[Crappy Laptop Links] [Crappy Laptop Web Page Buttons] [Windows 95 on a Crappy Laptop]
Welcome! I was inspired to create this little web page several years ago, after purchasing my first laptop - a crappy, used 386 laptop running Windows 3.11. I decided to chronicle the trials I went through to get this little laptop functioning on the Interent. I realized that there are a lot of these older computers (386, 486, early Pentiums) lying about, going for dirt-cheap on eBay and at local shops. They have a lot of life left in them, though!
Getting the proper software to get the most out of my little 386 laptop was a bit of a struggle. I thought I might put together some of the links I found when I was looking for Win3x software. I hope this web page will make it a little easier for anyone else with a 386 or 486 desktop or notebook computer to get the software and info that they need.
Please bear in mind that I am a newbie, especially about Windows 3x. I give may give you a little head start on certain Win3x stuff, but I still need to learn so much about it myself! I am by no means an expert.
I recently have begun to work on a Windows 95 section of my Crappy Laptop Page!
First off, I found the free Juno email program to be the easiest to use on my crappy laptop. It will run on a 386 with 4 megs of RAM (which is what my 386 crappy laptop had!) and it does not need for you to have an internet connection with an ISP like AOL or EarthLink. You will need at least a 9600 modem, though. Juno is also free! You can't beat that. This site has many older versions of software, including an old version of Juno. (This software with also work with Win95.) Please bear in mind that Juno only works in the United States.
It looks like Juno is no longer supporting this older (Windows 3.x compatable) software version. (Version 1.49.) They no longer have it on their website for download. The above link is from a non-Juno source. Who knows how long this link will be up. Juno makes it clear on their support site, if you have Windows 95 and install Juno 1.49, they will "make" you upgrade to their current version, 4.0. I have no idea what happens when you have Juno 1.49 on Windows 3.x though. Use at your own risk. My hunch is that it will work fine for a while longer.
I never did bother to find another email program for my little 386. Juno always suited me fine!
A QUEST FOR SUITABLE INTERNET ACCESS FOR A CRAPPY LAPTOP:
My ISP happens to be EarthLink. A few years ago (when I got this crappy laptop) I mail-ordered (free) some floppy disks from them to use in my crappy 386. While my laptop (with only FOUR megs of RAM) could not handle the copy of Netscape 3 that came bundled with EarthLink's software, their dial-up software was fabulous, and easy to install. EarthLink's 24-hour support was excellent too.
EarthLink no longer "officially" supports Windows 3.1. They will support Windows 95. (You can easily configure your Windows 95 for EarthLink or most other Dial-up ISPs. I did it all the time.)
I talked to an EarthLink representative and asked him what owners of older computers should do, and he suggested that they should call EarthLink support and ask to have the support person talk them through configuring their old Win 3.x computer. He also hinted that EarthLink's older "Total Access" software (which will support Win 3.x) is probably available for download somewhere on the Internet. However I haven't found any places to download it, but I suspect a more thorough search would unearth something! Whatever ISP you are going with, contact them (or visit their web site) and see what sort of software they offer for your Win3x computer. If you are desperate enough, you might want to consider AOL. You can find older AOL software at on this site. I recommend version 3, it should be okay for older computers.
Compuserve still supports Windows 3.1, but it requires at least a 486 or greater, with 16 megs of RAM.
BROWSER SOFTWARE FOR YOUR CRAPPY LAPTOP:
When it came to browsers, my 386 could not run Netscape 3. I was sure it would be the same with Internet Explorer 3 also, so I never put it through the trauma of finding out first hand...what's the point? The good news is, I happened to know of an excellent little browser that is documented to be able to work on systems as slow as my laptop's. It was an older version Opera. It worked!!! It was slow, it sometimes crashed, but with a 386 with 4 megs of RAM, I can't just blame Opera for that!!! If it weren't for Opera, I wouldn't have been able to use my crappy laptop on the internet at all. And, the nicest thing was, Opera's software fits onto a floppy! (Before I decided to buy my crappy laptop, I had Opera installed on it, to make sure it would run. The fact that it would run Opera was the big selling point in my buying the Crappy Laptop.) Unfortunately, I don't know where you can find an older version of Opera (I believe I was using Version 3). If you can find it, however, you are all set!
You can also search for an older version of Netscape (going all the way back to version 2), but most modern web pages will not display well on a really old version of Netscape.
This page created by J.R. Dunster. 2001 - 2009. This page created, with Homesite. Sorry, as far as I know there is no Win3x version of Homesite available.