Weird: a Windows question

Discussion in 'Community' started by josepho, May 3, 2004.

  1. josepho macrumors regular

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    #1
    Hiya,

    my girlfriend's computer is pretty much dying. Windows 98 SE is just so bogged down with crap that's been installed, spyware, etc. I've been getting her to look at either an iBook or iMac, but she doesn't have the money right now, and also if she was gonna get the iMac we'd probably wanna wait 'til they get an update.

    So, in meantime I was thinking the best thing to do might be to reformat and install Windows from scratch (transferring all her music etc to my PB by Ethernet first). Her computer was built by someone her dad knew, so she doesn't have a Windows CD. I was looking on eBay there, for genuine Windows software (not much of a pirate myself, ooh-arr!), and it seems Windows XP (both editions) don't really increase the price much, compared to 98 again. My only concern with installing XP is her system:
    500Mhz Pentium III
    128MB RAM
    8GB HDD (what worries me most)

    I guess she wouldn't need a hefty install, just the basics really... no networking, no admin tools, etc...

    What'd you think would be the best thing to do just now?

    I think if we can provide this stop-gap measure just now, then the chances of her dad just deciding to buy a budget (£600) Dell system, rather than an iComputer (probably the iMac, so the whole family can use it).

    Cheers!
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    That last bit threw me off. Does this mean that if you get a copy of Windows, her dad may eventually get an "iComputer" (ie: an iMac), or does this stopgap drive them to get a Dell?

    Several things:

    1. Why don't you get your gf's dad's friend to install a copy of XP on her computer again?

    2. If this stopgap actually increases the chances of her dad getting an iMac (instead of the other way around), then get a pirated copy of XP if you can't find XP for cheap. She'll get an Apple.......do it for the greater good!! :cool:
     
  3. Dippo macrumors 65816

    Dippo

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    #3
    Firstly, DON'T PIRATE WINDOWS!!

    Secondly, do yourself a favor and don't install XP on that system. It will install but having only 128MB or RAM is going to really bog it down.

    I'd hate for you to have to waste money on buying Windows but that seems to be your only option.

    Of course you could always install Linux :)
     
  4. josepho thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Unfortunately, Linux really isn't an option... Although my girlfriend probably would adjust reasonably well her brother and sister, who also use the computer a lot, wouldn't. They're kinda set in their ways... IE 6, MSN Messenger & WinMX. I remember her brother was amazed, and slightly incredulous when I informed him that Windows wasn't in fact the only OS.

    Sorry for not making the last point clear - yeah, I think if we can get this horse back on its feet her dad is less likely to make a snap decision and buy a Dell. I could work on her, to try and convince him it'd be a better idea, also she could offer to contribute some money towards it - when she has some!

    If the updates come and we see a speed bump, larger HD and perhaps a little price drop then I think we could maybe get it. She seems pretty impressed with my PB, and she'd adjust quite easily to OS X, even her siblings would I think, much better than Linux which they've never seen, let alone used.

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  5. hugemullens macrumors 6502a

    hugemullens

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    #5
    Without a doubt the operating system to have on that computer is win2k.
     
  6. josepho thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    I was thinking that myself... but might I ask: why do you think so?
     
  7. IrishGold macrumors member

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    May 1, 2004
    #7
    Xp will work fine on that system.
    Go ahead and install it.

    My ex-girlfriend had a 266 with 128 ram for a long time with windows xp on it.

    It will work fine and if it seems a little sluggish go into settings and turn of all effects.
     
  8. Dippo macrumors 65816

    Dippo

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    #8

    I run Win2000 on a 266Mhz AMD K6-2 that has only 64MB of RAM with a 6.4Gig Hard Drive, and it doesn't run all that badly. Of course it's mainly used as a print server :p

    Win2000 is essentially WinXP minus lots of bloat and eyecandy
     
  9. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    #9
    well considering that the system only has an 8GB harddrive as well as only 128MB of RAM Windows 2000 would be the only thing that would run stable on that PC, without changing out any hardware. Another thing you could do is put another harddrive in there and add another stick of RAM. That would also help things. Windows 2000 uses the NT kernel while win98 used the POS win9.x kernel. Hope that helps, you can usually get an OEM copy of windows for around 100USD. Here is a link to get you started:

    http://www.directron.com/systems-operating-systems.html

    you might also try:

    http://www.newegg.com

    or

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com
     
  10. josepho thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Yeah, I definitely agree with getting away from the 9x core, and I guess 2000 would give a good balance between performance, reliability and familiarity.

