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i was able to install slackware 10 on a machine with 14mb ram, however i had 500+ mb hd space available. i question whether 120mb is enough to really do anything. i think 60mb is required just to get a bash prompt running and nothing else.
consider that it's an old laptop without much monetary value. it's not like you are going to be voiding the warranty or anything.
all of the laptops i have dissassembled have been both snap and screwed together. sometimes you cannot access a screw without removing some of the others. often the screws are hidden, under the rubber feet of the laptop, under the keyboard, or concealed by the battery.
one thing i thought about from my own experiences was that it would be a good idea to take lots of pictures of the dissasemby, not only would it help when putting the thing back together, but if you took pics of the circuit board you could id things like the graphics chip, which will help you find a driver when it comes to getting X working.
I was unable to get X with 8bpp color & 640x480 resolution on my Austin486 until i found that it used a Western Digital 90c24 chipset, that required me to use the SVGA drivers available only with XFree86 3.3 (it was not supported with Xorg6.7-8)
while you have the thing apart, replacing the bios battery may be a good idea also. I replaced the bios battery in my Sharp3010 with a 'cordless phone' battery. i found a spot where it fit quite nicely.
i think i have done irreparable damage to about half the laptops i have dissasembled when i got frustrated with trying to get them apart (is there a screw there or is it just being stubborn)
this what i have used on my laptops, old and new. works great, although since you have a zip drive the zipslack distrobution may be well worth trying, one of the tricks i have used is to make a special partition on my hard drive to contain installation files, and then install from that partition (on an 800mb drive, 500mb partition for the distro, and 300mb parition for the installation files) this saves time with messing about with learning how to do a 'network' install. simply use a floppy based distro to get a minimalistic setup going (such as zipslack), transfer the installation files for the distro you want, then run the installer for that distro. at a later date you can reclaim this space, or keep those files there or whatever you want
were you able to id a graphics chip ? i quick google search reveals to me that the COMPAQ LTE Elite 4/75 CX uses the Western Digital 90c24 chip.