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Old 7th July 2022, 07:36 PM   #1
8enotto
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Anybody still using an older XP computer?

I have two older laptops to try to rescue. Both are WinXP era and the Dell I was able to power up is 512MB ram. The Gateway still needs a power supply to be found.

Are they still able to keep pace on the forums and minor occasional web search stuff? Not looking at gaming or FB type social media.

I am not into them with money yet so information is useful. The plan is if one or both are repairable they will get Linux to avoid MS messing with what can work.

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Old 7th July 2022, 07:47 PM   #2
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Wow a 20+ year old computer. Good on you.

I’d be very surprised if you could find software to run them, but I could easily be wrong.

A half serious suggestion. Maybe you could rent them out to TV producers making a show set in 2000. When I watch shows made now but depicting events decades ago I always ask myself “where did they get those computers”.

No, not even half serious. Good luck.
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Old 7th July 2022, 07:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
Are they still able to keep pace on the forums and minor occasional web search stuff? Not looking at gaming or FB type social media.
They might be able to search, but I'm not sure they could handle the results.

Even news websites are heavy on images and videos and the sort of scrolling that has pictures flow behind it.
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Old 7th July 2022, 08:13 PM   #4
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If you can be bothered Linux should be ok.
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Old 7th July 2022, 08:27 PM   #5
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I have XP, Win 98, Win 95 and Dos on VMs. For the occasional old program that requires them.
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Old 7th July 2022, 08:48 PM   #6
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I have used Linux on XP era desktop units before and found it adequate. Not a lot more. It didn't kludge up the machines and was running Simplemachines forum software nicely.

I am told Linux Mint is a nice GUI for dolts like me, not required to be a genius to navigate it.
If there is a version that backdated that much.

CV and home schooling have dried up the used laptop market hard and new ones don't stay on store shelves long even now.
These XP clunkers are the ones I could actually get my grubby hands on.
We had to get a very new cellphone and bump internal memory up over 64GB to get my niece on the software for her school. Older phones suffer.
They set a high bar if you actually want to avoid lag times.

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Old 7th July 2022, 09:19 PM   #7
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A great light-weight Linux distribution: https://mxlinux.org

I use it among other machines on a 15 year old ThinkPad, for work. Because my 10 year old ThinkPad has a fan error at the moment.

The bottleneck with these computers is not the OS or the processor power, but the RAM. As Orphia said, modern websites come with such a load of junk that you will run out of your 512MB very quickly. In my experience you need at least 2GB to not run into headaches. 3GB are fine.
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Old 7th July 2022, 09:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Orphia Nay View Post
They might be able to search, but I'm not sure they could handle the results.

Even news websites are heavy on images and videos and the sort of scrolling that has pictures flow behind it.
This is a real factor I have seen. Linux doesn't always have the range of formats depending on which it is, MS was out to force us to update to Win8 at the time and "fixed" my XP load to where it would crash on ad and video heavy results.

My wife whom teaches HS level computer classes had to update with a laptop for her job. I just reduced my expectations accordingly.
She is still flogging that poor machine a decade later.
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Old 7th July 2022, 09:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
A great light-weight Linux distribution: https://mxlinux.org

I use it among other machines on a 15 year old ThinkPad, for work. Because my 10 year old ThinkPad has a fan error at the moment.

The bottleneck with these computers is not the OS or the processor power, but the RAM. As Orphia said, modern websites come with such a load of junk that you will run out of your 512MB very quickly. In my experience you need at least 2GB to not run into headaches. 3GB are fine.
I am not opposed to memory upgrades. If it can be found in the correct format I most certainly will consider it. I even bump up my phones to drag more life out of them.

Thanks for the Linux suggestion. If my clunkers do come to life a light software load will help them.
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Old 7th July 2022, 10:48 PM   #10
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XP? What are you, some kind of bleeding edge early adopter? I've got one with DOS6 and Win3.1!
Okay, it's in a box in the old garage and I haven't got around to tossing it. I do have an XP one, to which the same applies.
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Old 7th July 2022, 11:18 PM   #11
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Being associated with a computer museum, I have a decent range of XP software available. I have also done many old PC rescues...not all where the patient survived.

