Old Editing Software for Old Computer

spikemtz's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/18/2010 - 10:34pm

I currently have two desktop PC's, and I wanna use them for editing! 

However... THEY ARE A LITTLE DATED! Here are the specs:


  • Windows XP Media Center Edition
  • Intel Pentium 4HT Processor (can't remember the speed)
  • 2GB RAM 


Windows Vista Home Basic

Intel Celeron D 3.33 GHz


What software can I run on these computers?

Please, don't give me any of that "upgrade your PC" crap... I can't afford to! 

What the heck were people using 5+ years ago?! 

P.S. I would edit on an Amiga with a Video Toaster if I had to!



Jack Wolcott's picture
Last seen: 20 hours 48 min ago
Joined: 01/02/2008 - 11:51pm
Plus Member

"Upgrade your computer" isn't "crap;" it's reality. However, if you can't afford to, that's reality too.


So, the simplest answer is "old software." That is, old versions. For example, I ran Vegas 4.0 and then Vegas Pro 8.0c on an XP computer for several years. Worked fine and still does. Any version earlier than 9.0 will likely run without difficulty. Sony Movie Studio 9 should run on either computer. In both cases 2gb of ram may be the deal breaker, but it's worth a try.


Chances are you'll have a tough time editing HD on your computers; I doubt that either has the computing power to handle the files. But maybe.


Windows Movie Maker will run on either computer and is probably already loaded and ready to go. I suspect an early version of Adobe Premiere will run if you can find one. Corel Movie Maker should run. You'll have to do a bit of research to see if Edius, Pinnacle and similar programs can run. They may.


Nothing 64 bit will run, which rules out many programs and program updates released in the past 18 months or so.


Frankly, if this were my problem I'd turn to Ebay and see what I could find of older software editing programs. 


And hey, I'd edit on an Amiga with a Video Toaster too if I had one! Love those falling sheep!!


Good luck.


paulears's picture
Last seen: 2 hours 20 min ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am

If they are older machines, you'll still need bags of drive storage, but they're not to expensive.


I've still got an XP machine with CS3 on it, and truthfully it was never a wizz when new! Premiere 6.5 was very popular at one time and is still about - however, most people back then were capturing composite video or maybe Y/C via a dedicated card, so getting video into the machine could be tricky. USB2 may not be supported, let alone firewire. So you need to look to your video sources, to see how you'll het stuff in and out of the computer.

Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

" I currently have two desktop PC's, and I wanna use them for editing! "


You may hit the wall if you try editing AVCHD video files on your older machines . . . . at least be prepared to endure glacial progress when rendering. Stuff all the RAM you can into your computer #2 . . .  and you might investigate whether you could replace the OS with Win7. Do you have a neighbor kid who's a whiz at computers who might be able to build an appropriate machine for you?


Rick Crampton

Harlin Brookes's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 06/16/2009 - 6:28pm

I used  premiere cs1-3 on an xp machine but that was for DV not HD..slow but workable.

also..upgrade your computer!!




Give the Bride What She Wants!

billmecca's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 08/27/2010 - 3:31pm

I edited a documentary under Win 98 with a Celeron 400 and less than a gig of ram (a gig was unheard of then. ) Used a DC10+ card for video capture and a soundblaster for audio and edited with Ulead's Media Studio Pro 6.5   It can be done, and I still have that machine, though its DOA, I think the drives died from non use.lol  It won't be very responsive, but today's standards, and rendertimes will be immense. I had to render that doc in smaller sections to get past the 2 gig file size restriction.  My first Avid system  when I upgraded the RAM it had a whopping 88 Megabytes of RAM.  I was shooting Hi-8 at that time and the software had never even heard of High Definition. ;-)


If you have XP on them you might just try Windows Movie Maker, or an early version of Vegas, anything stronger and you will pull your hair out in frustration.


FWIW I just picked up a used Toshiba Tecra on ebay for $150 shipped, 2 gig ram, one HD and a core2duo processor and I have done some simple projects on it using my Zi8 footage and Vegas Movie Studio HD11.

EarlC's picture
Last seen: 2 years 7 months ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am

I have FIVE Amiga Toaster Flyers that all can/should still function, just ran out of room and went to different resources (The Mac and related video editing software) when Amiga went bellyup not due to its technical difficulties but some serious mismanagement.


Anyway, with the working models I also have scads of software, unique programs and even extra hardware to sustain, repair or even build more.


I've always planned, when I could find the room and the time, to get at least a two-unit setup and play around with it (for montage work and animation they're STILL awesome machines ... NO, really!) but life just keeps flying past so fast I cannot seem to make it stand still long enough to get around to what with all the other projects I have going with writing books and video production.


