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Old 02-17-2009, 02:34 PM   #1
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Help Choosing Operating System

Hi i am after some advice from users of linux.

I have recently fished out my old laptop with the view to using it for simple tasks such as web browsing etc. At the moment it is running on windows xp but due to low specs it is running extremely slow. I am wondering if there is any linux based operating systems that will suit my laptop for the tasks required.

My laptops key specs are as followed:

Pentium 3 1ghz
17.5 gb HDD
128mb Ram

I would appreciate any advice you have on this subject.
Old 02-17-2009, 02:36 PM   #2
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puppy or dsl
Old 02-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #3
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That's a fast machine. If it's running bog slow it might be because it's virus and adware infested. You might try running the free anti-virus at as well as "adalert" adware killer. There's another anti-adware I used to use on XP, but I can't remember what it was.

If you're wanting to switch to Linux, I can't give you any help other than maybe xubuntu or Debian with XFCE (or whatever it's called).
Old 02-17-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
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Your processor is not bad, but your ram is way too low--most modern Linux distros require a minimum of 256-512mb for good performance. If you can install more ram, you can install just about any Linux distro you like (and they are all capable of web browsing).

If you're stuck with only 128mb for whatever reason, I would suggest Puppy.
Old 02-17-2009, 03:01 PM   #5
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128mb of ram is not enough ram for window, you can run it, but it will be slow. Go on ebay and get some more ram get 512 or 1gh and you should be able to use any linux distro.
Old 02-17-2009, 03:08 PM   #6
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With 128mb of RAM, I think you should use:

Puppy Linux
DeLi Linux

a minimal netinst Debian install, and then install xorg, fluxbox, openbox or blackbox (or other wm) and the packages you want (firefox, etc.)

Only if you have medium experience with linux you should do the Debian install...

On my opinion, use either Puppy or DeLi.
Old 02-17-2009, 03:11 PM   #7
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What are you going to use your computer for - if you just want to see what's linux and use it out of the box you should get yourself Ubuntu. If you are that kind of people who want to stick their fingers every where and break the OS while learning what NOT to do - then Slackware.

If you don't know anything about Linux and have never used it before you should go with Ubuntu - it's been done for beginners... the only thing you need to do is click "NEXT" until the end

If you are able to upgrade your ram memory every linux distro will run much faster..

Hope I have made things a bit clear ....

Best wishes,

Last edited by alpha_hack; 02-17-2009 at 03:13 PM.
Old 02-17-2009, 03:11 PM   #8
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Hi first of all thanks for all your help so far.

Unfortunately upgrading my laptops ram is limited. My laptop only supports a maximum of 384mb ram, and although i can buy 256mb its rather expensive and i am unsure as to how long the laptop has to live with a quite a few problems occurring in recent days.
Old 02-17-2009, 03:42 PM   #9
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If you're willing to learn, Arch Linux will run fine on that hardware. If not, Puppy or DSL might work. Slackware and Gentoo also, but the latter would be annoying to compile on unless you do it from another machine.
Old 02-17-2009, 03:48 PM   #10
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Definitely don't attempt Ubuntu with 128mb of ram; the published minimum is 256mb but personally I feel Ubuntu needs 512mb or more to really shine.

My #1 suggestion above was Puppy. Honorable mention to DSL and the loram flavor of SliTaz.
Old 02-18-2009, 06:45 PM   #11
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Recent Windows version (XP and upwards) will be a drag with 128 MB, so you will need to switch to some UNIX variant, either Linux or BSD.

It is actually irrelevant what distro you use. Only make sure not to install every package in existence. Also make sure to use some of the lighter window managers, because Gnome and KDE can play difficult (or rather slow) on your hardware. Fluxbox would be my favorite for such cases, followed by XFCE and (the aging) WindowMaker environment.

You could actually modify you X startup file to launch directly into your web browser, making it the only application and running it instead of any window manager at all. Would give a web browsing kiosk system.


Last edited by servat78; 02-19-2009 at 12:32 PM.


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