Late '00s laptops and older windows?

Very much a noob here so be gentle... I'm assuming this is the correct sub-forum.
I've just dug out an old, barely used laptop that my wife acquired circa 2007/08ish it's an HP Compaq 6720s it's got a 2Ghz 'Celeron R' and at some point I bumped it up to 2GB of memory. It's still running it's original bloated vista install quite slowly (was always slow, this is why she gave up on it).
I would like to set it up as a bit of a "B-team laptop" for general family use (mostly me I suspect) i.e. web/email/office stuff maybe the odd retro game, without throwing more money at hardware.
I've managed to run Linux mint on it from an SD card in the past and it ran well, but if it's going to be used by the whole family it probably needs some flavour of windows installing/dual booting.
Now the obvious option is probably win7 the specs say there was a version of this laptop that came with Win 7 installed (presumably the version with a Core2 Duo) I could download the installer and I have an OEM key code for w7 on the side of a desktop which is now on win10 (will that work?).
I could try win 10 on it but I can't imagine it will run much quicker with either 7 or 10 and really where's the fun in that.
My next thought was XP, should be stable and should able to find drivers... But I've got an itch to try Win 2k on it I have fond memories of win 2k, but given the late '00s date of the hardware and the fact that it's a laptop probably with some proprietary quirks is that a viable or sensible choice?

Advice/suggestions sought...


  • With some pushing (and blackwingcat's mods) I was able to coax 2000 onto a 2012 Thinkpad x230 tablet.
    Your concern would be the SATA controller as I doubt Compaq enabled the IDE compatibility mode. So you'll have to slipstream that as well as 2K SP4 for better ACPI.
    XP will easily run provided you slipstream the SATA drivers.
  • Honestly, for the suggested use case, I'd stick with Linux. Mint is certainly a fine choice. CloudReady would also be a nice option especially for simplicity.
  • If you really want to use an older version of Windows on it XP is your best bet. Ideally you should run Linux on it if you're going to be using it for modern tasks (such as the things you mentioned: web, email and office stuff).
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