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10+ yrd old desktop with xp

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by John Sinclair, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. John Sinclair

    John Sinclair New Member

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    Hi



    I have a 10+ yr old desktop loaded with Windows xp. Computer still works and is a little slow but wondering if it would be better with linux?

    thanks

    John
     
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  2. John Sinclair

    John Sinclair New Member

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    LXLE or LXDE?
     
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  3. arochester

    arochester Active Member

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  4. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    @John Sinclair

    Hi John, and welcome to linux.org. :)

    Linux Lite has a good rep, and whenever at least one person here has a recommendation, chances are you will get support here ;)

    LXDE is actually a DE (Desktop Environment) - you can read about them here

    https://renewablepcs.wordpress.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce/

    ... LXLE is a Linux Distribution (Distro) based on Ubuntu, which uses the LXDE environment.

    More reading

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-weight_Linux_distribution

    ... check the specs in the table against your computer, we can help if you need.

    Cheers

    Chris Turner
    wizardfromoz
     
  5. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Hi John, and welcome to the forums! @arochester suggestion of Linux Lite is a great choice. It works very well on lots of older computers. But if you have difficulty with it, there are other possibilities too.

    A couple of guiding thoughts about switching to Linux:

    1) Determine if your CPU is 64-bit or 32-bit. Don't go by the Windows XP version... they often put 32-bit Windows on 64-bit CPU's to save money, but there were a lot of 32-bit CPU's in those days too. About the easiest way to find out is to download a 64-bit version of Linux, make your install media (DVD or USB) and see if your computer will boot on it. If it fails, it will give you an error and you'll realize you need 32-bit instead. It's better to use 64-bit if you can.

    2) Determine how much RAM you have, and consider whether you can upgrade it if needed. Some Linux distros can run on very low resources, but many need at least 1 GB to run comfortably. If you have 2 GB or more, you can probably run any distro.

    3) Try not to get frustrated. Linux is different in many ways from Windows (BETTER!)... and you get a lot of new terms and jargon thrown at you. Take your time, and ask all the questions you need. We'll all do our best to help you along.

    Cheers
     
  6. John Sinclair

    John Sinclair New Member

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    hi
    if i am looking right the ram is only 246Mb
     
  7. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Hey John, that's gonna be a tough one, but maybe not impossible. Windows XP minimum RAM requirement was 64 MB, but recommended 128 MB. So yours with 256 MB would have been pretty good.... "back in the day." (It only shows 246 MB probably due to reserving 10 MB for video graphics.)

    There are only a couple of options of Linux that may work with a graphical desktop with that low of RAM. You will likely not be able to use latest-greatest web browsers like Firefox or Chrome, but there are other less resource-hungry browsers included with the low-spec Linux choices.

    Reversing what I said earlier, if you want to try to run Linux on your computer "as is"... I think I would go with a 32-bit version to start. If you have a USB port, have you ever tried to boot the computer on a USB flash drive? On older computers, booting on USB was often not yet possible, but it is common today so we take it for granted. So... I'd guess you have a CD/DVD drive, and that will probably be the best way to run and/or install Linux. See if you can tell on the drive door if it is CD or DVD... that might limit you too if CD only.

    Is this desktop your only computer? Or can you prepare the Linux CD/DVD on another system?

    Are you willing to spend a little money to upgrade the RAM? I have found pretty good deals on Amazon lately, and I've bought 2x1GB sticks for between $10-$20. But we don't know your skill levels on this... can you determine the proper RAM to buy? And are you comfortable opening the case and installing the RAM?

    Okay, enough questions for now! :D If you just want to try it out "as is" right now, I would suggest one of the versions of Puppy Linux. It is one of your best hopes without more RAM. If that's what you want to do, let us know and we'll steer you toward the .iso file that you'll need to download, and tell you the special method you need to use to burn the .iso file to a CD (don't just copy the file to CD... it will not boot, so it won't work).

    Cheers
     
  8. Condobloke

    Condobloke Active Member

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    I instinctively thought of the "Puppy" series to install....mainly because they run on the smell of an oily rag....very little processor speed and very litle ram....read below (I have also included the link so that you may read the full article)
    Understand that this distribution has one of the lowest requirements needed to get good/reasonable performance



    https://betanews.com/2017/12/05/puppylinux-75-xenialpup/


    To run this Linux distro, you can use quite the meager hardware. For instance, the minimum requirements are a 1GHz processor and a mere 768MB of RAM! The Puppylinux team recommends at least a 1.6GHz CPU and 1GB of memory for the best experience, however. In other words, you might have a dusty old laptop or desktop in a closet or basement that can run this operating system like a champ!

