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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 12:43 am   #1
Oldcodger
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Default Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Had this given as a challenge. First problem was a "chugging/ noisy" HDD. Changed HDD as I felt old one was on last legs. Result- problem cured. Formatted HD, and tried W98 ,with limitd results, as did W2K. It did take WIN XP PRO but with limitd success,and runs it albeit slowly, on 64MB memory. I've ordered another 64MB sodim 64MB card, but do I stick with WIN XP, or go down the Linux path .
AND AT THIS STAGE- I'd ask mods to ban any WINDOW vs Linux posts, as I'm only looking at best solution to get this up and runing smoothly, and if so what Linux system wil run smoothhly on a 233 Intel with 128Mb of memory.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 1:01 am   #2
AC/HL
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Specs for information: http://fizyka.umk.pl/~duch/Wyklady/k..._spec.stm.html
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 2:19 am   #3
evingar
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Lubuntu may work, but won't be stellar


https://lubuntu.net/

You could give Puppy LInux a go :-

http://puppylinux.com/


XP may have been OK in its day, but that day has gone and it's now a security risk. Additionally, you will increasingly have problems running up-to-date browsers.
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 1:40 pm   #4
mike_newcomb
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Hi Codger,

I think the extra memory will make a difference such that WXP will run better.

It may be possible to install more memory than the specs state.
Rather a suck it and see situation.

Good Luck - Mike
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Old 22nd Dec 2018, 2:25 pm   #5
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

No modern Linux desktop system will run acceptably on this hardware. The amount of memory is simply too low. Your best bet would be to install W98 on it, but it's hard to see that it would be much use.

I like running old hardware, but sometimes you have to accept that it's reached its retirement age.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 12:08 am   #6
Oldcodger
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop


:Thanks, Paul- with 64MB,it does run xp, albeit at slow rates. 233 is min specfor XP, as is 128mb memory for XP .I was looking at Linux of some flavour as being of lower needs than XP. The replacement HDD is a 10GB one, so perhaps I might get some additional benefit from spare hdd space. As I said, it's mainly to show th kids that dad is not the old technophobicthy think he is.
I might be of retirement age, but like some kit refuse to accept it
And , BILL AKA AC/HL- more thanks- where do you find nuggets like this- I'd searched far and wide, but no joy.And to Bill crates of

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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 12:27 am   #7
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

It may run XP, but it will struggle to run any reasonably modern browser and lots of other software too. The applications are always the limiting factor, not the OS itself. This is just as true of Linux as it is of Windows.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 11:17 am   #8
terrybull
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

I have several old laptops and enjoy trying to get the best from them. It depends what you hope to achieve with them. I have a Panasonic cf-27 with a PentiumII M @ 300Mhz and 256mb ram. If you're going to try and get on the internet then Linux is the way to go. I have tried every 'lightweight' Linux on the planet and the vast majority are beyond these ancient (in computer term) machines. I can help you cut to the chase and suggest you look at Slitaz Linux. Slitaz 3 works well and runs an older version of libre office well and wifi for email and I can browse this forum for example. In fact I used this earlier this year to type out several hundred letters written home by my grandfather in WW1 for publication. My 800Mhz P3M runs Slitaz 5 well. Slitaz is a bit quirky but if you persist very usable with an excellent help forum.
If your not bothered about going on line then Windows is perhaps easiest to use. I find the dreaded Windows ME works pretty well on this old hardware but it is glitchy. Feel free to pm me if you wish.

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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 11:54 am   #9
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

By all means try it, but Oldcodger's laptop is considerably more feeble than even your P2 box. As I said earlier, the shortage of memory is the killer. 256MB may sound low today, and it is, but it's an awful lot better than 128MB.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 12:37 pm   #10
ColinB
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Bear in mind that the machine was probably sold with Windows 95 or maybe 98 on it, and would have been marginal spec for an upgrade to 2000...

Personally unless you have a need for this hardware (serial ports, parallel ports etc?) AND 95/98 era OS and software to use with it, I would dump it.

How about using it to play older DOS based games on?

