Old Dell with no OS, how do I get Linux onto it?

Bigs65

New Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Credits
38
Totally new to Linux. Here it is. I have an old Dell that used to run Windows XP but is, I think, now wiped clean. Can I download Linux on my daily laptop onto a disc or other storage and then load it onto the Dell? I am a serious home brewer and will be using only brewing software on this old Dell.

please feel free to direct me to other posts or ask questions about the computer if you feel like this might help me, thanks!
 


Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
4,423
Reaction score
3,888
Credits
24,633
G'day Bigs65, Welcome to Linux.org

First, the Dell.
Specs. Hard drive, RAM, Model Number
It doesn't matter if it is wiped clean or not

Second. The brewing software. Does it function on Linux?...are there any other home brewers using that same software on Linux?

Does the Dell have a usb port?

Yes you can download a Linux.iso to a disc from your daily laptop, using Balena Etcher or Rufus to make it bootable.

Change the boot order so the Dell boots to the disc, and all should be good......
or to the usb stick....whichever is used.
 
Last edited:

Brickwizard

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
2,418
Reaction score
1,627
Credits
18,144
I have an old Dell that used to run Windows XP
As @Condobloke said we need more information, you say old and XP put togeather could mean it will not be USB bootable , it may only be a 32 bit machine, and unless upgraded will have minimal resources which may restrict your choice of distribution,
again do check your brewing software will be Linux compatible.
 

Brickwizard

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
2,418
Reaction score
1,627
Credits
18,144
Can I download Linux on my daily laptop onto a disc or other storage and then load it onto the Dell
once you decide on your distribution [and depending on the spec of you old machine] you will need either a16gb pendrive or a clean dvd-r, you will need access to a second computer that you can use to download your distribution and Burn it as an iso bootable medium

Make your ISO installation medium [pendrive or DVD-r]

1] download your chosen distribution
2]burn a bootble usb pendrive [make sure you check the Md/Sha sum] {to do this we recommend https://linux-tips.us/balenaetcher-a-tool-to-turn-linux-iso-files-into-bootable-usb-drives/}

To Install


1, plug in the machine
2 insert Iso , usb [or DVD] into drive
3 switch on and open the short boot menu [method will depend on the make and model of your computer][usually F12 on a del]
look down the list and find usb [or dvd] click on it and enter, after a few seconds [depending on your choice of distribution] it will load a “live” session to Ram, [you do not need a harddrive at this stage]
4,when it is loaded check everything works ok [wi-fi, sound, graphics] easiest way to do this is click on the wireless icon find your router and enter the password, when loaded go to your favourite music video site and pick something your familiar with, if it plays ok and the picture looks good you can then decide if you want to take a chance on installing.
5, double click the install button the iso will then check the components of your machine this may take several seconds to a couple of minuets, then provided the harddrive checked out ok it will start to install [if it fails at this stage dont panic come back and post what happen with any fail messages]
6]watch it install when it asks about partitioning this is your final chance to decide if you want to duel boot with your existing system or wipe the system and just install linux,choose your option,
7] during install most distributions will asked if you wish to install non-free/proprietary drivers tick the box for yes and enter
8] you will need to enter information as it installs so keep an eye on it, a typical linux installation can take from 10 to 20 minuets [far less than windows]
9] when it installs you will get a message do you wish to re-start now, accept


Now sit back whilst it re-boots then it will take a couple more minuets to clean up the installation and get rid of the install files,
then if all goes well we will have a working linux box


Sorry this is a long winded back to basics description but I am trying to cover as much as I can

when installed we recommend you install and activate “ Timeshift” [this is similar to windows restore]

If you want us to check the system after install run terminal command inxi Fnxz [inxispace-Fnxz]
copy and paste the result back here

[if inxi is not loaded then install using terminal command sudo apt install inxi ]

Bwiz
 
OP
B

Bigs65

New Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Credits
38
G'day Bigs65, Welcome to Linux.org

First, the Dell.
Specs. Hard drive, RAM, Model Number
It doesn't matter if it is wiped clean or not

Second. The brewing software. Does it function on Linux?...are there any other home brewers using that same software on Linux?

