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Old 04-11-2016, 06:41 PM   #1
Gregg Bell
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Is it worth trying to install a linux OS on this computer?


My home computer is this 12-yr-old Dell Optiplex 170L. It's all right but it's 32 bit and as you probably know Chrome is no longer supporting 32 bit Linux computers.

Recently I inherited a (crashed) Dell Optiplex GX520, which is only a year newer but it is 64 bit. Here are the specs:

http://www.cnet.com/products/dell-op...-series/specs/

And in terms of installing a linux distro, the computer does not seem to accept a USB flash drive for installation purposes and the CD tray does not eject.

The installed RAM is only 512 MB but it could be taken up to 4GB. Even so I really don't know if this computer would be that much better than what I got. And I'm a non-techie so buying and installing a new CD tray would be quite the hassle.

Anyway, any feedback? Thanks.
 
Old 04-11-2016, 06:55 PM   #2
rokytnji
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Quote:
On the HP. I have 2 gigs of ram on order (10 bucks). Right now it dual boots with Tahr Puppy Linux 6CE (Full Install because of ram limits) with XP . These are both M/C shop extras now for when the guys have nothing to play with and are bored.
The HP also has a couple of extra xfs and fat32 partitions for extra tweaking later.
from

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...74/index2.html

Actually. It is up to you what is worth doing. You are going to get a raspberry pi replies from the EU sector. Electricity Bills and all that.
 
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Old 04-11-2016, 07:42 PM   #3
rob_r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Bell View Post
And in terms of installing a linux distro, the computer does not seem to accept a USB flash drive for installation purposes and the CD tray does not eject.

Thanks.
Your only option is to use PXE to do network boot. The server will also host the distro for installing to your computer. I've never done this, but there are instructions on the web on how to do this.

Another option is to install plop boot loader to a usb stick. This is used where older computers BIOS's don't support booting from a usb. Also, you will need to buy or borrow an external dvd drive to boot the linux distro for installation.

Last edited by rob_r; 04-11-2016 at 07:55 PM.
 
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:27 PM   #4
JJJCR
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Puppy Linux or any light distro I think should be good, in a USB or CD.
 
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:41 PM   #5
jefro
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Keep pushing the eject button slowly, like 20 times. It sometimes opens after a while.

If you have a second machine you could move hard drive over or into a usb case.

I agree that pxe ought to be in there.

Is it worth using?? Only you can decide.

I bought a Liva X2 for $140 and runs Ubuntu like mad. The question is do you want to spend that much or try to get by with a lightweight distro.
 
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Old 04-11-2016, 09:40 PM   #6
ardvark71
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Hi Gregg...

Personally (and this is just my opinion,) unless you can upgrade the memory to at least 2 GB's, it really wouldn't be worth the time. Plus, whatever a new or used CD/DVD ROM will cost.

Regards...
 
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Old 04-11-2016, 10:11 PM   #7
jamison20000e
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Yes.
 
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:12 PM   #8
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardvark71 View Post
Hi Gregg...

Personally (and this is just my opinion,) unless you can upgrade the memory to at least 2 GB's, it really wouldn't be worth the time. Plus, whatever a new or used CD/DVD ROM will cost.

Regards...
As a rarity, I'd agree with Aardvark. Single thread Celeron without a working CD-ROM and only half a gig ram. It'll cost you basically what the system's worth to get the ram upgraded and the CD-ROM working (which would cost about $20).

I'd find something at least C2D so you have multithreaded capability. On quick search, I found a DC7800 (c2d E6500 w/ 2 GB ram and DVD drive) for $40 on ebay. No hard drive, but that's easy enough.

Last edited by Timothy Miller; 04-11-2016 at 11:16 PM.
 
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Old 04-12-2016, 08:37 AM   #9
Shadow_7
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The CD drive might have a pin hole that you can push a paper clip (straightened) down to eject the drive.

You could install linux on it. Lots of ways. You can chainload grub from a CD to boot a USB if it's really old. configfile (hd#,#)/boot/grub/grub.cfg once grubs command prompt can see it in ls. Just insmod the driver bits as normally listed in the grub.cfg. Most computers post 2006 can boot from usb.

