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Old 12-23-2008, 08:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hypermile my Computer OS?

Hey all,

I am aquioring an older computer (PII with Windows NT on it / 17" tube monitor) My goal is to make it into a dedicated MAME machine- Think Oldschool Arcade machine - complete with the joystick controller and buttons)

I know Windows NT is a resource hog - and as this is basically going to be dedicated to running the MAME stuff - i was wondering...

Has anyone here had experience with serious "detuning" of a computer OS? Purge the unneeded stuff - keep the core items?
IS it better to wipe the system and install Linux ( I have NO experience with Linux - so there would be some learning needed)

I googled "Minimum Operating System" - "Lite OS" and several others but the into was just VAST - did not know where to start. I am hoping to make this as low $ as i can ( computer was free - moniter is free - the Emulation program is free... you see where i am going here)

So i some to the Eco-masses : )
If you can point me in a good direction - I can then begin the learning.

Thanks
Steve

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Old 12-23-2008, 09:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
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For an old machine like that, look for a copy of Windows 2000 (XP will do in a pinch) if you're not familiar with Linux. After you have it installed and get all your drivers and service packs updated, pop on some basic anti-virus (AVG, Avast, what-have-you) and SpyBot.

I don't use SpyBot for it's anti-spyware abilities, I use it because it gives a convenient interface to turn off all the crap that loads on start-up.

From there, load up your games and party on. Technically you are tuning, not de-tuning, since you're optimizing the usage for a specific task.

If you do use XP, remember to turn off the extra stuff (set Theme & appearance to classic; go to the advanced tab in system properties, click performance options, and select "adjust for best performance").
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The name of the game is -
  • Don't install anything you don't NEED
  • Disable any services you don't NEED
  • If a service is required, if possible - have it startup MANUALLY instead of AUTOMATICALLY.
Which services are absolutely necessary depends on the OS and on what all you plan to do with the machine. Black Viper has good info on services required in Windows 2K Services and Windows XP Services, but not (unfortunately) for NT. Never the less 2K is based on NT, so Windows 2K Services would be a good place to start.

If you don't need to connect the machine to the internet, there is less to be installed (anti-virus scans are only required on machine you do downloads from) and there are more services you can turn off.

When you think you are done, download an older version of SysInternals Process Explorer that will run on Windows NT and run it on your dedicated MAME machine. Google the executable name.exe of each running process; figure out what it is and if you really NEED it.

Good luck.
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thumbs up cleaning up xp boot + free firewall and avg links

Go to start - select run - enter "msconfig" hit ok. A new window will open. Select- selective start up... uncheck anything you don't want to run at startup. Most of these items don't show up in the start menu or when you do a ctrl-alt-del check. heres the link to the real free version of AVG they hide it very deep on their site.

AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition - Reviews and free AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition downloads at Download.com subj=dl&tag=button

Also i use Zonealarm. It is a good free firewall. click the one on the far right


ZoneAlarm by Check Point - Award winning PC Protection, Antivirus, Firewall, Anti-Spyware, Identity Protection, and much more.

Another good free virusware is Solo. it says it's free for only 30 days but after 30 days all that happens is the auto updates stop and you have to do manual updates. it has found boot sector viruses that avg and others never found.

Download Anti-Virus Tools - SRN Micro

finially i use OIBit advanced system care. it has lots of geat tools to clean up the registry and clean out junk not needed. another freebee. i haven't paid for any software in years.

Advanced SystemCare Free - Reviews and free Advanced SystemCare Free downloads at Download.com

i'm sure this will help. Jim - Surfing the internet since 1990
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info!

my initial thought is to keep this OFF the net.
I prefer to not complicate things TO much so I probably stick to Windows stuff at first. maybe try linux if i have any space issues here.

I will not be getting the PC until after the holidays - so i cannot play with it now (bummer).


Steve
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Steve - AKA Doofus McFancypants
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"If there's a new way, I'll be the first in line - But it better work this time"

First Milestone passed - 30 MPG (city) 5/15/08
Best City Tank - 8/31/09- 34.3 MPG (EPA= 20)
Best Highway Tank - 5/20/09 - 36.5 MPG (EPA= 28)
------
In effort to drive less:
Miles NOT driven in 2009 = 648 (Work from home and Alt Transporatation)
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Old 12-23-2008, 12:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If you're interested in Linux, visit LessWatts.org - Saving Power on Intel systems with Linux where you'll find suggestions & tools for minimizing power use. It's oriented towards laptops, since that's where battery life becomes an issue (and where there's a built-in way to monitor power consumption), but a lot of the suggestions work just as well on desktop machines.
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Old 12-23-2008, 01:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You could try Embedded Windows. It can be tricky to set up, but it runs AMAZINGLY well compared to a full blown windows system. My cubicle-mate has had a couple projects where he has done that for customers and he can run win xp on a few megs of ram instead of a few hundred. The performance difference is astronomical.

Last edited by Daox; 12-23-2008 at 03:38 PM.. Reason: moderated
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Old 12-23-2008, 04:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Linux is a good alternative, a lot of real smart and hardworking folks making it better all the time. It is nothing like it used to be. You can detune windows, but first make sure you have plugged a kill-a-watt into your printer and monitor, etc. The effort involved with detuning windows could be lost when MS decides to pull the rug out on you though, and having to get a new registration key when you mess things up is a PITA.

Course there is also the XO laptop, which wouldn't even exist without linux.
One Laptop per Child (OLPC): Laptop Hardware > Specs

It could be kind of trendy to press an XO into service Myself, I have an old 400mhz laptop I still use everyday (XP).
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
Linux is a good alternative, a lot of real smart and hardworking folks making it better all the time. It is nothing like it used to be. You can detune windows, but first make sure you have plugged a kill-a-watt into your printer and monitor, etc. The effort involved with detuning windows could be lost when MS decides to pull the rug out on you though, and having to get a new registration key when you mess things up is a PITA.

Course there is also the XO laptop, which wouldn't even exist without linux.
One Laptop per Child (OLPC): Laptop Hardware > Specs

It could be kind of trendy to press an XO into service Myself, I have an old 400mhz laptop I still use everyday (XP).
You won't need a new regkey - you can find it in the registry.

I dont have much experience with linux either, except I know that you can safely run it on the net w/o a firewall or a/v software, since I do it every day for about the last 5 years now... that's not saying you don't need to scan it, but saying that it's not as vulnerable, mostly b/c people don't pick on linux as much as windows... same with apple.

If you want a MAME, there are barebones linux systems that you can get which actually support using the system for emulation only... also, there are OS's that you can download free which support DVD playback and VG emulation for a complete home theater experience.

It depends on how far you really want to take an old machine. My 700MHZ athlon is a movie-watcher most of the time, before we got the Div-X DVD player w/ the USB hub on it.

Conversely, it's not hard to edit windows to do what you want as well, but troubleshooting it afterward isn't noob-friendly... just a warning.

BTW - Check Distrowatch.com (.org?) for linux distros that will do what you need, if you're interested.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hello,

How much RAM is in it? My old Athlon 550 with 768MB runs Ubuntu and Win98SE quite respectably. And Win2K/XP would be okay with that amount of RAM, if you keep the loads light.

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