Does the Dell have a usb port?

Yes you can download a Linux.iso to a disc from your daily laptop, using Balena Etcher or Rufus to make it bootable.

Change the boot order so the Dell boots to the disc, and all should be good......
or to the usb stick....whichever is used.
Good morning Condobloke and Brickwizard,

Thanks for taking the time to read and consider my post. When this all gets sorted out I may have to send you all a beer.

The Dell is an Inspiron 5100 Model # PP07L

The hard drive is a Hitachi HDD 30 GB

Two Samsung 128MB memory cards are installed in the computer (a picture is attached below)

The computer does have two USB ports ( I am not sure if this is a thing but I suspect they may only be good for things like connecting a mouse or a keyboard and are useless for data transfer. This is something that I heard somewhere but I am pretty much a novice when it comes to computers. I can use them fairly efficiently but when it comes to repairs and such it is a different story)

The software is compatible with Linux and at a brewing forum, I frequent there are lots of users who employ the Unbutu distribution.

Cheers!
dell mem.jpg
 
OP
B

Bigs65

New Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
1
Credits
38
As @Condobloke said we need more information, you say old and XP put togeather could mean it will not be USB bootable , it may only be a 32 bit machine, and unless upgraded will have minimal resources which may restrict your choice of distribution,
again do check your brewing software will be Linux compatible.
Good morning Condobloke and Brickwizard,

Thanks for taking the time to read and consider my post. When this all gets sorted out I may have to send you all a beer.

The Dell is an Inspiron 5100 Model # PP07L

The hard drive is a Hitachi HDD 30 GB

Two Samsung 128MB memory cards are installed in the computer (a picture is attached below)

The computer does have two USB ports ( I am not sure if this is a thing but I suspect they may only be good for things like connecting a mouse or a keyboard and are useless for data transfer. This is something that I heard somewhere but I am pretty much a novice when it comes to computers. I can use them fairly efficiently but when it comes to repairs and such it is a different story)

The software is compatible with Linux and at a brewing forum I frequent there are lots of users who employ the Unbutu distribution.

No problems with any specific distribution or version of Linux as I haven't attempted the job yet.

Cheers!

dell mem.jpg
 

Brickwizard

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
2,418
Reaction score
1,627
Credits
18,144
Inspiron 5100 Model # PP07L
ok here are the specs for that machine [and congratulations that is older than my acer which will be 21 at Christmas]

Processor Type: Intel P4 Type: Laptop/Notebook
Processor Speed: 2.66 GHz Screen Size: 14 inches
Processor Configuration: -- Operating System: Windows XP Professional
Memory (RAM): 256 MB Primary Drive: CD-ROM
Hard Drive Capacity: 120 GB

it is a 32 bit machine with minimal resources, no point in trying to boost the ram, from memory the system won't cope with much more, 32 bit distributions that can cope with the low resorces include Zorin lite, antix puppy [I have antix on my acer

edit.. I discovered some P4's were 64 bit which would slightly widen you choice of distribution

Bwiz
 
Last edited:

Brickwizard

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
2,418
Reaction score
1,627
Credits
18,144
oh forgot to add it will not be usb bootable so you will need to use DVD-r or CD-r [depending on the size of the distribution you choose.
 

Linuxembourg

Active Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
207
Reaction score
163
Credits
1,708
Good morning Condobloke and Brickwizard,

Thanks for taking the time to read and consider my post. When this all gets sorted out I may have to send you all a beer.

