of the machine:

The front of the machine:

The right of the machine:

Underneath the machine:

Below the LCD, and on top of LCD:

At the top of the keyboard:

What ports/features does the basic Port Replicator have?

What ports/features does the Advanced Port replicator have?

The advanced port replicator provides the exact same functionality as the Port Replicator but adds:

Why does my TV output or projector fade in and out when playing DVD's?

Some DVD's feature licensed Macrovision tags to inform the playback hardware to activate Macrovision analogue copy protection designed to prevent unauthorized copying of DVD's to video tapes. This can cause the picture to jump, flicker or fade in and out on the following

The solutions are

What is the latest BIOS?

See the following question How do I flash my BIOS? for details on flashing your system.

Dell
Inspiron 5000

The latest English BIOS is A08 and was released 1 May 2001. It is available from http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R27591&format=29510/p>

Inspiron 5000e

The latest English BIOS is A06 and was released 1 May 2001. It is available from http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R27593&format=29510/p>

This A06 update indicates "Fixed battery charge and communication issue." however it appears from previous BIOS releases that Dell take the latest BIOS updates from Compal when they need to fix a specific issue and list it as an update to fix that specific issue. There are normally many other changes/fixes that Dell did not necessarily request in the update.

Compal

Unless your machine already has a Compal BIOS it is NOT RECOMMENDED you use these. Owners of branded machines such as Dell may find that doing so causes loss of functionality including the ability to re-flash back to your original branded BIOS. The following images are untested USE AT OWN RISK.

N30W

The latest English BIOS is 1.07a and is available from http://Kropf.net/i5000/30w0107a.zip

N38W2

The latest English BIOS is 1.08a and is available from http://Kropf.net/i5000/32w2108a.zip

N38W3

The latest English BIOS is 1.04a and is available from http://Kropf.net/i5000/38w3104a.zip

How do I flash my BIOS?

It is recommended that:

  1. You only flash you BIOS if actually necessary
  2. You use the latest BIOS image from your vendor
  3. You follow the procedure from your vendor

If however, your vendor is unable to help or you really must do it then follow this procedure. We DO NOT accept any responsibility if your machine goes wrong for any reason.

  1. Make a DOS-bootable floppy disk
  2. Extract the ROM image from the ZIP files given above and copy it to the disk
  3. Extract Phoenix Flash 1.73c to the disk
  4. Boot your machine with the floppy disk
  5. Type PHLASH and press Return

The process should then begin and upgrade your BIOS.

How do I get into the BIOS settings?

Contrary to the supplied documentation press F2 while the Dell/BIOS start screen is displayed during the power-on cycle.

Why does my cursor jump across the screen while I type?

This is caused by slight vibrations/touches to the touchpad and often appears if you are using a Standard PS/2 Mouse driver instead of the Synaptics TouchPad driver. The TouchPad driver can eliminate these unwanted clicks through the Palm Rest and Touch Sensitivity options.

If you are still experiencing the problem and are sure you are not hitting the actual buttons then you could try un-checking the Tap to click option and use the left button instead of tapping the pad as a permanent measure or for a temporary fix right-click the Touchpad icon in the Task bar and check the Suppress taps option.

Why does the touchpad not switch off when using my USB mouse?

The touchpad's automatic switch-off facility only applies to PS/2 mice and not USB mice. You can get round this by using a USB to PS/2 converter to allow you to plug your USB mouse into the PS/2 port. Not only will this deactivate the touchpad but it will free up your only USB port.

2005.Mar.3: Joseph Gershgorin reports:
You can download the latest generic Synaptics touchpad driver and there's an option to disable the touchpad so it doesn't get in the way while using a USB mouse.

Is my hard drive supposed to make a noised when turned upside down?

It is quite normal for IBM TravelStar drives to make this noise when turned upside down.

2003.Apr.27: It is my understanding for decades that hard drives are designed to operate normally in any position EXCEPT upside down. (While some manufacturers may say upside down is permissible, why take the risk? Besides, why would anyone want to operate an Inspiron Hard Drive upside down? I'm listening.)

How do I make sure my processor is firmly socketed?

Press down firmly on the keys O, P and L. The processor is located directly behind these keys and performing this action should ensure it is firmly in it's socket.

Why does my machine boot up with a blank screen?

The machine occasionally seems to get confused about whether or not a TV is connected to the output and switches off the LCD during the boot process.

To resolve this press Fn + F8 (CRT/LCD) to switch the screen back on.

How do I make my machine load silently?

It can be very annoying having those loud beeps while your machine boots if you are trying to use it somewhere quiet like a library.

General
  1. Go into your BIOS and ensure Quiet boot is enabled. (The trade off is that you'll see the retailer's "Splash Screen" instead of the Power up messages unless you press ESCape during the boot process.)
Windows 98
  1. Start > Control Panel > PC Card (PCMCIA)
  2. Choose the Global settings tab
  3. Check that the option Disable PC card sound effects is ticked
Windows 2000
  1. Double-click on the sound icon in the system tray
  2. Ensure Mute is checked for the PC Speaker slider

Note that this will also mute all modem dialling tones.

Dell specific

What are the differences between the 5000 and the 5000e?

The machines are very similar however the following components are different and the 5000 was offered with small hard drives and less powerful processors.

The Inspiron 5000 was based on the N38W while the 5000e was based on the N38W2 model. For more details see the question What are the various models?.

