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Old 06-19-2004, 09:44 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: USA
Distribution: Mandrake, Knoppix
Posts: 51

Rep: Reputation: 15
Oh, to live again! An i486 needs a boost.

I have an old i486 Compaq computer with 32MB ram. It is limited to two 540 MB hard drives for the primary controller. I have Win95 running on it, in the two small hard drives, and had Linux installed on the large hard drives on an installed secondary controller, which I can run two 9GB hard drives. I have run Best Linux (the last time/Best Linux is now known as SOT-Linux), but none of the Linux distributions have been able to find and access the networking cards that I have put in there. The PNP has been disabled, as per suggestion, and the address, int, and memory location has been manually entered in the OS, but without any results. Windows has no problems accessing this networking card. Got any suggestions?

Also, does anyone know where I can get an old copy of Mandrake-Linux, compiled for an i486? Perhaps that one version would be smart enough to find and use the networking card?
I've already been through a nighmare with Slackware, that I have an aversion to using it again. I don't like to do manual updates when the computer can do that much more efficiently. Slackware is too backwards to be able to achieve that, and I wouldn't be able to do any updates on the internet, until this networking problem is resloved, anyway.

Old 06-19-2004, 11:48 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Calif, USA
Distribution: PCLINUXOS
Posts: 2,876

Rep: Reputation: 88
...none of the Linux distributions have been able to find and access the networking cards that I have put in there.
Windows has no problems accessing this networking card.
Step one would be to identify the network card.
With something like this in Windows, if needed.
If it is an NE2000 clone of some sort you need to manually asign an IRQ. If it is some sort of Winmodem your luck can vary.
Old 06-20-2004, 04:15 AM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Australia
Distribution: Mandriva/Slack - KDE
Posts: 1,672

Rep: Reputation: 46
I don't know if any mandrake versions ever ran on a 486...

Anyway, your best bet would be to look at one of the mini distros, or slack maybe.

The 486 makes a good experimental machine to play with - or make a firewall - but you're going to have to look at booting from floppy and that sort of thing.

go to and read up on some of the mini distros.
Old 07-08-2004, 01:44 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jul 2004
Posts: 1

Rep: Reputation: 0
Lightbulb Mandrake 7.0 for i486

Actually there was a version of Mandrake 7.0 that was compiled for i486 computers, and it worked surprisingly well. As far as net support, it was the only distro that didnt require any manual fiddling around to get the network card working on the laptop I tried it on. When I downloaded it some time ago, I was able to find it on Mandrake's ftp downloads, so you might try starting there.

If all else fails, you can always bite the bullet and buy it on CD for only $2.50 (shipping included). Here's a link for it:

Hope that helps!

Last edited by tcp; 07-08-2004 at 01:54 PM.
Old 07-09-2004, 04:31 AM   #5
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Finland
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 235

Rep: Reputation: 30
You shouldn´t use old distros because of security issues. Ie, they are full of holes and shoudln´t be used if the system is connected to the internet or any network.

If you are not afraid of the commandline and have tonts of time to waste, try slackware. It works on i486 systems. Debian should also work fine.


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