Pardon the long intro, but I figured a few details would help people
understand where I am coming from.
For years, I used an old 286 (12 MHz /w/ 80287 1 Meg Ram and a 40 Meg HD
with Stacker) running Dr. Dos. Things where OK until last year when I
noticed that the Hard Disk drive seemed to be on its last legs. (NOTE: It is
still running, but I have been trying to retire it- it simply has been used
constantly since it was purchased by its original owner and I certainly used
it a LOT).
I got lucky, my old employer THREW OUT an almost unused Compaq Presario with
a BIG IBM SVGA monitor (the monitor is, without a doubt, worth a bit of
money even by itself). After getting my hands on the Restore CD (Numerous
version of AOL software did a good job of screwing the thing up), I thought
I would be in for the time of my life......
And why not ? An AMD copy of a P2 running 233 MHz, 32 Megs of Ram, a 3.2 Gig
Disk.....the difference in speed when compared to my old 286 should have
been blinding- but it was not.
First off, Windows 95 (which is what my system runs) is not NEARLY as
reliable as Dr. Dos ! From time to time I might have to adjust some minor
setting on my old 286 in order to accommodate some new piece of software.
But Windows 95 has been a real disappointment. Sure, it's prettier than any
DOS in the world- but if it is going to take every system resource I have in
order to look pretty, then it is not worth running slow. Heck, I just
installed New Deal Office on my 286 (I think it is based on GOES),it is a
very easy to use GUI but does not take up every bit of memory and then some.
Heck, my Compaq runs like lightning on it ! (Before you think of Windows 98,
Please see note at the end of my post)
The catch is that I would like to run some newer software that only runs
under Windows, but I simply find Windows 95 to be an inferior operating
I have been reading about Linux. From what I understand it is _possible_ to
run some Windows software under it. I also am under the understanding that
Linux should be able to run some of the old DOS applications and games I
like so much.
But I still have a few nagging questions......
If I did switch over to Linux, what Windows programs would I be able to run
? All of them ? Some of them ?
How well would they run ?
What about my DOS programs ? Would some or all of them run ? If not all,
which ones ?
When running programs from other operating systems, how stable is Linux ?
What about my hardware ? Can Linux make full used of my S3 video card, my
IBM Monitor, my HP deskjet, my ESS (Soundblaster copy ?) Sound Card or even
by Compaq 56k Internal modem ? If not full advantage, what will the
restrictions be ? (See Note At End Of Post) How much money am I spending on
hardware upgrades ? how hard will it be to set everything up ?
I have a USB modem that Windows 95 cannot use (since Windows 95 can't seem
to use the USB port). Can Linux use it ?
What about viruses ? I don't know of any that exist at this time that affect
Linux based operating systems, but I don't think that will last forever. It
is only a matter of time before such viruses (or Trojan horses, malicious
bits of Java code, etc...) that can disable or damage a Linux based will
come to exist. What kinds of anti-virus software is available ? What is
being done in anticipation of the future ?
I did not mean for this post to be long winded. But I just wanted to give a
little background on where I was coming from. I know my PC is capable of so
much more than what it is doing under Windows 95.
A big thanks in advance for any and all help and advice.
I did try to upgrade to Windows 98. It was a disaster. When I was unable to
use the power management functions, a Microsoft Tech. support rep. said
there was no fix for it. Turned out there was an upgrade in their Website.
Also, the video would NEVER refresh properly, leaving my screen full of half
closed / drawn over windows and causing text on my browser to be garbled
(since I used a hover color, it would not redraw the text right after the
pointer went over it) when I hovered over a link or scrolled. New drivers
and a bunch of setting changes fixed nothing. I did some reading on the
Microsoft home page and found that a LOT of programs have problems in
Windows 98 using an S3 video card. The only solution, one that worked only
part of the time, was to use a low resolution (600 x 800 or even 600 x 480!)
and 256 colors ! Even at that, it still messed up. Microsoft Tech support
said I needed a new video card !!!!!! The old one works great under Windows
95. Also, the games Redneck Rampage and Castle Wolfenstein 3D had their
sound screwed up under Windows 98. Tech support said get a new Sound card
I felt cheated and ripped off. I paid for the software, instead of pirating
it. I spent about $100 in long distance charges (you have to call when the
time is expensive), almost $100 for the upgrade disk (My system meeting all
requirements listed on the box and then some) just to be told "buy more
stuff " !!!!!
Then to add insult to injury, when I tried to uninstall Windows 98, it
disabled my CD-ROM drive and garbled up a bunch of my data !!!!!!!! I had to
run my Restore CD just to get the computer to run right again- loosing a lot
_NEVER_ buy another piece of their software again if I could possibly avoid
it. I would love to take Windows 95, and the rest of the Microsoft software,
off my harddrive for good !
Am I anti-Microsoft ? Perhaps I am. I have to work hard for the money I earn
and seeing $200 dollars go out the window Angers me, as it should anyone
with an ounce of sense. If I spend $100 for software, I expect to get $100
worth out of it. I will not spend $100 dollards just to have to spend
another $100 to be told to spend hundreds more, and then be happy about it !