Building an old computer

Posted on 1999-01-25
Last Modified: 2010-04-27
My friend was recently given a computer, an old 386. Currently the computer has no modem or cdrom.  I am not even sure if Windows95 will run on this computer.  I imagine that it has 4 meg of RAM and a 95 meg hard drive.  What do I need to install on this computer to get it up to speed?  She would like to use it for internet access, word processing and budgeting.  Are there any stipulations as to what components can't be used in this machine?
Question by:MKM012599

Accepted Solution

rmarotta earned 100 total points
ID: 1138185
You really don't have much to go with there.  It probably won't be very satisfying because of poor performance, but it does meet the bare minimum requirements to run Windows 95.
You can add an ISA modem to it without much problem. (Just stay away from the "Winmodems")
The amount of programs to be added will be limited by the hard drive's capacity to store them.  Some require more than 4MB memory to operate.
Better to look for something like a low end Pentium which are now very reasonably priced in the used market.

Expert Comment

ID: 1138186
Win 95 will not run on it.
Win NT and Linux will run on it if you increas the RAM and hard drive.  You could use it as a paper weight and get an old pentium or 486 for a little over $100 that will meet all of her needs.

Expert Comment

ID: 1138187
Win95 WILL run on it!

Microsoft says the minimum requirements are 386DX, 4MB RAM, VGA, 35-40MB free hard drive space.

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Author Comment

ID: 1138188
Will she be able to subscribe to an ISP with this computer?  Can she use an ISP running 3.1x instead of Win95?  If she wanted to spend $150 what would you suggest she buy to upgrade this computer? What about Y2k?  I am going to clean it up for her, I know more about software than hardware and I want to help her so she doesn't have to take it somewhere to have all of this done.  Thanks

Expert Comment

ID: 1138189
>>Will she be able to subscribe to an ISP with this computer?


>>Can she use an ISP running 3.1x instead of Win95?

Yes. The majority of ISP's don't even notice what kind of software you're running.

>>What about Y2k?

Many (if not all) 386's BIOS support a 4-digit clock.


Expert Comment

ID: 1138190
Yes, you can get on the internet with Win 3x.
I'd spend for a new motherboard, CPU, and memory.
Get another hard drive with what's left.


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