Author Topic: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed  (Read 573 times)

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Offline Atlantia

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Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« on: November 01, 2021, 01:08:24 pm »
Hi All,

I'm looking to move to Linux based OS's on my home PC's and I want to start (dip a toe in the water) with my slightly venerable desktop!

I've never used a linux based OS before and although Im not a total PC novice, Im no means a tech savy I.T specialist either.
So instalation and set-up needs to be straightforwards and idiot proof.
I need basic PC features, a lot of web surfing, some word processing and basic photo/image editing.

My PC is pretty old and the spec is:
Processor: Intel Core 2 6600 @ 2.4Ghz
Ram: 2.00 GB
System Type: 32 Bit Operating System
Hard Drive: 1 TB

I was looking at Ubuntu or Mint, but I'm not sure they'll work with my older 32 bit architecture?

If anyone can  point me to a good (100% free) OS that would suit, I'd be grateful.

Offline Keith

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2021, 03:12:25 pm »
Hello Atlantia - and welcome to the Forum. 

Your system should be fine with any 32-bit Linux OS. 

If you search for "32 bit linux distros" you will get a long list of site recommendations. Try for example https://www.chippiko.com/2021/10/list-of-32-bit-linux-distro-available.html.  Forum Members have their own favourites and Mint, Antix and Peppermint are often mentioned here.  The 32-bit Mint will be supported only until 2023 except for the LMDE version, although I could only find it in 64-bit.  Peppermint is probably the easiest to start with and has good community support: https://forum.peppermintos.com/

All Linux OSs come with a large range of applications built in and you can install more from the repositories.  The simplest photo-editing s/w I've found is "Pinta" and is powerful enough for most users, and secure/private web browsers such as DuckDuckGo can be installed on-line. 

Welcome to Linux.
Good luck, and let us know how you get on.
   Keith

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2021, 03:12:25 pm »

Offline DavidMcCann

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2021, 04:47:32 pm »
If you think that's old, you should see my 18-yr old Thinkpad,  with a Pentium M!

Most distros have been dropping 32-bit support and there will no doubt be more to come. The one that will keep on going — they support all manner of things — is Debian, but it's not too friendly on the PC as opposed to the server. There are two good distros that use the software from Debian to create a carefully-designed package for older, smaller computers. Both have good forums with helpful members — like us, and not like the snooty bunch at Debian.

One is MX Linux. That should probably be your first choice. It uses the Xfce desktop (you actually get to choose your GUI in Linux), which is said to be not too great a contrast to Windows, and would work well on your machine.

The other is Antix. That would be faster, as it uses the Ice Window Manager — the first GUI I ever used some 20 years ago! It's more hands-on to configure and manage, but not rocket science by any means — just different to what you are used to. I'd say consider it if you find MX a bit sluggish.

A lot of sluggishness on older computers comes from Firefox. Sometimes it's the only thing that can access a site, but it's a good idea to install something lighter like Midori as a default.

Offline Rich J

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2021, 06:56:42 pm »
Hi All,

I'm looking to move to Linux based OS's on my home PC's and I want to start (dip a toe in the water) with my slightly venerable desktop!

I've never used a linux based OS before and although Im not a total PC novice, Im no means a tech savy I.T specialist either.
So instalation and set-up needs to be straightforwards and idiot proof.
I need basic PC features, a lot of web surfing, some word processing and basic photo/image editing.

My PC is pretty old and the spec is:
Processor: Intel Core 2 6600 @ 2.4Ghz
Ram: 2.00 GB
System Type: 32 Bit Operating System
Hard Drive: 1 TB

I was looking at Ubuntu or Mint, but I'm not sure they'll work with my older 32 bit architecture?

If anyone can  point me to a good (100% free) OS that would suit, I'd be grateful.

