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I have a REALLY old Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop with Intel Pentium 4. I was wondering whether it would work. It has a P4 processor, 511mb memory and I have tried the 32-bit version of 12.04. I dont know whether it doesn't support a live CD/DVD (I used a DVD) or if it's because of my using the Toshiba Disc Creator's "Image to Disc" function.

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did the dvd boot properly? did you saw a purple screen? Please configure BIOS to boot from cd/dvd if not. – Web-E Jun 15 '12 at 9:20

Ubuntu System Requirements:

700 MHz processor (about Intel Celeron or better)
512 MiB RAM (system memory)
5 GB of hard-drive space (or USB stick, memory card or external drive but see LiveCD         for an alternative approach)
VGA capable of 1024x768 screen resolution
Either a CD/DVD drive or a USB port for the installer media
Internet access is helpful

Yes, Ubuntu 12.04 should work with your PC.

Try burning the Ubuntu disk with a well known cd creator such as Daemon Tools or Alcohol 120%. Ensure that CD/DVD is on top of your Boot Order list in your BIOS.

Here's a link to documentation where you can read more about system requirements:

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Did you consider trying Lubuntu - the LXDE GUI should be much more responsive on your machine.

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You can try and boot up the PC with the live CD/DVD and it should work. My hardware is very similar to yours and this works very efficiently for me.

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If you have a pendrive, You can easily turn your pendrive in a Live Ubuntu System to try if it will work. Go to Pendrive linux to download the tiny tool, and Read and prepare your pendrive as Live System.

If this method works, Your computer can run Ubuntu. As bettyboo says, You can test Lubuntu - Which uses lightweight Window manager LXDE instead of Compiz.

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