As noted above, RAM will be your major concern. After that, HDD size & reliability. By now, most of the XP-era laptop disks will be far too small and probably in woeful condition as well. If you can get yourself a newer HDD that is plug-compatible, that will definitely help.

When you get it working (!!), your XP machine will need backgraded versions of whatever it is you want to run, unless you are intending to run museum pieces. These versions will almost certainly not be the current versions. So it does require a bit of research and stepping backwards through versions to find the last compatible install. I have seen them used very productively still for emails, word processing, basic spreadsheeting, scanners, simple photo processing, kids games, etc.

Older versions of browsers like Firefox and IE will happily bring up this forum (yep, I have done so). More serious problems will arise with FaceTube, Ticky-Tacky, etc. which probably need much more recent video codecs or apps. Plus they will take all the cycles the old beast will have and burn them to give you stop-motion video at best if it evens starts.

So yeah, they can be brought back and do solid work. But they are just not up to current performance demands. Accept that and they can be good workhorses again.
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Old 8th July 2022, 12:04 AM   #12
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^ adding to this you will want SSDs of course. Usually 128GB is fine for a system disk, which the last time I bought one was around 30€. If you need additional space, USB HDDs are cheap as well, or you can even put the one that's in the Dinosaur into an external chassis.

I think the XP aspect of this thread is just a "from where I start" as the OP has showed willingness to use a proper OS. With Linux, especially my recommended distribution, you will be able to enjoy the full glory of modern Open Source Software.
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Old 8th July 2022, 12:15 AM   #13
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I have been on phones since the last desktop died a decade ago from blackberry to Android 2,4,6 and 9 up to the present. Had a few Andy 4 tablets and the big issue in no USB ports to manage files to and from my thumb drives.

Obsolete and inadequate I know well, got used to limited options just to stay online.

Later on I saved up for a used computer to get back to picture/file movements and CV hit. Any and every used computer was instantly snapped up by desperate parents. It hasn't let up. Only broken junk can be found.
I have two of them now in fact.

I am hoping that they can be saved for forums, one for possible questionable searching so the other is less at risk.
(I have refused to click any link at all since the spare desktop died)

Linux and Firefox served well before as a team. It was fairly resistant to most virus too.

All I do now is a forum or two and having a real keyboard again will be very welcome. My dullard TV does UT service admirably even if it has the crappiest software package ever.

An older unit with minimal picture management ability will serve well. USB ports are a major plus.
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Old 8th July 2022, 12:27 AM   #14
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If you only want to browse some forums like this one, you are up to speed already. Just download the MXlinux image from the website I've linked above (I recommend the XFCE standard version), write it onto a bootable USB stick and put it into the old guy. Should work fine. Firefox etc preinstalled.
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Old 8th July 2022, 03:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander;13850925[hilite
]Being associated with a computer museum[/hilite], I have a decent range of XP software available. I have also done many old PC rescues...not all where the patient survived.

As noted above, RAM will be your major concern. After that, HDD size & reliability. By now, most of the XP-era laptop disks will be far too small and probably in woeful condition as well. If you can get yourself a newer HDD that is plug-compatible, that will definitely help.

When you get it working (!!), your XP machine will need backgraded versions of whatever it is you want to run, unless you are intending to run museum pieces. These versions will almost certainly not be the current versions. So it does require a bit of research and stepping backwards through versions to find the last compatible install. I have seen them used very productively still for emails, word processing, basic spreadsheeting, scanners, simple photo processing, kids games, etc.

Older versions of browsers like Firefox and IE will happily bring up this forum (yep, I have done so). More serious problems will arise with FaceTube, Ticky-Tacky, etc. which probably need much more recent video codecs or apps. Plus they will take all the cycles the old beast will have and burn them to give you stop-motion video at best if it evens starts.

So yeah, they can be brought back and do solid work. But they are just not up to current performance demands. Accept that and they can be good workhorses again.

Good on you! I have a fair vintage computer and gaming collection of 50 or so machines, many duplicates, a fair number new/mint. Ti, Commodore, Atari, and plenty of early 2000's hardware that I consider "modern".

