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What OS is best for my slow computer?

Volodymyr Levytskyi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 29, 2012
Posts: 481
    
    1

Hello!

For a long time I am having problems with WindowsXP. The main problem - it is slow.
My comp has 2GB of RAM and disk C where OS should be installed can take no more than 39GB.

I am on WindowsXP since I was bought computer. And I do not like it because it is slow. Sometimes google chrome is opening > 1 minute.
I am programming on Java !
I decided to try Linux. But I found out that there is LinuxMint and Ubuntu.

What kind of Linux I need and which programs I need to install that do not come out of the box for slow comp?
I need free Linux.
What is Linux equvalent for Notepad++?

Thank you!


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Steve Luke
Bartender

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 3947
    
  17

A slow Windows XP machine doesn't necessarily mean time for an OS change: it might just mean time for some tender-loving-care. Virus scan, ruthlessly uninstalling applications you don't need, multiple iterations of disk defragmentation, registry defragmenting. One of the reasons new OSes are faster than old ones are because they do all this stuff for you (i.e. when you first install an OS, you don't have left over services running you don't need, you disk was recently formatted so the data is packed tight, and your registry is clean). Cleaning an old computer can breath new life into it. A new OS might not actually speed up the system either - if the disk is starting to die, it can take longer to access data which will slow the entire system down. Dust in fans and heat damage to RAM and CPUs are also culprits in slowing down your computer - so make sure to open the case and clean it out physically (as well as cleaning out the OS).

If you do decide to go with an OS, I recently did some research on various flavors. It turns out - speed wise - the windowing system makes a huge impact on actual performance, as some front ends (like KDE and Gnome) take more memory and processing power than others. LinuxMint is a nice project because it offers several several font end alternatives. I think the Xfce one has the smallest footprint, so for an old, RAM-limited computer with a slow processor it might be the best choice. Mate - a fork of an old version of Gnome - might be a bit friendlier to look at and still be on the low side of resource requirements (not sure about that though).


Steve
Volodymyr Levytskyi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 29, 2012
Posts: 481
    
    1

Thanks for reply!

the data is packed tight, and your registry is clean

What do you mean by packing data?
Where can I find registry in WindowsXP?

I read one article on the Internet and they say that LinuxMint is good for tech users as it is very customizable and it has start menu as WIndows
So, I'll try latest release of LinuxMint.
Anyway it should be faster.

But I am afraid about Notepad++ that can convert and create files with different formats.
Steve Luke
Bartender

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 3947
    
  17

Volodymyr Levytskyi wrote:Thanks for reply!

the data is packed tight, and your registry is clean

What do you mean by packing data?

Disks get fragmented in Windows - some data at the beginning of the disk, some in the middle, some at the end. The longer you use the OS the more fragmented the disks become. The more fragmentation the longer it takes to access the data. A single file can actually be split into small chunks all over the disk. When this happens to system resource files, running the OS can come to a crawl as the time it takes to load the resources takes longer. Defragmenting your disks takes chunks from the same and related files and organizes them together. If you defragment multiple times in a row it will also move the data to the 'front' of the disk where it is quickest to access - it packs the chunks together. This can do wonders for increasing speed if you haven't done it in a while (I do it monthly. You should never do it for an SSD drive).

Where can I find registry in WindowsXP?

You shouldn't ever touch the registry by hand (unless you have a specific purpose and know exactly what you are changing). You should do a web search for registry cleaner to find some tools to help - my favorite has been CCleaner.

I read one article on the Internet and they say that LinuxMint is good for tech users as it is very customizable and it has start menu as WIndows
So, I'll try latest release of LinuxMint.
Anyway it should be faster.

But I am afraid about Notepad++ that can convert and create files with different formats.

Most of the time people say Vim or Emacs in response to this. They are difficult to learn though (though they sound super powerful). I use GEdit (default for Ubuntu) which is ok. I searched a bit and apparently there is a program named SciTE which comes from the same base as Notepad++ (Scintella) and acts as a good replacement for it.
Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8708
    
    6

Steve Luke wrote:If you do decide to go with an OS, I recently did some research on various flavors. It turns out - speed wise - the windowing system makes a huge impact on actual performance, as some front ends (like KDE and Gnome) take more memory and processing power than others. .


Steve is right here. The top-of-the-line Linux distributions, Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc, are intended to compete with Windows 7/8 and need modern hardware for maximum performance. There are stripped-down Linux distributions. As Steve said, you can install a lighter window manager (Ubuntu has an XFCE release: Xubuntu), but you lose some of the "built in" features of the main release. There are other versions of Linux targeted at older hardware, like Crunchbang, but they aren't as widely tested, the user community are smaller, and you will have to learn more about system administration to use it.
Can you add more memory to your computer? That's probably the best bang-for-buck improvement you can make.
Depending on what your free time is worth to you, it may make financial sense to buy a new computer rather than waste time trying to keep your old computer running.
For a text editor, I use jEdit


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Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 13875
    
  10

Volodymyr Levytskyi wrote:What is Linux equvalent for Notepad++?

I like Geany a lot. On Ubuntu you can install it with:

sudo apt-get install geany


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Volodymyr Levytskyi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 29, 2012
Posts: 481
    
    1

I downloaded ISO file of latest LinuxMint. Then I unzipped it with 7-zip and launched it. This successfully installed LinuxMint on disk E.
But I still have Windowsxp on disk C.

I chose to launch LinuxMint and it loaded but suspended very quickly. I described my problem on their forum and got no reply!

No idea why it stops working. I tried several times.

Luckily I did not remove windows before. I think that I installed LinuxMint in a wrong way but it started ok.
After I clicked on 'My Computer' it was opened and linux suspended. Another time it merely did not launch at all.

I am not sysadmin to think about linux problems.
Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8708
    
    6

Volodymyr Levytskyi wrote:
I chose to launch LinuxMint and it loaded but suspended very quickly. I described my problem on their forum and got no reply!


Just like here, their forum is populated with volunteers helping people in their spare time. They are under no obligation to help you.
While you are waiting for a reply, it's a good idea to search for your model of laptop and the keyword "linux" and see if anyone else had a similar problem and found a solution.
Again, most popular Linux distributions are aimed at current hardware. If you are going to try to install them on old hardware, expect to do some leg work.


Steve Luke
Bartender

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 3947
    
  17

Volodymyr Levytskyi wrote:I downloaded ISO file of latest LinuxMint. Then I unzipped it with 7-zip and launched it. This successfully installed LinuxMint on disk E.

Did you actually install the OS or did you just unpack the ISO (CD image)?
Joe Ess
Bartender

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 8708
    
    6

Steve Luke wrote:
Volodymyr Levytskyi wrote:I downloaded ISO file of latest LinuxMint. Then I unzipped it with 7-zip and launched it. This successfully installed LinuxMint on disk E.

Did you actually install the OS or did you just unpack the ISO (CD image)?


It sounds like he installed Linux Mint as a Windows application.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: What OS is best for my slow computer?
 
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