As a general purpose machine for web browsing, however it is basically useless.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 1:19 pm   #11
terrybull
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColinB View Post
Personally unless you have a need for this hardware (serial ports, parallel ports etc?) AND 95/98 era OS and software to use with it, I would dump it.
Colin. How can you say such a thing. It's like me saying to your vintage radio 'unless it's got dab and FM I'd dump it'
Unfortunately you're not far off the mark.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 1:52 pm   #12
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

It's funny to reflect that a 50 to 80 year old radio is more useful in the present day than a 20 year old computer, but that's the way of the world I suppose.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 2:50 pm   #13
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Certainly the way of technology. But thinking laterally, both are still usable by enthusiasts. Most of the general public would struggle with either, albeit for different reasons.
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Old 23rd Dec 2018, 7:37 pm   #14
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

There used to be a distribution called "Damn Small Linux" optimised for older hardware, but even it got out-of-date. It's probably still available, if you search hard enough.

Besides that, two uses spring to mind immediately, for an older laptop with limited computing power by today's standards:

1. A "thin client" -- basically little more than a simple Xorg Server, allowing you to run apps on another machine with plenty of computing grunt but no display server of its own, while the laptop just deals with the graphics end of things. (The "remote brain" could even be a Raspberry Pi 3 .....)

2. Retro gaming; either DOS-based, or through some sort of emulator. Besides the usual ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Vic-20, C64, BBC and Amstrad machines, there is emulation software available even for less well-known platforms such as the Dragon 32, Oric 1 and Texas Instruments 99/4A.

If the motherboard is just too slow even for that, some laptop display panels can also be repurposed as general-purpose composite video monitors, using driver modules available from The Usual Places online.
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Old 24th Dec 2018, 10:18 pm   #15
Oldcodger
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Thanks to all. I've upped the memory to max at 128Mb, but even at that it barely runs xp pro, which is minimum for my TP LINK adaptor. Surprisingly it runs better on 128Mb than the old Lenovo I've just scrapped. However it runs W2000 reasonably well.
AC/HL- many thanks for that, I was struggling to find any reference to hardware, although I've now found a stack of Dell drivers on their site.
Far cry from the old brick I used to keep in car for programming Panasonic KXTD & Voicemail systems. It sported a 33MHZ CPU and 16MB memory, although it had a 500MB hard drive. But barely ran 95.
But with the Dell, it might be interesting to revert it back to an old version of DOS (SAY 6) and run it on DOS with a Menu from Norton 4.5.
My only thoughts of Linux was that I was under the impression that Linux was better on lower spec Machines.
And at this late hour on Xmas eve - compliments of season to all who replied. May all your joints end up well liquidified
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 5:49 pm   #16
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Hello

If you wanted to try Linux you might look at the Puppy family of mostly lightweight distributions. The earlier versions certainly up to V4.x.x were, I think meant to work OK with that sort of hardware. Probably best to have a look around the forum at www.murga-linux.com and hopefully they will still be available. I might still have some ISO files but would have to find somewere to upload them to pass them on.

Bye for now
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Old 26th Dec 2018, 7:59 pm   #17
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Not enough memory for Puppy, though it will do no harm to boot a CD and try it out.

This sort of hardware can be used for some things, but not a modern GUI OS. Some flavours of Linux can give good results on older hardware, but they're not magic.
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Old 27th Dec 2018, 4:39 pm   #18
Oldcodger
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Thanks Paul- it was only an idea to try and revive a laptop for occasional use. It runs w2000 quite well ,and I've discovered that son did remove the RJ45 card ,so that's possibly not helping . Once I've got the RJ 45 card, I'll see if it will connect to main PC, via router. Another option is to see if my daughter still has a USB dongle that I used on the other laptop .
Don't know if it was a hint from Swimbo to give up, but I awoke to a Tablet as my xmas pressy, so I've now got easy access to net.
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Old 27th Dec 2018, 6:06 pm   #19
Telleadict
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

Hello

I've time now to explain myself better than yesterday.

As Paul says,
Quote:
Not enough memory for Puppy...
Agreed for the later versions that can run a modern browser, mail client etc.

I was thinking of something like this http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=42553 that would probably make that old laptop useful as a word processor, pdf viewer for the workshop etc. There are some suggestions from the Puppy community for a rather similar case in this thread http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=114760 too.

BTW for anyone who didn't know, Puppy's stucture is rather different to the usual Linux way of doing things so it's worth a read of the "sticky" threads in that forum to get the idea. This does make it quite easy to try out alongside a Windows install to see which works best for you though.

Time to stop wafling.
Will
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Old 27th Dec 2018, 6:26 pm   #20
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Default Re: Dell CPi 233ST laptop

W2K is actually a pretty good choice for this hardware, though I would be wary of doing anything on the internet with it.
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