What to do with a 12 year old laptop.

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by mattdocs12345, Feb 4, 2014.

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  1. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Thinkpad T23:
    • 1.13 Ghz Pentium III
    • 256mb RAM
    • 14.1" TFT display with 1024x768 resolution
    • 1.1 USB
    Now I don't want to spend money on this laptop. Especially on RAM which can be quite expansive for this vintage models.
    What could I do with this? Any techie ideas?
     
  2. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Firewall, Thin Client or Linux.
     
  3. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    The maximum RAM is only 1GB anyway.

    256MB is not enough for Windows, so I agree with zapjb about using Linux.

    You might want to take a look at Revive Your Old PC: The 3 Best Linux Systems For Old Computers
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  4. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    I think Linux is the best option here.
    Mrk
     
  5. bjohns77

    bjohns77 Lurker

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    +1 for Linux...it will make your laptop usable, i think
     
  6. Feandur

    Feandur Registered Member

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    A Pentium 3 mobile 1133GHz is in the same ball park [in responsiveness / speed] to the older single-core Intel Atom netbooks.

    See here...
    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Atom_(CPU)

    As such it will be unbearably slow on any web site with graphics. Forget You-tube videos.

    Linux is the way to go...
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-lightweight-linux-distributions-give-pc-lease-life/
    http://www.junauza.com/2011/07/5-tiniest-linux-distributions-for-your.html

    I suggest "wary puppy" as the best.
    http://bkhome.org/blog2/?viewDetailed=00159

    Consider it a learning tool to understand Linux.

    Otherwise throw it in the bin and move on, as I have had to do with some of my old Pentium and Celerons.

    -cheers,
    feandur
     
  7. DoctorPC

    DoctorPC Banned

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    Do you have computer recyclers near you? I had one give me $20 for a laptop like this. Well worth it. This computer you mention would even be slow as snails browsing, and not worth the frustration.

    You can snag a nice dual core laptop, usually bulk ones companies retire for about $50.00-$75.00 these days if you want a reasonably functional laptop. I picked my wife up a 5 year old Acer 4430(I think that was the model). We dropped Windows 8.1 on it, and it's running like a champion, and is pretty speedy. Only $75 out the door!
     
  8. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the responses. So it seems like putting on it is the only viable option. I do have 2 laptops already so it would still be kind of setting dust... even with Linux on it.
    Anyways, I wanted to try putting ancient CentOS on ancient Laptop - just to give it kind of retro feel. I looked up CentOS system requirements and it said 256mb RAM, yet for some reason during installation I got an error stating that there is not enough RAM... Puppy is out of question, it looks too cartoonish...
    I think Im gonna slap Linux on it and give it away to family member.

     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  9. CGuard

    CGuard Registered Member

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  10. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    it could be used as a boat anchor.

    the only thing that might run on that POS is some old version of Lubuntu.

    good luck. lol
     
  11. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    I'm currently using a T60 I paid around $30 for. It was sold as non working for parts and I got it to fix another broken one I had. This one only needed a hard drive and was in almost mint condition and I sold the other broken one for around $30 instead. I own two other T60s as well but I paid more like $75-95 for them last year. They are nice laptops and are built like tanks. I'd call them plain more than ugly. My most beat up one is actually my road laptop. Less attractive to thieves.:D
     
  12. roger_m

    roger_m Registered Member

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    I don't think they're ugly, plain - maybe but I really like the look of ThinkPads.
    At least they don't have a glossy finish, so the case doesn't get covered in fingerprints. Quite probably any future laptops I buy for my own use will be used ThinkPads, because of their extremely high quality and also because I don't see the point of buying a new laptop.
     
  13. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    No I don't think Thinkpads are ugly. I just think T60 is ugly, I don't like its silver buttons. T23 had much better design and so does my current T230 (except for the keyboard). It still wouldn't prevent me from buying T60, thinkpads, especially the older ones are the most reliable laptops I have ever used. All the laptops that I ever bought in my life (except for my first toshiba that broke after half a year) were thinkpads and they are still running.

    In regards of buying a new laptop. The only thing I don't like about used thinkpads are loose hinges. I can't stand those and I haven't found any way to tighten them up. This is probably the primary reason that drives me into buying a new laptop.

    As for my original question. I don't think I really need a 3rd laptop. So now Im tinking about slapping a linux on T23 and putting it into a cabinet and using it as a file server for my own cloud.
    Anybody knows the easiest software that would do it for me (preferably Linux based)?
     
  14. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    I own a total of 7 Thinkpads. Not only are they built like tanks, they are by far the easiest laptops to service and the Hardware Maintenance manuals for them are thorough and complete. 2 of my Thinkpads are hybrids that I've put together from the pieces of non working Thinkpads. I can completely disassemble and reassemble one in less than 2 hours.
     
  15. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    I like the Thinkpad look. It makes the laptop look like a tool as opposed to a toy (though in truth it's equal parts of both if you're a geek).

    Re the laptop itself, the lack of RAM is probably going to be the limiting factor, so a light desktop (Xfce, LXDE, or standalone window manager) is indicated. With 256 MB though that might not be enough. Swapping will be slow (as usual) and things will *crawl* when low memory conditions set in.

