Software that ran quite well on my old slow pc (only 64mb of ram on it running WinME so should be very similar to his/hers, if not worse)...
The lack of a real task manager in 9x makes this a necessity: Process Explorer
I have a combo of a particular firewall and browser that I used. I wouldn't suggest using my favorite light browser I am going to name without this particular firewall. Get a copy of Zone Alarm Pro 4
firewall...not the most recent version...make sure it's version 4. And pay for the Pro, as the free one will not offer the feature you need to protect yourself. You are going to need a firewall any way. Make sure you have the script blocking in it turned on to prevent pop-ups & spyware. It is quite effective. If you don't pay for Pro, it will revert to the free version after the trial period is over and those features will not be available.
Then you can 'safely' use a browser that I wrote just for using on my old slow pc:dIE
Please read the warnings & info on the page before deciding if you really want to use it. I am not going to lie to you...it has issues and isn't the best choice for a browser...but it's fast and uses less ram than anything else you are going to find.
If you decide against using it, I can offer 2 suggestions:
Internet Explorer...watch out how many windows you have open at one time and install the Google toolbar to prevent pop-ups. If you use the Zone Alarm Pro I suggested you won't have to worry about the automatic spyware installers or popups...it blocks them pretty good when using Internet Explorer based browsers.Firefox
...use standard install...keep the extensions you install to a minimum...the more extensions you install the more resources it will use and the slower it will become. Also, just like with Internet Explorer, be careful how many pages you have open at one time, although you can actually have more open with Firefox than with Internet Explorer. And make sure you close and restart Firefox every once in awhile...like at least once per hour or it will eat up all system resources and the pc will drag slower than a constipated snail.
I have never tried Opera on my old pc so I can't say anything good or bad about it.
For general use by the average user though, I would go with Firefox and make sure you install the Flashblock extension
. This is a MUST
. The reason is because 2 or more flash objects on a page can make an old pc freeze and require you to hit the reset button and wait forever while it boots up again. That extension will prevent that from happening most of the time. And with how many sites are loaded with multiple flash ads, you can understand why I say this. This would be my primary reason for picking Firefox over all other browsers for use on an old pc.
Your choice of AVG for an antivirus is a good one...it was my choice and I have never regretted switching to it. It's the only one I found that runs in the background and doesn't affect how my system runs and allows me to forget it's running...which to me is what a good antivirus should do. If it interferes with normal use of your computer you will end up wanting to shut it off...and that's when problems with viruses usually happen. Too often this is why people get infected with crap. The antivirus causes problems and they shut it off and leave themselves unprotected.
For document writing software I just used the standard Wordpad that came with Windows for most things...but I am also lucky enough to have a copy of MS Office 97 for when I need something heavier than that. It's great for older computers since it was released when those computers were new.
Or you could try 602Pro PC Suite
. It's lighter than MS Office and even Open Office. Unfortunately they no longer have the scaled down free version they used to, but you can try the trial to see if you like it before buying. The previous version's word processor reminded me very much of Word 97.
You might also want to take a look around OldVersion.com
for some older stuff that might run better than the most recent versions. But be careful and do your homework if you do. Many older versions of software can be dangerous with unpatched security vulnerabilities in them. Google can be your best friend.Adobe Acrobat 6
can be made a lot lighter by removing some of the unnecessary plugins
If you have any other questions about specific types of software categories, feel free to ask and I will be more than happy to offer suggestions based on my experiences with running things on an older slower pc.