    As an aside, how quickly could I transfer 1GB over a 10/100 ethernet connection (directly between the PC and my PB with a crossover cable)? Obviously I could easily work out the theoretical time, but realisitically?

    Also, how much HD space does Win2k require?

    Cheers!
     
  11. Dippo macrumors 65816

    Dippo

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    #11
    I just tested a 1.2Gig transfer and it took a little under two minutes.

    I would say 2Gigs would be the absolute max it would take. I can't remember what it was when I installed it, but there was plently of room left on the 6Gig hard drive.
     
  12. radhak macrumors regular

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    Location:
    NJ, USA
    #12
    My thinkpad is 333 Mhz PIII, bought in 1997. I upgraded the memory to 396MB and it works pretty well with win2k; i have installed ms office 2002 (xp version) and even evaluated stuff like Flash and Dreamweaver with no problems.

    as long as she needs basic stuff (no graphics or games etc), just a memory upgrade is what is needed, and yes definitely go win2K. Should hold good for another year or more, pretty easily. and if you upgrade the HDD (dirt cheap nowadays), no need for that dell at all.
     
  13. josepho thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Yeah, I'm thinking that we'd be able to do it pretty cheaply:
    * 10/100 LAN PCI card - £5
    * Windows 2000 Pro - ~£40 (eBay - Genuine copies)
    * 256MB SDRAM - £65 (this wouldn't be straight away I don' think)
    * 80GB 7200 8MB - £50

    Essentially we could get away with spending like £45 just now, just getting Windows 2K on the current config. Would 2000 run any slower on the same hardware than 98SE?

    Cheers!
     
  14. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

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    #14

    Windows 2000, NT, and XP are all based on the NT kernel. Getting away from 9x (e.g. 95, 98, 98SE, and **shudders** ME) is the best thing you can do right now. The reason why he is suggesting Windows 2000 instead of XP is because of the overhead in XP. XP offers a "few" more robust options then XP but at the sacrifice of speed. You can run XP on a 500Mhz system (I Do.) but its not going to be blazingly speedy. (You can get it to move at an acceptable speed by tweaking XP's services which increases available memory and decreases how hard the OS pounds away on the CPU.) IMHO minimum acceptable speed that people would feel that their system is snappy enough is 800Mhz/256MB.

    2000 is preferable because it has 80% of the features of XP, has aprox half the services running by default, the GUI doesn't eat 2% of the CPU all the time, and doesn't have MS's damn windows activation scheme.

    Even if you do decide to go with Windows 2000 I HIGHLY recommend increasing the amount of RAM at minimum to 256. Pref 384. 8GB should be fine. just keep in mind the OS takes up aprox 700-800MB of space with a swap file size of aprox twice the size of the installed RAM (128->256 256->512) so all told you are looking at aprox 1.3GB for the OS. Give or take.
     
  15. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #15
    Alternatively, you could just roll the registry back to its "as first installed" settings and go from there. Windows does keep a copy of the initial registry around; the filename escapes me at the moment.

    Thing is, unless you can change her usage habits (Mozilla/Firefox instead of IE, don't use Outlook, etc.) it's just gonna get bogged down again pretty quick - no matter which variant of Windows is on the box.

    A great free tool for Windows spyware and adware detection and removal is called AdAware - http://www.lavasoft.de/
     
  16. josepho thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Unfortunately, I'm aware of the poor state of affairs, i.e. that it will get bogged down again. However, I do hope this to be a stop-gap measure on the way to OS X... so this sort of "temporary fix" would probably suffice.