I was using an old P4 dell laptop 32 bit 2.8GHz single core CPU with 512MB ram to watch youtube. But over the past year the ads have gotten greedy enough to ruin it for that purpose. The ads need 300% of the CPU allotment than the video alone took. And the ram needs have exceeded 512MB even on the most optimized configuration. So I retired that old machine. I might still rig it up to rtmp stream a webcam that I point out the front window. Someday. But now that a pi 3 has wifi built in, that's more suited to that task IMO. And it would literally pay for itself in the power savings. That old laptop has ethernet and wifi so I can always use it to bridge a non-wifi machine to the network, so in the corner it remains waiting to save the day.
 
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Old 04-12-2016, 10:27 AM   #10
beachboy2
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Smile

Gregg,

To save you further anguish, why don't you give all your old computers to rokytnji?

In return, he will send you a Linux PC that actually works.

Failing that, you will just have to learn how to become a dumpster diver.

It might be worth enquiring at your City Hall if any computers are due to be released.

Last edited by beachboy2; 04-12-2016 at 10:31 AM.
 
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Old 04-12-2016, 01:34 PM   #11
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_r View Post
Your only option is to use PXE to do network boot. The server will also host the distro for installing to your computer. I've never done this, but there are instructions on the web on how to do this.

Another option is to install plop boot loader to a usb stick. This is used where older computers BIOS's don't support booting from a usb. Also, you will need to buy or borrow an external dvd drive to boot the linux distro for installation.
Thanks, Rob, but I got the tray door open. (But still it's good info to know, and who knows, it may get stuck again.)
 
Old 04-12-2016, 01:36 PM   #12
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJJCR View Post
Puppy Linux or any light distro I think should be good, in a USB or CD.
Thanks JJJCR. I tried to install Puppy Linux on my laptop (I must admit I enjoyed the Puppy bark) and it was really complicated, asking for partitions to be divided and all sorts of stuff. Maybe when I get a little more knowledgeable.
 
Old 04-12-2016, 01:42 PM   #13
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Keep pushing the eject button slowly, like 20 times. It sometimes opens after a while.

I tried it (btw I love solutions like this ) but no luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post

Is it worth using?? Only you can decide.

I bought a Liva X2 for $140 and runs Ubuntu like mad. The question is do you want to spend that much or try to get by with a lightweight distro.
You know what happens is the company I work for is always wrecking (LOL) or updating computers and they are going to throw them out. So I can't bear to see them trashed when you can always do something with them running Linux. So I have like eight or nine really old computers that have Linux OSs on them. And like this latest computer. It has the 64 bit so it's something I could use, and yet, at the same time it's really old and has scant RAM.

I don't know. I think I've become a tinkerer.
 
Old 04-12-2016, 01:47 PM   #14
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardvark71 View Post
Hi Gregg...

Personally (and this is just my opinion,) unless you can upgrade the memory to at least 2 GB's, it really wouldn't be worth the time. Plus, whatever a new or used CD/DVD ROM will cost.

Regards...
Thanks ardvark. I got the CD tray open. (Not that it will work properly now, though.) So I could put 4 GB RAM (it has two RAM slots so 2GB + 2GB sticks) on it (what do you think that would cost me?) so that's cool, but I would really want Xubuntu 15.10 on it and if I can only use CDs I can't get Xubuntu on a CD because it's too big.

Maybe I can use some of those other solutions (like that PXE) to get the Xubuntu. Or maybe I should just ditch the computer.
 
Old 04-12-2016, 01:50 PM   #15
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
As a rarity, I'd agree with Aardvark. Single thread Celeron without a working CD-ROM and only half a gig ram. It'll cost you basically what the system's worth to get the ram upgraded and the CD-ROM working (which would cost about $20).

I'd find something at least C2D so you have multithreaded capability. On quick search, I found a DC7800 (c2d E6500 w/ 2 GB ram and DVD drive) for $40 on ebay. No hard drive, but that's easy enough.
Thanks Timothy. So it's not a big deal to put a hard drive in that sort of computer? (I've never done anything like that.) And how much would a decent hard drive cost?
 
  


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