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Old 8th July 2022, 04:46 AM   #16
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What about viruses? Will the computer be vulnerable to hacker attacks?
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Old 8th July 2022, 05:33 AM   #17
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I just rebuilt a laptop and installed Ubuntu Mate - a pal used it for his Raspberry pi. The nice thing is that it's Ubuntu so very popular and easy to find advice. But also it's really stripped down so fits on a smaller disk. It starts with a "Welcome" tool that includes a "software boutique" to add things like office tools, editors etc.
The one problem I had with my oldest laptop (an HP NX6325) was getting a decent wifi driver. I'm vaguely considering trying to install OS/2 on it because I don't suffer enough or something I guess.
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Old 8th July 2022, 05:37 AM   #18
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To expand on Orphia and CE you can reduce some clutter on websites by blocking adservers. One technique is below

https://www.putorius.net/block-unwan...ements-on.html
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Old 8th July 2022, 05:42 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
The nice thing is that it's Ubuntu so very popular and easy to find advice.

Like MXlinux Ubuntu is based on Debian so there will be a ton of advice for any of them. I found that Debian is the way to go for Linux as the userbase is huge and the system is very consistent if you (have or want to, usually you won't) get a grip of the underlying concept.
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Old 8th July 2022, 05:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
What about viruses? Will the computer be vulnerable to hacker attacks?
WinXP? Absolutely!
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Old 8th July 2022, 05:51 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
Like MXlinux Ubuntu is based on Debian so there will be a ton of advice for any of them. I found that Debian is the way to go for Linux as the userbase is huge and the system is very consistent if you (have or want to, usually you won't) get a grip of the underlying concept.
Fair enough.
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Old 8th July 2022, 05:57 AM   #22
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Oh have you looked at Amazon warehouse? I got a great deal on a used Lenovo G780 8 years ago. I still use it as back up windows device when I need to say check a doc looks right in Office. Only fault was a small hole (drawing pin?) about 2" from the trackpad I sealed with a drop of superglue.
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Old 8th July 2022, 10:45 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Childlike Empress View Post
If you only want to browse some forums like this one, you are up to speed already. Just download the MXlinux image from the website I've linked above (I recommend the XFCE standard version), write it onto a bootable USB stick and put it into the old guy. Should work fine. Firefox etc preinstalled.
Depending on which end of the XP era the computer is from, it might not have a BIOS compatible with booting from USB devices.

However, most are capable of booting from a CD-ROM, and many Linux distros have bootable versions in that format as well.
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Old 8th July 2022, 10:50 AM   #24
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Think I've still got an old Dell Netbook (Jesus remember when those were a thing) knacking about with XP on it. Thinking about putting a lightweight linux distro on it and turning into a smart device of somekind, a smart mirror or a picture frame or something like that.
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Old 8th July 2022, 01:39 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by GodMark2 View Post
Depending on which end of the XP era the computer is from, it might not have a BIOS compatible with booting from USB devices.

However, most are capable of booting from a CD-ROM, and many Linux distros have bootable versions in that format as well.

Yeah, that's right of course but I never ran into this problem. Maybe because I use refurbished ThinkPads for a long time. Even my X30 can boot from USB, and it is literally 20 years old. I have some micro-linux-distribution running on it, btw, and it is perfectly fine as a machine to write or even print a book, but don't subject it to 2022 WWW (512MB of RAM as well).
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Old 8th July 2022, 02:19 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Wow a 20+ year old computer. Good on you.

I’d be very surprised if you could find software to run them, but I could easily be wrong.

A half serious suggestion. Maybe you could rent them out to TV producers making a show set in 2000. When I watch shows made now but depicting events decades ago I always ask myself “where did they get those computers”.

No, not even half serious. Good luck.
In the US at least, retro computing has become a hobby for quite a few geeks, so much so that the manafacturing of parts for older OS's has become a cottage industry.
And, surprise, the main reason for building a retro computer is to run old games.....
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Old 8th July 2022, 05:00 PM   #27
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There are websites dedicated to old software. One is where I got my os/2 install image.
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Old 8th July 2022, 07:26 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by GodMark2 View Post
Depending on which end of the XP era the computer is from, it might not have a BIOS compatible with booting from USB devices.

However, most are capable of booting from a CD-ROM, and many Linux distros have bootable versions in that format as well.

The Dell is an early version with a removable base that has CD ROM and 3.5 floppy. That base doesn't seem to power up. The Gateway is later and only has built in CD-ROM drive. It looks modern.

