Friday, September 12, 2008

What Should I Do With This Computer?

I have an old computer that I'm wondering what to do with. It's a Pentium III, 500MHz, with 256MB RAM and a 10GB hard drive, with only less than 3GB left.

The case is a low profile style, so there's no bracket for an additional drive, which I do have. If I add the second drive, I'd have to attach it with double-sided tape.

The computer is configured to dual boot into either Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0 SP. The NT partition has Office 97 installed on it. It still works. But I'd like to be able to install somewhat modern software on it and use the USB ports.

Three ideas I have:
  • Reformat the drive with a single partition and do a fresh install of Windows 2000. It would be comparable to the software configuration on my current desktop. This would get the USB ports working. But some programs, such as iTunes, no longer support Windows 2000.

  • Reformat the drive with a single partition and do a fresh install of Windows XP. Not sure how it will perform on this system, though.

  • Reformat the drive and install Ubuntu. Not sure what software is available -- maybe just a web browser, Open Office and a PDF viewer. And of course Emacs. Most likely no one else in the house would use the computer. And I wonder if I can get all the drivers I'll need.
The first step is to get the second drive installed, if I can.

What do you think?


Tirsden Frozenrayn said...

I ran Win2K for about 10 minutes on a PII 400 with around 380megs RAM before I reformatted and put Win98 back on it. It was awfully slow-laggy ick. XP would probably be worse... I know the support for '98 is about nonexistent now though. ^^;

So I dunno. I'd put '98 on it and use it to run older games. But that's me. xD

LudditeGeek said...

Thanks for the warning. I bought this computer with Win 98 on it. It worked okay for a couple of months. But then one day the Windows system directory disappeared. I was using dial-up Internet access without a firewall, so I think I was hacked.

But still, I went through the trouble of setting up two partitions so I could dual-boot between Win 98 (for my daughter's cheap games and the USB interface for the digital camera) and WinNT for everything else.

WinNT was definitely slower than Win98. But it wasn't too bad. I think Win2K will be similar to WinNT. But I think you're right about WinXP -- it will be more of a hog.