Putting an old computer to use

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Old 10-26-07, 10:14 PM
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Putting an old computer to use

I want to install Linux on an old Compaq running W95, just for the heck of it.
How in the Startup Menu do I get the computer to boot from the install disk? I plan to reformat the hard disk, eliminating W95, writing it over with Linux (DeLi Linux, at http://delili.lens.hl-users.com/
 
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Old 10-27-07, 12:16 AM
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hi kenearl,

ensure the cdrom (boot media) is listed before the hard disk in your bios. When you boot up, it should say something similar to "Press F1 for setup".

Good luck with the penguin!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 06:19 AM
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With a computer of that vintage, it may be necessary to make a boot diskette to load the drivers for the CD-ROM as it may not be supported natively in the BIOS.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 06:29 AM
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Before posting, I did a good google search but I missed the one place I should have tried first--the distro's support forum!
chfite hit it. I need to make a boot floppy, and the means for doing that (the disk image AND the program called RAWRITE.exe) are actually on the install CD.
Guess I'm all set, thanks for the replies
 
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Old 10-27-07, 06:37 AM
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If you're planning to format the drive, another thing to be aware of is the size of the hard drive. That vintage sometimes required the installation of an "XBIOS Overlay" to allow large HDs to be used to their full capacity. This was done by Disk Manager a.k.a. EZ Drive, as I recall.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:02 AM
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Rick, no worries there as it's only a 1.5 gig HD. Thanks!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:54 AM
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I wouldn't so quickly say "no worries", because the first size barrier encountered with old machines is 504MB. This was usually the Win3.1 era but I don't know exactly what you have there.

I'd say you'll be fine though. Linux may even take care of this for you... I don't know for sure; OS's aren't my field of work and haven't had to do a vintage install in a few years.

The good news is I think you'll find that machine suddenly very useful, so your time won't be wasted "just for the heck of it". I have a similar old machine which functions as my mail/web/database server. You'd never know it was "junk" by today's standards.

-core
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:54 PM
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A Pentium class machine should run more than the "504 MB" limit. Besides, you can put the system below that, and the /usr and /home directories above that.

Another option is to get a Linux distro that can work off of a fat drive. I suggest Puppy Linux or DSL, both I use on lesser hardware. In fact, DSL ran fine on my P1-133/38 MB RAM, 2GB HDD notebook
 
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Old 10-27-07, 08:50 PM
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It is a Pentium, P1 guess. Has 32 mb RAM which isn't enough for Puppy I understand, but I do have DSL also and will try that.
I have a disk error when running the boot floppy after choosing the CD-ROM. My hunch is a defective CD drive, or one that can't read a burned disk. I did burn all boot CD's at 4x to be safe, but not sure what's up with that.
Gonna try DSL now!
 
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