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Donald Sebastian Leung
Donald Sebastian Leung

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Giving a new life to a 15 year old computer

My dad replaces his laptop every 5 years or so and simply puts away his older laptops to be forgotten. Among them was a 15 year old(!) Sony Vaio laptop which has long outlived its usefulness with only 1G of RAM and running a Windows Vista for Business long past its support lifecycle.

Or so most people may think. My mom was cleaning up some old stuff in our apartment and stumbled upon these abandoned laptops among other things and suggested to just dispose of them and move on. But, being an enthusiastic newcomer to the world of the desktop Linux, I said, "Why not give them to me and see if I can give them a new life?"

So I found an old USB stick with only 1G of storage capacity, burned an Alpine Linux extended ISO to it, got the ancient laptop to boot from USB media and replaced Windows with it. The installation process was quite straightforward - I had to sort out WiFi issues initially but following this guide step by step resolved them within 15 minutes. And now I have a brand-new command-line workstation fully capable of running 3 Docker containers at once to power a voting app written in Node.js 😄

Well, that's what I did with my dad's old laptops that might've otherwise ended up in the bin. What about you? What do you do with your old laptops (or tablets, smartphones, etc.)?

P.S. Happily typing up this article from a 5 year old HP laptop running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (previously Windows 8) 😉

Discussion (3)

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glabrie profile image
Guillaume

Recycling old machines is always a worthy goal! Sometimes, you can see that some use doesn't need that much anyway.
A kitchen computer is a great use of an old laptop. Checking out recipes and putting on music isn't demanding at all - and with Linux, it's normally smooth sailing!

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peterugah profile image
peterugah

Good use for old laptops

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pedroassuncao profile image
Pedro Assunção

setup ubuntu server and install pihole to block ads on all devices of your internet.
Pihole can run on a raspberry too so i think your old computer is capable.
check the website
pi-hole.net/