The Dell is an Inspiron 5100 Model # PP07L

The hard drive is a Hitachi HDD 30 GB

Two Samsung 128MB memory cards are installed in the computer (a picture is attached below)

The computer does have two USB ports ( I am not sure if this is a thing but I suspect they may only be good for things like connecting a mouse or a keyboard and are useless for data transfer. This is something that I heard somewhere but I am pretty much a novice when it comes to computers. I can use them fairly efficiently but when it comes to repairs and such it is a different story)

The software is compatible with Linux and at a brewing forum I frequent there are lots of users who employ the Unbutu distribution.

No problems with any specific distribution or version of Linux as I haven't attempted the job yet.

Cheers!

View attachment 11025

Wow, you are making my computer look brand new!

You have 256mb of RAM, you can upgrade but only to 1GB.

There are probably some OS you can get but it will be a real struggle with only 256mb of RAM. Certainly no Ubuntu for you on that! Even if you upgrade the RAM to max.....

 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2017
Messages
4,423
Reaction score
3,888
Credits
24,633
You have 256mb of RAM, you can upgrade but only to 1GB.
If that figure is correct, I would be looking around for another laptop with better specs

For me the hassle of getting something like that to run in a reasonable fashion would not be worth it.

You may have different ideas and may appreciate the challenge.

@old timer's link is a good one.....if it confirms that the 256MB of ram is correct, My opinion would then stand.

On the other hand if it turned out to have 2GB of ram that may just alter the picture enough to make it worthwhile IMO.

4GB ram
makes for a good experience.
 

Linuxembourg

Active Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
207
Reaction score
163
Credits
1,708
If that figure is correct, I would be looking around for another laptop with better specs

For me the hassle of getting something like that to run in a reasonable fashion would not be worth it.

You may have different ideas and may appreciate the challenge.

@old timer's link is a good one.....if it confirms that the 256MB of ram is correct, My opinion would then stand.

On the other hand if it turned out to have 2GB of ram that may just alter the picture enough to make it worthwhile IMO.

4GB ram
makes for a good experience.
Yeah I was gonna say the same but I thought I’d wait for someone more knowledgeable. I am running debian Xfce with 3gb of ram (and could do it with 2) but I think I’d need to be quite clever to do it, especially with less.

I suppose if you are not using a browser/etc and the brewing software is programmed well and is all you use, it could easily be done with 1gb.

It’s weird that I was delighted at using something like only 300mb of RAM at Boot with Debian and it’s more than the OP has. Some regular posters have 32-64gb of ram!

I built a desktop around 2001ish that had a 6gb hard drive and I suppose something like 256mb of ram. But it seems so long ago.

Slitaz and puppy might be too much for that old machine.
 
D

Deleted member 128018

Guest
If the processor only supports SSE instruction set than you're SOL with running a modern browser.

Nowadays browsers require a minimum of SSE2 or above instruction set to run decent.

I'll almost bet that processor is only SSE instruction set.

What processor does that laptop have in it.

I'm with @Condobloke I'd look for a newer laptop.
 

KGIII

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
5,822
Reaction score
5,269
Credits
47,006
The time you'll spend trying to get that old system to work would be better spent earning money for a more modern device. Linux can do many things, but it's not a miracle worker and my router has more modern/faster hardware than that device has.
 

Linuxembourg

Active Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
207
Reaction score
163
Credits
1,708
The time you'll spend trying to get that old system to work would be better spent earning money for a more modern device. Linux can do many things, but it's not a miracle worker and my router has more modern/faster hardware than that device has.

If I remember correctly you like to keep about 100 browser tabs open permanently. If so, I'd love to see you try and get by with only 256MB ram. It could be like a sort of wife swap type TV show!
 

KGIII

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2020
Messages
5,822
Reaction score
5,269
Credits
47,006
If so, I'd love to see you try and get by with only 256MB ram.

Not a chance. Sometimes I run low on RAM when I've got 32 GB.

I can't comfortably live within 8 GB of RAM.

I can do 16 GB of RAM, but I have to remember to not have more than a couple of VMs open at a time and to limit those VMs to 4096 MB of RAM.
 
$100 Digital Ocean Credit
Get a free VM to test out Linux!

Members online


Top