    So...seeing your PC is only running 240mb of ram....I think you may end up with it running like it is in wet molasses.


    atanere's questions re buying and inserting new ram are most important.

    A careful look at the pc's system hardware/properties would be in order..eg ...what is the processor speed...etc

    Right click My Computer, and click Properties. This will tell you everything. Copy and paste that info to your next reply, please.

    v
     
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  9. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    Hi all :)

    Subject to what John comes back to us with as asked by Brian (@Condobloke ) above, I have the following for John to consider:

    One is two-part and covers Puppy and a related alternative, the second is "other".

    1. PUPPY

    Lucid Puppy might be your best bet.

    My reference here is from a site run by John Murga, and John (British) began this site years ago, almost as soon as Western Australia's Barry Kauler first thought of Puppy.

    http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?search_id=2069973332&t=112721

    Pivotal in amongst that thread is input from one Mike Walsh, whom Brian and I know from the Forum I used to be at (and where I first met Brian), he knows a lot.

    1.a PUPPY-related

    We have our own, inhouse, Puppy fork, in anitaos. This is the baby of Member Darren Hale, aka @darry1966 . Darren is a New Zealander, but he is a nice bloke anyway :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    His thread on the subject is here, and you can see it goes a fair way back, but the newer stuff is on page 6 onwards.

    https://www.linux.org/threads/anitaos-a-diy-distro-you-build-it-yourself.8860/

    2. OTHER

    4M Linux. I have used this Live, and quite liked it, but I have yet to install it - it will be on my wife's laptop, which has only 512 MB RAM and a 60 GB HDD.

    Link is here

    http://4mlinux.com/index.php?page=download

    ... and note the lines (my highlighting)

    There are numerous choices available, which is typical of Linux, but see how you go first with Brian's question on specs, and we can go from there.

    Cheers

    Wizard
     
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  10. John Sinclair

    John Sinclair New Member

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    Processor speed is 1.68 and ram is 256Mb
     
  11. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    We must have been driving past each other in different lanes, John (writing) :D

    We'll let Brian get time to digest the input you have given (thanks), and take a wander through what I wrote.

    Catch you later

    Wizard
     
  12. Condobloke

    Condobloke Active Member

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    these questions still remain from atanere's post....

    Is this desktop your only computer? Or can you prepare the Linux CD/DVD on another system?

    Are you willing to spend a little money to upgrade the RAM? I have found pretty good deals on Amazon lately, and I've bought 2x1GB sticks for between $10-$20. But we don't know your skill levels on this... can you determine the proper RAM to buy? And are you comfortable opening the case and installing the RAM?

    Installing extra ram would be a huge plus
     
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  13. John Sinclair

    John Sinclair New Member

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    I have a laptop, and i can open the case and remove and load the ram.
    The problem is:
    A) getting right ram
    B)getting money together
    C) getting it past the wife (this is the biggie) , as she says on the comp too much already
    thanks
     
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  14. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Welcome to our world... we're all on the computer too much already! :D:D

    You're right: getting the right RAM is very important. You don't want to waste money (or time) buying the wrong thing. Determining what kind of memory may be the easy part. But we also need to determine how much RAM is your maximum. There's also no point in buying 4 GB if the motherboard will only allow up to 2 GB.

    You can open up the case and remove the RAM, and see if the info you need is printed on labels on the chips. But there are some software tools you can install on XP that will help you determine what kind of RAM it is. I'm not familiar with these tools, so you may want to try all of them to compare, or maybe someone else will verify one of them as better. They are CPU-Z, Speccy, and Belarc Advisor. There are probably many other similar products too. These programs will likely tell you also if your CPU is 32-bit or 64-bit, so you can learn that for sure before downloading any Linux .iso files.

    Now, how much can the computer hold? I don't know if the programs listed above will tell you that. Is it a brand-name computer, like Dell or HP? If so, let us know the exact model number... we can probably Google around to find the specs on that model and come up with the answer. If it is a home-built computer, you would need to open up the case and find the exact brand and model of the motherboard... so again a Google search might help to find the specs you need to know. The software tools above might also tell you information on the motherboard that will help to determine the maximum RAM.

