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Author Topic: programmes that use little system resources.  (Read 5156 times)

tomos

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programmes that use little system resources.
« on: June 09, 2006, 05:02:13 AM »
hi
I'm trying to help someone with an ancient computer (64MB ram, dont know bout processer, Win98)
Well, they're learning to type at the moment using some note programme, but also want to go in internet.

What I'm looking for is recommendations for programmes (preferably free :)) that use little system resources.

Came out with AVGantivirus after reading this thread:
http://www.donationc...40.msg25840#msg25840

am using foxitreader for PDFs -
Wondering if its better in general to use "portable" software - eg if using Firefox, would portable version be leaner?

With browsers was thinking K-Meleon might be lighter than FF. Opera is bigger programme size but i guess that doesnt mean much?

also wondering about "writing" software. Openoffice is very slow to start on my computer i find, but it might be better if I just installed the write part. Then theres Abiword. Any othr ideas there ?

Will prob just start trying things out but would be very happy to hear any recomendations :up:
thanks
tom
Tom

tsaint

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2006, 05:13:06 AM »
Word Processor: Atlantis Nova (freeware) can be downloaded from http://www.freedownl...om/Reviews/r730.html
It has a commercial version ($35), at http://www.atlantiswordprocessor.com/en/
Both are light and quick to load.

f0dder

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2006, 05:14:21 AM »
I use Foxit Reader myself, but interestingly enough it's rendering engine is a LOT slower than Adobe Reader. You only notice this on complex PDFs, but for those PDFs rendering in Adobe Reader might take a second for a page, while I can see the page being composited over ~2-4 seconds in Foxit... on my dualcore amd64 4400. Something to keep in mind for slow systems - you might be better off finding an old (v5 or so) adobe reader.

For browser on such an ancient system, I would suggest something IE based, since nothing really beats it for speed/memory use, unless you find some small obscure browser with incompatibilities. Maxthon or Avant browser are probably the best options.

OpenOffice... eek. I tried it on my pentium-mmx@200/64ram system, and it was awful. Funny enough, Office 2000 was a *lot* faster, even with all the accusations of bloat. AbiWord might be worth a look though, I think it's "real machine code" whereas OpenOffice is java.
- carpe noctem

tomos

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2006, 06:08:45 AM »
thanks!

I downloading Atlantis, looks good!

Also:
I forgot to ask about an email client??!!

Tom

app103

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2006, 06:54:02 AM »
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 (damn IE) :P

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.

f0dder

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2006, 07:03:23 AM »
Firefox for a machine with 64meg ram is a definite no-go unless you're a masochist. On the other hand, there shouldn't be any reason to go as minimalistic as dIE - standard IE was fine on pmmx-200/64meg. However, standard IE is way too unsafe and featureless, hence the IE-based Avant or Maxthon. Haven't tried Maxthon myself, but Avant was pretty lightweight, had popupblocker, tabs, etc.

Even when removing unnecessary plugins, acrobat reader v6 is still slow on old machines. Really, do try to get a copy of v5.

Of course that's just my observations from when I was stuck with that pmmx-200 box for a couple of months, and my demands on speed might be higher than most people... since they tend to look weirdly at me when I saw firefox, openoffice etc. are slow and bloated :)
- carpe noctem

tsaint

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2006, 07:51:13 AM »
How about "off by one" browser for a lightweight free browser?
Have a look at http://offbyone.com/offbyone/

f0dder

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2006, 07:57:09 AM »
It's a cute little browser, but unless you have *very* basic needs I'm afraid it doesn't cut the cheese - especially the lack of CSS support (try looking at donationcoder.com in it :O).

But a nice little find anyway  :Thmbsup:
- carpe noctem

JavaJones

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2006, 06:34:06 PM »
OpenOffice does not use Java for the core, as far as I know. Java is used for macro support and other things, if I recall correctly. You *can* turn off Java use and it speeds up loading time and general use, although I do fine it still slower than it should be. This is the main barrier to me switching everyone in my office to it and that's very frustrating. I don't know of a general office solution that is faster and free, but there have been some good suggestions from others. If formatted text editing is not a necessity than I recommend PSPad as a light but extremely capable general text editor. Although it's not for the faint of heart or novice user.

