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Creaphis

I realize this still isn't a tech support forum

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but I just love you guys so much. You're all unbelievably helpful, and have pure, noble souls.

Minty fresh odors, too.

My family currently has a Dell Inspiron 5000e laptop with Windows ME. It runs about how you'd expect, so it's time to wipe it and start clean. I need an OS that will run on that laptop without compatibility issues, with efficiency. It must be able to network with a Windows XP computer. It must be as Windows-like in interface as reasonably possible. It must be able to handle some Windows applications, which is generally done with something like Wine, right? I'm a Linux virgin. Wait, that's a bad choice of words. All Linux users are virgins. I've also never used Linux before.

Note that I have a Windows 98 disk at my disposal and am tempted to use it. Would that work, perchance?

Thanks lots!

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I'm sorry, this is probably unhelpful but just buy a new laptop. A netbook with windows XP with specs far above your current dell aren't even that expensive now. But if you desperatly want to keep your current laptop then Windows 98 would probably be the way to go as you will probably encounter compatability issues with linux at some point, no matter how good it apparently is (i never really got on with it).

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All Linux users are virgins.


I hate to quote just one part of the post for a point, but there are very very very VERY notable exceptions to this rule!!!

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SoulPriestess said:

I hate to quote just one part of the post for a point, but there are very very very VERY notable exceptions to this rule!!!


SHUT UP

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Thanks for the input! I guess that instead of trying to learn to use Linux, fucking it up, and then leaving my mom to try to sort out that mess, I'll install Windows 98 and see how we like it.

PhilibusMo said:

I'm sorry, this is probably unhelpful but just buy a new laptop. A netbook with windows XP with specs far above your current dell aren't even that expensive now. But if you desperatly want to keep your current laptop then Windows 98 would probably be the way to go as you will probably encounter compatability issues with linux at some point, no matter how good it apparently is (i never really got on with it).


The point is really to make the best possible use of existing hardware.

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I used to have a Dell Latitude CPx (450MHz P3) that ran Windows XP just fine. Now I'm using an Inspiron 4100 (866MHz P3), also with XP. (Although I've been dual-booting with OpenBSD more often since the wireless drivers in XP don't like WPA networks. Not that I'd recommend OpenBSD for someone who's never used a Unix-like OS before, though.) Of course, this probably requires you to obtain a copy of XP...

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Oh wait, question: Do I need to save the drivers for the laptop's current bits and pieces off of the hard drive before attempting to install Win 98? Whatever original software came with the laptop is long lost.

I don't think we have a clean XP disk either, aside from a "restore DVD" for another computer loaded with shovelware. I wouldn't want to try installing it on this anyway.

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You didn't quote how much RAM it actually has.

The CPU is more than enough to run windows XP (I know, because I'm installing it on Pentium I ~ III machines everyday) provided you have enough RAM.

64 MB is the minimum possible for installing XP. At such a configuration, XP itself (at least if using SP3) turns off a lot of bling-bling and is left pretty lean (no themes, several wizards and services turned off etc.), to the point that you have 20-30 MB of available physical memory. That's enough for having multiple explorer/IE windows open, and even one or two Word XP or 2000 windows without flinching.

If you have more than 64 MB, XP itself is your best bet for "XP-like functionality (I'd advise that you slipstream SP3 into an installation CD though). You can use manufacturer-specific Win2000 or generic chipset/graphics/audio drivers as needed, depending on how well Windows XP supports your laptop. You could also need not download anything.

Older versions of Windows will work, ofc, but especially 98 based versions don't have the network security features on XP.

Linux is only viable if you are willing to turn into a nerdy sysadmin overnight, and "lightweight" distros will lack a lot of things anyway, and probably won't be anymore "lightweight" than runnning 98 or ME.

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Bloodshedder said:

How about Windows 2000?


Depends on the version used. Server/Enterprise versions are totally unsuited for the home user, as they wil end up being too heavyweight.

While common sense may suggest that Win2000 should be more lightweight than XP, they are using pretty much the same kernel, libraries and drivers.

At the army computer lab I'm currently working, we had a policy of installing Windows 2000 on "weaker" machines based on this assumption, until we found out by experimenting that XP (at least with SP2/SP3) self-tailored itself during installation and actually ended up leaving MORE free resources than Win2000, and even if it didn't it was easier to configure it that way. If you have less than 96 MB of RAM, Windows XP "strips itself down" during installation, and you end up with something resembling Win2000. The catch is if you have at least 128 MB but an otherwise slow machine, then you have to close down some services yourself.

Using XP over 2000 led to a more familiar interface for end users, even on low-end machines, and better driver support out of the box for a range of hardware (less driver hunting than with Win2000).

Plus, Win2000 doesn't even have msconfig and certain other familiar system tools, and certain drivers work on XP but not on 2000, the opposite is much rarer. I'd say go with XP over Win2000 any day, except if there's a BSOD-causing incompatibility of sorts (yeah, I had one such case of a P-III machine that would work with 2000 and not with XP SP3).

