I have a V Old (Pentium3) Packard Bell with 127MB RAM, 8GB+4GB IDE disks, floppy disk + CD/DVD -R/W drive. This ran a very acceptable Xubuntu system 7.10 Gutsy which I managed to destroy yesterday. Reloading from the Alternate CD was successful but unable to load various packages not on the CD as the repositories are no longer available. Fortunately I've managed to install Xubuntu Hardy 8.04. This seems to be OK but still have to explore it fully.

Problem now is how to preserve this system as later dstros won't even load on the system - let alone install!

Is it possible to download a "complete" copy of the Gutsy/Hardy distro that I can use as an archive once the repositories are no longer available?

Is it possible to take an "image" copy of my hard disks on another device (eg DVD or USB HDD) so I could restore the image using a live CD (eg an old Knoppix CD) in the event of a future failure?

I've explored some of the other distros (DSL, Vector, Puppy, Slackware) and while they seem to run, they are beyond my technical knowledge at the moment. Is there a good guide for numpties that would help me to build a workable installation including my favorite apps (eg abiword, epiphany, etc).

Although I'm a Linux devotee and have been using Ubuntu for the last couple of years, I still regard myself as a newbie as I am dependent on a GUI for most activities and haven't tried compiling from source code. Thus I'll need simple step-by-step command-line instrns for anything but the simplest of operations. Please can someone give me a steer?