The Acer I had a few years ago wasn't terrible, but the restore could have been better. It doesn't let you chose what software it installs, but it does let you chose partitioning. Fortunately, Acer doesn't preload a bunch of junkware, so it's not that bad, IMO. Gateway gives you no choices, and it comes loaded with trialware.
I'll be able to tell you more about the Toshiba restore soon. It's running now. My explore of the disks apparently didn't figure out what is on there.
I doubt it will be a long lived install, but my curiosity got the better of me.
We may never know what's on those disks. The cdrw/dvd drive that had installed W2K from a burned slipstreamed disk two nights previous wouldn't read disk 2. Then I tried my Compaq disk. No restriction on installing, but it gave an error msg about a missing boot file on the first reboot.
I think I'll have to pull the hdd and copy the install disk to it in a desktop using a 2.5" to 3.5" adapter. I'm unsure of how to handle the boot, though, how to boot it and point it to setup.
I could run the setup from a USB external cdrw, but I'm not aware of a way to boot and access a USB drive. There's no floppy on this unit.
The Toshiba recovery disk booted in Win98 dos and ran its batch and .exe files from dos, with a screen reading Symantec and Toshiba. I had seen a ghost file on the disk when I explored the contents.
I reinstalled 2k, after partitioning with the Ubuntu Live disk. Then installed Ubuntu as a dual boot. No problems reading either the burned slipstreamed 2k disk or the manufactured Ubuntu disk.
I took the wireless mini PCI card from my Compaq and put it in this one. Works great. Toshiba didn't use an Intel card, but no problems with this once I found the drivers at Intel.
Ubuntu had the card installed right away, but it has problems finding the network. In Win that's handled by Intel's ProSet software. I've found a utility called gtkwifi that ought to handle that in Ubuntu. Will report later.
This issue is important because this notebook will be used primarily at work. Every touring show these days sets up an open wireless network backstage for the management and crew. There are a much higher percentage of Macs among this business than in the general population, but pc's still predominate. I'll have one of the only ones on linux, I guess, even if only in dual boot.
I just wish it had a trackpoint. In my brief time using that old IBM 390E, I discovered I'm one of those who love it. It's inferior for pointing but if you type much, you'll soon hate trackpads. This unit will spend a lot of time in places where a mouse would be awkward to impossible.
Still don't have the ethernet installed in Win in this thing. 2K missed it, Toshiba driver downloads missed it, could only find the .inf file at Intel (852GM chipset) but haven't found the actual driver yet. At least Ubuntu had that one right off the install as well, though it doesn't like the winmodem.
If you can't tell already, I'm really happy with this.