Where can I get a 5000e?

Dell US stopped selling the 5000e in Q1 2001 and all Dell offices followed suit over a few months. You could purchase the same base machine from an alternative vendor listed in the Who manufactures this machine? question.

Alternatively pick up a Dell model from

Battery recall information

Dell is recalling some batteries shipped with or as accessories for the Inspiron 5000 or 5000e models. More information can be found at http://support.dell.com/I5000battery

The way to identify these faulty batteries which apparently have a small chance of exploding/catching fire is to check the blue sticker on the edge of the battery. If the last letter on the top row is P then:

If in doubt, check the Dell site which shows how to identify your battery graphically and also has the phone numbers for your country as well as an online form version. There are reports that completing the online form promises a 2-for-1 replacement so that you'll get twice as many batteries back.

Where can I get new/additional manuals?

If you wish to order printed documentation use the spare part codes to obtain items from your local Dell spares department. Most online documentation is also available from http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/pblan/ including "Removing and Replacing Parts" instruction.

Where can I go for more help?

Official

Web sites

Unofficial

Web sites

Newsgroups

How do I run Dell Diagnostics?

The Dell Diagnostics CD should boot automatically however sometimes it appears to have problems. If this is so, try the following:

  1. Ensure your BIOS is set to boot from CD-ROM before anything else
  2. Put the Dell Inspiron 5000e System Software CD in your CD/DVD drive
  3. Boot your machine
  4. Wait for the command prompt to appear
  5. Type MSCDEX /D:MSCD000 /L:Z and press Enter
  6. Type Z: [Enter] and press Enter
  7. Type CD \DIAGS and press Enter
  8. Type DELLDIAG and press Enter

Windows

Audio

Does this machine support 3D sound technology?

Supported
Unsupported

Why does my volume change suddenly in Windows 2000 and Windows ME?

Using the volume controls on the left side of the laptop, the Fn Page Up/Page Down volume controls or the Fn End Mute keys will only affect the current application. Switching to another application will cause the sound to revert to a higher level. According to Dell this is because Microsoft changed the way this works from Windows 9x to 2000/ME.

This may be corrected in a later BIOS but until then use the Windows Volume control.

How do I choose between line-in and microphone recording?

  1. Look to see if you have a Speaker icon in the system tray portion of your task bar
  2. If it is not use Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sounds and Multimedia and checking the box to "Show volume control on the task-bar"
  3. Double click on the Speaker icon in the system tray
  4. Choose Options > Properties from the menu
  5. Choose Recording then press OK
  6. Check the Select box for your source between CD, Line, Mic and Mixer

How can I stop sound stuttering with my Xircom RealPort card installed under Windows 2000?

The Xircom RealPort drivers supplied on the CD seem to cause a conflict with the sound chip even when neither networking or modem functionality is being used. To rectify this download the latest drivers from the Xircom web site.

Why can't I hear my PC-Card (PCMCIA) modem dialing a remote system?

There are two settings which can prevent the (useful when traveling) audible dialing feature

  1. In Settings > Control Panel > Phone and Modem Options choose your PC-Card modem from the Modem tab then press Properties and ensure Speaker volume is set to On
  2. On the taskbar's system tray double-click the Volume speaker-icon and ensure that the PC Speaker is not set to Mute and that the slider control is not set too low

How do I enable the SPDIF output on my port replicator?

The SPDIF output should be automatically installed and available while docked however if you want Windows to output all audio to the SPDIF port then follow these instructions.

Windows 98
  1. Ensure you have the latest audio drivers supplied by Dell installed
  2. Boot into Windows 98 while attached to the docking station
  3. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel > System
  4. Choose the Device Manager tab
  5. Expand the Sound, video and game controllers branch
  6. Choose the Maestro Wave/WaveTable Synthesis item
  7. Press the right-mouse button and choose Properties
  8. Choose the Audio Settings tab
  9. Ensure the checkbox labelled SPDIF Enable is ticked
Windows ME
  1. Start RegEdit
  2. Find the key SPDIFEnable
  3. Double-click the key
  4. Change the value from 00 to 01 and click OK
Windows 2000
  1. Ensure you have the latest audio drivers supplied by Dell installed
  2. Boot into Windows 2000 while attached to the docking station
  3. Double click the Volume icon in your system tray
  4. Press the Advanced button under Volume Control
  5. Ensure the checkbox labelled Enable SPDIF is ticked

If you do not have an Advanced button available under the Volume Control slider then add a key named Enable SPDIF of DWORD type with the value of 1 to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0000\ and reboot as required.

Alternatively download a registry file to do this.

2004.Jan.25: The Advanced option did not appear until I changed a SPDIFEnable Reg_BINARY from 00 to 01 (0000 01). The "Advance Controls for Volume Control" has two sections: "Tone Controls" (which are inactive), and "Other Controls" (which has a checkbox "1 Enable SPDIF")

Windows XP
  1. Start RegEdit
  2. Find the branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0000\
  3. Double-click on the key SPDIFEnable
  4. Change the value from 00 to 01 and click OK

Alternatively download a registry file to do this.

Display

Why do I have four/two "Default Monitors" in Windows Device Manager?

You should see two Default Monitors in Windows 9x/ME and four in Windows 2000. This is quite normal because the 5000e supports several displays however you can make things easier to understand and configure by following the procedure in the question How do I set-up my monitors correctly?

