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Solved How do I upgrade a really old computer?

November 29, 2011 at 20:00:54
Specs: N/A

My father was given an old '96 IBM PC, and it basically works fine. To say my father is technologically challenged is a massive understatement. He has no use for all the extras, and would most likely just become confused by them. He just wants to get online. I was hoping to do some upgrades to it so that it wouldn't run quite as slow as one would expect with such a relic. I'm hoping to upgrade the RAM and OS, and, to keep things simple, adding an external hard drive, since I'll most likely be doing the upgrading myself.

What I'm having trouble with is that I'm not sure exactly what kinds of upgrades this computer will support, and how to go about finding RAM memory cards that are compatible.

If anyone has any helpful information, I'd truly appreciate it!! :)

Specs:
Windows NT 4.0
1.5 GB Hard Drive
Processor - x86 Family 5 Model 2 Stepping 12
159 MB RAM (163,252 KB)


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✔ Best Answer
November 30, 2011 at 08:42:22

You haven't listed the IBM model number? I believe "x86 Family 5 Model 2" is a 1st generation Pentium, so you won't be running a modern OS, but you should be able to run the Retro version of Puppy Linux. I suggest adding a cheap PCI video card & a somewhat larger HDD. Scrap the external drive idea.

http://on-disk.com/product_info.php...

You can probably find a better system at the local Goodwill or Amvets.



#1
November 29, 2011 at 20:43:02

Not economically practical. Buy your father a new laptop for under $400. And get the ability to use the new software and features. You can uninstall the unnecessary software.

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#2
November 29, 2011 at 20:58:30

Thank you for the reply. :)

Honestly, I don't think he'd use a new one. Both my brother and myself have new laptops and desktops, and he won't use any of them. I think Vista intimidates him. The man has never really even sat at a computer before. If it weren't for his siblings insisting he get online, he probably never would. I think the simplicity of an older OS would suit him better.

Thanks again, though, for replying. :)


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#3
November 29, 2011 at 22:19:44

Windows 7 is not as imtimdating as Vista. I have installed/uninstalled Vista about 20 times on my pcs. I think I want to try it again, but once I put it in, I take it right back out because I realize how much I hated it in the first place. I bought my hubby a Compaq laptop at Walmart last year for $248. It was a really nice one. 250G hard drive, 2G of ram and a 2.3G processor. It has Windows 7 on it. He hasn't crashed it yet and he could crash Windows XP in a heartbeat. So I have to agree with Fred. Get him a laptop. That old clunker is too outdated to even try and update.

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#4
November 29, 2011 at 23:52:23

You've got to consider what he'll be cruising the internet with. You'll run into problems using the internet with less than IE 7. I've found that Ebay, paypal, online banking and other sites will open but will often exhibit problems with IE 6 on my old 98 machine. (Non microsoft browsers may work better with 98 but I haven't used those.) You need at least XP to use IE 7 and I'm pretty sure that old machine won't run XP.

And if you're thinking of using an external drive you'll need a PC with USB 2.0 and that old IBM won't have that. Of course you can always add a 2.0 card but external drives are harder to setup with anything less than XP.

So while you may not want something new you will need more than what that IBM can do.


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#5
November 30, 2011 at 08:42:22
✔ Best Answer

You haven't listed the IBM model number? I believe "x86 Family 5 Model 2" is a 1st generation Pentium, so you won't be running a modern OS, but you should be able to run the Retro version of Puppy Linux. I suggest adding a cheap PCI video card & a somewhat larger HDD. Scrap the external drive idea.

http://on-disk.com/product_info.php...

You can probably find a better system at the local Goodwill or Amvets.


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#6
November 30, 2011 at 15:15:10

Thank you for responding guys!

Terri_Kaduck & DAVEINCAPS - Thank you for your input. :) While I understand the inconveniences of having an older system, the issues really won't come into play I don't think. My father's native language isn't English, and he wouldn't trust himself enough to do anything on Paypal or Ebay. He'll probably spend most of his time looking up parts for his hot rod. Also, I'd most definitely use an alternate browser to IE. I haven't used IE (or recommended anyone else to use it) in probably 6 years.

The only reason I haven't wanted to just go buy him a new comp (they're not exactly expensive these days) is because I really don't think he'll use it all that often, and spending $400 on a comp he'll use maybe once a week (most likely less) to look up cars and check email just seems like a waste.

riider - Thank you so much for the info! :) I haven't used Linux before, but I've heard from a few people that they prefer it. Is it compatible with, say, Firefox? Also, I have access to a copy of 98 SE, do you think that would be a possibility? And, again, a lack of funds isn't the driving force behind my efforts to fix up this old system. My father didn't realize how old of a system it was when he obtained it. He was just excited to get a computer for free, just for the sport of it. haha His health has been poor for years, and I just wanted to extend his sense of self-satisfaction as far as possible. I'll check tonight when I can see the computer again to find out the model number. When I checked on the back of the tower, the sticker with all the info on it had been removed, and in my cursory inspection I was unable to find it anywhere else. Perhaps I'll be able to find that out after a closer look.

And thanks again, to everyone who responded. I really appreciate the advice. :)


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#7
November 30, 2011 at 21:07:15

I agree that a new system would be best.
Windows 98 is much better than '95 and should run on it but a Puppy or other Lite Linux would probably be best and Firefox would definitely be an option with Linux. With Linux you would not have to worry about a big fat antivirus program bogging down what processing power he does have.
If you replace the hard drive, get an IDE 80GB drive (especially with W98 or 95) as it will probably be 2-4 times the original drive size and should really be enough (though you will not have to limit it with linux).

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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#8
November 30, 2011 at 23:12:56

That bios probably won't see a drive larger than 8.4 gig. For a driver larger than that you need to use a drive overlay or add an ATA card and attach the drive there.

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