The Toshiba Libretto 110CT is a ultra-portable laptop manufactured by Toshiba in 1998. It is roughly the same size as a VHS cassette (exact measurement: 210 x 132 x 35),
and weighs only 950g. It is designed for Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, and could come pre-installed with either of these systems. I personally feel
this laptop is great, even in today's terms, as it packs the power of a full pc into the size of a palmtop computer. As the Libretto is so small, Toshiba obviously
could not fit the standard I/O ports (e.g. PS/2, Serial) onto the back, so you need to make use of the port replicator or docking station to gain access to them. The
drawback of this system, is the really fiddly mouse, which is located to the right of the screen, it takes twice as long to do something with it as it would with an
If you are thinking of getting one of these laptops, they are not cheap, even on eBay despite their age. This is probably due to rarity and popularity. Be warned, if you are thinking of getting a 100CT/110CT with 32MB RAM, with the prospect of upgrading the memory to 64MB in the future, Don't, the RAM modules are very expensive and hard to find, so it is just best to sit tight until a Libretto with 64MB turns up (Please see the section later on, something useful has been discovered regarding RAM). Mine was £100 including 64MB RAM, a Toshiba ExpressWriter 301 Portable Printer, Official PCMCIA Floppy Drive, Port replicator, carry cases, restore CD and a parallel CD-ROM Drive.
Most of the hardware in the Libretto is DOS compatible. The Yamaha sound card is SoundBlaster compatible, so will work with most DOS audio programs or games. The VGA card's VESA BIOS is recognized by most DOS games, and the display can be expanded to full-screen using this DOS utility (Click here to download: Click Here). The PCMCIA slots work under DOS either with a point enabler or socket services, and all your standard I/O ports work. The only thing which I don't think works, is the IRDA port, but this shouldn't be too much of a problem. The Libretto is great for playing DOS games such as Quake. If you wanted to use your Libretto as a mini DVD player (with a DVD-ROM drive of course), you would need to buy an external MPEG2 decoder, the reason being that the Libretto is too slow to decode MPEG2 by itself. One product you could use, is the Margi DVD-to-go, which slots into your ZV (Zoomed Video) slot (PCMCIA slot). This device is supported on Windows 95/98 (and Me), 2000 (and XP). Also Windows NT4.0 is supported, but Margi want you to pay for these drivers.
Operating system wise, the Libretto can theoretically run any x86 based operating system, but obviously a more recent operating system such as Windows Vista would refuse to install because the Libretto will not meet the minimum hardware requirements. The best choice of operating system for the Libretto is probably Windows 98 Second Edition as it supports all the hardware, is light (in comparison with for example Windows XP), and despite its age, can still run fairly recent applications. However, if you really do desire to install Windows XP, you could, as the Libretto just scrapes the minimum hardware requirements, but a light version of Windows XP such as WinFLP (Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs) would be a more desirable choice, as it is less strenuous on the system.
A more modern version of the Libretto 110CT could be the Toshiba Libretto U100 or the Asus eee-pc (very good).
Solid-State LibrettoIf you are fed up with the noisy and power hungry hard disk in your Libretto, take a look at the Solid-State Libretto page for a full guide on changing it for a Compact Flash adapter and Card
Libretto RAMYes, the Libretto 32MB RAM modules are extremely hard to find, but there are two alternatives:
The Floppy DriveI have here a floppy drive from a UK released 110CT (on the left), and one from a Japanese 100 (not 100CT) on the right. Seems like our friends at Toshiba couldn't trust us Europeans with small connectors and cables, which might be why the other is all moulded together.
Installing the OSFor Windows, there is only one choice you really have when it comes to choosing how you will install the operating system. Due to the lack of CD-ROM support within the Libretto's BIOS, there is no way you can boot off an installation CD, so you will have to make a DOS boot disk, with your CD-ROM drivers present, and boot off that. For Windows XP/2000, you will have to format the disk with FAT32, then run \\I386\\WINNT.EXE off the CD to start setup. Similarly, this goes for Windows NT4.0, but you will have to format the disk with FAT instead. To install a Windows 95 and Windows 95a, you will need to format the disk with FAT, then run setup.exe off the CD. To install Windows 95b, Windows 95c, Windows 98, Windows 98SE and Windows Me, the disk can be formatted in either FAT or FAT32 (although FAT32 is preferable), then setup.exe can be run off the CD. Remember to load Smartdrive first when installing NT4.0/2000/XP, as this can be the difference between a 30min install time or 4 hours.
