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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).


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Old 06-28-2005, 01:38 AM   #1
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Linux on older Laptop

hello all, i hope this is the right place to post it. I will admit im a linux n00b i have an older laptop that i want to make my first linux only machine. ive installed linux on a desktop before but its a current machine and duel booted. this machine is kinda old but works good

im looking for a linux distro that will run on it. i dont know if they stop support for older processors in current distros or like XP they just wont run or will run slow as hell

its a pentium 2 400mhz
with 64 mb of ram
10gb hard drive
dvd-rom drive
Old 06-28-2005, 02:13 AM   #2
Registered: Jun 2005
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With 64M of memory just about any UI is going to be slow.

Any distribution should install just fine and if you use a light window manger like WindowMaker, enlightenment, fluxbox, etc it'll probably perform almost good. But I would definatley try to find more memory for the thing.
Old 06-28-2005, 02:19 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2004
Location: The Netherlands
Distribution: Mandrake, Knoppix, Coyote Linux, RedHat
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I go with what Noth said, keep things minimal and it should run fine I'd definately recommend Fluxbox, and try to get your hands on another 64MB RAM to make things a bit smoother. ofcourse if you can find more, the merrier
Old 06-28-2005, 09:15 AM   #4
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We got to the moon on 32K. Now I need 64M just to write a memo!

Old 06-28-2005, 02:32 PM   #5
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I believe pretty much any distro will work, but they are probably going to be slow. U might try DSL.
Old 06-28-2005, 02:57 PM   #6
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Have a look at these refs - they may give you some pointers.

As for distro, I would put in a plug for my current - Vector linux,
which is slackware-based but widely credited to be fast. But I
endorse the advice earlier about using a WM other than KDE
or GNOME which are resource-hungry.

OR look at Beatrix Linux - GNOME-based but compiled in such
a way as to work on ANY Pentium, apparently.

Old 06-28-2005, 05:44 PM   #7
Registered: Apr 2003
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I have an old ToughBook with the same specs except the h/d crashed. I run knoppix LiveCD on it and I believe the window manager is twm. Takes some getting used to and is fairly slow but I surf with elinks sometimes just for a change and it puts an old box to good use.
Old 06-28-2005, 06:17 PM   #8
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To the best of my knowledge, Knoppix used KDE (K Desktop Environment).
Old 06-28-2005, 06:34 PM   #9
Registered: Apr 2003
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"To the best of my knowledge, Knoppix used KDE (K Desktop Environment)." True enough, but since this old laptop has no h/d there was no dos partition to carve out a swap space and not enough ram for kde so I assume twm was a fail-safe option.
Old 06-28-2005, 07:05 PM   #10
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Göteborg
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Hello godmstr,

I had no problems getting Slackware to run on an old laptop with 64 MB RAM and a 6 GB harddrive. Can't remember the CPU, but I think it was a PIII at about 0.5-1 GHz. Just skip the last CD (containing KDE and GNOME) and you'll be fine; I used Fluxbox on it.

Well, actually I had a problem with it, but that was not the system's fault; it was the harddrive which - I believe - had some bad sectors. The Slackware installer wasn't able to create the swap partition, but after creating it with Partition Magic and then by-pass the swap creation during the installation, I managed to get the system installed. Later, I was surprised that Firefox kept crashing when I opened too many tabs, only to discover that the swap partition wasn't activated - there wasn't even an entry for it in fstab. I added one, activated the swap, and everything worked.

However, this was apparently a sign that the hd was starting to give up. We discovered that the hard way some months later when LILO only managed to get to LIL during boot up and the hd started to make strange noises... Oh, well

Ah, sorry, I got off track here. Anyway, Slack without KDE/GNOME works nicely.
Old 06-28-2005, 08:54 PM   #11
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i actually have linux running on 3 older laptops

one is a 150 mhz with 48mb of ram

another is a 233 with 64mb ram

the other is a 100mhz with 16mb ram

the slowest one is using slackware with fluxbox window manager

400mhz is fast enough for just about any distro but i will admit kde or gnome is gonna be slow

Last edited by exvor; 06-29-2005 at 05:42 PM.
Old 06-28-2005, 09:37 PM   #12
Registered: Apr 2005
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i havea laptop with similar specs to yours. damn small linux 1.2 runs very nicely on it, i recomend you check it out.
Old 07-01-2005, 12:47 AM   #13
Registered: Nov 2003
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When laptops were 400MHZ, I ran Mandrake 8.0 on one. It did have 96MB Ram, but with that much HD, should be able to get by fine. It was NOT slow, I used KDe fine, and you could almost certainly install firefox and OpenOffice, which means you could do almost anything with it. The older distros actually worked fine, of course, they don't have the latest games nor media stuff, but for basic use, they will do it.
If you can find a new one with all the XP type stuff, and it will work on it, that is better, of course. But, most basic use will work on older distros.
Old 07-01-2005, 04:57 AM   #14
Registered: Jun 2004
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I agree with those who said the amount of RAM is what will slow down the GUI. Everything else is fine. I run SuSE 8.1/KDE 3.0 on an IBM ThinkPad 600e. The clock speed is just 366 MHZ, BUT, it has 288 MB of RAM and everything runs smoothly.


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