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So my friend dropped off an old Dell (from when the Pentium 4 was the best).
The user password has been forgotten, and the User Accounts page will not display anything, so simply removing the password has been blocked. It has Windows XP installed. Unsure of what build and SP.
Due to lack of interest to buy an OS, I decided to go with Linux.
However, being new, I am unsure what Linux distro is best.
I tried Puppy already, but cannot get it to work from a bootup off of CD or USB.
I was hoping for an ISO with a setup.exe type file in it, so I can simply log on in safe mode, and install.
But with how many different versions and distros of Linux there are, you can see my reluctance to download and extract every ISO...
The only distro you will find with that setup.exe installer is Ubuntu, all others do real (not in Windows) installs. If it is a Pentium 4 you should be able to use any distro, not only those for older computers. The install is not difficult, all you have to do is to enter the BIOS and change the boot priorities, so that your computer tries to boot from the CD before the harddisk. And be aware, that you have to burn install disks as images, not as data disks. Extract the iso is in any way the wrong approach.
If you need more help with that, post exactly what you have done, what happened and eventually which error-messages you got, it will be much easier to help you this way.
You might want to grab a few livecds(versions that boot and run from a CD without installing) to find a distro that you like.
As long as you have at least 512MB of ram, you can run almost any distro with a P4. I run Centos 5.5 (one of the larger distros) on a 1Ghz PIII with 512MB ram. Works great to play movies, email, web browsing, etc.
The main problem with boot images is the method to boot it onto.
USB takes more work than it should.
And I have a stack of media CD-R's, just sitting there mocking me.
Media CD's are used for music and such, so it is not recognized by the BIOS. It just says Disk Drive for the option, and Incorrect storage for the error.
I'm going to try Ubuntu tomorrow.
I tried to remove the password using OphCrack LiveCD. But again, BIOS.
I've also seen the condition of his mom&sisters computer they use now.
I'm leery of even having it on my network.
Limewire, facebook games, and free smilies everywhere...
Clean install would be best.
@Eddy; default administrator is how I'm able to log on. And admin doesn't display anything to the user accounts option in control panel, as it does with all other computers.
If you burn the image the burner does not care if it is a media CD-R or not. When you open the burned disk you should NOT see a file Blah-Blah.iso. You should see a bunch of files and subdirectories(which were contained in the ISO).
I searched in the Ubuntu-forums, the problem with your errormessage is a known problem of Ubuntu. They say it can be a failure in the downloaded iso-image, but they are not sure. What you can do in this case is to check the md5-sum of the downloaded isofile, if this is correct, you may check the burned CD. If this is also correct, maybe you'd be better of to try Mint or any other distribution.