Panasonic Toughbook CF-41 MK I

YEAR: 1995

INITIAL PRICE: $8.700, $14.683 in 2020

The Panasonic CF41 is considered to be the world’s first notebook PC to integrate a CD-ROM drive, the first computing product to utilize magnesium alloy chassis for strength and durability. The CF-41 was to be the first in a long line of Toughbooks that would revolutionize field work as we knew it.

This was the very first model of the Panasonic CF-XX series, released back in March 1995. It was not marketed with the name “Toughbook” at that time, and although dismissed by Toughbook enthusiasts as not being worthy of the Toughbook name due to having no handle and lacking robust features that the CF-25 has, it is technically the first model released in the Toughbook line of laptops, also marketed under the “Panasonic Pronote AV” name in Japan.

It was on the market until the October 1996 and was built in 3 models that had improved specifications over time; the CF-41 Mk1, the CF-41 Mk2 and the CF-41 Mk3. The range of processors fitted ranged from the 486DX2 up to the Pentium 120. The included memory ranged from 4MB up to 16MB with an expandability up to 32MB for some models. All models featured ESS soundcard audio, a quad speed CD drive, 1.4MB 3 1/2 inch floppy drive and 2 PCMCIA slots. The screens on most of the models are 640×480 TFT modules, with the very early models offering 640×480 STN modules and some of the later MK3 models offering 800×600 TFT modules. The installed 2.5 inch hard drives ranged from 260MB up to 1.35GB. A unique feature of the CF-41 is that the CD drive is accessed by lifting the keyboard.

MachineToughBook/Pronote AV CF-41
Introduced03/1995 (Mk I), 03/1996 (Mk II), 01/1996 (Mk III)
Retired07/1995 (Mk I), 09/1996 (Mk II), 10/1996 (Mk III)
SystemMS-DOS, Microsoft Windows 3.1/95/98
CPU/SpeedIntel 80486DX4 @50MHz (Mk I), Intel Pentium @75MHz (Mk II), Intel Pentium @120MHz (Mk III)
RAM Min/Max8Mb/24Mb (Mk I), 16Mb/32Mb (Mk II and III) (1x60ns slot)
ROM (Size)
Floppy Drive1×3.5″ 1.44Mb
CD Drive4xCD-ROM
Hard Drive260Mb-1.35Gb IDE
Drive Bay(s)None
AudioESS ES688 AudioDrive (SoundBlaster compatible)
VideoChips & Technologies Accelerator – 10.4″ (Mk I), 12.1″ (Mk II and III) TFT Active Matrix
Resolution(s)640×480 (Mk I), 800×600 (Mk II and III) (16-bit)
Ports2xPCMCIA, 1xPS/2, 1xAudio (in), 1xAudio (out), 1xDocking, 1×25-pin parallel, 1xSerial, 1xVGA
Dimensions2.2″ x 11.7″ x 9.25″
Weight9 lb
Power Supply15.6 V  

I bought this Panasonic for peanut money but it had no adapter and no HDD. The battery had leaked and everything was full of oxidation. After a few bottles of vinegar and a lot of isopropyc alcohol the computer looks just fine. I had also found a compatible power adapter that delivers 15V 4 Amps, enough to power this beast of a laptop. I also had a 1.6 Gb HDD from an old Toshiba that was instantly recognized by this machine.

I had installed Windows 95 but I have no drivers for it so besides the SoundBlaster, nothing seems to work properly. I will try in the future to install the latest version of Windows 95, maybe that one will have a greater driver database. Meanwhile its definitely a fun machine for playing old DOS games. Also the CD-ROM fitted under the keyboard is a pretty unique design!

18 thoughts on “Panasonic Toughbook CF-41 MK I”

    1. I do have the original CD for the machine. It was sent by Panasonic Canada to my place last year. I will make a copy of the content and share it with you if you like.

  1. How do you get it to connect to the internet? I have a MKII, I am not sure how.
    Also, I’m trying to read .jpg from a floppy, I don’t think there is a way.

  2. I have one of these without a battery. Overall still in good state but the screen is gone somehow as it now has like several straight cracks on it and the liquid crystals have leaked from it. I’m quite sure it didn’t sustain any falls or weights so I wonder what caused it to crack. Just time wear alone? I wonder if I can find any LCD panels to replace it.

      1. Hi Andrew,

        I had a similar issue with a laptop panel, it seems there is a foil that doesn’t age nice. This foil is glued on top of the display panel in order to narrow the view angle. I was able to remove that foil by heating it up with a hair dryer. I am looking at the picture you provided and I really haven’t seen anything like it. Are you sore its not a protection foil on top of the screen? If you take apart your display and its cracked maybe I can find a replacement part…

  3. I need an iso of that original cd. Were you able to get it uploaded to I would truly appreciate it.

  4. Hello.

    Thank you for the amazing post. It really is well researched.
    I have a MkII CF-41 with the serial number CF41-PT64AAG. Sadly I’m missing the drivers and the utility disks. By any chance, can you please share these files with me?
    I would really appreciate that.

    Thanks in advance.

      1. Hello,
        I am very happy that I could find you. Is it possible for you to send the disk drivers to my email address or if you upload them on, give me the link? . I just found this laptop and I need its drivers without installing Windows

        My email:

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