Linux on Old Windows XP Laptop

Howdy Critters. DFM here.

Well I’m finally taking my first stab at installing Linux! I’m pretty excited, but I don’t want to jump into this without checking with my best trusted nerd resource.

What I’m hoping to do with this laptop/version of Linux: Light browsing and basic htpc stuff. No gaming or anything serious (You’ll see why when you read the specs).

My parents use this machine to check email, surf da web, and print things.

My questions:

Will I have compatability issues with this older laptop?

What is a good Distribution of Linux for noobs with the above requirements? I’m thinking something with a super easy user interface that will hopefully run a bit faster than the native sluggish Windows XP it came with.

My equipment:

My gaming rig to download and use as launch platform.

I have multiple displays to test and work with it on.

I’ve got a Patriot XT 32GB usb stick, so I think I’m ready to go! Specs below. She’s old but I think she’ll do.

Let me know if i’m missing anything!

Operating System
Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 (build 2600)
Install Language: English (United States)
System Locale: English (United States)
Installed: 3/23/2010 3:40:13 PM
Boot Mode: BIOS (Secure Boot not supported)
System Model
Hewlett-Packard HP Pavilion dv1000 (EC144UA#ABA) Rev 1

Enclosure Type: Notebook

Processor a
1.40 gigahertz Intel Celeron M
64 kilobyte primary memory cache
1024 kilobyte secondary memory cache
Not hyper-threaded

Main Circuit Board b
Board: Quanta 308F 46.11
Bus Clock: 400 megahertz
BIOS: Hewlett-Packard F.07 06/06/2005
80.02 Gigabytes Usable Hard Drive Capacity
61.86 Gigabytes Hard Drive Free Space

TSSTcorp CD/DVDW TS-L532M [Optical drive]

TOSHIBA MK8025GAS [Hard drive] (80.03 GB) – drive 0, s/n 65HN3057S, rev KA024A, SMART Status: Healthy
Memory Modules c,d
2040 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory

Slot ‘DIMM 1’ has 1024 MB
Slot ‘DIMM 2’ has 1024 MB
Local Drive Volumes
c: (NTFS on drive 0) 80.02 GB 61.86 GB free

Intel® 82801FB/FBM Ultra ATA Storage Controllers - 266F
Primary IDE Channel [Controller]

Mobile Intel® 915GM/GMS,910GML Express Chipset Family Display adapterFNI LCD TV [Monitor]
NEC [Monitor] (July 2001)

Bus Adapters
Texas Instruments PCIxx21/x515 Cardbus Controller
Intel® 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 2658
Intel® 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 2659
Intel® 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 265A
Intel® 82801FB/FBM USB Universal Host Controller - 265B
Intel® 82801FB/FBM USB2 Enhanced Host Controller - 265C
Conexant AC-Link Audio

Virus Protection [Back to Top]
avast! Antivirus Version 5.0.83886625
Virus Definitions Version Up To Date
Realtime File Scanning On
Group Policies
None detected
AC97 Soft Data Fax Modem with SmartCP

1394 Net Adapter
↑ Broadcom 802.11b/g WLAN

↓ Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC
Status: Cable unplugged
Dhcp Server: none responded

Other Devices
Texas Instruments OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
Microsoft AC Adapter
Microsoft ACPI-Compliant Control Method Battery
Quick Launch Buttons [Keyboard]
Synaptics PS/2 Port TouchPad [Mouse]
Texas Instruments PCIxx21 Integrated FlashMedia Controller (H)
SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller
USB Root Hub (5x)

I would recommend picking up Linux mint with xfce or cinnamon. Mint tends to be more lighter weight that the new Ubuntu environments but that’s just personal opinion.

I was thinking Sabayon bc it’s a desktop/htpc based Distro that comes pre-installed with features.

But yeah mint popped into my brain bc I hear that it’s good for noobs.

Idk. So many options!

Mint and ubuntu are best imo because they share a very simple set of bash commands. Both have excellent support as well. In terms of lightweight for such a low spec laptop you need to look more into the desktop environment and what that would entail because that would be the easiest way to save resource power.

I am having an issue booting from the usb flash drive bc that option doesn’t appear in the boot menu. This laptop is rather old.

Will I have to burn a disc, or is there a work around?

You should be able to choose what device to boot from in your bios.

Figured how to set the USB boot priority.

After downloading the wrong x64 version bc there site has no option for x86, I found the appropriate x86 through a search.

Now I get this after trying to boot.

I would much rather recommend Debian with xfce. Very minimalistic with good user comparability and ease of use. That it will use about 500 MiB of ram only.

Sabyon is Gentoo based; and you have to compile your operating system, which will takes ages on that machine.

Arch used to be good and very minimal but they drop support for 32 bit. It will be axed in November of 2017.

Installing the OS through usb is always a mixed bag; least for me anyways. I always use a CD because its the one tried-and-true method works right the first time.

One, please don’t use mint. ;-; Its a mess and its very outdated.

Two, be VERY careful with that thing. From what I remember the DV1’s had motherboard problems if they got over 60C.

Do something like xubuntu and you should be fine.