Revitalize old PCs with a Linux operating system.

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Revitalize old PCs with a Linux operating system.

Post by andyc on Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:03 pm

Whenever a computer comes into our Repair Cafe it almost always seems to be suffering from software rather than hardware issues. We all know Windows bogs down once the installation is getting a bit long in the tooth and it's also very prone to catching viruses.

For a good few years now I've not used Windows at all, but made the switch to a free Linux OS. There are loads of benefits but these are the main ones:

1. The software is free.

2. It doesn't bog down and it doesn't spy on you either (unlike Windows).

3. There are free alternatives to 3rd party software like Office, Photoshop, Movie Maker and many more. Some of these alternatives are actually way better than the paid programs.

4. A Linux OS can be very lightweight (depending on the exact version of linux you choose) so it's especially good on older or lower spec machines. Even top spec machines will run much faster than they do under Windows.

5. Linux is not likely to become infected with a virus.

6. Programmes you might want to install are almost always in a pre-configured repository, so you don't have to trawl the web looking for a download.

7. Your entire system and all the programs you have installed can be updated with a simple command.

8. The desktop can be changed to suit your personal preferences. Get rid of those silly windows 'tiles' once and for all!

And the list goes on!

There are lots of different versions or 'flavours' of linux. Personally I use Linux Mint running the Matte desktop, wich is very similar in how it appears on screen to Windows XP. Ubuntu is another popular one.

Most linux versions can be burned to a DVD or memory stick and booted from there. Once booted from the removable media you can try them out and when you find one you're happy with there's a simple graphical installer to click on that walks you through the installation process.

I would definitely recomment having a memory stick with something like Linux Mint or Ubuntu on it at every Repair Cafe.


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Re: Revitalize old PCs with a Linux operating system.

Post by adjman on Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:53 pm

It is an option, but a lot of people are very "used to" windows and find a shift to something else hard to get their heads around. I agree that Xubuntu is SUPERB as a lightweight that will run on just about anything, but it might need a few "how to" guides writing or finding to print out to go with it for folks that have never touched it before. As a techie I am happy to tinker and play around with Linux, but some home users might struggle with things like setting up a printer or getting it connected to home WiFi - worth having a demo system at the cafe for people to try though!
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Re: Revitalize old PCs with a Linux operating system.

Post by andyc on Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:06 pm

I always use Linux Mint with the Matte desktop. It's the nearest thing I could find to Windows XP, so most people get used to it no problem.

It's also worth noting that many computer problems that cause them to be brought into a Repair Cafe in the first place are actually caused by Windows! I always make a point of explaining how windows exploits your data and does stuff in the background you might not want it to.

I hear what you say about linux being for more tech savy people and I think that was once the case. But providing you choose the roight disros, that's definitely a thing of the past and the days of having to use things like the command line are long gone.

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Re: Revitalize old PCs with a Linux operating system.

Post by adjman on Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:19 pm

Yeah, good points made there. I think the idea of having a "demo" version on a laptop for people to try out is a great idea to answer the "what can I do with this old laptop/pc" question - I'll download mint and have a look at it in a VM and maybe put together some how to docs for common tasks
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Re: Revitalize old PCs with a Linux operating system.

Post by adjman on Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:23 pm

andyc wrote:many computer problems that cause them to be brought into a Repair Cafe in the first place are actually caused by Windows!

So very true! Hence why I have boot CD/DVDs and USB sticks with all the major flavours of Windows on to repair broken installs!
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