Welcome to LQ!
First, how did the system crash? What is the problem, hardware or software?
You could download a 'SystemRescueCD
' to checkout the system. If it's just a software crash then you could download from the 'LiveCD List
' to test a distribution before a install.
I prefer SlackwareŽ but it does require a little work on the user's part. The learning curve is steep but once you've got it you will use it. As some say ' To use SlackwareŽ is the way to learn Linux'.
These links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links
'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!