Like many people, I have an old laptop…this one is really old – I am pretty sure it dates from 2005. Now having said that, it does have 2GB RAM and a 1.7GHz processor. It still trundles along without embarrassing itself. However the issue here is the Operating System, because Microsoft do not do a system to suit this machine.
It has run for years on Widows XP and has been fine, but of course, Microsoft do not support XP any more, so apart from vulnerabilities to malware etc.. some stuff just will not work any more. For instance, Dropbox has now decided that it will ‘drop’ XP users.
My laptop hard-drive had died and I had a spare 80GB drive hanging around. Now the laptop is not really up to the latest versions of Windows. Anything after XP is going to perform badly. I’ve seen machines of this vintage ‘upgrade’ to Windows 7, to become the slowest machines known to man. So basically, Microsoft was no good to me.
That’s when my thoughts turned to Linux, and the popular ‘Ubuntu’ that I had long thought about experimenting with. I did a few searches to find out which particular distribution (‘distro’) would be suitable for me and my ageing laptop. ‘Lubuntu’ popped up, which is apparently good for older hardware. I downloaded the ISO and burned it to a DVD. It will install from a working Windows environment, but I was starting with a blank HDD, so had to install from scratch.
I had a few problems getting started as there was an error that I was getting right at the start. After googling the error, I quickly discovered a fix. Running Lubuntu first as a trial run from the DVD, then when I saw it seemed to be working, I did the full install to hard drive. It went fairly smoothly and got me up and running a lot quicker than an XP install. One definite advantage of Linux is that everything worked (including the LAN and Wi-Fi), without me having to find drivers. My ‘normal’ routine involves using another PC to search the internet for drivers, and then transport them via USB stick.
I am able to see files on my NAS using the laptop, but the one thing I am currently struggling with is connecting to my Wi-Fi printer. I may try connecting it via USB to see if I get any joy that way…
The system takes a little time to get used to, but all in all I am getting quite good use out of an old laptop. They even do a version of Dropbox for Linux. I also downloaded a free (it’s all free!) sound recording program. Eventually, I got it to link up with my USB mixer. I used to use this laptop for sound recording, so if I can find some simpler software that can handle recording via USB, I’ll be more than happy. If I end up trying a different distro, I’ll be sure to post an update.