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-   -   Re: Trying to get a really old computer to connect to the internet. (http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t737372-re-trying-to-get-a-really-old-computer-to-connect-to-the-internet.html)

Whiskers 11-06-2010 01:47 PM

Re: Trying to get a really old computer to connect to the internet.
 
On 2010-11-06, Brian Christiansen <brian_christians@hotmail.com> wrote:
> I am helping a gentleman to connect to the internet by dial up. The
> computer is probably at least 10 years old, and was upgraded probably from
> windows 98. I looked in add/remove programs and the option to remove
> windows is still there, and I strongly suspect it originally had windows 98.
> Who knows, perhaps it even had windows 95 at one point. It was there in
> 2004 when he took over as pastor for the church that I am sorta helping out,
> and it was already upgraded then, so he really does not know much about what
> happened or when it really started.


What is the computer expected to be used for when connected to the
internet? Presumably it hasn't been up till now. No dial-up connection
is going to be of use for anything more than plain-text email and usenet;
most web pages these days are so big they'd be very slow to download -
which could work out expensive if the internet connection is metered by
the minute. Is DSL not available?

Is the computer currently working OK for something useful? Is there
important 'stuff' on the hard disc? If so it might be wiser not to mess
around with it at all. If it's more than about 5 years old it has
exceeded the 'service life' it was probably designed for and is on
'borrowed time'. Spare parts could be hard to find, so any breakdown is
likely to be final.

> The computer is an HP pavillion 4533, and the processor is 454 mhz, and it
> has 64M of memory, and XP runs very slowly, in fact, I am kinda surprised it
> runs at all. The modem card that is in the computer is a combination
> modem/sound card.
>
> In the device manager, there is an item called "simple PCI communications
> controller", which indicates to me that there is not an XP compatible driver
> for it, at least not on the computer. My first idea was to find and load an
> XP compatible driver for the device.


[...]

It would probably be easier to replace the old modem card with either a
'known maker' modem card, or (much better) an external stand-alone modem -
they are still being made, and aren't terribly expensive, and a church
member might be able to donate a good 'used' one. If the computer lacks
a 'serial' socket, replace the old modem card with a serial card.

It sounds as though this computer has a rather murky past. I recommend
backing up all the data that is still required, as soon as possible. If
you want to tinker, adding more RAM probably wouldn't go amiss (if the
BIOS can handle it) and a re-format of the HD and fresh installation of
the OS and applications should forestall any nasty surprises. If the
machine really is 10 years old, then Windows 98SE is probably the 'best'
Microsoft system it can reliably handle.

Consider one of the free Linux distros specifically intended for old
computers - at least they are still maintained so likely to be safer for
'on line' use, if the users can be convinced (or just not told they're not
using Windows any more!).

A newer machine, with a DSL internet connection, is likely to be the only
long-term option. The old computer could go phut at any moment.

--
-- ^^^^^^^^^^
-- Whiskers
-- ~~~~~~~~~~

Meat Plow 11-06-2010 04:12 PM

Re: Trying to get a really old computer to connect to the internet.
 
On Sat, 06 Nov 2010 13:47:25 +0000, Whiskers wrote:

> If the
> machine really is 10 years old, then Windows 98SE is probably the 'best'
> Microsoft system it can reliably handle.


<nods>

Plus another 64 or memory wouldn't hurt.



--
Live Fast, Die Young and Leave a Pretty Corpse

Mike Easter 11-06-2010 04:19 PM

Re: Trying to get a really old computer to connect to the internet.
 
Meat Plow wrote:
> Whiskers wrote:
>
>> If the machine really is 10 years old, then Windows 98SE is
>> probably the 'best' Microsoft system it can reliably handle.

>
> <nods>
>
> Plus another 64 or memory wouldn't hurt.


People who try to run light linux distros on a 64 meg machine are going
to be disappointed compared to how well Win98 works out.

According to HP that machine will take two 128 meg 100mhz sdram/dimms 168pin

The problem is that if you don't have some lying around and have to go
to the store to buy some, it isn't cheap.

You don't want to be spending much hardware money on old hardware like
that, because something is liable to break and most new hardware isn't
going to be good for anything else.

Tinkering with old ware is something that works out the best for people
who have a lot of old hardware and scraps lying around.


--
Mike Easter


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