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Could Linux be dual booted with XP to provide safe light dial-up use?


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#1 brian2009

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 03:57 PM

I have an older Dell D620 XP notebook that I would like to keep XP on and not update it to a more secure Windows OS. It has a built-in modem (currently out of order) and now an external USB 56K modem.

 

The problem is I'd like to be able to use this computer for light internet use in locations offering only dial-up access. This would be a secondary computer as I have a newer notebook with Win 7 for primary internet usage.

 

I have heard people mention that Linux could possibly be installed in a dual boot situation, offering safe dial-up internet browsing.  I was hoping to keep the computer going because I really like the way XP (and the older programs installed on it) work for me, especially with all the tweaks I've done to it.

 

Can this actually be done?

 

Thanks.

 

 

 



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#2 jonuk76

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 04:13 PM

Probably.  If it supports your hardware then yes that is something you could do.  I've honestly not used any version of Linux with a dial up modem.  Support for most ethernet and wireless hardware is pretty good these days, but I'm less sure about modems.  Historically, there were problems with "softmodems" also known as "winmodems" working with Linux. These are reduced cost modems that rely on the host PC to do a lot of the processing.  From the reading I've done on it the situation has improved with newer versions of Linux, but there's no guarantees...  Manufacturers generally do not supply Linux drivers, so someone else has to write drivers for them.

 

You are not compelled to install most versions of Linux to the hard disk if you just want to try it out.  You can run most of them off a CD or flash drive.  This will allow you to check if it works with your hardware and supports your modem.  I'm aware though that if you are on dial up then any download of a distribution will take a long time I would imagine.  Best to stick to small distro's like Puppy Linux which is a light distribution which will run well on older hardware and runs well from a CD.   This is relevant reading about modems and Linux (on the Puppy website).


Edited by jonuk76, 25 March 2014 - 04:14 PM.

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#3 brian2009

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 04:31 PM

Yeah. I have fast internet available for the download. I'm guessing I'll burn something to a cd to try it.

 

I looked into this a year ago (for an old Win ME machine) and it seemed hopeless. Now there seem to be a number of articles saying it could be done. As you mentioned, the problem seems to be finding the right modem that is Linux-friendly.

 

I'll keep digging.



#4 NickAu

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 08:59 PM


 

It has a built-in modem (currently out of order) and now an external USB 56K modem.

If you try Puppy linux you may get lucky. Run the Internet conection Wizard.  Menu/Setup/Internet conection wizard and see what happens. Puppy may detect and fix the internal 1.

 

 

ScreenShots from my PC.

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Edited by NickAu1, 25 March 2014 - 09:00 PM.


#5 cat1092

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:18 AM

If the modem turns out to be a problem, you can always grab an inexpensive USB wi-fi adapter oftentimes on promo for less than $15 at Newegg. That is, if you have wi-fi in the home.

 

Puppy or most any Linux OS will pick up the drivers for it, plus you can use it on the XP side of the computer.

 

Until you just mentioned it, I didn't realize that dial-up is offered anywhere these days, maybe they just don't call it that anymore. I know that the phone companies offers Internet, but speeds are dramatically faster than back in the glory days of dial-up. If it's the built in modem of the computer limiting speed, there are USB Ethernet adapters that handles higher speeds, if you'd prefer to stay away from wi-fi.

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=usb+ethernet+adapter&N=-1&isNodeId=1

 

I can understand & appreciate that you want to keep your XP install as safe as possible.

 

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#6 brian2009

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:37 AM

That's more good news. Thanks Nick.



#7 brian2009

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:44 AM

cat.

 

Yes, I am talking about the old 56K modems, to use where no wi-fi or any other high speed is available. The XP computer I want to dual boot already has wi-fi modems that work fine.

 

I'd like to have the dial-up to use where no faster speeds are around.

 

Although, I'd still want to be able to use the wi-fi channeled through the linux for secure internet connections.



#8 cat1092

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 01:30 AM

brian, most Linux OS's does a great job of finding/installing devices on your computer during the install, or during Live DVD use. Whichever connection you wish to use, make sure that one is plugged in during the Live session to test it, if there's a working connection to be found, most Linux OS's will do so. As most of the distros has a massive driver collection.

 

I had two of the Dell D610's, not at the same time, were dependable ones. They came to me with XP Pro & I dual booted with Ubuntu at the time, which ran much faster than XP did. Ended up using XP less & less, so on the second one, I ended up ditching XP altogether for Ubuntu.

 

My only issues with those notebooks, as well as a C640, they all ran hot! Even after blowing out, cleaning the CPU/heatsink & re-applying thermal paste, they didn't run much cooler. But were dependable, which at the time was what mattered. I was awaiting my disability hearing & a new notebook was out of the question.

 

Hopefully you'll have whatever version of Linux you like on it soon. Both Linux Mint & Ubuntu are good options for the D620.

 

Best of Luck.

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#9 1PW

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 02:33 AM

Hello brian2009:

 

I have used the U.S.Robotics 5610C internal 56Kbps V.92 PCI modem with earlier Linux distros.

 

They are still being sold/shipped from the manufacturer.

 

http://support.usr.com/products/modem/modem-product.asp?sku=USR5610c

 

If you are in the USA, as an ISP, AOL still covers quite a collection of nearby local access dial numbers.

 

HTH :)


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#10 brian2009

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 12:45 PM

1pw.

 

Sort of off topic, but maybe not. The original internal 56k modem somehow became not recognized by the computer. So I bought an external usb 56k modem, which works ok in the locations where nothing is available other than phone lines. I bought a used replacement for the internal modem but I haven't tried replacing it, yet.

 

Right now my plan is to get a liveCD of linux (puppy first then maybe mint) burnt to a cd and see what happens. While I'm now focused on getting a dial-up modem working, I will still will need to get the Wi-Fi working using linux. The wi-fi currently works fine, using XP.

 

If linux fails to locate or fix the not-working internal 56k modem I'll try attaching the external usb 56k modem and see what happens. I'll probably try replacing the internal 56k modem eventually as the instructions for the job are easy enough to follow.

 

If all works well I think I'll run whichever linux distro from a thumb drive for a while. Then possibly tackling the dual boot set up once I'm satisfied with the set up.






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