Linux and OS/2 can be installed, but this tends to be more complicated. Check this site here for more info: Lib110CT
My attempt at Linux on the Libretto
It has proven very difficult to install WinFLP on the Libretto due to no CD and incompatible FDD drive. Here is how one person has done it: CompHell. I have tried part of these instructions myself, and have expanded upon it with pictures, etc: Windows FLP on the Libretto
The BIOSPlease make sure you have the latest BIOS on your Libretto 100/110, otherwise you may find Windows 2000/XP installs without ACPI support. There's more on updating the BIOS for the Libretto here: Libretto BIOS
DriversI have put together some ZIP files of Libretto drivers incase they get deleted from Toshiba's website:
Windows NT4 Drivers (Install latest service pack 6a and updates before installing)
Windows 98 Drivers
Windows 2000 Drivers (ACPI Common Modules & Power Extensions)
MS-DOS on the LibrettoMy Libretto 110CT is a very well supported device for MS-DOS. Everything works except the IRDA (Infra-Red Port). The sound works great without any drivers required, as it emulates a SoundBlaster card, meaning most games/applications can already use it. PCMCIA devices work well, and SystemSoft's Cardworks works well with the PCMCIA controller. The graphics chip (NeoMagic), also seems to have a good VESA BIOS, so it is easy to play games (such as Quake), on the LCD screen's supported resolution.
Libretto Sound Configuration for DOS
Linux Console Screen TipOn the Libretto, this tip may come in handy when trying to use a Linux console screen on the rather odd resolution. This will allow you to view more characters on the screen by switching the screen to 100x30 characters. On debian:
Installing XP on a Solid-State CompactFlash based LibrettoIt does complicate things a bit more when installing XP onto a Libretto with a CompactFlash card (as seen in Solid-State Libretto), as the CF card is usually recognised as a removable device, causing all sorts of problems with virtual memory, etc. View the forum post here on how to work around this issue.
Changing the RTC BatteryI've put together a new page for this: Changing the Libretto RTC Battery
Libretto Hard Disk
The Mean Machines
Here I have my original 110CT on the left, and a Libretto 100 on the right, kindly donated by Michal Dudek. The Libretto 100 is particually interesting, as it is a Japanese model (it has Japanese and Latin script on the keyboard). Also, it has been overclocked to 266Mhz from 166Mhz. The Libretto 100 kind of came at the right time, as my 110CT has a weird motherboard fault that causes it to suddenly turn off regardless of if it is on the mains, or on battery power. It can sometimes be used for hours on end, or a couple of seconds. Also the 32MB expansion RAM module died, leaving me with only 32MB on that machine. I'm now using it for spares for the Libretto 100, which needs the CMOS battery from the 110CT.
Find a LibrettoeBay is really the only place that has them now:
Useful SoftwareI gave up ages ago trying to watch my Simpsons episodes (stored in Xvid AVI) on my Libretto on Windows Media Player or VLC Media Player, it just got stuck on the first frame. However a few days ago, I came across a great media player called QuickView Pro for DOS which can play many formats such as Xvid, Divx, MPEG, AVI, WMV etc. I downloaded the trial version and it worked brilliantly under real-mode DOS, so I purchased the registered version for £10. Now I can watch all my Simpsons episodes on this tiny laptop. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of the Yamaha sound drivers on Windows, the drivers won't provide SoundBlaster emulation, so you will have to run QuickView under real-mode DOS. Give it a try Multimediaware - QuickView
A great browser to use is K-Meleon, it performs so much better than any other browser on the Libretto. Now you can use XPLite to get rid of Internet Explorer xD
More Recent InfoThere is more recent and possibly more useful information in the Forum. I'm now going to post more hack and tech orientated information in the Forum, to allow others to contribute. Please sign up and contribute, it won't take a minute!
My Libretto has a Cisco Aironet 340 Wireless PCMCIA card, for wireless network connectivity.
Above: Size in comparison with a Toshiba Satellite 2550CDT
Above: Underside of the Libretto, with the mains charger plugged in.
Above: By removing the strip above the keyboard, you can lift the keyboard out to gain access to the RAM etc.
Above: The Libretto with my Cisco Aironet Card inserted.
Unfortunately my RAM Module in my Libretto has died, leaving me with only 32MB RAM. Also the wretched thing keeps turning off randomly
DownloadsL100mm.pdf - The official Libretto 100/110 troubleshooting and disassembly guide
60EXPVGA.EXE - Display stretching & centring utilities for DOS
Libretto 100CT/110CT Restore Boot Disk - You will need the Recovery CD though, I can't supply that due to copyright, etc.
Related Sites96MB RAM on the Libretto 100CT/110CT
LibrettoWorld - Website devoted solely to the Toshiba Libretto line of ultra-mini laptops
Adorable Toshiba Libretto - Lots of detailed info on the Libretto series
Xin Fixup Tips - Lots of Libretto mods, and overclocking instructions
Toshiba Support - Download Drivers, BIOS Updates and Utilities from here (look in the "Archived Files" product type)
Toshiba Support USA - Better than the UK site