    So many things have been installed and uninstalled, and all left their grubby paw prints. I think I'm gonna have to get her into the habit of better use of different users. I'm thinking that if I install 2000 for her her and I can be admins, and her siblings not. It's them who're always downloading crap from the internet which has caused the whole spy/adware thing in the first place. Again, though, that will be a change in usage.

    To be honest, I don't think it would be too difficult to force a change from IE to Mozilla - I'd just have to hide the IE icon and maybe even replace the icon for Mozilla as the IE one (though really only for her siblings). They wouldn't even notice.

    It's only my gf who uses Outlook Express, maybe I could change her to Eudora, which I always used before moving to Mail.

    Yeah, I'm definitely feeling this strategy.

    Thanks!
     
  17. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

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    #17
    Definitely Win 2K...it's as stable as OS X. Replacing IE and Outlook with Mozilla and Eudora is a great idea too and will probably help a lot, as will not granting admin rights to the kids.

    I've also been using SpyBot Search & Destroy to get rid of trackers, adware, spyware, etc.

    Another recommendation: once you have the new install and configuration of Win 2K complete, do a backup of the fresh system and keep it on hand to restore after the kiddies have messed up the computer again. Additionally, if you make sure each person has a directory of their own that they save all their stuff to, you can then you can back those directories up, wipe the drive, restore from your clean system backup, and copy the user directories back: poof! restored system.
     
  18. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #18
    I would install Win2K.

    I've installed an run Win2K on a variety of Celeron 300 systems with only 64MB of RAM. Office 2K Pro works fine, just a bit slow.

    You already have 128MB, so you are okay there. Of course you can always install more when you want

    HD wise, 8GB is plenty for 2K and Office 2K. So no worries there.

    Space for other items will be the driving issue.

    Personally I would stay away from XP. It is a memory and CPU hog. If you choose XP, I would not run it on less than a midrange P4 and 256MB RAM.

    Sushi
     
  19. Apple //e macrumors 6502

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    #19
    you can give the kids a user profile with few previleges, that way they cant install anything
     
  20. josepho thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Yep, sounds good!

    Her brother is 14 and her sister 17, so they're not like babies, but still it's better to protect the computer from them. Does it work just like OS X, in that when you try to install something it asks for an admin password? That would be sweet.

    Cheers!

    (@rueyeet: Good idea about the backup! Definitely wise in this case!)
     
  21. SiliconAddict macrumors 603

    SiliconAddict

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    #21

    Yes...with a but. Its not as simple.

    Oh. And if you use spybot be sure to use the inoculate feature to guard against future spyware infections. As others have said the best overall solution is to use Mozilla FireFox and for the love of god get them to stop using Lookout Express. Buggy, insecure POS.
     
  22. IrishGold macrumors member

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    #22
    Its not insecure if you know how to use it ;)
     
  23. josepho thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    Well, my g/f'll have an admin account which she'll probably just always use, so the harder it is for the others to install stuff the better, eh?

    I ran all sorts of anti-spyware stuff on their comp, latest versions. They always seemed to find loads, they would say it was all fixed, but the pop-ups and other artefacts are still there... A fresh install is just what the doctor ordered.

    Cheers!
     
  24. MorganX macrumors 6502a

    MorganX

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    Midwest
    #24
    Spyware is intalled from the web and you have to click on something to install it. Now, it probably won't be an install button. Right now spyware is masquerading as zip files that are actually executables.

    I would say, given how light most spyware is, you're bogging down because you have 128MB Ram and an 8GB hard disk. I would imagine with Virtual Memory and any applications you have (can't be many) you're thrashing quite a bit. I would go with a minimal XP install on 128MB RAM but with an 8GB hard disk, forgettabout it.

    Upgrade. Whether you go Mac, or upgrade your PC components, just upgrade.
     
  25. josepho thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    I think you're right to a certain extent. I'm not saying that spyware, etc is the total cause of all the problems... rather that loads of software has been installed and uninstalled over the past 3 or so years she's had the system. A clean install would solve much of that for now. I'm only too aware that the hardware is in need of upgrading, but I think this will suffice for now.

    Thanks for your opinions.
     

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