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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 12-01-2008, 09:24 AM   #16
Lord Ghost
Registered: Jul 2003
Posts: 68

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Originally Posted by Zippy1970 View Post
As soon as I figure out a way to do any install on this notebook (no CD Drive, no boot from USB capabilities, only a Floppy Drive and a PCMCIA NIC), I will give all your suggestions a try!
I still suggest using xubuntu, simply for the fact that it:

A) is the easiest to install out of the options offered.
B) requires far less configuration to get things working.
C) is VERY up to date on drivers and software.
D) will do everything you want it to.
E) is middle of the road for footprint, yet has an excellent GUI.
F) has more software from the repositories than most distros.
G) is secure and stable.
H) has HUGE support base within the Ubuntu community.

That said, what I would suggest is similar to what another member said:

Remove the hard drive from the laptop, use an adapter (I have one, cost me about $5 from newegg) that goes from 2.5" laptop drive to USB.

Plug it into your desktop box, run your partition editor on it...

Format the drive with 1 partition at the end (Important, so your OS installs on the faster, inside track) just big enough for the xubuntu image. Put the image on there, flag it as bootable, and pop it back into the laptop.

From there, you should be able to boot up to installation, install the system, partitioning how you wish - and once you are finished...

Go into your partition editor, remove the CD partition and free it up for whatever your needs.

Of course, this will work on any version of Linux you might want...I just don't feel there's a need to go through hell when there are more elegant solutions out there.

Old 12-01-2008, 02:07 PM   #17
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2007
Location: Puebla, Mexico
Distribution: Debian
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I wanted to do something with a Toshiba Notebook with 128Mb RAM, I tryed some of the distros mentioned here (puppy, dsl, etc.) and in my opinion, I got the best results with a basic Debian installation (netinst). Then I did't install a desktop, just a window manager, I installed IceWM, but it could be OpenBox or FluxBox too, since they are really lite.
I don't recomend OpenOffice with such a hardware, cus it is going to run really slow, It's better to use abiword and gnumeric for that case.
I use Kazehakase instead of Firefox or Iceweasel, because it is not that heavy.

Good luck
Old 12-01-2008, 02:55 PM   #18
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2007
Posts: 16

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If you can connect your hard drive to another box, I'd recommend Puppy 4.1.1 retro.
Use gparted (in menu) to format ext2 partition, set boot flag, create swap
partition, (1 or 2 times ram size) run universal-installer (in menu) and choose
full install. It will be quite "zippy".
Old 12-01-2008, 03:49 PM   #19
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Solomons, MD
Distribution: Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, ChromeOS, Android KitKat
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There are some great replies here, so I'll just say that DSL ran very well on a 300MHz Thinkpad I had. It made the computer feel a lot faster than the 98SE that had been on it. DSL recognized all the hardware (I didn't have WiFi, but used Ethernet) and installed very easily after first trying it out as a Live CD and admiring the speed - in fact, that's why I used it.

I also had Knoppix on another old TP and it worked well. My next door neighbor has an ancient P3 tower and rescued it with Puppy Linux; he likes so much that he kept it in his home office instead of throwing it out as he'd more or less planned to do. It's very useful again.

The fun of an old machine like yours is that you can try a lot of stuff until you find one that satisfies your hardware and personality. Good luck!

Old 12-01-2008, 05:06 PM   #20
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Registered: Feb 2008
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Originally Posted by Zippy1970
As soon as I figure out a way to do any install on this notebook (no CD Drive, no boot from USB capabilities, only a Floppy Drive and a PCMCIA NIC), I will give all your suggestions a try!
You could try:


to boot from cd-rom using your floppy drive ; ) you simply put this floppy to floppy disk drive, os install cd to your cd-rom drive, turn computer on, wait a few seconds and select "cd-rom" from the menu ; )

As of Linux for older machines, I would recommend DSL - I'm using it on my old Pentium 133Mhz 48Mb RAM IDP Laptop and only thing that does not work is sound, but that's because AFAIK there are no Linux drivers for this sound chipset... (if anyone knows anything about soundcard in IDP Series 530 working under linux - please let me know)

You coud also try SliTaz - it's main advantage is fact, that it is extremely small (no idea how they fitted whole os with firefox and lots of other software in ~30 mb)
Old 12-01-2008, 08:04 PM   #21
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2008
Location: Australia
Distribution: Ubuntu Karmic
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Ummm just a question... how are you actually going to get it on to the internet? There are no wireless specs in your list... if you are simply going to plug in through the NIC to hotel servers that is fine but it isn't going to do you much good in an airport cafe...

