How can I get XFCE to run on an old laptop?

Bob November 12, 2011
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I have read the article about XFCE XFCE: Your Lightweight, Speedy, Fully-Fledged Linux Desktop XFCE: Your Lightweight, Speedy, Fully-Fledged Linux Desktop As far as Linux goes, customization is king. Not only that, but the customization options are so great it might make your head spin. I have previously mentioned the differences between the major desktop environments... Read More , specifically the alpine version.

I have a very old Dell Latitude LMwith 1.5GB hard drive and 40MB RAM, but it will only boot from floppy or hard drive. I downloaded the ISO, burned it and copied it onto the laptop hard drive using my Windows XP machine, but it will not boot!

Is there a boot floppy for this distro or can any one suggest (in idiot terms!) how I can get this to run? Although the laptop is very old, it seems a pity to dump it just because I can’t get an OS to run.

Thank you!

  1. Bob
    November 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you Danny, unfortunately the cd-rom is not bootable on this old dinosaur :(
    I did verify the CD before burning before copying to the hard drive. but I need a way to make the hard drive boot into the new operating system.

    • Danny Stieben
      December 8, 2011 at 3:03 am

      I hope you find a way to boot it!

  2. Bob
    November 13, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    I realised pretty quick that this would never run one of the windows 'competitors' which is why I was looking at the smaller versions. Once again many many thanks for your help

  3. Bob
    November 13, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you both for your time, I think when I have some spare time I will disconnect the drives from our 2nd computer and connect the laptop hard drive via cable and see if I can install it that way from the live cd. I am a little nervous about doing stuff with my hard drive connected as I have had to re-install my operating system at least once trying to get this to work!

    • Richard Carpenter
      November 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

       You will run into a problem installing any current OS on the laptop, most full linux distro will be more than a gigabyte. Of course, doing that with Puppy or DSL would probably be the easiest for you. Puppy has the easier installer, DSLs installer is more old fashioned and can be a pain.

      As long as you select the correct drive in the partitioner it would be fine.

  4. Jeff Fabish
    November 12, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Hi Bob,

    Take out your hard drive, transfer it to a computer with a working CD/DVD drive. If you don't have any nerd friends who can do this, a computer technician definitely will either for free or very cheaply ($20 or so).

    Then burn a Linux distribution to a disk, insert it into the drive and restart. Once you've installed the operating system onto the drive, take out your hard drive and put it into your old computer. 

    - Jeff

  5. Richard Carpenter
    November 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    What exactly are you wanting to use this laptop for?

    The problem is that, this is going to be complex no matter how you slice it, trying to use a  newer operating system on this laptop. A full DSL Linux install would take close to 60 floppies. A network install of DSL might work for you, but creating that image is a not fun, or for me it wasn't. I had a similar project involving a old 486 server, so I am hunting down the floppy so I can make a image, but I have a mountain of them to go through :-)
    There may be a middle ground as well, There are some older distros that will work. You may not have the latest greatest, but it will at least let you do the basics.

    • Bob
      November 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm

      I really just want to get something running and thought from the description that this alpine linux would do the job. I really just want a simple os, as I said I have cables so I can copy files from my main machine (XP Pro) direct to the laptop's hard drive. I have tried puppy and dsl (files copied to hard drive too) but at the moment nothing seems to boot. 

      I have had very little experience of using linux but would use this as a starting point.

      Thank you for your time

      Bob

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