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Which distro for old computer and VM with Windows XP?
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Apr 10, 2014

Hello everyone who knows more about Linux than I do

Since Windows XP support is now over (except for the lucky souls of the British state service whose employer paid 5.5 million to Microsoft for 1 extra year of support), it becomes worth looking into Linux again. My question to you is simply this:

Which distros come with a virtual machine that is capable of running Windows XP, but which itself is capable of running on an "old" computer (on a computer that would have come with Windows XP)?

My two "old" computers are single-core 32-bit units with 1 GB of RAM. Windows XP is a fast, stable operating system on those boxes. I realise that running it inside a virtual machine would slow things down, but that is the price, isn't it?

Or, do you know of a virtual machine for Linux that runs on mostly every distro, that is easy to set up (or which has easy-to-follow documentation)?

Thanks
Samuel


 

esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:22
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Most Apr 10, 2014

I think, most distros will run sufficiently well provided that you choose a lightweight WM (such as LXDE). Perhaps, you’d try Slackware first.

 

AmbelyTrad  Identity Verified

Local time: 21:22
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I may not know more about Linux than you do... Apr 10, 2014

... but I have the same "old" computer configuration: I use Simply Mepis 11 and run XP in VirtualBox when needed. Works great.

 

AndersonT  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2010)
German to English
Linux Mint with Cinnamon Apr 10, 2014

Hey Samuel,

one of the reasons I was always turned off by 'nux was how godawful the desktop environments were.

This is until Cinnamon came along. It's quite sleek and sexy and really fun to work with (despite being a Gnome fork).

If the machine ran regular XP applications without issue then you should be fine by using CrossOver.

So, Mint + Cinnamon + Crossover would be my recommendation.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:22
French to English
+ ...
Not JUST about processor speed... Apr 10, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:
My two "old" computers are single-core 32-bit units with 1 GB of RAM. Windows XP is a fast, stable operating system on those boxes. I realise that running it inside a virtual machine would slow things down, but that is the price, isn't it?


Hi Samuel -- in addition to what others have said, I just wanted to mention that how well virtualisation will work isn't just a question of your computer's "raw" processing speed -- it also depends to some extent on whether the particular chipset you have has specific support for virtualisation. Possibly on 12+ year old hardware, the answer to that question will be "not much", but I guess the best way to find out is to try it...


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@AndersonT Apr 11, 2014

AndersonT wrote:
If the machine ran regular XP applications without issue then you should be fine by using CrossOver.


I suppose I have very few "regular" XP applications.


 

Huasha
China
Local time: 03:22
English to Chinese
+ ...
Ubuntu Apr 12, 2014

My first laptop is also a single-core 32-bit one, and Ubuntu 9.04 works fine.
Recently a friend tested Ubuntu 12.04 on his single-core computer, seems a little bit slow, but still powerful.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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TOPIC STARTER
@Anderson Apr 15, 2014

AndersonT wrote:
Mint + Cinnamon... would be my recommendation.


Unfortunately Mint does not fit on a CD, and my one computer does not have a DVD drive and can't boot from USB (the other one can).


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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TOPIC STARTER
@Jack Apr 15, 2014

Jack Leo wrote:
My first laptop is also a single-core 32-bit one, and Ubuntu 9.04 works fine.


Lubuntu works fine on my laptop and also on my old desktop computer, but it is extremely slow on the desktop (do-able on the laptop) and I still have to figure out how to install drivers on the desktop computer, so that I can get wireless internet (the laptop's wireless internet took one google).


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:22
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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TOPIC STARTER
@Ambeley Apr 15, 2014

AmbelyTrad wrote:
I use Simply Mepis 11 and run XP in VirtualBox when needed. Works great.


Thanks. I tried Simply Mepis with AntiX, but it does not want to install on my desktop computer. Bummer.


 

AmbelyTrad  Identity Verified

Local time: 21:22
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Spanish to French
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Why AntiX? Apr 17, 2014

I do use Simply Mepis 11 on my laptop (1.733 GHz Celeron and 1 GB memory) which initially came with XP, and Mepis runs smoother and faster than XP on it. AntiX is actually intended for much older computers.

 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
plain XP Apr 18, 2014

Hello Samuel--have I got it right that you need a lightweight *nix to run 'outdated' XP VM because... What for exactly? I mean there're a lot of good examples when a plain (but configured) XP + SuRun (UAC-like) + SandBoxIE (free) + HIPS would suffice for even really aggressive environment--including malware testing. Of course, if there's 1GB RAM then a decent 'combo' like a free Comodo Internet Security (AV + Firewall + HIPS + SandBox) would add to the safety.

Either this way or just upgrade the machine (sell and add) for, say, w7 starter.
Frankly speaking, I see no use running a merry-work-around instead of solving the task, no matter what M$ might state (yep, we still remember 'holy Vista'))


Cheers.


 

AndersonT  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2010)
German to English
awww... Jun 3, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

AndersonT wrote:
Mint + Cinnamon... would be my recommendation.


Unfortunately Mint does not fit on a CD, and my one computer does not have a DVD drive and can't boot from USB (the other one can).



Awww shame really! I bet you would have liked it...


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:22
Member (2005)
German to English
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Obtain a DVD drive? Jun 3, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:
Unfortunately Mint does not fit on a CD, and my one computer does not have a DVD drive and can't boot from USB (the other one can).
It might possibly be worth while to obtain a DVD drive for the computer with a CD drive - either as an external drive with a USB cable to connect, or as an internal replacement for the CD drive. I would guess that could be obtained for about 30 to 60 euros, especially if there is a "computer fair" that you can visit. There are such "fairs" in England, such as the one I go to several times per year in the centre of London:
http://www.collegecomputerfair.co.uk/
You may want a DVD drive in any case, for other reasons.
I don't know about the booting: If you get a DVD drive as a USB plug-in you'll be able to copy the software to it but presumably not boot from it. It might be feasible to have the software on the hard drive and boot from it there, but how to do that would need to be researched a bit.
I think the best option is probably to replace the CD drive by a DVD drive - that should be possible if it's a standard type of removable drive.

Oliver


 

John Holland  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:22
Member (2012)
French to English
Xubuntu with the minimal CD installation Jun 3, 2014

Have you looked into Ubuntu's minimal CD installation? See:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/MinimalCD

If that works, I'd recommend installing Xubuntu as the desktop environment:
http://xubuntu.org/getxubuntu/

In any case, I like the Xfce environment so much that I use it on systems that could run other desktop environments, but does work well with older systems.

Arch with Xfce is another option:
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Installation_guide
https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Xfce


 
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