help me decide an OS for old laptop

Hey guys,

sorry if i posted in wrong section - i was about to post in software section
but i didnt see a subsection that fits my question... i thoguht my question would
fit better here... anyways

my question:
i need an operating system that will run smoothly and efficiently on my current
specs of my laptop (this was given to me for free - its going to hold me over
until i get enough money for my desktop build)... so what is the best OS for
my specs?

my specs from cpuz:
cpu: intel pentium III E 850mhz
bus speed: 99.6mhz
multiplier: x8.5
cache l1 data: 16kbytes
l1 inst: 16kbytes
level 2: 256kbytes

compaq presario 1700
model: 0658h TBD
chipset: intel i440BX/ZX Rev: C1
southbridge: intel 82371EB/MB (PIIX4E/M)
brand: pheonix technologies LTD
version: 4.06 date: 2-6-01
graphic interface version: agp version 1.0
transfer rate 2x max: 2x
side band: enabled

type: sdram
size: 192 mbytes
dram freq: 99.6mhz
fsb:dram 1:1
cas# latency (CL): 2.0 clocks
ras# to cas# delay: 2 clocks
cas# precharge (tRP): 2 clocks
dram idle timer: 16 clocks

slot 1: SDRAM
module size: 64 mbytes
max bandwidth: pc100 (100mhz)
manufacturer: infineon
part number: HYS64V8200GDL-8
serial number: 03329b8c

I am currently running windows ME.... system BSOD's around 3x a day at the very least... i am very comfortable using windows OS's but am open to try other OS's
I am very noob with linux, but am open to try, like i said... i am just worried about what i heard - how linux might not have some windows drivers, making some software not work on linux that otherwise might work on windows... ive heard a lot of good things about ubuntu - but i heard it is a resource hog - dont know if this will run on my spex - doubt it...

i would like a freeware if that is possible, but most importantly will give mean efficiently working OS

also - are there any real problems with using older OS's? i mean i know for old windows OS's the service packs will cease so you wont get all the 'benefits' of the new updates - is this a real concern? i mean is this not due to security? if thats the case wouldnt i be ok with 3rd party software? i dont know - i am a computer noob...

not to mention incompatable software...

what do you guys suggest i install for the best OS for my specs?

btw - dont suggest MS-DOS hahaha

thanks guys...
5 answers Last reply
More about help decide laptop
  1. Win XP pro -SP3
  2. I think Ubuntu linux or some other lightweight distro is the right way to go. I have an older laptop (but not as old as yours) that I threw Ubuntu on and it worked really well. I switched to opensuse and like it a little better, but it runs slower than Ubuntu. Maybe go to and shop around for other lightweight linux distros. Check out some of the Ubuntu derivatives like Mint, PC/OS, or Kubuntu.
  3. thanks for the reply grieve and rwpritchett...

    i was actualy thinking about those two OS's (win xp and ubuntu)... i am just having trouble being convinced to get one over the other.... can you guys convince me? hahaha...

    ive read online that ubuntu works more efficiently and seems a lot faster than windows xp on the same machine... i know this probably is true - but can anyone verify? remember my specs: 800mhz cpu, 99mhz fsb, 190mb sdram... so +1 for ubuntu....

    ive read online that winxp is more user friendly and that some hardware wont work for ubuntu because of the lack of drivers... ive read that there are more apps available too, for windows xp

    price makes no difference for me, since my school lets us install OS's for free - including windows xp

    i guess i should tell you my intentions:
    - NO gaming.... as of now... he he
    - probably some online poker
    - web browsing
    - a lot of word processing
    - listening to mp3's
    - watching movies

    btw - i would say my level of computer knowledge is noob like... i mean i know how to use windows, but linux, i've only (been forced to) used a few times for some old CAD software for school... i dont like xterm though... command lines make me sad

    btw2 - on my laptop theres this emblem that says "designed for microsoft windows 2000 profession / windows ME" <-- does this matter?

    so given these, what do you guys suggest? convince me!!!

    other suggestions welcome

  4. I have XP SP2 installed on a similarly configured laptop. It runs painfully slow but is otherwise rock solid. When I get it back from my sister I will probably install UBUNTU Linux distro because all I really use it for it to web surf and word processsing. I will also install Open Office. It is compatible enough with MS Office for my needs.

    A normal UBUNTU Linux install "should" work with little or no special configuration on your laptop.

  5. Win 2000 was the forerunner of XP pro it was not as resource demanding as XP and its only problem was incompatibility with many games of its time.
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