Can you post exactly what you are running at the moment?  Brand, operating system etc? If it's Windows it should be found via Start/Settings/System/About - or similar.   ;)

Offline Atlantia

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2021, 04:46:49 pm »
Hi Keith, David and Rich,

Thanks for the replies everyone. Much appreciated.

Keith,

I had a look at the links thankyou. I'd found like you, that I am seeing the 64 bit versions but not the 32 bit.
My problem is that when I look at the lists, they all sound good, but I've never heard of 90% of them so can't judge.

David,

lol, my Desktop is nearly that old. Vista was the new OS and apart from a new hard drive that I put in it about 4 years ago and a couple of replaced fans, it's running the original hardware!
So that must be 2007.
I've had to reinstall everything a few times of course.
It was a good spec in it's day and as I regularly clean all the dust out, it's still going strong.
I want to remove all the programs that I don't use, but keep Vista on it so my son can still play some old RTS games that I've got installed on it.

Rich,

THanks for keeping your instructions simple.... I need that ;-)

It's an 2007 Dell XPS 210 with Vista (service pack 2)
Is this what you are after?

Processor    Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz
Memory (RAM)    2.00 GB    
Graphics    Radeon X1300 Series (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM)    
Gaming graphics    1019 MB Total available graphics memory    
Primary hard disk    727GB Free (932GB Total)    
Windows Vista (TM) Home Premium

System      
     Manufacturer    Dell Inc.
     Model    Dell DXC061
     Total amount of system memory    2.00 GB RAM
     System type    32-bit operating system
     Number of processor cores    2
     64-bit capable    Yes
Storage      
     Total size of hard disk(s)    932 GB
     Disk partition (C:)    727 GB Free (932 GB Total)
     Media drive (D:)    CD/DVD
Graphics      
     Display adapter type    Radeon X1300 Series (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM)
     Total available graphics memory    1019 MB
           Dedicated graphics memory    256 MB
           Dedicated system memory    0 MB
           Shared system memory    763 MB
     Display adapter driver version    7.14.10.830
     Primary monitor resolution    1680x1050
     DirectX version    DirectX 9.0 or better

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2021, 04:46:49 pm »

Offline Keith

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2021, 05:00:45 pm »
It was only the Mint 32-bit that I couldn't find.  Peppermint, which is very popular, can be downloaded (32 bit) here: https://peppermintos.com/guide/downloading/

Don't be concerned about having only 2GB RAM, despite what some will tell you:  I am running Ubuntu 18.04 on 2GB and it's fine for the uses you've mentioned. 

Remember that you don't have to commit to a particular Linux distribution:  try several on "live USBs" or Live DVDs and choose the one you like before installing. 

Keith

Offline Atlantia

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2021, 06:04:48 pm »
Hi Keith,

I've been looking at peppermintos following your suggestion... and the simple instructions on the site are already making me feel a bit stupid.
I have no idea about md5sum... or how to open a terminal or command prompt in the directory, but hey-ho we learn by trying!

I hope you won't mind some follow up questions if I get stuck?

Thanks again.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2021, 06:17:00 pm by Atlantia »

Offline wishbone

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2021, 07:32:20 pm »
hi Atlantia,
If you download the ISO to your harddrive you can then right click the ISO and you should see an option to "calculate MD5sum" checksum" and calculate SHA256" checksum.

There are links there to download either by torrent or direct download.
Download the Peppermint 10 Respin (32 bit) ISO Image via Torrent
Download the Peppermint 10 Respin (32 bit) ISO

Link here
https://peppermintos.com/guide/downloading/

Peppermint is a good starting choice, it`s what I use, so I perhaps could not be objective.

HTH
Tony

Offline Keith

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2021, 07:57:20 pm »
Quote
I have no idea about md5sum... or how to open a terminal or command prompt in the directory, but hey-ho we learn by trying!
I hope you won't mind some follow up questions if I get stuck?

Hi Atlantia.
No problem.  It's what we're here for.  Just off to do my weekly shop, so will reply later unless someone else does.