    If you open up the case, also at least note how many RAM slots you have and how many chips are installed. Also note if the slots are color coded... they sometimes alternate colors, like black-blue-black-blue. Back in older days, some RAM had to be matched in pairs, but it was also often installed in pairs even if not required. If you only have one chip, then it will be okay to replace it with a single chip. But if you have two, you should buy a pair to be safe.

    If you get all the info and get ready to buy RAM, I would suggest that you remove the 256 MB that is there and not use it anymore if your can get a much larger set. You would not notice the little extra from 256 MB, but mixing with new RAM might cause trouble that you want to avoid (speed and timing issues).

    Okay, I'm out for now. Other folks have good ideas too, so maybe they will have some better suggestions for you to move forward.

    Cheers
     
  15. John Sinclair

    John Sinclair New Member

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    thanks for the help so far
     
  16. arochester

    arochester Active Member

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    Does the computer have a make and model so we can look up specs?
     
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  17. John Sinclair

    John Sinclair New Member

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    if i remember right it was shop made.

    Mainboard is Microstar-International Co. Ltd
    model number: MS-6390
    has 2 slots for ram, one is filled with ddr 256Mb Ram
     
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  18. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    OK, looks to me like this motherboard is yours. You can download one (or all) of the manuals to see if it visually compares to yours. Here's what I read in the manuals (all three seem to agree):

    You can install two 184-pin DDR SDRAM DIMM modules, up to 1 GB each (2 GB total). You cannot install a single 2 GB chip! These chips may be further referenced as PC2100/1600 (2.5V), or with even more clarity as PC2100/DDR266 or PC1600/DDR200.

    The DDR266 or DDR200 is a reference to Front Side Bus (FSB) speed. When you shop around, you should be able to go with a little faster (larger) numbers on these specs, but don't go too far away from them. Another memory spec not mentioned in the manuals is "ECC" or "non-ECC" (parity or non-parity). This page give a nice description of the difference and would lead me to probably choose non-ECC type (partly because the manuals do not say your board supports ECC).

    This below is not a recommendation or suggestion to buy.... just an example to show what you might find:

    https://www.amazon.com/PC2700-Non-E...&sr=8-1&keywords=184-pin+DDR+SDRAM+DIMM+2x1GB

    You can see that this is PC2700 and 333 MHz (the Front Side Bus speed). I would be very confident in these chips working (if we are indeed on the correct motherboard), and it is a good example of how inexpensive this upgrade can be for you, but you will also certainly find higher prices as you shop around. I would highly recommend new RAM instead of buying used on eBay.

    OK, gotta run. Back to work tomorrow, so I may not be able to be around much. Good luck!
     
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  19. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    (Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, non-smokers cough and look daggers, smokers inhale... Wizard grumbles Stan beat him to it) :D

    Gotta hand it to Stan, he knows his stuff. :)

    Looking pretty promising, John.

    I have this, for your motherboard (aka mobo)

    https://www.cnet.com/products/msi-ms-6390-motherboard-micro-atx-socket-a-km266/specs/

    ... could be worth copying and pasting into a text file to keep if you stay with this unit?

    So you've got an MSI VIA ProSavage KM266 chipset, and it may be a KM266-8235 or a KM266-8237, which might influence whether it supports 32-bit or 64-bit architecture (even though your XP might have been 32-bit, it may not exclude 64-bit).

    I am sure there is a website for this but for the life of me I cannot find it, yet.

    If you wish to find out the answer to 32-bit or 64-bit, you could try one of the following:

    1. Installed on XP - msinfo32 - Go to Start - Run - type in and enter msinfo32.exe ... this will reveal a whole lot of info on your system, and under System Type - System Summary - it may include the info
    2. Free Download - piriform speccy https://www.ccleaner.com/speccy/download - very verbose (wordy), may have eg "64-bit ready". You can save the results to a web page and link to that if anyone asks
    3. Free Download - Belarc Advisor - http://www.belarc.com/products_belarc_advisor - I used to use this when I was using XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. You can save the report as an .html file and store it for later.
    4. Freeware - CPU-Z - https://www.cpuid.com/softwares/cpu-z.html - well recommended
    Take your time, digest this (take an antacid) - ask any questions.

    On the wife - Note that She Whom Must Be Obeyed always comes first, if you know which side your bread is buttered on. Find something to sell her on - my wife likes the Solitaire, the wallpapers, and some surfing, and knowing that our online banking is more secure.

    Cheers

    Wizard
     
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