What OS would work on a Dell Inspiron 3000?
June 14, 2004 3:05 PM   Subscribe

My wife's Dell Inspiron 3000 (200 Mhz, 96Mb) does not play well with Windows ME, crashes, slows down, etc.
What OS would work on this old but trusty laptop?
posted by signal to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Well tuned 98SE would be just right.
posted by riffola at 3:12 PM on June 14, 2004

Windows ME runs well on almost no systems at all. I've actually seen it work, but it's a rare thing.

I concur. Go with Windows 98 Second Edition. Consider investing in 98Lite, which removes various components of Windows, particularly the frippery. I haven't used it, but I hear good things about it.
posted by majick at 3:19 PM on June 14, 2004

Perhaps it would be a little outside the system's performance (I don't know, actually) but I've always liked Windows 2000 Professional better than any other flavor. Eschew WinME at all costs.
posted by scarabic at 3:26 PM on June 14, 2004

I think you could run Win2K on it, based on the System Requirements, but frankly I think it will be dog slow with just 96MB and 200Mhz.
posted by riffola at 3:32 PM on June 14, 2004

Linux might be an option.

WinME ran very will on systems that it shipped with, but very poorly on everything else. Win2k is an option, as is NT4.

What do you want to do with the system?
posted by Kwantsar at 3:37 PM on June 14, 2004

Win98lite would probably fit well if you can bother with the maintenance.

If you're looking for something Linuxy try DamnSmallLinux - it's a light-weight distro with Firefox, some office software, and a basic set of apps. It doesn't touch the HDD and runs off CD.
posted by holloway at 4:41 PM on June 14, 2004

Response by poster: Linux is not an option, as I doubt my wife will want to convert.
She uses it mainly for word processing and web surfing.
trharlan: Really? Same memory and all?
posted by signal at 5:23 PM on June 14, 2004

Windows 98, definitely. Windows XP/2000 will run, but incredibly slowly.
posted by cheaily at 6:02 PM on June 14, 2004

Linux is not an option, as I doubt my wife will want to convert.

I dunno, I converted my wife's laptop to Red Hat 9 almost a year ago and she barely noticed a difference. She also uses it almost exclusively for web surfing and word processing. For someone who usually sits down in front of the computer and opens a web browser or office app there's very little work for you besides showing them the new icon to click on.

The wireless card was a bit of work to set up, but doesn't lose it's DNS settings* after an hour or so of inactivity, as WinXP pro was wont to do.

For this older hardware Win98 would probably run fine, as others have mentioned. Or FreeBSD.

*As near as I could figure -- after inactivity, she could still browse new pages on the sites she had left open, but could not resolve domain names for any new sites. Anyone got an answer for that one? (D-link 650+ WAP)
posted by mkdg at 9:11 PM on June 14, 2004

Windows 2000 Pro runs pretty sleekly on older systems. I put it on an acquaintance's box with the same memory and (IIRC) similar clock speed and it's plenty usable.

That having been said, if your wife really uses the PC for only browsing and word processing, there's really no reason not to switch to Linux. And of course you could go dual-boot.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:15 AM on June 15, 2004

I've got Windows 98SE running on an old p166 with 64 megs and it runs fine.
posted by ttrendel at 9:34 AM on June 15, 2004

Response by poster: Thing is, I know nothing about Linux, and as I do all her tech support, I'm probly better off sticking with what I know.
Thanks for all the advice!
posted by signal at 9:43 AM on June 15, 2004

How can you move down from Windows ME to Windows 98? Where can you get a copy of Win98 to install over ME?

I have an old machine that I updated to ME, and I'm so sorry I did it! I didn't go for XP because the hard disk and RAM didn't meet the system requirements.
posted by jasper411 at 10:14 AM on June 15, 2004

MS doesn't sell 98 anymore so you either have to know someone with an non oem copy or search around used PC places.

Check with your tech at work if your in that kind of place. They probably know where to go to get old software like that.

Be on the look out for an old version of office if that is what your wife is using cause the most recent version will be glacial on your system.
posted by Mitheral at 3:18 PM on June 15, 2004

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