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Hardware is a laptop with first generation Athlon 1400, 128MB, very slow 30GB HDD. Windows XP is running barrely smooth with some tunning.

MS-Office is the only option and the three options in question can be good candidates in this particular case.

It could be Office 97, but I discard by myself. I have very bad experience in the past. Very old versions probably has a lot of bugs didn't fixed.

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3 Answers

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MSO 2000 is easier on the system resources than XP/2003, although only by a small margin.

however, i'd choose 2003 over 2000 (Office XP is out of the question, 2003 is basically a major bugfix release) because of the Office Compatibility Pack, which enables MSO XP/2003 to handle MSO 2007 documents, which is not an option for MSO 2000.

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That's what I was considering but I have no experience to be totally affirmative on that. The person who will use the setup don't need a super fast application, just as fastest as possible. –  bigown Dec 10 '09 at 20:57
    
having said that, with only 128 MB RAM anything will be painfully slow. consider upgrading the memory to 512MB (should be affordable) and all is well. –  Molly7244 Dec 10 '09 at 21:23
    
The compatibility pack is available for office 2000 now. –  Dan Neely May 11 '12 at 14:02
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I think it will depend on what OS you will be running on that computer ... XP, if I remember correctly, has higher requirements than that.

But in general, the rule of thumb goes, the older the smaller the requirements. So I'd go with '97 as you suggested actually. What bugs were you thinking of ?

I use office sometimes extensively, and never found it particularly buggy. But then again, I've been using it since the early 90-ties (which actually is not such a bad idea - maybe even an older version ?)

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OS information added. Thanks. Security bugs. Office 97 is totally unsupported now. Office 97 came in worst age for MS. They was creating products very quickly for reach internet hype and they liked to think security was secondary in the 90's. Only if the three options doesn't fit I give a try to Office. I almost discard Office 2000. –  bigown Dec 10 '09 at 18:23
    
Yeah, well ... but try to understand, you are giving some contradictory requirements ... you want to run XP on an old computer ... want to run it fast, and want to have security features of the latest version ? It just won't do. If it was my choice, I'd go for speed and responsiveness ... it can get on your head faster than any "security features". –  ldigas Dec 10 '09 at 18:27
    
I get Windows XP running quite fast. I know Office won't be so fast, so I need the most light-weighted version without drop security. Windows XP still supported. Office 2003 too. I don't know if Office 200 or XP still supported but they are not too old, certainly bugs was fixed more recently and MS had a new mindset for security. –  bigown Dec 10 '09 at 20:51
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I'm unsure about those three options, but if you only need Word you could try Abiword which is substantially lighter than MS Word and free as well.

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Or Google Docs ... for that matter ? It has all the basic/and most of advanced options for the general public. –  ldigas Dec 10 '09 at 18:19
    
this is not entirely accurate, especially when dealing with very big documents. if you want it REALLY light and dead fast, grab Jarte. a turbo-charged yet feature-packed Wordpad variant of sorts, and able to handle DOCX. –  Molly7244 Dec 10 '09 at 18:24
    
I've done some several documents in docs, up to (give or take) 300 pg. It was ok. But yes, I agree with you in geeneral ... only he doesn't want wordpad ... he wants office. –  ldigas Dec 10 '09 at 18:28
    
It needn't be dead fast but must be MSO. –  bigown Dec 10 '09 at 20:59
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