    I would love to be able to - and *should* be able to - offer a sane solution to Linux memory management issues; computers with 256 MB of RAM were very usable on Linux circa 5 years ago, and should be usable now, but with most distros they aren't. I would investigate this too, but I don't have much time ATM.

    (I may try some stuff this weekend though. I've always been interested in getting better performance out of legacy systems, and I should be able to recreate legacy system conditions in a VM.)

    In the meantime though, you could turn the laptop into a server of some sort, or a router/gateway/firewall. Or a console-only workstation for that matter. CLI stuff is still very fast on Linux, even on rubbish like old Mac G3s.
     
  16. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Well I tried CrunchBag with no luck. The OS was super slow. I tried AntiX and it is stuck in Login Window. It will not accept my login id and password. Puppy Linux Slacko is next.

    My goal is to set up a linux distro and set up SAMBA. I wish there was a distro that did that out of the box.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  17. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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  18. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    Samba client or samba server?

    Re Crunchbang, if that's slow then chances are anything will be. It might be worth trying to spot performance issues though.

    e.g. for a start: run top and see what is eating the most CPU cycles. Run strace -c on the problem applications as they are running, and see what system calls are eating the most time. Then look up what those system calls do, and why they might be slow.

    (Swapping shouldn't confuse that, I think, even though it's CPU intensive, because there's a dedicated kernel mode process to handle it. That said, everything is going to be slow on that computer, so...)

    There are also some dedicated performance measuring tools like oprofile, that might be interesting to mess around with.

    Edit: N/M, I probably don't know what I'm talking about. Suffice to say that performance is a complex issue (even on legacy systems) and there are no magic bullets.

    oprofile might show you something interesting though.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
  19. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Well both. Samba client and Samba server. Im gonna check out those distros mentioned and see if I can find any easy tutorials or if I can figure it out myself.
     
  20. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    The laptop was probably designed for Windows 2000 or Xp Sp1. Windows 2000 uses about 60mb of system ram. Xp Sp1 about twice as much and Xp Sp3 quite a bit more. With that little memory, Windows 2000 would run well on it. I don't know how useful it would these days be but it would run. My oldest Thinkpad is a 1998 Pentium II. It has 384mb ram. It came with Windows NT4. I have multiple old OSes multi booting on it including Windows 2000 and Suse Linux 7.3. Both run well but the old version of Linux feels a little faster. A PIII T23 is quite a few years ahead of this laptop.
     
  21. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    I have a sticker Windows XP professional and license for it. Unfortunately I no longer have the CD. As you said XP would probably work fine, especially if I fined tuned it.
    I tried installing puppy linux but got frustrated with having have to manually set up grub....
     
  22. DoctorPC

    DoctorPC Banned

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    You can install all windows versions from USB sticks these days. It's for notebooks without a CD/DVD. As long as you have the license, you are good to go. Also, if I have a license and cannot find my DVD/CD I usually just grab a torrent of it.

    USB Windows Install Files;
    http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/html/pbPage.Help_Win7_usbdvd_dwnTool

    http://liliputing.com/2008/04/install-windows-xp-on-mini-note-usb.html
     
  23. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    Yeah I have an iso, I just don't have DVD/CD-r. Will try setting it up on USB.
     
  24. CGuard

    CGuard Registered Member

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    In case you are really interested in installing antiX:

    1. Are you using non-latin characters in your username/password?

    2. Have you created a new /home directory (partition) or have you kept a previously created one?

    PS(aka base of my recommendation). About a week ago, i revived my father-in-law's desktop PC (P4 1.3 GHz, 256 GB RAM) by installing antiX, after experimenting with several "popular" lightweight/for-old-hardware distros. I found out that a) setting up antiX with Fluxbox + Rox->(mainly, for desktop icons), b) sticking with Iceweasel without installing any popular FF add-ons (noscript, abp etc.) and c) enabling the (installed by default in full version) Adblock application (sort of a HOSTS manager), results in a surprisingly smooth web-surfing experience -well, at least according to my expectation. He is able to even watch videos without any tremendous lags -yes, the 32MB graphics card does help a lot. Despite its name (antiX -> antiques) and purpose, it's a well-thought and rich-featured distro, in my limited-linux-experience's opinion. I bet there are other built-it-yourself distros (TinyCore?) or customizable ways to revive even more effectively an old machine, but antiX worked without any significant hustles for me/him. Good luck finding the one working for you.
     
  25. MisterB

    MisterB Registered Member

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    I can give you a more exact number of the amount of memory used by Xp SP1 and SP3. I restored two Xp laptops this afternoon to their original factory state with restore partitions, one Thinkpad and one Vaio. The Vaio restored to XP pro SP1 with Norton Internet Security. System memory use was around 120mb. When I installed SP3, it went up 100mb to 220mb. On the T23, an up to date Xp system would leave you only around 20-30mb for applications.

    I would go to the Lenovo support page and see what Oses are supported with drivers. You might be surprised. The T23 is from the IBM era and IBM tended to give the buyer lots of options. It might even support OS/2 because IBM made it. I'm sure there are drivers for Windows 2000 and NT 4 which was supported by IBM through the T4X series. More than likely, there are drivers for Windows 98 as well. There was usually unofficial support for Linux for the old Thinkpads as well.
     
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