I've promoted sale of the whole shebang a time or two, but my bottom line is $5K for the works and it won't leave here, and I won't give up on one day actually setting one or two back up for some fun and production work, unless that price is met. Some would say good luck, I say, sooner or later, if nothing else just because it would be retro cool for somebody and worth the investment.


Back to the POST here, People are putting together awesome video using a smartphone or pad and free software, just depends on what a person really wants to do, expectations and time considerations.


Businesswise it is the upgrade crap that has to be considered simply to stay competitive, but not only that when you consider that software and hardware upgrades have a way of generating a unique status of obsolescence.

Rocky M's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 03/12/2010 - 5:53am

In my opinion Adobe Premiere Elements 3 would best suit the PC's specs you note. I have seen copies of PE3 for sale on ebay for $10. Suggest you stick with PE3 as the later PE versions (e.g.PE6-9 etc)  require more computer resources. Obviously the better specs your computer has, the faster and easier the task of editing becomes.  


Another advantage of PE3 is that a PE3 prel. edit files are able to be imported directly in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 edit timeline.


Given how long it has been since PE3 was first launched, I continue to be amazed what editing and production features PE3 achieves, by comparison to the features of today's Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 whose ongoing multiple upgrades continue to eat into my retirement fund.


Good luck

spikemtz's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/18/2010 - 10:34pm

I don't plan on doing anything with HD video. I just a need a list of the best/most popular editing software of the late 90's and early 2000's.That's it. Willing to do the research. Just need a place to start.

paulears's picture
Last seen: 2 hours 20 min ago
Joined: 11/05/2006 - 8:36am

Premiere and Avid without doubt Avid was quite happy on PCs with a clever and expensive video card. Still got it in the garage somewhere. Useless by todays standards.


My old Premiere and Avid came on a pile of floppies too.


I still have the discs, but the real killer is that support stopped years ago, and I'm not sure if you'll even be able to register the serials now?


I've got some Serious Magic products from 2004ish - I cannot install them on my new edit machine because the regsitartion servers were shut down when Adobe bought them - you could find the same thing.

sxdxdx's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 1:34am

Another advantage of PE3 is that a PE3 prel. edit files are able to be imported directly in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 edit timeline.

CBanks19552000's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 11/06/2012 - 12:26pm

I used Adobe Premiere Pro,Adobe Premiere HD Pro,and CS3, it will work on your older computer, however I am in the market for the CS6 and a 64 Bit computer, the older versions of Premiere won't work on HD, but it is fast enought for SD, also I distributed lots of video in SD over Youtube and it looks great, it all depends on what you want to do

cinegaff's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 11/07/2012 - 11:02am

Hey i understand your frustration. My computer that I always have with me is a $300 netbook. 1.6ghz processor, 1GB Ram.

I tried lots of different software, sony stuff seems to work alright, or old adobe stuff. But regardless of what you use, you need to convert the source footage to an edit friendly format. For Standard Definition, that would be DV format. For HD, I don't really know. I've heard DNxHD, but results may vary.

You can edit on an old computer, but there will be trade offs. For one, if you don't have a fast CPU, don't use highly compressed codecs. They use more space, but make editing much more reasonable. Also if you don't have lots of RAM get a faster hard drive. A 1TB 7200 HDD is under $100, or if you don't have tons of video files, try an SSD, a 128 GB can be found for a similar price. Put project files that are being used on the SSD when editing and then when you aren't using them, put them on an external.

There are ways you can improve your editing preformance on old computers. For one, instead of editing the entire project at once, try to have only a scene at a time open, as it saves tons of memory and makes media access times much faster. Editing on old hardware, your pretty much limited to cuts or simple fades, and simple titles. Also stay away from the heavy effects. If you do wanna add effects, try do it at the end of the editing process so it doesn't kill the computer resources durring the rest of the edit.


My personal set up on my computer is a little odd  and I wouldn't reccommend unless your comfortable with computers, but it works.
I dual boot my Netbook with AVlinux (which is optimized to save cpu cycles and RAM)
In that distribution I use primarily Kdenlive to edit with.


Transcode all source footage to DV and then open in Kdenlive.

Kdenlive is not great, but it has unimited tracks and timelines, and has the nice cutting  and trimming tools.
For a rough cut or a video with just simple cuts, it works in a snap.

If you need something more "professional", or if your gonna be doing much above the youtube and family videos, the unfortunate truth is that you just need to suck up and shell out the cash for a new system.