As far as the distro because of the low specs (particularly the RAM and disc space... and the installation issues... I would recommend that you give Puppy a try first... simply download the iso 4.1.1 using ANY machine (it is 93Mb) from here burn it to CD... boot up the CD on the same machine... Navigate to the Puppy Universal Installer and create your usb stick... there are instructions and further help files if you go to the wiki...

Hope that helps... cheers
Old 12-01-2008, 08:08 PM   #22
LQ Newbie
Registered: Nov 2008
Location: Australia
Distribution: Ubuntu Karmic
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oops quick amend... didnt read the "no boot from usb capabilities" just the specs... so nix what i said :P
Old 12-01-2008, 08:09 PM   #23
Lord Ghost
Registered: Jul 2003
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Nevermind, he figured out the "No USB capabilities" part.


Last edited by Lord Ghost; 12-01-2008 at 08:10 PM. Reason: User self corrected! :D
Old 12-01-2008, 08:25 PM   #24
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I've had great results using Puppy Linux on an old Toshiba with 64 MB of RAM. Choose Puppy over DSL because Puppy uses a 2.6 vintage kernel. Puppy runs great as long as you don't start something heavy (e.g., Firefox). Puppy contains a light weight window manager as wells as light weight browsers. I currently use this old Puppy as a console monitor for a more heavy weight Linux blade.
Old 12-01-2008, 09:32 PM   #25
LQ Newbie
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Distribution: Ubuntu, Vector
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Try Damn Small Linux, its pretty damn small!
Old 12-01-2008, 10:00 PM   #26
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: The next brick house on the right.
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Second (or third or fourth) the motion on DSL. I have an elderly IBM TP365XD (P120/72MB/3.2GB) that runs DSL quite well. If I understand your description, yours, like mine, has PC Card (16 bit, 5 volt) slots rather than Cardbus (32bit, 3.3 volt) slots, which makes getting wifi hard.

There is also a slightly larger DSL version called DSL-Not that does use the 2.6.x kernel. While my old guy does have a non-bootable CD-ROM drive and external bootable floppy, yours of course doesn't. But as noted, it is possible to get the needed files to your hard drive via some other method, and then run your old guy to actually install and set it up. The lack of a CD-ROM drive makes life a little tougher, but DSL has some great support pages that handle a large variety of install situations.

Tried Puppy, liked some features, but was totally unimpressed with "security" when doing a full hard drive install.
Old 12-02-2008, 05:47 AM   #27
Registered: Mar 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Distribution: Mint, OpenSUSE,Dream
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The Latvian solution

I've got an aged Toshiba laptop with similar specs to your Fujitsu. (266MHz P2, 128MB SDRAM, 2.3GB HDD).

I've tried several dsitros on this (Puppy, DSL, Fluxbuntu, AntiX etc.), but my favourite is definitely Austrumi.

This link will tell you all about it:

Best of luck!
Old 12-02-2008, 11:20 AM   #28
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I would recomend Puppy as well, but your problem is going to be getting it in there if you don't have a CD Drive
Old 12-02-2008, 06:48 PM   #29
Registered: Sep 2007
Posts: 119

Original Poster
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Again, thank you for all your replies!

I haven't been able to install anything yet. First of all, the installed memory turned out to be 96MB only (64MB + 32 MB) so I tried to install DSL first.

The problem is that I only have a floppy disk to install from. I booted from a TomsRTBT boot floppy, but it didn't recognize my PCMCIA Network Card so that was a dead end.

The second thing I tried was removing the HDD from this notebook, so I could connect it to my desktop and start the installation there but that wasn't as simple as with ordinary notebooks. This involves pretty much completely disassembling the notebook.

So before I do, and since I'm not even sure I will be successful at all installing Linux on this notebook, I have decided to get another 2.5" HDD to experiment with on my desktop. But since this laptop doesn't support large HDDs, I'll have to find a "small" one first (3GB - 6GB).

In the mean time, I will simply install all the suggested distributions on a Virtual Machine with 96MB, to see which ones I like best and if they will run at all with that amount of memory.

I will post my findings here.
Old 12-02-2008, 11:31 PM   #30
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If you have a floppy drive and NIC card, you can install debian.
The floppies allow you to boot with network support and install over the internet. For a really lightweight os, install debian as command line only, no desktop environment. Log on as root and use "apt-get install" command to install X, a lightweight window manager like fluxbox, and whatever else you want.

Last edited by mmmichael; 12-02-2008 at 11:48 PM. Reason: typo


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