View Full Version : [ubuntu] New installation on an old laptop (newbie).

October 29th, 2008, 02:51 PM

Apologies if this has been covered before - I'm new to this forum. I was gifted a brand new out-of-the-box Toshiba Tecra 8100 yesterday with Windows 2000 on it. I want to install ubuntu on it and give it to one of my kids. Obviously this is an old laptop - I'm not sure what it can handle and what it can't.

Is there a particular install I should start with? I'm trying 8.10 - and it kicks off the install, takes a long time, brings up the ubuntu background - and then seems to just hang and give up...

I've read that xubuntu is often better for older machines - should I go that route? Stick to 8.4? Any other advice?


October 29th, 2008, 03:08 PM
8.4 freezes during install too.

October 29th, 2008, 03:12 PM
You're probably a little light on RAM. The computer doesn't have enough RAM to run the installer and the LiveCD at the same time.

You can probably use the alternate install CD. Instead of starting the LiveCD when you boot up, it will go directly into the installation. It will install the same system, it just doesn't need as much memory to run.

October 29th, 2008, 03:12 PM
What are your system specs in particular ram memory size? hard disk size?
I would not try Intrepid 8.10 yet (you can upgrade later). Ubuntu 8.04 is probably better and is more stable, but if you have less than 512Mb RAM then Xubuntu 8.04 is will run OK.
If the hard disk is a reasonable size (>20Gb) you could always dual boot with Win2000.

October 29th, 2008, 03:15 PM
Yes, first realize that ubuntu 8.10 is still in beta. It will be released on thursday oct 30. You should not use that version until it is released.

Second, you should use the alternate install cd. This is a text based installer and works well on older computers. You can get the alternate disc on ubuntu.com

October 29th, 2008, 03:23 PM
According to Google, that's a 650mhz Pentium 3 with 256mb of ram. I have a very similar Dell laptop (Latitude Cpx). If your heart is set on Ubuntu, try the 8.04 Alternate CD (the Live CD definitely will not work). Your computer is right at the cut-off where Ubuntu should work okay (assuming you don't use streaming video or graphics-intensive games of course). Xubuntu might be a little bit quicker.

Personally, when rehabilitating an older computer, I like to use a distro designed for the task. I'm currently running SliTaz on my Dell Cpx, and it's the fastest I've tried, but I would not recommend it for kids. I think the most kid-friendly distro for older hardware is Puppy Linux. It comes in different flavors or "Puplets" depending on their age and needs.

Good luck!

October 29th, 2008, 03:37 PM
Even Xubuntu will run a little slow on 256Mb of memory. As snowpine has suggested a version of Puppy (http://www.puppylinux.org/) would be better or even Slax (http://www.slax.org/).

October 29th, 2008, 03:39 PM
Thanks everyone. While waiting for advice, my 8.4 installation kicked off again (probably that small RAM) and it's churning away doing something - so I'll wait to see how far it goes and if it fails I'll try the alternative install as recommended!

The Puppy Linux sounds intriguing - it's for my 5-year old son so I might look into that.

Thanks again.

October 29th, 2008, 03:48 PM
personally, i would try Xubuntu. I am using it on my tablet PC and I LOVE IT.

Mark Phelps
October 29th, 2008, 06:26 PM
Suggest you look into using the Zen-mini installation. It's a lightweight version of PC Linux OS Gnome. More info is available in the following forum:


robert shearer
October 29th, 2008, 08:06 PM
Another vote for Puppy :)