View Full Version : Old 486 with Windows 3.1 etc

21-02-2003, 11:20 AM
Anyone care to share some tips on how to 'extract' the maximum performance without getting too technical, please

Just the obvious I guess like removing all absolutely unnecessary programs and files

It belongs to a relative whose bottom line is to use MS Word (loaded on it seems alongwith excel etc)

However apparently when copying files to floppy the floppy 'cannot be read' on the other person's pc = is this just a clash of old version of , say, Word with the later version on the other person's pc or is there some other trick ?

Any short quick pertinent comments would be appreciated = even to reformat and run Linux and OpenOffice or similar

21-02-2003, 12:08 PM
The easiest way is to run MemMaker to quickly optimise it.
As for Word I would have thought the other person could use their files but not the other way around unless specifically saved for that version.

21-02-2003, 12:26 PM
Well there is two senarios here.

1. The floppy disks that the original person is using are not compatible with the other persons. Back in the days floppy disks came in 560k 1.2MB and 1.44MB. Most people use 1.44MB but its possible that there is a compatability issue here.

2. The MS formatting is too old for the new MS office to recognise. (highly unlikely) because as far as I know MS office will display all versions, even back to the DOS days.

You could run linux with openoffice, things might run a bit faster, but it would require some technical know-how on setting it up.

21-02-2003, 12:41 PM
I doubt very much if Linux & OpenOffice would run faster than Win 3.11 with an old version of Word on a 486.

Billy T
21-02-2003, 01:35 PM
It doesn't get much faster than W3.1, so provided the relly doesn't have a pile of utilities etc running in the background, I'd just do a defrag and add some RAM. Most 486s didn't have more than 8MB but stick 64MB in them if the MB permits and they start smiling.

Setting swap file size appropriately helps too. I used to have a very snappy 486 DX2-66 with only 8MB RAM running WFWG 3.11. I kept it tidy and it booted fast and worked well. I seem to recall spending a fair amount of time initially to optimise the autoexec.bat and config.sys files but it all paid off and it was fast and trouble free for years.

Removing unnecessary files only frees up disk space, but removing utilities etc from the startup menu speeds booting as well as freeing processor capacity and RAM for wanted appications.

Of course the fastest speed up would come from buying an old P133 or P266 and installing W3.1 on that.


Billy 8-{)

Graham L
21-02-2003, 03:56 PM
Try to use 32 bit disk access (that's down in the same setup as the swap file).

More memory is always better.

If Excel is being loaded along with Word, I'd be inclined to load only the one I'm using, then exit when changing to the other.

The floppy problem might be serious. Get some floppies (full, not fast) formatted on the other machine, and see if they will work. Try a head cleaning disk (the wet ones are the only ones to use). There is no difference in floppy disk standards. They all use FAT12, and the director format was written for CP/M.

A DX2-66 is a great processor. The DX (SX) 25, and DX2-50 are not so good because the bus is slowed (25 MHz, rather than 33). I won't remark on DX40s :D.

21-02-2003, 09:56 PM
well i was just checking up on freeDOS yesterday and it appears to have a GUI and all. it could be the thing for older pc's and being open source as well.