OLD DELL DIMENSION XPS T500 - General Hardware - Desktop - Dell Community



Desktop computer Forums (Audio, General Hardware, Video)


  • hoping someone could help... i have a dimesion desktop, very basic with 13gb hd that i havent used in years. purchased in 98 and has win 98se installed .... i actually just tried to set it up and couldnt even connect to the internet........im wondering if this computer can be used as an external hardrive for my much newer sony laptop.? perhaps completely wiping everything clean.      secondly, if not, is it worth upgrading to winxp (adding new hd, more memory etc..... and networking it to my new computer.?     im guessing that this will become expensive and i might as well either buy an external hardrive for laptop or a new computer..... i really need the storage primarily for photos and video that i edit with roxio.   any help is appreciated
  • PAL5700,

    If Windows seems corrupted or needs to be reinstalled, you may be able to reinstall it easily.  Try these steps:

    Restart the computer in MS-DOS mode.  You should get to a C:\Windows> prompt.  Type in CD\ and press <Enter>.  From there type in ZZTOP and press <Enter>.  If the ZZTop program starts, choose to Restore The Factory Image.   The system will check to be sure that the old image is still good.  If it is, you can choose to continue and it will automatically format your hard drive and reinstall everything on the computer just like it was the day that you first turned it on.  If you get an error message similar to invalid dump file, then the old image is not usable. 

    You can put Windows XP on it if you want.  It meets minimum requirements.  For performance reasons, with a 500MHz processor, you might want to increase the memory to 512MB. 

    That particular model is a solid, stable and reliable system.  Upgrading the hard drive and RAM will give you a good platform for most of your photo editing.


  • thanks for the quick response steve..... but can it be used just like an external hd or does it need to be networked etc....
  • BigBrother is right on your old computer.

    Have you considered putting a HD in an external USB enclosure? I bought one from Dealsonic.com for about $21 (shipped)& put a HD in. It works just fine. I watch techbargains.com for good prices & found a HD on sale at Staples.

    You can network (via router) your Dell & Sony.
  • PAL5700,

    It will have to be networked in order to use it as a file storage system.


  • I pretty much had the same computer as you, only it was a 550Mhz.  I upgraded it 2 yrs ago to a 1Ghz PIII with 768MB RAM and a 120GB hard drive. It gave me 2 more years of good computer use. But that was two years ago. It let me put off buying a new PC till last week. Now I have a 8400 and VERY happy. So basically at this point, I wouldn't bother. I don't think a 1Ghz PIII is worth all the work.
    As for making it a file server. Cool idea and that could totally be worth it. You can even leave it in the basement running. Install Linux on to do that. Ofcourse XP would be fine, but a lot of people are using Linux as home file server OS's.
    Good luck. =D
  • D,
    thanks for the reply and input... i appreciate it.... im starting to realize that at some point its not worth upgrading when the new computer prices are coming way down... ie, in todays paper i saw a dell dim. desktop p4 etc. for 499 after rebate..... so for basic computing and my wife to check her hotmail thats probably worth it....... i hate when she needs my laptop to check mail or go online to buy clothes   lol......... thanks , paul........maybe comp usa will buy the old pc and give me some store credit
  • hey, how did you upgrade all your hardware for you xps t500?  I'm trying to upgrade my t500's cpu, memory, and hard drive and I  don't know what fits where and what kind of stuff to get.  If it's not a problem, can you help me with, I quess all the information I need to upgrade my t500?
  • Oh boy, this forum use to be full of upgrade info for XPS T400 to T700. It's probably all gone now. This is where I learned all the possibilities of what could be done. I am having trouble remembering specs but here goes.

    Dell Dimension XPS T__ User manual:


    First and foremost is to update the BIOS. If you don't, it's quite possible nothing will work when you install the components. Also, do one upgrade at a time. See if it works each upgrade.

    BIOS for XPS T___


    MEMORY: It's quite easy to get the memory. Your DELL manual will tell you the specs of the memory and what the maximum is. However, if you go to the "Upgrade My System" portion of the Dell support site, it will list all available components for your system. Also, sites like Crucial will have memory configurators.

    Dimension XPS T__ memory available at crucial:


    Don't get the ECC versions unless your memory existing is already ECC. Otherwise a combo of ECC and non ECC will slow your system down. I recommend no ECC. ECC in general slows the system ever so slightly. Also consider that if all of your memory slots are taken up with lower sized memory, you might just have to scrap them so you have the slots available for higher amounts of memory.
    Once you update the BIOS, you might need to enter the BIOS setup and enable large capacity drives. Read the info on the BIOS download to see what the maximum size is. Get what you can afford or what is necessary.
    Get an ATA drive with 7200 rpms. No serial ATA, that's a new thing. IDE you have to get.
    Don't take out the old one, just plug in the new one and have 2 drives. A free data connection cable (IDE) should be hanging from the one connected to your existing hard drive. New drive should be set to SLAVE. Check pin indicators. Use tweezers to pull out the little black pin cover thingy and put it to where it indicated SLAVE.
    From what I remember, there were 2 types of Pentium III's. One that was smaller and a long skinny one which is SECC2. That's the one you need. Removing your existing processor requires removing the black cover that leads to the cooling fan. Don't worry about cooling your processor, the newer PIII 1Ghz comes with a fan (that you will need to plug into the motherboard.)  Putting this new processor also requires some plastic tabs. There is a web page that shows how to do this. The reason is that it doesn't clip into the motherboard properly. Don't worry, it works great and I have never had a problem. Was more paranoid, but the processor never failed me by falling out.
    Photos showing the process. This is the page I used for assistance. Thanks to the site and its contributors.
    In General, check out the whole site for helpful information. It helped me. http://www.roberthancock.com/dell/index.htm
    Good luck and have fun.
    Oh, remember to back up. When your all done with the upgrades, install XP. Just  a better computing experience.