Jump to content


 


Register a free account to unlock additional features at BleepingComputer.com
Welcome to BleepingComputer, a free community where people like yourself come together to discuss and learn how to use their computers. Using the site is easy and fun. As a guest, you can browse and view the various discussions in the forums, but can not create a new topic or reply to an existing one unless you are logged in. Other benefits of registering an account are subscribing to topics and forums, creating a blog, and having no ads shown anywhere on the site.


Click here to Register a free account now! or read our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Photo

Linux as a Windows NT 4.0 replacement: Pentium I / III


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 computerdownhouse

computerdownhouse

  • Members
  • 31 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:11:46 AM

Posted 18 April 2018 - 06:00 PM

"What Linux distribution should I use?"
 
I'm at the breaking point. My Pentium I non-internet computer has hit the 8GB HDD limit. Flashing the BIOS is risky. I have a spare Pentium III machine but apparently Windows O/S HDDs can't be plunked into a new system so easily. I can't reformat/reinstall the system. So I'll have to search high and low to find drivers for an obsolete (1996) O/S that is increasingly incompatible with shareware/freeware programs. I can't even find up-to-date anti-virus software for my system.
 
I read somewhere that Linux can read HDDs larger than 8gb even if the computer's BIOS won't. I've also read that you can test-drive Linux before installing it on your system.
 
My system is not and will never be connected to the internet. Despite the use of WINNT 4.0, my computer is not on a server.
 
Any Linux installation-
 
-MUST be 100% DOS compatible and swap in and out of DOS without rebooting. If the program runs in DOS 6.2 then it must run in Linux.
-SHOULD be compatible with Windows freeware/shareware programs that can run in any version of Windows (Windows 95 to Windows 10). I've heard that WINE emulators require too much space and are buggy. Don't know if Virtual Machine software is what I need.
-I assume that the Linux distribution must have 16-bit Windows and 16-bit / 32-bit DOS application compatibility
-read/write CD/DVD preferably NERO or NERO compatible
-CD/DVD multimounter support - so that I can see past versions of files in the CD/DVD ISO file with the click of a button
-100% reliable read/write USB 1.1 flashdrive support
-flash repair & retrieving files from damaged flash drives and flash drives that won't mount, i.e. Alcor utilities, etc.
-read/write fat12/16/32/NTFS
-100% reliable formatting of unused disk space on multiple drives past 8GB
-support extended/logical drive partitions
-parallel-port printer support
-floppy drive support
-SVGA driver support, 65K colors (that's what WINNT 4.0 gives me)
-play & edit audio files. WINNT's antiquated mplayer.exe can't play MP4 or MOV files and the sound mixer won't let me change bass/treble settings.
-generic mouse and keyboard (small plug)
-support hdd editors, i.e. diskedit, testdisk, etc.
-read html files
-read PDF; even better if it can edit PDF files but not the end of the world if it can't. WINNT 4.0 chokes on anything newer than PDF 1.4
-Smart HDD monitoring utilities
-File change monitoring utilities
-run batch programs/macros
-frequently used Microsoft Windows commands: chkdsk, scandisk, fc (file compare), windiff, diskedit, notepad/wordpad with MS-DOS encoding support (as opposed to ansi or UTF or unicode), File Manager, Disk Administrator, mspaint/pbrush, mplayer, Windows Task Manager, Event Log (system and application), Zip, F3 Find command
-any ol' browser comparable to IE Explorer 6 (2001) on a non-internet system
 
Some of these are no doubt (laughably) obvious, but I'm new to Linux, so...
 
I don't want a large O/S. Space is at a premium. WINNT 4.0 is 250MB and XP is at least 1.5GB.
 
Other Pentium I specs
159MB Memory
200 MHz CPU
 
Other Pentium III specs
255M extended ram
0256 cache sram
800 MHZ CPU
 
"What do you do with this PC? Do you just surf the net, some email, watch a few movies or do you play games, and use virtual-machines?"
 
No internet, no email, no movies, no games, no virtual machines (unless this refers to DOS & Windows emulators). No interest/memory/disk space. Also no modem.
 
"Do you want a distribution that's easy to configure or do you want something a little more challenging?"
 
Not sure. I can easily edit partition tables, registry settings. But I have no experience with Linux. Right now I just want access to the post-8GB portion of the hdds.
 
"Do you want a distribution for which there is a decent amount of help out there in terms of forum support and tutorials, or do you prefer to research and work things out for yourself?"
 
