Win XP is no more - Having backed up all the necessary files I needed (mainly my log-file) of which I keep back up copies in two drives I decided to re-load Win XP, so continued to delete the old partition and re-format etc... then re-install but it kept going into some sort of loop, after copying the main files it would stop, then start over, this happened four times over a one and a half hour period, and would not continue to the next stage of installation, I downloaded some disk utilities to check the system out and all seemed fine, having wasted a whole 4 hours last night I continued again this morning and have concluded the XP disk is corrupt - which makes this the second time this has happened as my old Win98 disk went the same way some years back, and always at a crucial moment - so now I was (Frankly - well stuffed).
So with XP effectively (Knackered) it HAD to be a linux system of some sort - bearing in mind this IS an old machine it needed to be a small linux distro, due to memory and disk limitations, so Puppy was the first choice, AND I needed the Pcmia network card working.
I first ran it from the live cd and it blitzed through at some speed, I could not beleive it was the same machine that idled under xp, and tried to use the various modules included to get the network card running but it was having none of it, although I did see the card fire up, it was not connecting and after an hour of this decided it too was a none starter - at this stage I was beginning to think this machine was now too old to put a reasonably modern O/S on, as most of the bigger up-to-date O/s's are somewhat bloated now (bit like win), and this machine really struggles big time even to load the necessary files into ram (265Mb) - then I remembered having got an old version of "Mepis" running a wireless connection some years ago, and after some rummaging found "Mepis Linux ver. 6.5", although I have to say at this point I was dubious about it loading as this distribution runs a full KDE desktop (Not the quickest).
Having selected a full clean install, stopping momentarily to select things like Keyboard layout/Language, and time-zones it chugged along surprisingly fast, finally setting passwords etc... then into re-boot from the hard disk.
First thing I needed to set up would be the network card (I had remembered the settings).. boot time - somewhere around 23 seconds into a full KDE desktop and best of all it detected the pcmia network card instantly.
This will probably be the last O/S installation on this machine - I reckon it will last for another year or so - have just done a disk check and Linux has turned up several bad sectors I suspect HDD failure at some stage - but for now, anyway it is running - and it's much snappier than XP - problem now is- getting logging software up and running, and digimodes ?!?!
I still think I need to get back to win for that as there soooo much more choice