View Full Version : Linux on an old laptop

08-07-08, 10:17
I want to install linux on an old laptop I've got here (266MHz processor, 64MB RAM, 800x600 screen), but its CD drive is missing and it can't boot from USB. It has Windows XP on it just now, but it's running really slowly 'cos it just can't handle it.

I've been looking at DSL (http://www.damnsmalllinux.org) as a good likely OS to install, but I have no idea how I'm going to get it onto the laptop in place of Windows, when I can't use a CD or a bootable flash drive.


08-07-08, 10:34
External CD drive is the only thing that comes to mind so far, or replace the old (I presume dead) one.
You can boot it inside WinXP (download), but I don't remember if you can install it this way. How much free space/total space is on HDD?

08-07-08, 10:48
HDD is 4GB.

I know that Ubuntu offers Wubi for installing through Windows, intended for noobs I presume, but I don't know if that sort of thing creates a dual boot or actually replaces the original OS. I can't use Ubuntu tho since it's too big and bloated.

08-07-08, 10:48
Does it have a floppy drive and if yes, can it boot from that? I vaguely recall that some Linux distributions offered a start floppy from which you could initiate the installation (of course, the actual system has to reside elsewhere).

08-07-08, 10:50
Nope. All I've got is the laptop and its power cable... No CD drive, no floppy drive, no networking capability either.

08-07-08, 11:01
^ Then external CD only I'm afraid...

08-07-08, 11:17
Aaah damnit.

How about connecting its HDD to my regular computer, to install from there? Would that be possible?

08-07-08, 11:34
If you can connect your 2,5" laptop HDD to your PC, then try this USB Flash method:

Format your flash drive, from cmd.exe (the "DOS" window) type (e.g. your 2,5" HDD is F: ):
Unzip dsl-4.3RC2-embedded.zip (http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/download.html) to your F: drive (you could use the "Extract all files" built into XP with the destination as "F:\")
Download "syslinux-3.70.zip" from Syslinux (http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/boot/syslinux/) - Syslinux can also be used by various other platforms, such as Unix.
Go to a command prompt and run syslinux for your drive from \win32\syslinux.exe typing:
If you are running Windows Vista, remember to start cmd.exe as Administrator, otherwise the normal cmd.exe won't be able to access the MBR of your USB drive.

08-07-08, 11:54

Found the CD drive!

08-07-08, 11:56

08-07-08, 15:38
be sure to download the alternate CD and not the Live one. If I recall correctly, the live CD requires a network connection to install

08-07-08, 17:40
I ended up going with Puppy Linux (http://www.puppylinux.org). Trying to figure out a simple way to install things on it without an internet or network connection now. :|

08-07-08, 18:04
I think I've seen that one before. Apparently the whole thing just loads into RAM and runs from there rather than from the dis(c/k).

Have you got the ISO burned yet?
I use infrarecorder (http://infrarecorder.sourceforge.net/) to burn my ISO files.