My schedule has me busy and only free on Sunday to hunt down a charger. I came close with one from the junk pile at work but it needs work to be tested out. Fingers crossed but not optimistic.
Then if the Gateway powers up? Details....

I ran Ubuntu and Lubuntu linux on old machines years ago. One had a better GUI and the other was more capable. It's been too long ago and I can't remember which was which.

Then I need to hunt down a computer repair guy and have him look at both. Then fix whatever, software reset and all.
My son killed all the spare mice ( mouses ? ) so another detail to cover.

This may take a few more weeks. I smell bit of money to be spent.
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Old 9th July 2022, 02:35 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
There are websites dedicated to old software. One is where I got my os/2 install image.
Burn the heretic.
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Old 9th July 2022, 04:44 AM   #30
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MSFN lists compatible software and install guides for many Win OSs.

VOGONS
is a good source for legacy stuff.

Except for Vista, I have running machines and antique software for DOS 2.0 on up.
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Old 22nd July 2022, 05:17 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by lionking
Wow a 20+ year old computer. Good on you.
 
I am thankfully on Win98se (My favourite OS) and I do ok.....

I dont goto FB or watch youtube vids so its not a big deal....... And if I really wanna see a youtube vid,I can......
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Old 22nd July 2022, 08:14 PM   #32
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How are load times on the old machine?
I can compare a Andy4.4 tablet to an Andy 9 phone and there is a notable lag, but nothing irritating.

No I didn't time it but just noted it takes longer.

The quest for usable parts in the local area isn't going well. Parts for 15 year old desktop units come into my job weekly, hard drives, memory and wifi cards for free. I assume some are good yet.
Nothing for usable laptop power supplies. Much less the one I could really use.

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Old 22nd July 2022, 09:58 PM   #33
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My sister still had an early Win95 machine in her basement when I visited her last about 5 years ago. I remember when she got it I was marveling at the USB ports and 22 years later it was still chugging away. I did notice that she never turned it off though.
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Old 23rd July 2022, 06:35 AM   #34
Darat
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Burn the heretic.
I've always been a sucker for the minority OS since I had my Atari 400 - TOS, RISC OS, OS/2 Warp.
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Old 23rd July 2022, 01:14 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I've always been a sucker for the minority OS since I had my Atari 400 - TOS, RISC OS, OS/2 Warp.
I rather liked Risc OS. OS/2 was an abomination deserving death by fire.
And I speak as the SA/Tower lead in a migration project that involved deploying 17,000 machines loaded with the crapware.
On Token Ring.....
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Old 24th July 2022, 02:17 AM   #36
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OS/2 and MCA were totally screwed up by internal IBM stupidity. The OS/2 product owner getting furious at the idea of someone writing games for his OS, marketings inability to think in other terms than shifting boxes, etc etc. Stardock offered to take over OS/2 support as they had products based on it. IBM said that was impossible as they couldn't generate a part number for it. Given the Greenock plant could generate part numbers for PCs built out of whatever was in the inventory I highly doubt that.
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Old 24th July 2022, 02:39 AM   #37
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I still have my original OS/2 Warp installation media. I was quite fond of it back in the day.

Mind you, I liked BeOS as well so what do I know?
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Old 24th July 2022, 04:07 PM   #38
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Whatever was on the Timex-Sinclair 1000 is the last os I came close to understanding.

Everything after that I just got good enough at navigation in the GUI.

Most users never learned much beyond the GUI once they became actually capable. It's for this I need a Linux that has one closer to win95. I could actually find everything I used easily.
I know I could learn win7-8 if I had to, but I have no time at all on them.
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Old 24th July 2022, 04:41 PM   #39
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At my trusted refurbished ThinkPad dealer they had a batch of three X220 for 119€ each. Happened that I bought two and my brother bought the third. A Legend. I will install MXLinux on them but what made me understand Linux was following the explanations of Luke Smith (DOT XYZ) about installing Arch Linux. Worked.

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Old 24th July 2022, 05:59 PM   #40
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I got my diploma in building bike wheels, picking simple locks from YouTube U. Currently learning gold refining there.

When I get any computer up and working that is where I will try to learn to use Linux in whatever variety gets loaded.
Not always the infallible source but using common sense, it gets me there.
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