Keith

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2021, 07:57:20 pm »

Offline SeZo

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2021, 08:51:09 pm »
It looks like your CPU is 64 bit compatible:

Quote
System     
     Manufacturer    Dell Inc.
     Model    Dell DXC061
     Total amount of system memory    2.00 GB RAM
     System type    32-bit operating system
     Number of processor cores    2
    64-bit capable    Yes

Why do not try the 64 bit version of the OS?

Offline Keith

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2021, 09:07:29 pm »
SeZo,

Would the speed be affected by installing 64-bit on a 32-bit machine?

Offline steve57

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2021, 09:09:19 pm »
I would also recommend MX Linux, and I'm running it on two machines at present. Although one has a reasonable spec the other is a little netbook with only 1.7Gb RAM (usable), and it runs fine on that. I was previously running Mint and was happy with it, but changed over to MX for a variety of reasons that I won't bore you with.

If you want to try Mint, go to the Mint website, go to downloads, then click on "all versions". On the next screen scroll down to 19.3 Tricia and to the right of that you'll see a choice of 3 desktops, Cinnamon, Mate and XFCE. I suggest you go for XFCE as it's lighter weight. When you click on that scroll down the next screen, and just above the list of download mirrors you'll see a choice of either 64 bit or 32 bit.

As SeZo has just pointed out your spec says "64 bit capable Yes". A lot of older machines had 64 bit processors but were only installed with 32 bit systems, as at the time there wasn't any real demand for 64 bit. So it could be that your machine is capable of running 64 bit, the best way to find out would be simply to try a 64 bit Linux system from a USB stick.

Having said all that I've found that on relatively low powered machines (2Gb RAM or less) 32 bit systems tend to be more responsive than 64 bit systems, on 64 bit machines. Well that's been my experience anyway. Do let us know how you get on.

Offline Keith

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2021, 10:01:38 pm »
Atlantia,

As you can see, there is lots of choice and I recommend that you try several versions.  The download website that gives you the most help might be  the one to start with! 

As for using the Terminal: this is for a Linux system not Vista (windows has its own command line system) so you won't need that yet. 

When you download your chosen operating system, you will download it as an "ISO file".  This contains the myriad files that comprise the OS all compressed into a single file.  It's important to check that this file has been downloaded without any errors and you do that by comparing the "md5sum" of your file with the value published by the source. 
You will probably need to install the md5sum (or equivalent) software.  I am  not familiar with Windows but you might try https://knowledge.autodesk.com/search-result/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Checking-the-MD5-checksum-of-a-Downloaded-File.html.  If you need better instructions, try a web search (or other Members might offer suggestions). 
It will take a short while to produce a value which you should check carefully against the published value. 

A sure alternative is to buy Live-USBs or Live DVDs of several likely Linux OSs.  You can find a list of Linux OSs available on USB/DVD here: https://thelinuxshop.co.uk/linux-live-cddvd-c-21.html.  Choose 32 or 64 bit on the left-hand side.  Antix, Bodhi, KUbuntu, Mint and Linux-Lite etc are all there.  Take your pick.  A bit pricey but saves a lot of hassle and guaranteed to work, and you might find them cheaper elsewhere. 
 
This is enough for now.  Let us know if you have problems so far.
  keith
« Last Edit: November 03, 2021, 10:03:49 pm by Keith »

Offline Rich J

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2021, 09:16:32 am »
Rich,

THanks for keeping your instructions simple.... I need that ;-)  No problem!

