I have an old HP with Windows 98 SE that was given to me. I reformatted the
computer. It works like a new one, but I can’t get online with it. Could I take
this computer, wipe Windows 98, and install Ubuntu on it, and make it work?
Ubuntu Linux is certainly where I’d start, but there are other Linux
distributions that might even work better.
In this audio segment from an Ask Leo! webinar, I’ll discuss using
Linux – Ubuntu or otherwise – to extend the life of an older machine.
I have an old HP with Windows 98 SE that was given to me. I reformatted the computer. It works like a new one, but I can’t get online with it. Could I take this computer, wipe Windows 98, and install Ubuntu on it, and make it work?
I’m going to guess the answer is yes and the only reason it’s a guess is because I need to know the specifics of the machine.
How much RAM does it have? How much disc space does it have (but my guess is that any machine that’s capable of running Windows 98 is probably capable of running Ubuntu just fine)? And if not Ubuntu, there are a couple of other versions of Ubuntu that are available via the Ubuntu Website. Some of which are slightly stripped down. I don’t know if the Linux Mint distribution is bigger or smaller than Ubuntu.
The one that typically comes to mind for stripped down machines – for machines that really are kinda tight on hardware – is something called ‘Puppy Linux‘. It’s another Linux distribution, but it is specifically architected to have a very small footprint so that is something else worth looking at. And as far as not getting online with it, it depends on exactly how it’s failing for you in Windows 98.
It could be something as simple as a driver for the network card. Windows 98 did not have nearly enough, nearly the support that more recent versions of Windows have for the wide variety of network adapters that are out there or were out there at the time.
Typically, network card manufacturers supplied a floppy disc actually with the drivers on it. So you might (if you really kind of feel like wanting Windows 98 still working on it)… you might do just a little bit of research if you can’t find drivers for the network card that happens to be installed on it. But I think Ubuntu would be fine, and if not, then certainly something like Puppy Linux would be great.