Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

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Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby scruffy » Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:51 pm

I was given a Dell Inspiron 1520 that I want like to pass along to my sister who is not computer savvy. I'd like her to be able to use the laptop for a couple years, at least.

The laptop already has Windows XP installed. Dell support has drivers for XP and Windows Vista (32-bit). I'm looking for advice on what I should do in terms of an OS install...I'm considering the following three alternatives:

1. Just send her the laptop as-is. Should I be concerned about the lack of Windows XP security updates? I will make sure there is some antivirus and internet security app installed, but should she limit the types of activities she does with the computer? (e.g., no shopping, etc.)

2. Purchase a cheap copy of Windows Vista. I can download the relevant drivers and give the laptop a couple years of extra life.

3. Install Windows 7. Is it possible to install Windows 7 on a laptop that doesn't officially support it? Will Windows 7 find drivers for the hardware that Dell doesn't provide?

What would you recommend?
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Re: Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby Karlsweldt » Sun Sep 28, 2014 3:57 pm

Win XP is sort of "walking the plank". May be hard to get all the updates, but check the MS site. The IE browser is loosing favor with Web sites.. not secure enough. Firefox and other browsers still honor Win XP, but for how long? Same with most antivirus and firewall programs. Minimal, Win XP must have SP3 installed to be viable.
You could upgrade to Win Vista, but it too is short on longevity.
Win 7 or Win 8 would be a better bet, but can the unit meet minimal requirements?
For upgrade to Win 7 or Win 8, minimum needs:
1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

Windows Vista Home Basic needs:
800-megahertz (MHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 800-MHz 64-bit (x64) processor
512 megabytes (MB) of system memory
Note On system configurations that use system memory as graphics memory, at least 448 MB of system memory must be available to the operating system after some memory is allocated for graphics.
DirectX 9-class graphics card
32 MB of graphics memory
20-gigabyte (GB) hard disk that has 15 GB of free hard disk space
Internal or external DVD drive

As to drivers, if the OS being installed is newer than the computer and devices, there should be appropriate drivers in the install library. If the OS being installed is older than the computer and devices, specific drivers may be needed.
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Re: Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby scruffy » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:18 pm

Thanks for the info, Karlsweldt.

The computer has a 2.4Ghz Core2 Duo CPU with 4GB of RAM and 100GB hard drive, so I assume that Vista and Win 7 are both compatible options.

Win7 was definitely released after this computer was released. So what does it mean that Dell doesn't support Win 7 on this machine? Does this suggest that I will have any difficulty getting the right drivers for Win7?
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Re: Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby Mark H » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:41 am

If you can, run the Windows 7 upgrade adviser. Should let you know if hardware is compatible. Win 7 has a surprising number of drivers included.
As a general rule, if Vista drivers are available, Win 7 should work.
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Re: Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby Karlsweldt » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:13 am

Normally, when a company notes the unit does not support a recent OS version, it hasn't been tested or certified for that.
But yes, Vista or Win 7 or 8 should have appropriate drivers for all features. Check with the MS site as to updating drivers, if needed. Don't go with "third-party" drivers.. they may have malicious bits!
You can upgrade directly to Vista, but not to Win 7 or later. That requires a full, fresh install. MS recommends a specific program to migrate your files and programs into the new install.. but a lot of reactivation or registrations will be needed.
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/wind ... 7#T1=tab01
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Re: Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby evasive » Wed Oct 01, 2014 12:33 am

Someone has done the work for this one, even for windows 8.1:
http://dellwindowsreinstallationguide.c ... -7-32-bit/

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Re: Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby Mr T » Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:17 am

Why bother with windows, why not get Ubuntu or Linux Mint.. Simple to use and pick up.. Unless she wants to use bloatware like itunes and M$ office....
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Re: Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby evasive » Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:10 am

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Re: Best OS Alternative for Inspiron 1520 w/ XP?

Postby scruffy » Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:59 pm

Thanks to everyone who responded to my question...you've all be extremely helpful!
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