Linux install on old computer

I have a old computer (266mhz cpu, 64mb ram) and Win95 was getting very buggy, so I reformatted the hdd, but lost the 95 disk. What version of Linux should I use? How do I install it?

I have tried to install DSL, Slax, and Debian, but cannot get it to start, it just goes through this check (which I cant read) and leaves me in dos. What should I type?

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  1. First off, make sure your system is setup (and capable) of booting from a CD-Rom drive. I believe your system should still be "new" enough to support that feature. You may have to enable it in the BIOS.

    Next, I remember reading that for older systems it might be a better idea to stick with an older version of a distro like maybe Fedora Core 3 in this case but I think they were talking about older laptops. linux_0 or bmouring could shed some better light on the subject than I.
  2. I believe you are spot-on with this one, Anoobis. Check to make sure the system can support booting from a CD (iffy, I'd give it 50/50) You may very well have to whip up some bootable floppies for the install, check you system's BIOS and get back to us.

    As for older distros for older hardware, generally I am of the school of thought that, unless you have some pretty obscure hardware that is only supported in 2.4 kernel modules as a closed-source "blob", go with a newer distro. They've been adding support as a rule, not really taking it away, so whatever worked in a previous version should still work with a newer one. The nice thing with this software is that you can try out a few different ones for nothing more than the cost of a few blank cd's/dvd's.
  3. Great advice from Anoobis and bmouring

    I think I know what happened, most Linux distros cannot run the GUI with only 64MB of RAM.

    I believe you need at least 80MB RAM to run the minimal GUI, the more RAM the better.

    Try to upgrade to as much RAM as your board can take then try DSL, Knoppix or a similar distro.

    GL :-D
  4. Puppy is another good linux distro for old computers.
  5. do I need to add more ram, or is there a way to start installation without GUI?
  6. You can install without the GUI no problem however you will not be able to run the GUI with only 64MB RAM.

    With 128MB it will be ok. With 256MB it will be able to run pretty well ( as well as it can run on a 266MHz CPU ).

    Try to get 256MB in your PC if at all possible. If you cannot get 256, shoot for at least 128MB.

    I have several machines running at 266MHz - 800MHz with 256MB RAM and they run ok, a little slow at times but they run.

    I have FC4 on a few of them and it runs pretty well considering how old the hardware is.

    GL :-D

    do I need to add more ram, or is there a way to start installation without GUI?
  7. just a quick note i thought i would toss out there

    if you cannot boot from CD on your system (dont see ya wouldn't be able to though, i had a Pentium 166 with the option in the BIOS....)

    for all your booting needs (it lets you pick the device to boot from regardless of the BIOS), i used it on an ancient laptop and it worked awsome...
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