Help please with Windows XP

I never thought I'd be writing those words! Firstly, thanks to everyone in the past who helped with advice and suggestions for my ailing Acer Aspire laptop. It has survived until now, albeit without its keyboard, but finally gave up the ghost a few days ago. I really need a second computer (have Dell desktop which is strictly for work), so a friend stepped in and gave me one his son had. It's a Philips Multimedia System C650.

This machine is running unbearably slow. Boot up is not too bad. However, if I launch, say, Google Chrome, and then close it, the page slowly disappears from the top down and this can take a couple of minutes. Also, being a responsbile father, my friend installed Contrôle Parental, can't remember the password, and I can't get rid of it (it requires the password to uninstall).

I've uninstalled two or three anti-virus programmes, Avast, AVG, and one from Orange (which I think is Kaspersky), and installed Bullguard.

I've run Malwarebytes (free version), and between Bullguard and Malwarebytes, cleaned up a few dodgy-looking files.

There is no data that needs to be saved on this hard drive, but I don't have a Windows XP installation disk.

So, if you're still reading at this point, thanks, and I would appreciate any advice about the pros and cons of installing another OS. Free memory is 138GB (total 149GB). I cannot remember how to find out what RAM there is.

Thanks in advance if anyone can offer any help or advice, and sorry this was so long.

My mistake, Krister. I looked at the front of the machine and saw "Phillips" which in fact is the manufacturer of the DVD player. The actual make is unknown. It just says Multimedia Computer System C650. In any case, the brand surely is irrelevant? It's old slow, and probably useless. However, I will use it to experiment installing and using Ubuntu or Linux.

Here's an article that includes some tips on switching to Linux

By the way, "Philips Multimedia System C650", is that really the name of the computer?
Google finds Toshiba Satellite C650 and separately Philips speaker systems, but no Philips computers.

A Live CD will let you try various flavours of Linux, try a few till you decide what you like.

The problem with dear old Linux is that people tell you "perfect for using on old/redundant machines" without specifying how old or how redundant.

When I have installed versions in the past on reasonably fast machines you can turn on all the goodies and it works like a champ.

When I have put lightweight versions of Linux on old junkers I have found that IF I want a decent media player, a featured web browser or just semi-decent performance it is just not there. Slow hardware is slow hardware no matter what OS you put on it :(

Linux Mint is a good alternative for an old machine like that. The other one could be Lubuntu (Light Ubuntu)

Thank you Roger. As stated above in replies to other members, I am going to give Linux a try.

Thank you very much Steve. Very kind offer, however, I'm leaning more and more towards Carl's original opinion - i.e., use as a doorstop! I am going to try Linux as I've nothing to lose, and I suspect this machine might be better suited to a lighter less clunky OS than any Windows. Thanks again.

If you like Windows XP but want to try Linux I would suggest Linux Mint 17 32 bit Mate.

Click on one of the download mirrors and once downloaded burn it to a blank DVD which you can then boot from.You can then try it before you install and see if you like it. Mint 17 runs well on old low spec machines.It should be pre-installed with Thunderbird Mail And Firefox Web Browser.

You could try booting from a Linux CD to see a) whether the machine will run it and b) you like it. I like Puppy which is nice and light Alternatively you could reinstall XP from scratch, I could send you a CD if you want.

Well, I'd certainly be up for trying Linux. Never used it before. What's the best way? Download to thumb drive or burn DVD? How do you get it to boot up from either? Won't it try to automatically launch Windows?

I resisted temptation to say 'Try Linux' but it may be your only option :(

You could also just throw on a hacked copy of XP. The machine already has a licence so it is not exactly crime of the century.

Thanks for that Al. I don't think this machine could cope with Win7 or Win8 and in any case, I don't have an installation disk for either, as the dead laptop shipped with Win7 pre-installed. I did make a set of rescue disks when I bought the Win 7 laptop. Same story with the Dell.

I installed Windows 7 on my low-powered netbook after Microsoft ended support for XP. The process went painlessly -- I just stuck the Windows 7 disc into an external DVD reader and the computer did the rest.

It was an OEM version of the software bought from Amazon UK (also available from and I understand, strictly speaking, this should be sold only with a new computer. However, it registered properly with Microsoft and there have been no problems over the past couple of years. The only downside is that Microsoft will not provide any technical assistance with OEM versions: you're supposed to back to the company that sold you your hypothetical new computer.

The other solution is to track down and fix the problems in your Philips. This could be a lifetime's project and it would be simpler to start anew.

You can also buy OEM versions of Windows 8.1, which you will be able to "upgrade" to Windows 10 at no cost later this year. Many people say they have problems getting to grips with 8.1, but many others don't. Either way, installation of a new operating system should make a significant difference, unless there's a fundamental problem with your computer.

Good luck

I'll persevere with it for now, Carl. Can't give it much time. What you've got there for your Dad seems excellent. I may well consider something like that. I only need the tower. No gaming, as I said, and no streaming movies, etc., so just need something basic, which is why I thought about installing Ubuntu or one of the other OS systems so I could get rid of Controle Parental which on a machine of this age and speed (or lack thereof), takes up too much CPU etc.

I've run Defrag and Disk cleanup, etc. so we'll see. Thanks again for the time.

IF you are prepared to accept a slow machine then this PC would work..... just.

By comparison I just sent THIS to My daddy's house. 4Gb of ram, Quad core CPU and (when it arrives from eBuyer) a 120Gb SSD.

Without the SSD it cost £64 which to be honest is overpriced**.

With the SSD the whole system will cost about £100.

I know from experience that this combination will make for a VERY fast and VERY reliable PC for normal desktop or Media Centre use. Not a lot of money I think you will agree.

The only thing it would be rubbish at would be gaming but it will run Photoshop and Dreamweaver with ease.

** I had a separate reason for having that exact model which you would laugh at if I told you.

You are probably right (as always) Carl. I merely wanted it for Facebook, Gmail, etc. I don't use Filmon, Netflix, etc., and don't do any gaming (or whateverit's called these days) so it was just to avoid cluttering up t'other computer which is for work. Thanks anyway. Hope all is well with you.

500mb of ram and a Pentium (4?) 2.50Ghz......

Sorry to be a grump but the only option is to bin it Sheila. It is a doorstop.

P.S. the ram is 504 MB and its running a Pentium 2.50 GHz.