How do I set-up my monitors correctly?

Windows 2000

When you first use your laptop you may notice there are four "Default Monitor" entries in Device Manager. This is because the laptop has several outputs available and is not pre-configured to identify which display each is. Without configuring them correctly you will be restricted to 60Hz and find it difficult to find which display is which. Follow this procedure to set them correctly:

  1. Go into Device Manager
  2. Select the last "Default Monitor", right-click and choose "Properties"
  3. Select the "Driver" tab then "Update Driver" button
  4. Press "Next" then choose "Display a list of the known drivers..."
  5. Press "Next" then "Show all hardware of this device class"
  6. If you have the UXGA 1600x1200 display choose "Generic" - "Digital Flat Panel (1600x1200)"
    If you have the SXGA 1400x1050 display choose "IBM" - "IBM ThinkPad (1400x1050)"
  7. Press "Next" then "Finish"
  8. Repeat procedure for the first "Default Monitor" setting to the brand/model of your external display

I have yet to identify which is the TV output of the remaining two "Default Monitor" entries. The other is believed to be an unused "Flat Panel Display" option that was to be present on the Port Replicator.

Windows 98

When you first use your laptop your laptop you may notice that there are two "Default Monitor" entries in Device Manager. This is because the laptop has two outputs available and is not pre-configured to identify which display each is. Without configuring them correctly you will be restricted to 60Hz and find it difficult to find which display is which. Follow this procedure to set them correctly:

  1. Go into Device Manager
  2. Select the first "Default Monitor" and press "Properties"
  3. Select the "Driver" tab then "Update Driver..." button
  4. Press "Next" then choose "Display a list of all the drivers in a specific location..."
  5. Press "Next" then choose "Show all hardware"
  6. Choose "Generic" - "Laptop Display Panel (1024x768)"
  7. Press "Next" then "Finish"
  8. Repeat procedure for remaining "Default Monitor" setting to the brand/model of your external display

Notes

Where can I get an ICM colour matching definition for my LCD?

Dell does not provide Windows ICM colour matching definitions or indeed any specific drivers/inf files for the 5000e LCD's although they do provide them for their LCD desktop displays.

UXGA 1600x1200 display

IBM manufactured - likely to be the same on used on IBM ThinkPad range. Driver/inf/ICM for ThinkPad available from:

Please be aware that these packages contain other drivers in addition to the LCD that are designed for the IBM ThinkPad only and these should not be installed.

How can I set my external monitor to above 60Hz in Windows?

First you need to correctly setup your monitors, see the question How do I set-up my monitors correctly?

Once you have done this:

The ATI Rage Mobility M3 chipset only supports up to 85Hz refresh. This will be used for the external monitor's and will not affect TV or LCD refresh rates which are fixed.

How can I make my desktop span two displays in Windows 2000?

This functionality is not available under Windows 2000 with this model of the ATI Rage Mobility. If you require this functionality you will need to use Windows 98/ME. Now that the ATI M3 and M4 chipsets share the same Windows 2000 driver it is possible a future driver update may add this support (but this has not been announced by ATI or Dell).

The default Mobility 128 drivers supplied with Windows XP still do not support this feature.

What about hardware accelerated 3D graphics?

The ATI Rage Mobility M3 chipset runs on the AGP bus at 2x speed and working in conjunction with the drivers includes hardware-accelerated support for

under Windows 2000, 9x and ME. It does not support Glide although you could possibly use a Glide wrapper for more simple games and applications.

How can I tweak my graphics settings?

Windows 2000

Many graphics cards allow tweaking of graphics settings however the ATI display panel does not display many details other than the gamma correction and monitor selection. There are however some hidden pages that allow tweaking although many of them do not actually apply to Rage Mobility M3 chipset used.

You will need to use RegEdit to enable these additional property pages in the Advanced section of the Display properties. Add a DWORD key to the branch HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ATI Technologies\Desktop\0000 and assign the value of 1 to this key.

Alternatively download a registry file to do this.

OpenGL
Most of these settings seem to apply to the M3

The OpenGL key gives the following settings

Direct 3D
None of these settings seem to apply to the M3

The D3D key gives the following settings

Rotation
These settings work with the M3 correctly with some limitations

The Rotation key gives the following settings

The Standard Landscape and Rotate 180' options work perfectly and immediately. The other two options work if you set the rotation, apply and close the Display Properties and then re-enter display properties and re-apply your desired resolution.

Other
There are two other display tabs with settings but none appear to have an affect on the M3 chipset. They are KC1 and Maxx.

Windows 9x/ME

The standard installation of the Windows 9x/ME drivers automatically allows the configuration of the OpenGL and Direct 3D options. The rotation option does not work under this operating system at all.

How can I make my LCD turn off when I close the lid?

First ensure you have the latest display drivers and BIOS for your machine, if that does not help then try the following steps.

Please note that you should not store your machine in a bag in anything but Power off or Hibernate modes as the machine will overheat and continue to drain the battery.

Windows 2000
  1. Go to the Start menu > Settings > Control panel > Power options
  2. Choose the Advanced tab
  3. In the When I close the lid of my portable computer combo box choose
Windows 98/ME
  1. Go to the Start menu > Settings > Control panel > Power options
  2. Choose the Advanced tab
  3. In the When I close the lid of my portable computer combo box choose

DVD

How can I play DVD's from other regions?