I'm using Windows NT 4.0 (1996) in 2018. As long as Linux isn't even worse...
 
"Do you want a distribution that looks more like Windows or are you okay with a different look?"
 
I'd prefer something that looks more like Windows, but it's not a deal breaker. Start Menu, taskbar, right-click on files to get properties, sorting files by creation/modification-date/size/location, booting in safe VGA mode, "print screen" command, etc. OTOH, I will not miss WINNT's rigid control over direct access to hardware.
 
If Linux isn't what I'm looking for, what other dos/windows-compatible stripped-down GUI O/S exist?
 
Thanks to one and all who respond.


BC AdBot (Login to Remove)

 


#2 jonuk76

jonuk76

  • Members
  • 2,180 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wales, UK
  • Local time:04:46 PM

Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:27 PM

Perhaps others will chip in, but I don't think Linux is what you are looking for.  I'll try to answer what I can..

 

Any Linux installation-
 
-MUST be 100% DOS compatible and swap in and out of DOS without rebooting. If the program runs in DOS 6.2 then it must run in Linux.
 
DOS is an operating system, and Linux does not run DOS software natively. You can certainly get emulation programs that will do it (DOSBox springs to mind) that can run in Linux.
 
-SHOULD be compatible with Windows freeware/shareware programs that can run in any version of Windows (Windows 95 to Windows 10). I've heard that WINE emulators require too much space and are buggy. Don't know if Virtual Machine software is what I need.
 
Again, Linux does not run Windows software natively.  WINE is one method of doing it.  It's hit and miss, but certainly with some tinkering, a good proportion of Windows software can be run.  Virtual Machine software could do what you wanted (e.g. you could run a full copy of Windows NT/2000/XP in a virtual machine).  However, I'm not sure your hardware will be up to this.  I keep a Windows 2000 VM which I use for old software I still find useful.  This VM alone takes up 20 Gb disk space, and has 512 mb RAM allocated to it when running (it would run OK with less).  That's on top of the memory needed to run Linux itself.  To get adequate performance it relies on modern processor features like hardware virtualisation, not present in your systems. 
 
-I assume that the Linux distribution must have 16-bit Windows and 16-bit / 32-bit DOS application compatibility
 
I'm afraid not.  Unless as above, you use emulation or virtual machine software.
 
-read/write CD/DVD preferably NERO or NERO compatible
 
Not a problem. Good free CD writing apps (e.g. K3B which is one of the most fully featured) are on Linux.
 
-CD/DVD multimounter support - so that I can see past versions of files in the CD/DVD ISO file with the click of a button
 
Not so sure on this. Google search suggests you should be able to manually mount particular sessions on multi-session CD's.  I don't know if there's a GUI based solution - http://go2linux.garron.me/blogs/2011/05/how-read-multi-session-cd-linux-1016/
 
-100% reliable read/write USB 1.1 flashdrive support
 
Yep, this is standard.
 
-flash repair & retrieving files from damaged flash drives and flash drives that won't mount, i.e. Alcor utilities, etc.
 
Possibly.  Not something I've personally dealt with.
 
-read/write fat12/16/32/NTFS
 
Yes.
 
-100% reliable formatting of unused disk space on multiple drives past 8GB
 
Yes, no problem with the operating system doing this. However, I understand there are BIOS limitations on old systems which can cause an issue at 8 GB.  It's something called the Int13 Interface Barrier.  If this issue is present, solutions include a BIOS update, together with an OS that's compatible with larger disks.
 
-support extended/logical drive partitions
 
No problem
 
-parallel-port printer support
-floppy drive support
-SVGA driver support, 65K colors (that's what WINNT 4.0 gives me)
-play & edit audio files. WINNT's antiquated mplayer.exe can't play MP4 or MOV files and the sound mixer won't let me change bass/treble settings.
-generic mouse and keyboard (small plug)
 
Doubt any of these will be a problem.  Media player is usually included in distro's.
 
-support hdd editors, i.e. diskedit, testdisk, etc.
-read html files
-read PDF; even better if it can edit PDF files but not the end of the world if it can't. WINNT 4.0 chokes on anything newer than PDF 1.4
-Smart HDD monitoring utilities
-File change monitoring utilities
-run batch programs/macros
 
Yes, software either included with most distributions, or downloadable can do these things.
 
