Need an OS for an old PC

By slimalbert22 ·
I'd like to install an OS on a very old PC.
It has a 500MHz processor and 128MB RAM.

What's the lightest and best free OS I can choose from?

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All Answers

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Puppy Linux?

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Need an OS for an old PC

Should be easy to use and run quite well on that high a specification unit. Latest Release.htm

But this all depends on what it is you want to do with this unit.


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Puppy should work.

by dldorrance In reply to Puppy Linux?

Read this page for specific information, which includes running Puppy Linux on a 75 mHz processor with 40 MB ram.

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Slackware might work

by wizard57m_cnet Moderator In reply to Need an OS for an old PC

I've installed it on a 500mHz P3 w/256 meg RAM and 40 gig HD.

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But on a system like that

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Slackware might work

You can run XP. After all it was once a High End System when XP was younger.

While I was using a Dual Processor M'Board with 2 X 500 P3 and 1 GIG of RAM up until a year or so ago to run XP more than happily many people couldn't buy anything as powerful as a 500 P3 and 256 MEG or RAM not that long ago. Back then RAM was expensive so you fitted the most powerful CPU you could afford and skimped on the RAM to get the best system you could afford.


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But WinXP isn't free

by wizard57m_cnet Moderator In reply to But on a system like that

and with only 128meg RAM, would more likely "crawl" rather than "run". But Win98SE might be quite happy, though it isn't "free" either.

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by TobiF In reply to But WinXP isn't free

Win98 is out of support. If your system will be on the public internet, then a system with known vulnerabilities may not be the best choice.

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Safer with Win95

by Slayer_ In reply to Security?

Which might as well be free, enter all 0's as your serial key.

Windows 95 does not support the majority of viruses on the web, and IE 5.5 SP2 is super secure.

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Well let's really have fun then!

by wizard57m_cnet Moderator In reply to Safer with Win95

Let's go on back to, say MS DOS 6.22 and Win3X...use WFWG311 if you need TCP/IP networking via nic, if using dialup use Win31. Install a winsock (Shiva, Trumpet),
along with Calmira to replace Program Manager and he'd have a Win9X look...or could skin Calmira to look like XP!
OR, he could just stay in DOS, use Arachne for web, email etc., even as a program launcher/shell! Arachne can even work with nic cards if you can find the appropriate driver.
Depending on hard disk size, he may need to FDisk a few extended DOS partitions though, best to keep them under 1 gig each, but will handle up to 2 gig. With 128 meg RAM, could setup a RAMDisk to handle all the temp and Arachne cache, he'd have one screaming demon!
No worry about clikjack, Javascript exploits, or buggy old Flash either, hehe!

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Why M$ DOS?

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Well let's really have fu ...

DR DOS was much better and had far more switches to make it so much more useful than anything M$ put out.

Try the old X COPY Command with MS DOS and see what it can actually copy then compare that to DR DOS and see the difference.

I often RAN Windows 3.11 on top of DR Dos and it worked much better than it did running on top of MS DOS.

Even today on some very new CAM Stuff that I'm supporting I place a License for MS DOS into the insides Cover and Load DR Dos for the increased functionality.



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Windows systems do not meet the requirements.

by dldorrance In reply to Need an OS for an old PC

The question is "What's the *lightest*
and best *free* OS I can choose from? (emphasis added).

Windows is excluded as it is not free. DOS is the lightest and free. Pupppy Linux is better than DOS, as it has a GUI, complex command set and provides drivers for old as well as recent devices. Neither is "best", but then that is a grammar issue.

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