It's an 2007 Dell XPS 210 with Vista (service pack 2)
Is this what you are after?  Yes, and I have a Dell laptop of that vintage that runs Linux Lite perfectly well

Processor    Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6600 @ 2.40GHz
Memory (RAM)    2.00 GB     My laptop has less RAM than yours
Graphics    Radeon X1300 Series (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM)   
Gaming graphics    1019 MB Total available graphics memory   
Primary hard disk    727GB Free (932GB Total)   
Windows Vista (TM) Home Premium  My laptop was ex- XP

System     
     Manufacturer    Dell Inc.
     Model    Dell DXC061
     Total amount of system memory    2.00 GB RAM
     System type    32-bit operating system
     Number of processor cores    2
     64-bit capable    Yes   That's what I was looking for - 64-bit gives you many more options
Storage     
     Total size of hard disk(s)    932 GB
     Disk partition (C:)    727 GB Free (932 GB Total)
     Media drive (D:)    CD/DVD
Graphics     
     Display adapter type    Radeon X1300 Series (Microsoft Corporation - WDDM)
     Total available graphics memory    1019 MB
           Dedicated graphics memory    256 MB
           Dedicated system memory    0 MB
           Shared system memory    763 MB
     Display adapter driver version    7.14.10.830
     Primary monitor resolution    1680x1050
     DirectX version    DirectX 9.0 or better
Modify Message

Ok - one step at a time and don't worry about how to do it, we on here can walk you through the steps  ;)

My advice would be to pick any 'lightweight' 64-bit version of Linux you fancy and burn it to disk and/or USB stick.  (It depends on whether your laptop has an optical drive (DVD player) or not - if yes, I'd go for burning it to disk as, in my experience, Dell laptops can sometimes be fiddly when trying to boot from a USB). 

Once the Linux medium has been sorted and the laptop BIOS arranged to boot from it, then you can 'try before you buy'**, if you see what I mean?  On boot, you can opt to try out the OS for as long as you like before installing it - a very useful feature and if you don't like the look of it, simply repeat the process with another distro and go again.  CAVEAT:  Any distro will run more slowly from disk/USB than when installed.  This is not a fault of Linux but of the reduced capabilities of the disk/USB compared to a HDD.  Once installed, I guarantee you will be amazed at the speed at which Linux runs - and a damned sight faster than Vista ever did  ;)

**This is just a figure of speech, of course.  If you choose to go the DIY route (and why not - it's not too difficult to do and it's a great learning experience as well) then the cost is zero - or minimal if you need to purchase a re-writable DVD or USB stick.

Have a trawl through the distros and come back when you are ready to go!

Good luck!

Rich

Offline Atlantia

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Re: Looking for a good OS for an older desktop: Advice needed
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2021, 12:10:54 pm »
@ Rich, Steve, Keith. Sozo, Wishbone

Well,
You guys are great, however it appears I'm a bit of a disaster!

Unfortunately, I had to put this project on the back-burner for a few weeks due to a family bereavement and once it got back on my radar, my wife's trusty Samsung laptop running windows 7 (that we use for the kids homework) started playing up and running super slow.
After a few days of the basics, clean-up, defrag, remove google drive, remove and update virus protection, make sure firefox is up to date etc.... It didn't seeem to have fixed the problems.
I assumed it was either something was corrupted and in need of a clean reinstall of the OS or at worst it was a HD problem and it might need a new one (it's about 8 or 9 years old).
It's a 64 bit intel i3 2.2ghz with 4G of ram.
Well, I found the "Samsung Windows7 recovery disk" and thought 'yay', do a scrub and reinstall of Windows 7 and if it's all stable, put Windows 7 back on alongside a nice 64 bit Linux OS to try before I go to putting it on the Desktop as well!

Might as well only risk messing up the one PC at a time!

So in with the recovery disk, f2, boot from disk and off we go!

Or not of course.
I have now realised that the recovery disk seems to not be as 'comprehensive' as the Dell one's are and I've got a laptop that has lost all programs apart from the windows 7 and won't even recognise the network adaptor or go online.
I've got a horrible feeling I've just lost all the drivers and samsung programs off of the laptop.
Have I effectively 'bricked it'?

My Dell desktop is simple for a full reinstall, I guess I just thought all PC's would be the same.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2021, 02:59:23 pm by Keith »

 


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