There are three levels of region protection in place. These are

Drive firmware
Operating system (Windows)
Playback software

How can I improve DVD playback?

A few suggestions are

How do I adjust WinDVD's advanced settings?

You can download WinDVD Expert from InterVideo's site at http://www.intervideo.com/ or DVD Genie from http://www.inmatrix.com/files/dvdgenie_download.html

These will give you options to adjust (defaults shown in italics)

Some of these options may not apply to the version of WinDVD or affect 5000e's playback of a DVD. The SP/DIF and NVIDIA modes appear to have no effect.

Why do I get a coloured square instead of my DVD when playing to a TV?

This problem occurs because the video overlay function of Windows used to display DVD's only applies to the primary display device. To resolve this

  1. Right-click on the desktop and choose Properties
  2. Select the Settings tab
  3. Press the Advanced button
  4. Select the Displays tab
  5. Ensure the device you with to watch the DVD on is set to Primary

Note that you can only watch DVD on one screen at a time due to the implementation of Macrovision protection within the ATI Rage Mobility M3 chipset.

How do I output digital audio via the SPDIF connector?

By setting up WinDVD to output to the SPDIF connector you can obtain full Dolby Digital and DTS bit-streams for external decoding and amplification.

Windows 98/ME/XP
  1. Ensure you have followed the instructions in How do I enable the SPDIF output on my port replicator?
  2. Ensure you have upgraded WinDVD to the latest version in WinDVD (Intervideo) software upgrade
  3. Start WinDVD
  4. Insert a DVD and press Play
  5. Right-mouse button and choose Properties
  6. Choose the Audio tab
  7. Select the Enable S/PDIF output option
  8. Press OK

DVD's seem to suffer from sound drop out when passing through DTS under Windows XP. (Gladiator R2 on Sony STR-DB925, works fine using this equipment with Arcam DV88 DVD player)

Windows 2000

Applications are not permitted to directly access the SPDIF port under Windows 2000. This is explained on the WinDVD site at http://www.intervideo.com/

Windows XP does not have this restriction.

Miscellaneous

How can I make Windows 2000 support IrComm like 95/98/ME?

IrComm is a bridge to enable serial COM port applications to use IrDA ports that was available under Windows 98. This functionality was not made available under Windows 2000 as detailed in Microsoft Knowledgebase article Q252795 - Windows 2000 Does Not Support Mapping Virtual COM Ports to Infrared Ports and further detailed on IrTran-P, IrLPT, and IrDA Networking Support under Windows 2000

There are however, two third party drivers that will give this functionality despite Microsoft's claims it would not be possible.

Extended Systems

"IrComm for Windows 2000" available from Extended Systems. It is available for download at the nominal price of 17 USD.

Tested and worked perfectly on my 5000e with a Nokia 7110.

Jan Kiszka

"IrComm2K" available from http://www.gatrobe.uni-hannover.de/~jan/IrCOMM2k/English/index.html. The driver is free and is available to download in English, German and source-code versions.

How can I get my external mouse scroll-wheel to function?

This appears to be a problem in the Touchpad drivers available from Dell's support site. Download the latest version from the Synaptic site detailed in the Drivers section of this FAQ.

How do I hibernate under Windows 2000?

To enable the functionality you must:

You can then use this option from the Shutdown menu or assign it to one of the following events:

These events can be also set in the Power Options under the Advanced tab.

You can also set the system to automatically hibernate after a specified amount of inactivity in the Power Schemes tab.

Why does my hard-drive keep accessing?

There are a couple of reasons this could happen and hard-drive access doesn't help with battery life.

You can identify which files are being accessed to help identify the source of these problems using a freeware program called FileMon available at http://www.sysinternals.com.

Why does Windows 9x lock-up after using Windows 2000 on a dual-boot system?

The Windows 2000 drivers leave the ATI video card in a state for which the Windows 9x drivers are not expecting. The solution to this is to shut-down from Windows 2000 and then power back on to select Windows 98 from the boot loader. This will reset the video card completely allowing Windows 9x to load.

Why do I loose the network connection on my Xircom?

There appears to be a problem under Windows 2000 with the latest Xircom drivers (3.12) that causes the network to periodically disappear for a short while at a time. Xircom are aware of the problem and have issued a hot-fix for RealPort and RealPort2 devices that are susceptible to the problem. The hot-fix can be found at http://www.xircom.com/support/dl/hotfixes/0,1591,0-0-1_Z0-0-1_20-381,00.html

Drivers/operating systems

Windows 95/98/ME

Dell official drivers
Function Model Version Released URL
Baymanager Dell 1.03.10 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21196
Modem ActionTec 8.9.00 A00 15 Jan. 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R18303
Modem LT WinModem 5.42 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21195
Port Replicator Advanced A01 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21197
Processor Speedstep Switching A01 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21198
Sound ESS Maestro 2E 4.06.00.0486 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21192
Touchpad (98SE) Synaptics Touchpad 5.0.42 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21194
Touchpad (ME) Synaptics Touchpad 5.0.77 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21183
Video (N38W/5000e) ATI Rage Mobility M3 6.31.62-T01 2 May 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R24382
Video (N30/5000,98/ME) ATI Rage Mobility P 6.11.69-T07 21 Sep. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21369
Xircom RealPort LAN/modem 3.12 09 Dec. 2000 http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/cbem/xbem_312-2.exe
Other newer drivers
Function Status Model Version Released URL
Chipset Tested OK Intel 440BX 3.20.1008 7 Sep. 2001 http://support.intel.com/design/software/drivers/platform/inf.htm
Modem Unknown LT WinModem 6.00 8 May 2001 http://www.agere.com/K56flex/driver2.html
Touchpad 6.0.20 Tested OK Synaptics Touchpad 7.12.7 8 Nov. 2004 http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/WinWDM_ALL.zip (W98/ME All Languages)
http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/Win95_US.zip (W95 English)
http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/Win95_ALL.zip (W95 All languages)

Use these drivers at your own risk.

