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Old 10-08-2009, 07:32 PM   #1
extraz
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Question Planning on resurrecting some older computers need advice


Hi,

I have two older PC's, that I would like to revive, or at least make somewhat useful.

I've experimented with Ubuntu and Damn Small Linux so far but I know there are probably better solutions, that's where you guys come in

Computer number 1 is from (estimate) 1996, it's native OS is Win95

It has very...uhh.. modest specs

2GB HDD
16MB RAM
200MHz Pentium processor
CD Drive, (probably not a CD-R or CD-RW...which may explain why DSL wouldn't work.)

currently it's mostly used to play the occasional game of Doom and word processing, and educating my little brother on how lucky he is to be growing up today.

I've been wishing to use Linux on it, but Ubuntu is out of the question, and DSL refused to boot, (probably because I suck at burning discs)I tried running something called GreyCat linux on it, but that was next to useless and I had to input all sorts of commands and insert floppies just to get it to start up.

I'm hopeless with CLI, I honestly don't expect much of a response for poor old computer number 1


----

Computer number 2 is much more optimistic

It's from around 1999-2000, it's native OS is Win98, but I gave it Win2k due to Win98 being insecure and all. Win2k is going to stop getting security updates mid 2010, so I figured I should be prepared.

I tried Ubuntu on it, but that was slower than Win2k, so I don't think I could do that to my old friend (the computer), I've successfully put DSL on it, but I'm sure it's more capable than that.

-30GB HDD
-384 MB RAM
-900 or so MHz Pentium 3
-DVD drive and a CD-RW drive

both computers have 2 USB ports each, computer number 1 doesn't seem to know it though.

I don't expect rapid responses so take your time, any advice at all is appreciated.
 
Old 10-08-2009, 07:37 PM   #2
MS3FGX
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The first machine is never going to run a serious Linux distribution. You could run some extremely minimal kernel 2.4 systems on it probably, but 16 MB is simply not enough RAM for modern Linux systems to realistically run on. You might want to try a BSD on that box if you really want to do something with it.

The second machine is at least realistic, though as you noticed large distributions like Ubuntu are probably more than it can easily handle. I would suggest either Debian or Slackware on a machine like that, using a light WM/DE like XFCE or even down to FluxBox if you need something snappier.

In general though, the leaner the Linux distribution you use, the harder it is to setup. "Easy" distributions like Ubuntu wrap the whole system up in pretty GUI interfaces and wizards, which takes it's toll on the system resources. If you are willing to work without many of those niceties, you can get something usable without too much trouble.
 
Old 10-08-2009, 08:01 PM   #3
thorkelljarl
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RAM...

If you could beg, borrow, or steal some more RAM for the second PC, you would give yourself a wider choice of possible linuxs and a better chance that that linux would perform to your liking.

I mentioned acquisition without payment since you don't really want to expend money on a system that old, and RAM that ancient in PC years is often best found cheap at swap meets, garage sales, and the like, or as junk.

Some people like Puppy Linux, but as previously posted, several distributions will work if installed with light window managers and desktops, but may require hand hewing to install.

linux is choice, and here the choices of what could run are wide, while that of those that would run to your satisfaction is narrower and perhaps best found by trying the field.

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 10-08-2009 at 08:24 PM.
 
Old 10-08-2009, 08:02 PM   #4
extraz
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@MS3FGX oh, a fellow NJ, hello from Monmouth, anyway,


thanks, I was thinking about Debian, but there are so many choices I needed some reinforcement.

so, you mentioned BSD on the first machine, can you elaborate on that? would it have a GUI of any kind? or would it be limited to a command shell?

hypothetically if I could figure out how to get it 48MB of RAM would that make much of a difference? (the thing must have been made before any kind of standardization as I can't for the life of me find the RAM slot.)

@Thorkelljarl

funny, you should mention that, I actually found these 2 PC's during my neighborhoods "bulk pickup" day.

Last edited by extraz; 10-08-2009 at 08:04 PM.
 
Old 10-08-2009, 08:03 PM   #5
smeezekitty
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one thing is that #1 may not be able to boot from cd
Quote:

It's from around 1999-2000, it's native OS is Win98, but I gave it Win2k due to Win98 being insecure and all. Win2k is going to stop getting security updates mid 2010, so I figured I should be prepared.
wasnt worth the speed decrease - security is nice but people over worry about it
with a firewall and antivirus 98 is good infact 2000/xp has more virus problems and vulnerabilies
you should probably see if you can get a bios update as it may correct booting from cd problems
 
Old 10-08-2009, 08:20 PM   #6
mrrangerman
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I agree with MS3FGX on the second system, I would use Slackware first with xfce or fluxbox for the window manager then Debian.

As for the first system, the ram IS a issue, You could try Puppy, they brag it will run on 8mb of ram.

Give the specs, make and model of the first pc I have some hardware that may work on it Ram and Hard drives. You can have if you want to pay for actual shipping you can send me a Private Message.

Last edited by mrrangerman; 10-08-2009 at 08:27 PM. Reason: add info
 
Old 10-08-2009, 08:28 PM   #7
MS3FGX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by extraz View Post
hypothetically if I could figure out how to get it 48MB of RAM would that make much of a difference?
Probably not, no. I have run FluxBox/Slackware on a 233 MHz AMD K6 with 64 MB of RAM, and it was miserable. I can only imagine how 48 MB would be. With 48 MB you could at least run the system and start X, but running any applications on top of that would be tough (especially any modern web browser).
 
Old 10-08-2009, 09:00 PM   #8
smeezekitty
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you could use a console based web browser
i think its worth a try
 
Old 10-08-2009, 09:26 PM   #9
extraz
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Thanks for all input, I plan on researching possibilities with computer number 2.

I think I'll keep the number 1 to punish any future children when they misbehave.
 
Old 10-08-2009, 09:38 PM   #10
smeezekitty
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not to bash or anything i like computers ether really old or really new
< 1997 or > 2006
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 i dont like that much i dont know why
 
Old 10-08-2009, 09:44 PM   #11
jmc1987
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I noticed you said something about you saying "I suck at burning disk" When you download something like DSL and burn it you can't just burn it like its a music CD. You have to burn it as a image with something like powerISO. PowerISO will tell you if the CD is even bootable or not in the bottom left corner. Also make sure you have your system set to boot from a CD if that possible with your systems ( some system that old won't boot from a CD )

Hope this helps
 
Old 10-08-2009, 10:09 PM   #12
Smartpatrol
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...

Last edited by Smartpatrol; 03-11-2010 at 09:40 PM.
 
Old 10-08-2009, 10:10 PM   #13
smeezekitty
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i have had it boot in 10 megs in virtual pc with the 2.4 kernel
and 14 megs with the 2.6 kernel
 
Old 10-08-2009, 10:40 PM   #14
Smartpatrol
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...

Last edited by Smartpatrol; 03-11-2010 at 09:41 PM.
 
  


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