Best OS for a "junk" machine?
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Thread: Best OS for a "junk" machine?

  1. #1
    Senior Member alakhiyar's Avatar
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    Best OS for a "junk" machine?

    I am about to give away a few machines to a few folks who have had little to no experience with using computers. The specs are quite low end: Duron/Pentium III 800Mhz with around 512MB and a Geforce 2 card

    I have several options as to what OS i can put on them, but i am not sure what the most maintenance free OS would be in terms of support. The machines will be in use at least an hour from where i live, and i am the tech support on them.

    Windows 2000
    Windows XP

    The machines will basically be used for sending e-mail and browing a bit - nothing more serious than that to start with.

    Any tips for "lockdown" mode etc so that the user does not fubar the entire machine two hours into use?
    Software "must haves" etc would be great to hear as well.
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  2. #2
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Personally, if it was me: XP. It is meant as a home-user machine and likely good for gaming and web browsing. Win2K is stable but so is XP at this point (IMO).
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  3. #3
    Member tin.roof.rabbit's Avatar
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    Normally on those systems I turn off a lot of the systems that Microsoft believes is required for smooth system operations and are in reality just resource hogs.

    http://www.ss64.com/ntsyntax/services.html


    Above is a list of default services between XP and 2000. I would look through and figure out which ones you do not need. There is an abundance of guides out there for optimizing XP by disabling services.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Raion's Avatar
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    My system is much slower (567MHz 192mb RAM) and runs WinXP pretty well, I do everything any other computer does (minus gaming, plus paitence.)
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  5. #5
    Dissident 4dm1n brokencrow's Avatar
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    XP: there'll be better support generally.
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  6. #6
    AOs Resident Troll
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    I concurr...XP

    More user friendly...and with 512 mB RAM should be fine for the use you describe

    MLF
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  7. #7
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    I'd say XP, but with themes disabled. Themes tend to bog down the slower systems slightly (though, to be honest, I don't know how much it'd affect a 800 mHz system). I'd also install the nVidia drivers for the graphics card rather than rely on the stock XP drivers. A good IE alternative (Opera or Firefox), a good antivirus (I'd recommend NOD32 if the people are willing to pay a subscription). I would personally uninstall Outlook Express, though that really depends on personal preference. Of course, completely patch the box and disable services that aren't really needed.

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  8. #8
    Old-Fogey:Addicts founder Terr's Avatar
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    Those specs are just fine for, say, relatives who check their e-mail for photos of their grandkids, etc. (My folks only recently moved up from a 400mhz 256mb clunker...).

    If you put on XP, do disable the themes. In fact, right-click on "My Computer", click "Properties", go to the "Advanced" tab, and under the "Performance" area click "Settings".

    Use "Adjust for best performance", and "OK" all the way back out. Viola, themes disabled as well as lots of small eye-candy effects which could sap resources.
    [HvC]Terr: L33T Technical Proficiency

  9. #9
    Old-Fogey:Addicts founder Terr's Avatar
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    P.S.: Under the "Advanced" tab I mentioned, change the settings for "Error Reporting" to Disable-but-notify. It's actually less crashy that way. And from any window when browsing disk contents, go to Tools->Folder Options, "View" tab, and tick "Launch folder windows in a seperate process" for additional stability.

    Another thing, if you use XP or something with fast-user switching... Make at least two accounts. One normal account, one Admin account. I usually make the admin account have a wallpaper saying "DO NOT USE THIS ACCOUNT EXCEPT FOR..." Teach them to use the non-admin account for all day-to-day work.
    [HvC]Terr: L33T Technical Proficiency

  10. #10
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    set the account with Guest permissions

    IE in Kiosk Mode-http://support.microsoft.com/kb/154780

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