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javax 10-31-2002 06:48 AM

Slow old computer
Hi there everyone.

Right, my question.
I've got an old IBM pentiumII 266 machine, with a 32MB RAM, 20GB HD with a 2MB agp card. Very nasty I know.

I've got the CD and book on Red Hat Linux 7.2 for a while. I installed it, everything ran fine till I actually logged in.
It was EXTREMELY slow, so slow that I just gave up using it.

I did some reading and found out that it's because some stuff that I don't really need are loaded at boot time, how do I turn them off? I don't need anything, it's not even going to be networked. I just want the machine to play about with and learn the actual operating system.

Apart from that other things such as the window manager and the desktop managers are other things that slow the pc.
I want to install blackbox as my window manager and not have any desktop manager (how do I do that???), as I saw on an old machine before. What I'm worried about though is that will I be able to run apps without gnome etc.. installed and running?

Thanks for ANY help in advance.

Bert 10-31-2002 07:03 AM

You know the quickest way to use windows is without a mouse? Well, the quickest way to use Linux is without a GUI. Unless you really really need pictures on your desktop, don't use a GUI. Of course, you can still read email, browse the web (in text mode so again that would be very fast), recompile your kernel etc. There's even a text mode file browser which you may already have installed called Midnight Commander invoked with:


You'll be learning *nix the way sysadmins often find it and the way it was originally designed to be used.


daxy 10-31-2002 07:03 AM

Hmm, RedHad allways installs Sendmail. if you don't have a network connection it takes forever to start sendmail (and maybe other network related services).

You can remove unwanted services by using:
update-rc.d -f sendmail remove

replace sendmail with any other service...

Hope this helpes a bit :)

Aussie 10-31-2002 07:35 AM

Shove some more ram in the bugger.

Thymox 10-31-2002 07:42 AM

Installing BlackBox is easy, although some would recommend other resource-friendly window managers :D

Download the files and copy over to your slow computer. Untargz the file and read the install and readme files, and install it (usually a ./configure, make, make install). Create a file in your home directory called .xinitrc and have a line that reads exec blackbox. Don't forget the dot infront of .xinitrc. Load up X.

nizo505 10-31-2002 02:00 PM

A few things you can try:

When you install redhat, pick the "Server" install, and then unclick just about everything (you can pretty easily install things later if you decide you need them). Pick "Plain old X" or whatever it is called (not Gnome or KDE) when it asks for which X installation you want. More memory would be helpful and a video card with more memory wouldn't hurt. You could also consider a different linux install (Redhat tends to be bloated unless you know what to turn off). Slackware seems like a reasonable choice, as are Mandrake (based on RedHat) and Debian (all three have package management, which is nice). You might get similiar behavior if you don't select either gnome or kde on the workstation install, has anyone tried that? I keep hoping someday that redhat will give a "minimal install" option.

Omega 10-31-2002 02:09 PM

256 megs of ram would work wonders.

jglen490 10-31-2002 03:50 PM

A PII 266 -- with a goodly amount of RAM -- will work very well in either commandline or X window mode. The amount of physical memory is a little more important the CPU rating. What's a goodly amount of RAM? 64MB will result in a dramatic increase. If you run a lot of software/services, then 128MB will be better. 256MB will be great!!

I run a P120 laptop on Mandrake 8.2. No speed demon, but it is stable and when I went from 40MB to 72MB, it was like night and day.

bubba169 10-31-2002 04:42 PM

Go with more ram a Pent. II probably uses 168 pin DIMM PC100 or PC133 (open the box to be sure whats in there before you buy) & this kind of memory isn't too pricey now. I say leave as much stuff installed (not running at startup) as you can that way you will have more ways of learning. Learning Linux is just like learning Windows -- if you have a slow laggy computer then you will give up on it, but with 266Mhz & more ram this box should be fine. My first box was a pent 166Mhz non-MMX, 16Mb of ram (up it to 64Mb), 1Mb video card, 3.5 Gig harddrive it ran Slackware perfectly.


Thymox 10-31-2002 04:47 PM

The PII came in two flavours, mainly: PC66 and PC100. Now, the PC66 was used for pretty much all of the processors under 350MHz, but those of 350MHz and above, used PC100 memory. Being a 233, it is likely that it uses PC66 RAM, even though you may have PC100 sticks in the box.

Oh, and my first venture into Linuxland was with a PII-333, and that ran absolutely fine with 192Mb of PC100 (I was planing on upgrading), SawFish running natively (no KDE or Gnome) at 1024x768. I would also advise just sticking in some more RAM and giving it a whirl.

bubba169 10-31-2002 05:12 PM

I was going by a pent. II@400Mhz which I used 256 Mb of PC133 & it worked fine. the BIOS probably just used it as PC100 I guess.


newpenguin 10-31-2002 06:17 PM

and in redhat if you want to not load things at startup try command

Thymox 10-31-2002 06:58 PM


Originally posted by bubba169
I was going by a pent. II@400Mhz which I used 256 Mb of PC133 & it worked fine. the BIOS probably just used it as PC100 I guess.
Yeah, with SDRAM you can always bung in sticks that are rated faster than your FSB, but you can't bung in slower stuff... you can put PC133 into a PC100 board, but not PC66 into a PC100 board. If you're in doubt as to which your board is, then just look at the processor speed. As a general rule, the 100MHz FSB processors were nice even numbers, like 350, 400, etc. The 66MHz FSB processors were the 166, 233, 266, 333, etc chips. This is, I believe, only a rule-of-thumb, but it works!

javax 11-04-2002 07:16 AM

Hello all you crazy kids, well after all the bashing I got about the RAM I went ahead and bought some. And yes it's running faster so thank you to all who made me go out in the rain and buy some RAM. :)

Cheers guys and girls.

Aussie 11-04-2002 07:39 AM

I love it when a plan comes together :p

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