How to get my Thinkpad into workable condition?
September 10, 2007 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I've got an old IBM Thinkpad G40 circa something like 1998 that runs Pentium II and I want to get it running as fast as possible while spending as little money as possible.

I don't have much computer experience, although my knowledge is pretty fair, and I'd like to take it on as my personal project. I'm obviously going to format the hard-drive and I'm thinking of going with Xubuntu because I have Ubuntu experience. Any tips on what to do, as well as sites/resources that actually explain how to do it, are appreciated.
posted by alon to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There was a nice demo by Jessamyn this year about installing ubuntu. You prefer xubuntu to ubuntu?
posted by MtDewd at 10:56 AM on September 10, 2007

Best answer: Max out the RAM.
posted by box at 11:32 AM on September 10, 2007

Response by poster: Re:MtDewd

From what I understand, Xubuntu was made specially for old, slow machines. But I'm good with either.
posted by alon at 11:50 AM on September 10, 2007

I've gotten most out of my 1997 Toshiba laptop with Damn Small Linux, when it came to standard distributions. If you are willing to invest some time in learning to work the command line only, you could get even more trimmed down tastes of Linux.

On the other hand, I made that laptop a dualboot, with Windows 98lite on the other partition.

It really depends on what you want to do with the machine, which way is best to go. Mine acts as a NAS device and print server nowadays, for which Linux turned out to work best.
posted by ijsbrand at 11:54 AM on September 10, 2007

I myself have installed various linux distributions (DeLi Linux, Damn Small Linux, Puppy Linux and of course also Xubuntu) as well as Windows 98 SE and Windows 2000 on my old IBM Thinkpad 770ED (upgraded to a total amount of 228 MB Ram). To my surprise Xubuntu was able to keep up with Windows 2000 in terms of performance. However, it was not nearly as fast as the other distributions or Windows 98 (too many security flaws.) . Since you want to spend as little money as possible I would ultimately suggest trying out Deli Linux. It is the only distribution I know that is specificially designed for old computers (486 to Pentium II or so) - and you can feel it.

By the way: The ThinkWiki was a tremendous help.
posted by pu9iad at 12:42 PM on September 10, 2007

Best answer: If you don't care about legality, torrent yourself up a tasty copy of XPlite or "Exiguous OS", or TinyXP.

All three are minimalist installs of XP that leave out the fat bloatware and install only what you need.

I've got Exiguous installed on about 10 machines right now, none above PII class, and they absolutely scream. You'd be amazed.
posted by TomMelee at 1:35 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't overlook spending a few bucks on a quick 7200 RPM hard drive, either. Physically, this is one of the easiest things you can do to improve performance, after maxing out RAM.
posted by paulsc at 2:12 PM on September 10, 2007

I recommend xubuntu as well.
posted by bored at 11:13 AM on September 12, 2007

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