-frequently used Microsoft Windows commands: chkdsk, scandisk, fc (file compare), windiff, diskedit, notepad/wordpad with MS-DOS encoding support (as opposed to ansi or UTF or unicode), File Manager, Disk Administrator, mspaint/pbrush, mplayer, Windows Task Manager, Event Log (system and application), Zip, F3 Find command
 
No to most - it's not Windows and therefore doesn't use Windows commands. Equivalents are mostly present, or downloadable. For example, almost any Linux distribution will come with at least one text editor. Many come with GIMP as a graphics editor, which is a bit more of Photoshop alternative than an MS Paint alternative. Simpler programs like Pinta are available.
 
-any ol' browser comparable to IE Explorer 6 (2001) on a non-internet system
 
Yes a browser of some kind will always be included.
 
Should you wish to, you should be able to try out say an older version of Puppy Linux (Like Legacy OS) which should run on your Pentium 3 system. I believe it can be run from a bootable CD.

7sbvuf-6.png


#3 Rocky Bennett

Rocky Bennett

  • Members
  • 2,820 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Mexico, USA
  • Local time:09:46 AM

Posted 19 April 2018 - 06:27 AM

I agree with jonuk76, Linux is not what you are looking for. Stick with a pre-Windows 95 Microsoft OS or update your equipment.


594965_zpsp5exvyzm.png


#4 Condobloke

Condobloke

    Outback Aussie @ 54.2101 N, 0.2906 W


  • Members
  • 6,085 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Local time:01:46 AM

Posted 19 April 2018 - 06:40 AM

Updating your equipment sounds good to me.....and logical


Condobloke ...Outback Australian  fed up with Windows antics...??....LINUX IS THE ANSWER....I USE LINUX MINT 18.3  EXCLUSIVELY.

“A man travels the world in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."

It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don't agree. The wounds remain. Time - the mind, protecting its sanity - covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone. Rose Kennedy

 GcnI1aH.jpg

 

 


#5 MadmanRB

MadmanRB

    Spoon!!!!


  • Members
  • 3,222 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:No time for that when there is evil afoot!
  • Local time:11:46 AM

Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:42 AM

I mean there is freeDOS but in this case linux is not the answer.

 

I mean freedos is worth a try as it is very close to classic dos but more up to date.

http://www.freedos.org/


Edited by MadmanRB, 19 April 2018 - 07:44 AM.

You know you want me baby!

Proud Linux user and dual booter.

Proud Vivaldi user.

 

xu847p-6.png


#6 computerdownhouse

computerdownhouse
  • Topic Starter

  • Members
  • 31 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Local time:11:46 AM

Posted 19 April 2018 - 06:39 PM

Thanks for replying.
 
To clarify my initial post, I know that DOS cannot run in Linux. I just wanted to make sure that Linux distros can be expected to work with DOS emulators without me having to reboot the system. I want to be able to swap in and out, as I can do with Windows' own built-in DOS emulator. I assume that a DOS emulator doesn't come with Linux but must be downloaded separately.
 
As for Windows emulators, I suspect that if a modest freeware/shareware program can run under the notoriously fussy WINNT 4.0, then it's likely to work with modern Windows emulators.
 
re: multi-mounter support: "Windows Explorer and most other file-based utilities on your PC are incapable of viewing multisession CD's - and will see only the last recorded session (the last track)." This appears to have been a problem for all versions of Windows up to and including Windows XP. I don't know if this problem also plagues more recent Windows releases.
 
re: 8 GB/Int 13 Interface Barrier: I know all about this. However I was under the impression that this doesn't plague Linux distros.
 
re: frequently used Microsoft Windows commands: I didn't expect these to work in Linux. I just wanted to make sure user-friendly Linux equivalents exist.
 
re: FreeDos: I already have a copy, however it doesn't solve the Windows-replacement problem.
 
Thank you for recommending Puppy LegacyOS. It's not immediately clear if it will read DVDs (saved data files, not movies) or work with USB flash drives, but I will investigate.


#7 MadmanRB

MadmanRB

    Spoon!!!!


  • Members
  • 3,222 posts
  • OFFLINE
  •  
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:No time for that when there is evil afoot!
  • Local time:11:46 AM

Posted 19 April 2018 - 06:44 PM

Well for a "windows replacement" you could try reactOS but i am unsure if it will run on such old hardware.

 

https://www.reactos.org/

Your hardware here is so old that there is little to do other than perhaps stick with old windows versions but unhooked from the internet.

I would not expect anything made past the year 2004 to work that well for such old hardware


You know you want me baby!

Proud Linux user and dual booter.

Proud Vivaldi user.

 

xu847p-6.png





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users