Windows 2000

Dell official drivers
Function Model Version Released URL
Modem ActionTec 8.9.00 A00 15 Jan. 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R18303
SpeedStep Intel Pentium III 1.1 A00 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21202
Sound ESS Maestro 2E 5.12.01.2042 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21199
Touchpad Synaptics Touchpad 5.0.56 29 Aug. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R21201
Video (N38W/5000e) ATI Rage Mobility M3 6.31.61-T01 29 Jan. 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R24381
Video (N30/5000) ATI Rage Mobility P 6.11.74-T09 26 Oct. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R22720
Xircom RealPort LAN/modem 3.12 09 Dec. 2000 http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/cbem/xbem_312-2.exe
Other newer drivers
Function Status Model Version Released URL
Chipset Tested OK Intel 440BX 3.20.1008 7 Sep. 2001 http://support.intel.com/design/software/drivers/platform/inf.htm
Modem Unknown Actiontec 10.10.00-A02 21 Feb. 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R25021
Network/Modem Unknown 3Com 10/100 & V.90 A04 20 Aug. 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R25857
Touchpad 6.0.20 Tested OK Synaptics Touchpad 7.12.7 18 Apr. 2004 http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/WinNT5_ALL.zip
Video Tested OK ATI Rage Mobility M3/M4 M6.56.3-T01 6 Aug. 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R29628

Use these drivers at your own risk. Those with "Tested OK" are working on the FAQ maintainers system on a daily basis.

Windows NT 4

Support

FlexNote support Windows NT 4.0 on their models.

Drivers

Dell does not support Windows NT on this machine and NT has no built-in PC-Card, USB or Power Management capabilities. If you are determined you could take a look at these files (and let me know how it goes).

Function Status Model Version Released URL
IDE Unknown Intel PIIX4 1.07 25 Jul. 2000 ftp://ftp.pc.ibm.com/pub/pccbbs/mobiles/uttpfide.exe
Sound Likely ESS Maestro 2E 4.02.82 16 Sep. 1999 ftp://ftp.esstech.com/pub/audio/pci/maestro-2e/winnt40/40282.zip
Touchpad Likely Synaptics Touchpad 7.12.7 4 Nov. 2004 http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/WinNT_ALL.zip
Video (N38W/5000e) Likely ATI Rage Mobility M3 (IBM A22p) M6.31.72-T01 14 Apr. 2001 http://www.pc.ibm.com/qtechinfo/MIGR-4JRMY3.html
Xircom Likely RealPort LAN/modem 3.12 09 Dec. 2000 http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/cbem/xbem_312-2.exe

Third party software is available to fill some of the gaps in NT's notebook support. Check out:

Windows XP

Windows XP includes built-in drivers for all devices within the 5000e however some drivers have less functionality than normally provided by manufacturer-supplied drivers.

Dell official drivers
Function Model Version Released URL
Touchpad Synaptics Touchpad 6.0.7-A01 17 Oct. 2000 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R33759
Video (N38W/5000e) ATI Rage Mobility M3 6.59-A00 19 Oct. 2001 http://support.dell.com/us/en/filelib/download/index.asp?fileid=R34413
Other drivers
Function Model Version Released URL
Touchpad Synaptics Touchpad 7.12.7 18 Apr. 2004 http://www.synaptics.com/decaf/drivers/WinNT5_ALL.zip
Notes
DVD
Power
Sound (ESS Maestro 2E)

GNU/Linux

Drivers

Dell does not provide drivers for Linux on their systems however a number of third parties have put some drivers together.

Function Status Model URL
DVD Alpha ATI Rage Mobility M3 http://www.linuxvideo.org
Infrared Tested OK 115.2kb mode
Sound Occasional sound interruption ESS Maestro 2E http://www.zabbo.net/maestro/
http://www.opensound.com/
Touchpad Likely Synaptics Touchpad http://compass.com/synaptics/
Video Tested OK ATI Rage Mobility P/M3 http://www.xig.com/Pages/Atop/LaptopsSupportedbySummit.html

Note that the older N38W2/5000e BIOS's has some slight Linux compatibilities issues regarding power management (APM). Upgrade to the latest bios.

For more information try the following links that contain information on 5000e's and Linux compatibility:

Or try the following Linux on laptops links:

Other tips

BeOS

Drivers

Dell does not provide drivers for BeOS and some features may not be supported. The following table lists major areas of compatibility in BeOS r5.