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SuperSlammer2 said:

Just use Windows Vista Ultimate or something. I don't trust "open source" or whatever

Please tell me you did not just say that

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SuperSlammer2 said:

Just use Windows Vista Ultimate or something. I don't trust "open source" or whatever


That is the best post here in a while.

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Thanks!

Now, because the questions never end...

The laptop in question has the 97 edition of Microsoft Office Suite and we'd actually prefer to keep it. Naturally, we don't have the CD. I imagine that if I save the project ID numbers, I could theoretically turn them back into a legal copy of Office, but unfortunately, even a fresh illegal copy of Office 97 seems impossible to acquire at this point. The official MS Office site doesn't anticipate this problem, so there are no installation files available for download (that I could find) and pirates have long since stopped giving this particular version of Office their ambivalent care, leaving me without that CD image that I sorely need. Does anyone have an idea on how I could save this software?

If necessary, I can also explain to my dad why preserving this particular set of programs is unfeasible and unimportant, but as it's spring break and I'm eating their food for a week I'm trying to earn it.

I should also note that what I have available is Windows 98 and not 98se. Just in case that changes anyone's opinions here.

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The current release doesn't support Win98 - would have to be version 2.4.2 or earlier, which can still to be found on archive sites.

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I'd go with winxp (and therefore the latest 2.x openoffice) - infact i did this exact thing on a laptop i resurrected a few weeks ago, it's screen bezel and hinges had exploded so now it's held together with gaffer/duct tape, works a treat, but you have to lean it on something to keep the screen up, i put doombuilder on it and finished congestion 384 on it.


anyway it's a 900MHz AMD Duron + 128MB RAM + ")GB hard disk. unfortunately even xubuntu "likes" 256MB RAM and fluxbuntu is still stuck at a 6.x relase (i may be full of shit on that point). And wanting the wife to be able to use it for web surfing from the sofa meant the freakier linux distros were out of question.

nLite came to my rescue it allows you to build an unattended XP install CD plus it will integrate any hotfixes and service packs (i had an original XP SP2 CD and SP3 installer + 3 hotfixes, for example). The best part is you can choose to not install a whole load of crap, like the search indexer so that when opening task manager you dont see 100 svchost processes running. It runs opera, open office and doombuilder fine, but only one or two of those at once :-) oh and the network card is via usb 1.0 and that seems to be software driven so it's very slow on transferring files, but it's Fit-For-Purpose and cost £0, :-)

Finally there was space on the cd image and it's easy to create a folder to dump your freshly downloaded drivers and favourite installers too (e.g. web browser, ftp client, notepad replacement etc)

Slipstreaming XP like this requires a chunk of technical knowledge, tho so if that's too scary i'd go for one of the freakier linux distros like puppy, it's worth noting that with linux the older your hardware the MORE likely it is to be supported out of the box.

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Creaphis said:

The laptop in question has the 97 edition of Microsoft Office Suite and we'd actually prefer to keep it. Naturally, we don't have the CD.

I actually have a copy of Office 97 Professional that I got from who-the-fuck-knows-where. $2 for shipping and it's yours!

Alternately, look for a (hidden) directory called MSOCache on the hard drive and back it up. I don't know what version of Office they started doing that in, though.

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As someone who uses MS Office a lot (esp. Word), I've gotta say that 97 is a hell of a lot less annoying than later versions. So BS's offer looks pretty tempting. Personally, I'd be more inclined to give away later versions and hang on to my Office 97 disk for dear life!

I've only used OpenOffice a bit, but it looks good, and in basic functionality not far off being a straight MS Office clone.

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Grazza said:

As someone who uses MS Office a lot (esp. Word), I've gotta say that 97 is a hell of a lot less annoying than later versions. So BS's offer looks pretty tempting. Personally, I'd be more inclined to give away later versions and hang on to my Office 97 disk for dear life!

I would tend to agree, but Office 2000 was my favorite.

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Creaphis said:

That is the best post here in a while.

His posting history is a comedy goldmine.

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Bloodshedder said:

I actually have a copy of Office 97 Professional that I got from who-the-fuck-knows-where. $2 for shipping and it's yours!


Hey, that sounds great! I'll pm you my mailing address later. Now, remember, I'm Canadian, but I'd be willing to pay a few more bucks if necessary.

Alternately, look for a (hidden) directory called MSOCache on the hard drive and back it up. I don't know what version of Office they started doing that in, though.


I couldn't find it.


OpenOffice.org is a good set of programs, and I use it on my own computer, but I think all the requirements of running a large Java program would slow this laptop down too much - at least compared to how quickly Office 97 software would boot up and run.

Oh, and Maes, since you asked, it has 128 mB RAM...

Maes said:

User losered for advocating piracy.


...sheeit. I thought regulars had immunity.

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