I actually find Adobe Reader 7 to be faster than almost any previous verson. *Maybe* 5 is faster, but certainly not 6. 7 is slow but the main issue with it is RAM use. If you have enough RAM it's reasonably fast, it's just on lower RAM systems it bogs heavily due to swap file use. In any case Foxit is much better for the majority of uses. I haven't seen it bog down much on more complex PDF's, but I admit I don't read complex PDF's much. Hopefully someone on an old system isn't doing that anyway. :D

For a browser yeah I'd say an IE variant probably would be lowest on resources, but be careful with using a tabbed browser (of any kind) and then opening a lot of tabs. Opera is probably a close 2nd to IE and is actually faster in general operation, but if memory use is the concern it might not be better. It does seem at least comparable to Maxthon, etc. though if you'll be using tabbed browsing and as I said it's faster (measurably so).

Finally, AVG is a good choice for a light AV application. CA eTrust is also available for free and is fairly light, but not as much as AVG I think.

Ultimately you'll probably have to make some sacrifices to get decent functionality with low resource use these days. For example using Wordpad for all document editing - very basic, but hey it works! ;) If this is acceptable then all should be well. Otherwise tell 'em to spend just a couple hundred bucks and upgrade.

- Oshyan

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2006, 12:22:35 AM »
...also wondering about "writing" software....
freeware alternatives to expensive software for Windows

Xtort.net offers daily updates of hundreds of pages which list thousands of freeware alternatives to expensive software for Windows. Every software program listed on this site is freeware. All of the applications listed here were personally selected -- and to the best of our knowledge contain no spyware or malware of any kind.

floppy office

Floppy Office is a collection of small, self contained no-install office software applications which enable the end use access to every tool, utility and program imaginable for home, business, and student users alike. All of the self-contained, standalone applications require no installation, whatsoever, and for this reason make the perfect companion software package for your USB stick. All one needs to do is to extract all the zip files containing each application to their USB, configure them to their liking, and they are all set.


Portable USB Apps


portablepolyedit.sfx.exe
« Last Edit: June 10, 2006, 03:17:10 AM by 369 »

f0dder

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2006, 03:07:53 PM »
Hm, if OpenOffice isn't JAVA at it's core, there's really *no* excuse for it being so slow and bloated.
- carpe noctem

JavaJones

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2006, 03:54:10 PM »
Agreed f0dder. I'd really like to see someone make OOo.org leaner and more efficient. It seems like they've done pretty well as far as functionality to this point. Now if they focus on optimization they'd have a real winner.

- Oshyan

tomos

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2006, 01:41:31 AM »
hey, thanks everyone for all the help & advice ;D

I'm downloading stuff as I write.
I have the Atlantis nova, def. have a Acrobat 5 on disk somewhere. Using processexp myself, (didnt realise no taskmanager in 98)
Going to try the Offbyone browser, wont have to worry bout flashblock with that! Reckon its fine for a beginner ;)

Happy to get the links for portable stuff - Floppy office has an email client as well, super!
anyone know what portablepolyedit.sfx.exe is? found something in Russian bout it ...

Ultimately you'll probably have to make some sacrifices to get decent functionality with low resource use these days. For example using Wordpad for all document editing - very basic, but hey it works! ;) If this is acceptable then all should be well. Otherwise tell 'em to spend just a couple hundred bucks and upgrade.

True for ya!

Yeah, re-Office, i find it very slow - use wordprocessers very little myself but its always nice to find smaller faster programmes no matter how much memoryetc. you have. (I find myself struggling at times with 512)
thanks all again,
tom

Tom

rjbull

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Re: programmes that use little system resources.
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2006, 03:53:49 AM »
I forgot to ask about an email client??!!

GeminiSoft Pimmy?  See DC thread here