Function Status Model URL
Modem Likely LT WinModem Included in BeOS r5
Newer one at http://www.bebits.com/app/2724
Power Likely Intel 440BX http://www.bebits.com/app/597
Sound Unknown ESS Maestro 2E http://www.bebits.com/app/539
Touchpad Limited PS/2 mode Synaptics Touchpad http://home.earthlink.net/~zakariya/projects.html (Generic Touchpad filter)
Video (N38W/5000e) Limited VGA mode ATI Rage Mobility M3 No drivers, VGA grey-scale only. Be's Rage128 driver could apparently handle this if they made some small modifications.
Video (N30/5000) Likely ATI Rage Mobility P http://www.bebits.com/app/731
Xircom Unknown RealPort LAN/modem http://www.bebits.com/app/1678

QNX RTP

Drivers

Dell does not provide drivers for QNX RTP. The following table lists major areas of compatibility in QNX RTP:

Function Status Model URL
Power Unsupported Intel 440BX Crashes on restore from suspend.
Sound Unsupported ESS Maestro 2E Not available.
Touchpad Limited PS/2 mode Synaptics Touchpad Included.
Video Limited VESA mode ATI Rage Mobility M3 Included. Rage128 driver does not work correctly with Mobility M3, use VESA
Xircom Unknown RealPort LAN/modem Not available.

FreeBSD

Currently, the best information and tips we know of for installing FreeBSD on this laptop is at http://www.catwhisker.org/~david/FreeBSD/laptop.html.

2004.Mar.21: Brett will be adding current information regarding running FreeBSD as we're now running FreeBSD version 5.2 on both I5000e's and I5000's and working through the ACPI and APM issues.

OpenStep

An excellent page with details on getting OpenStep 4.2 up and running on the close-cousin 5000 machine can be found at http://www.unm.edu/~haibach/inspiron/.

What other drivers are available?

Drivers

A selection of drivers that are likely to work with your Inspiron 5000e under other applications and operating systems are listed here. Use at your own risk.

Function Status Operating system Model Version Released URL
Xircom Likely SCO UNIX OpenServer 5 RealPort LAN/Modem 1.00 15 Oct. 2000 http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/sco-unix/xbsco_1.tar
Xircom Likely Windows 3.x & MS-DOS RealPort LAN/Modem 3.12 ? http://www.xircom.com/pub/drivers/cbem/xbem_312-3.exe

If you are trying to determine compatibility with another OS then it is interesting to note that the IBM A20p uses the same chipset and video controller as the N38W2/5000e and N38W3. The touchpad is the same as that on Compaq notebooks.

Hardware upgrades

How do I upgrade my onboard video from 8MB to 16MB?

The official line is that the "onboard" ATI graphics can not be upgraded. The "upgrade to 16mb" is a build-to-order option only.

However, the "Removing and Replacing Parts" manual clearly shows how the video daughter board can be changed. Dell's spares section on their web site occasionally lists reconditioned video card modules. This may not work - attempt at your own risk.

2004.Mar.21: Brett has tried replacing a I5000 Video Card (7937U - 8MB Rage Mobility P) with a I5000e Video Card (89JVW - 8MB RAGE Mobility 128-M). There was no visible display on the LCD until replacing the 7937U. So it appears that the Inspiron 5000 is limited to the 8MB Rage Mobility P video card.

What memory modules are supported?

The machine has a trapdoor on the underneath of the system located towards the rear underneath the PC-card slots. There are two slots available for memory, one or both may have been filled depending on the build-to-order options you selected.

The memory modules are "144-pin PC100 SoDIMM CAS2/CL2 non-parity" and any combination of the two can be used up to a maximum of 512MB. Compatible third-party memory modules are:

Beware of attempting to use 256 MB modules that only have 8 chips! Some have complained that 8 chip versions will NOT work in various notebook computers including Inspirons. The Dell/Micron and PNY modules that I've seen work both have 16 memory chips on the 256 MB module.

Manufacturer Size Model number URL Price (18 Sept 2001)
Crucial 32 MB CT189998 http://www.crucial.com 11.69 USD
Crucial 64 MB CT189997 http://www.crucial.com 18.89 USD
Crucial 128 MB CT189995 http://www.crucial.com 26.99 USD
Crucial 256 MB CT189996 http://www.crucial.com 49.49 USD
Kingston 32 MB KTD-INSP7500/32 http://www.kingston.com 21.00 USD
Kingston 64 MB KTD-INSP7500/64 http://www.kingston.com 21.00 USD
Kingston 128 MB KTD-INSP7500/128 http://www.kingston.com 27.00 USD
Kingston 256 MB KTD-INSP7500/256 http://www.kingston.com 121.00 USD

What hard drives are supported?

The machines uses IDE 2.5" hard drives mounted in a proprietary plastic/metal carrier with a small adaptor to convert from the drives native pin-connector to an edge connector to allow for the plugging/unplugging of the drive (see below). The following table shows the drives Dell are known to be supplying (subject to change), the actual drive manufacturer and part number as well as Dell US pricing. The final column shows the price you can obtain just the drive without enclosure from for comparison.

Capacity Manufacturer model RPM Av. seek Buffer Interface Height
10 GB Fujitsu MHM-2100AT 4200 12 ms 2 MB UDMA/66
20 GB Hitachi DK23BA-20 4200 12 ms 2 MB UDMA/66
20 GB IBM TravelStar DJSA-220 4200 12 ms 2 MB UDMA/66 9.5 mm
20 GB Toshiba HDD2164 MK2018GAP 4200 12 ms 2 MB UDMA/100 9.5 mm
32 GB IBM TravelStar DJSA-232 5400 12 ms 2 MB UDMA/66 12 mm
40 GB IBM TravelStar 40GN 4200 12 ms 2 MB UDMA/100 9.5 mm
48 GB IBM TravelStar 48GH 5400 12 ms 2 MB UDMA/66 9.5 mm
60 GB Hitachi-IBM TravelStar 7K60 7200 10 ms 8 MB UDMA/100 9.5 mm
80 GB CMS Peripherals from Dell 4200 12 ms 8 MB UDMA/100 9.5 mm

If you order a bare drive then you will need a drive carrier unit. Two potential suppliers are:

Can I add a second hard drive into the DVD/CD bay?

This N38W series was not designed with a secondary hard drive capability and as such no drive carrier or connector converter is available.

What is the unmarked trap-door underneath my laptop for?

This is for MiniPCI cards and yours may contain:

  1. Nothing
  2. Modem
  3. Modem + Network

Although installation of the card is through a trap-door many device manufacturers only sell these cards to the laptop manufacturers directly or as build-to-order options. Intel and Xircom produce MiniPCI cards but these are OEM only.

The enclosure allows you to install a modem card without opening the machine as it provides a 2-wire connection inside the trapdoor which is connecter to the centre two pins to the external modem connector on the left of the machine. To remove this blank plate push an straightened paper-clip into the hole - it will pop right out.

Manufacturer Model Availability Description Approximate price
IBM 08K3124 Retail 10/100 EtherJet Mini PCI Adapter with 56K modem $179.00 USD
3Com 3CN3AC1556B OEM
Dell Item #6F553 *
10/100 LAN Mini PCI Adapter with 56K Modem $189.00 USD
ActionTech MP560LHD1 Dell Item #6158U 56K Modem Mini PCI $29.95 USD
(2003.5.30)
* The Dell #6F553 is listed on such 3COM cards and may have been for other Inspiron models. This would require a different modular connector and cable than the popular modem 2-wire connection. Please email me if you have a model number for the Ethernet/Modem connection that would be required to use this combo card. Same request if anyone has success in using a Wireless LAN MiniPCI Card. http://search.ebay.com/DELL-miniPCI-Wireless

Can I add a DVD/CD-RW drive?

While Dell never offered this peripheral many other manufacturers do offer it as an option with their laptops. Some of them are quite happy to sell DVD/CD-RW combo drives to Dell owners.

(The original FAQ maintainer wrote:
Known suppliers with current prices are:
    WinBook sells the Z Series DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo Drive for $349 USD
However, I do not see any such listing as of 2003.6.9.)

As of June 2003, such drives (in addition to Dell CD-RW drives) are available via eBay (Search for: Inspiron 5000* RW DVD)
The faceplate of the CD-RW drives I have purchased look nearly identical to the standard I5000* drives, however, the CD-RW DVD drive I purchased has a smaller faceplate, and is labeled as a Dell #16VRU CD-ROM 32X. The system detects it as a Teac DW-224E. My guess is that the seller has modified a regular Dell CD-ROM device with the CD-RW DVD drive. Mine came with 2 CDs: 1) Roxio Easy CD Creator 5.1 Basic, and CyberLink PowerDVD XP.

Also try the sections Who manufactures this machine? or Spare parts suppliers for alternatives.

Can I upgrade my processor?

See the What are the various models? to identify the maximum processor speed your model supports.

If you wish to upgrade the processor in your machine to a faster one that is classed as compatible within our table then you should upgrade your BIOS to the latest version and attempt to obtain a replacement processor daughterboard. You may be able to replace the processor on the board itself however we have NO reports of this working successfully.

If you were looking to upgrade your N38W2/5000e to 900MHz/1GHz then it's a no go. While the N38W2/5000e model is capable of supporting up to 1GHz, Intel have never manufactured a MMC format processor in this speed. Current 800MHz/900MHz/1GHz processors use the uPGA-2 format that is supported in the N38W3 model motherboard.

Software upgrades

WinDVD (Intervideo)

A complete guide on upgrading a Dell supplied copy of WinDVD to the latest version while still keeping Dolby Headphone support is available from Ralph Buschmann at http://home.t-online.de/home/ralf.buschmann/windvdup.htm

Alternative you could try the 2.8 update listed in the Windows XP drivers section

Software compatibility

Asherons Call (Microsoft)

Windows 98/2000/XP

Occasional minor redraw problems under Windows 98, works fine on 2000 and XP in hardware-accelerated mode.

EverQuest (Sony)

Windows 2000

Occasional minor redraw problems on landscape.

Madden 2001

Windows ME

Requires registry change HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ATI TECHNOLOGIES\0000\00\ddhal\SysMemBits from "0" to "1"

No One Lives Forever (Fox)

Windows 2000

+ Works well in OpenGL and Direct3D modes
- Fails to load after splash screen unless you use Task Manager to kill the Synaptics SynTPEnh.exe process before launching the game

Return to Castle Wolfenstein MP Test

Windows 9x/ME

+ Plays great using latest Dell official drivers

Windows XP

- Requires OpenGL
+ Works well once latest IBM-supplied Windows-2000 Rage 128 drivers installed

Tribes (Dynamix/Sierra)

Windows 2000

+ Works in OpenGL hardware accelerated mode
- Occasional distracting texture palette corruption
- Distracting pause when playing sampled sounds (turn off voices in Tribes sound options)

Unreal Tournament

Windows 2000

+ Work well in OpenGL hardware accelerated mode
+ Works in Direct3D mode (appears to be slower than OpenGL)

Performance tips

Dell or other OEM specific/pre-installs may already have some of these already applied. A clean install of Windows has none of these optimizations by default.

3D graphics

Windows 2000

Enable Pentium III optimizations by using RegEdit to add the string key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ATI Technologies\Driver\ddhal\EnableKatmai and set it to 1. Alternatively download a registry file to do this.

DVD/CD

Windows 2000

In Device Manager, expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers and then right mouse button on Secondary IDE Channel and choose Properties. On the Advanced tab change the Transfer Mode for Device 0 from PIO Only to DMA if available apply, and restart your computer. (Tested with Toshiba SD C2404)

Windows 95/98

Click the Softex icon in the taskbar, choose the Storage Devices tab, expand the CD/DVD branch and click on your device. An Enable DMA checkbox in the lower left corner should become available and should be checked.

Sound

Windows 95/98/ME/2000

Start > Run > DXDiag then select the Sound tab and move the Hardware Sound Acceleration level to Full

Benchmarks

SiSoft Sandra

This software provides low-level system information and benchmarking tools. It is available from http://www.sisoftware.demon.co.uk/sandra

Component Benchmark Score
CPU Dhrystone ALU 2246 MIPS
CPU Whetstone FPU 1143 MFLOPS
CPU Performance Rating PR1016 (estimated)
CPU Multi-Media Integer SSE 4612 it/s
CPU Multi-Media Floating-Point SSE 5642 it/s
Drives Drive Index 10080
Drives Average Access Time 12ms (estimated)
DVD DVD Drive Index 1598 (2xDVD)
Memory Subsystem Int ALU/RAM Bandwidth 347MB/s
Memory Subsystem Float FPU/RAM Bandwidth 359MB/s

Utilities

This section contains details on a handful of useful utilities to make your 5000e just that little bit more enjoyable.

Disk

Tool (click for more info) Operating system Description
Drive Fitness Test Self-booting disk Testing of IBM drives including the TravelStar models used in some Dell notebooks.
Eraser Windows 9x/ME/2000/XP Secure file erasing either on file-by-file or emptying trash fully integrated with the shell. Multiple erasing methods and free (GPL)
Smart Defender Windows 2000
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 9x/ME
Real-time monitoring of IBM drives for errors and pre-failure warnings.
PageDefrag Windows 2000
Windows NT 4.0
Automatically de-fragment paging file and registry as Windows boots. Essential for keeping disk access to a minimum.
Sync Windows 2000
Windows NT 4.0
Windows 9x/ME
Commits all cached disk writes to their storage to ensure no data is lost - very useful for removable media.

Power

Tool (click for more info) Operating system Description
Dell Fan utility DOS
Windows 9x/ME
Tool to switch on the fan inside - Requires reboot to switch off again.

Video

Tool (click for more info) Operating system Description
CoolDVD Windows 2000
Windows NT 4.0 SP5
Windows 9x/ME
Good reports with support for the 5000e's ATI chipset but no specific support for the sound chip.
PowerDVD Windows 2000
Windows NT 4.0 SP5
Windows 9x/ME
High-performance quality DVD software player with support for the 5000e's hardware accelerated DVD assistance and supports SPDIF output of Dolby Digital or DTS bit streams).
PowerStrip Windows 2000
Windows 9x/ME
Advanced graphics tweaking tool including options for over-clocking, color temperature, game priority boosting etc. Not for the faint hearted.
ZoomPlayer Windows 2000
Windows 9x/ME
Cool replacement playback tool with facilities to ensure output on a TV does not leave any black borders.

Spare parts

WARNING: This section is under development and will no doubt contain inaccuracies and many omissions at this time. Use entirely at your own risk.

Supply

United Kingdom

United States

Dell part codes

Many components are common to both the Inspiron 5000 and 5000e, however some items listed in this section may be specific to one of the two models. Note that reconditioned (and/or used parts being sold on eBay, etc.) are sometimes more expensive than new parts - check before you buy.

I was told on May 2, 2003 that minimum shipping and handling is $10.00 for second day shipping, and $16.00 for next day delivery.

(I placed an order on Friday, May 2, 2003 at 2:30 PM EDT and choose 2nd day shipping. The parts totaled $60.85, and was charged $21.00 for shipping and handling. On Tuesday, May 6th, the order was invoiced. The package weighed less than one pound, and was shipped via Airborne Express from Austin, TX. The package arrived in Kingston, NY on Wednesday, May 7, and was missing one of the 7 line items. On May 9th, I called Dell Customer Service, and was told with 'no-hassle', that the missing item should arrive in 7 - 10 days. It arrived via Airborne Express on May 14.)

Parts from Dell may be Reconditioned/Refurbished unless stated otherwise.
(An appended date is the date last verified in Year.Month.Date format)

AC power adapter

Battery

Cables

Documentation & Software (English)

Enclosure/chassis

Floppy bay

Hard drive carrier ("caddy")

Hard drives

Internal boards

Display

Media bay

Memory

Port replication

Carrying Case


© Copyright 2003-2017 Brett Kropf. All rights reserved.
Based on http://damieng.com/reference/faq/5000e, a previous FAQ Copyright © 2001-2002 Damien Guard.


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