Author Topic: What to do with old laptop?  (Read 1363 times)

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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2018, 04:15:50 PM »
As far as I can tell from various system info interrogations it's the "Mobile Intel(R) 4 Series Express Chipset Family", which is meaningless to me. As far as I can tell from internet search, this chipset is not compatible with Windows 10 although I've no idea how to really know.

There were models with NVIDIA GeForce but not this one apparently.

Maybe you can run your stopwatch and Excel in Linux with WINE or CrossOver. It does not appear to me straightforward to predetermine, maybe a Linux user can comment.

For fun you could run the Win7 update advisor to see what it says about your machine's compatibility with that OS,

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20

Hope I'm not wasting your time.
No time wasting, if anything I'm looking for little projects for the months/years ahead.

Hard to say about being able to run the stopwatch software and Excel. The stopwatch software also interfaces with external timing switches via a USB to serial port converter so that may add a layer of complexity. I have a tapeswitch which it can use to trigger timing events - the kind cycle wheels run over - and had contemplated created an infra red beam switch as well. You can also program it with hand held switches, even use a wireless mouse (or keyboard) for the job. Anything that can momentarily close a circuit.

Trying the upgrade advisor - it's a bit slow so will see how it goes. When I see "This will take a few minutes" it can mean hours.

Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2018, 05:01:59 PM »
Says I can upgrade to 32 bit Win7 Home Premium or Ultimate, 4 systems requirements passed. For 64 bit it says I'd need a custom installation.

Not sure what that tells me about Win10 though.

Offline Desert Fox

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2018, 06:37:29 PM »
As far as I can tell, depending on the Linux distro used, it can have a similar look/feel as a windows/mac and I can do most normal stuff like browsing, and there are free/share ware products if I want to use Office-like software.

There is Zorin and Mint Linux. I think Puppy Linux might be Windows like as well.
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Offline MTBox

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2018, 04:25:02 PM »
Check out Andy for Windows = Andyroid = turn it into an Android system.

Offline Beef Wellington

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2018, 12:46:09 AM »
As much as I LOVE repurposing computers and installing operating systems, I would say leave it as-is. Win10 is always slow in older PC's in my experience, and the latest Windows Update Agent for Vista hasn't worked since about spring 2016. I keep my Vista laptop (Lenovo T61) offline now that I can't run updates. I did a clean re-install when I upgraded it to an SSD last year and it will never be fully patched unless I download and run each patch individually :/ If you're keeping it offline then it may not matter. Linux Mint has been pretty zippy on every box I've tried, even on old 32bit T60's w/ 5400 RPM drives. The only exception is my Asus netbook, even w/ SSD and 2GB RAM the only way it won't freeze up is to run Win7.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2018, 06:36:54 AM »
Dude, Linux. Come on, now.

Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2018, 05:24:10 PM »
Dude, Linux. Come on, now.
I can't tell whether that means you're suggesting it's a good or a bad idea.

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2018, 05:37:10 PM »
I can't tell whether that means you're suggesting it's a good or a bad idea.
For desktops/laptops, Linux is pretty unpopular. Wonder why.

Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2018, 09:27:42 PM »
As much as I LOVE repurposing computers and installing operating systems, I would say leave it as-is. Win10 is always slow in older PC's in my experience, and the latest Windows Update Agent for Vista hasn't worked since about spring 2016. I keep my Vista laptop (Lenovo T61) offline now that I can't run updates. I did a clean re-install when I upgraded it to an SSD last year and it will never be fully patched unless I download and run each patch individually :/ If you're keeping it offline then it may not matter. Linux Mint has been pretty zippy on every box I've tried, even on old 32bit T60's w/ 5400 RPM drives. The only exception is my Asus netbook, even w/ SSD and 2GB RAM the only way it won't freeze up is to run Win7.

Perhaps. It still has an occasional functional use as described earlier, and sharing the data with others means having it connected to the internet occasionally.

I think I'll start with my Mum's redundant laptop and turn that into a Linux box for learning purposes. That'll have to wait until I can next visit to collect it. Depending on what I learn, I may then convert my other one as well.

The thing I'd really like to be able to do is create software. I have a few applications I created which run using a compiled version of Visual Basic on Excel but would very much prefer they were standalone software. Our coaching business has been using the software for the best part of a decade and there is still nothing commercially available that does what we want/need.

I know others would love to have something like it but the cycling world is all focused on post-hoc analytics and not about forward planning.

Alas to reach the level of coding/application development skill I'd need is not realistically within reach in a reasonable time frame.

Offline John Albert

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #24 on: March 01, 2018, 04:10:35 AM »
Dude, Linux. Come on, now.
I can't tell whether that means you're suggesting it's a good or a bad idea.

I'm saying it's probably the best idea. Linux is an excellent way to get longer usage out of older hardware. Most Linux distributions have much lower spec requirements than Windows or Mac OS.


For desktops/laptops, Linux is pretty unpopular. Wonder why.

So is skepticism. Maybe there's some connection?

The general public can be counted on to make the most convenient and widely-advertised choices over the best informed ones.

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2018, 08:35:22 AM »
For desktops/laptops, Linux is pretty unpopular. Wonder why.

So is skepticism. Maybe there's some connection?

The general public can be counted on to make the most convenient and widely-advertised choices over the best informed ones.

I'm not geek enough for Linux. Tried it, found it wanting, never looked back.

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #26 on: March 01, 2018, 11:07:44 AM »
I went through a sixteen-year Linux relationship. It started in 2000 with setting up some servers for my job. Then came the spate of underpowered laptops that functioned pretty well under Linux if you could use the available apps and weak interface of those early versions. It was a great learning experience, and I tried numerous versions looking for the best for my purposes.

I kept it going through some consulting that required that I emulate for testing at home the server that my client was using for the online product. I also kept a version of Puppy Linux on a USB thumbdrive for a long time, which I would use at hotel business center computers while traveling to get a more secure connection to my critical websites. Since retiring from the consulting I have had less need to use Linux, but I still have affection.

At this point, running almost entirely off one Surface Pro and an iPhone, I suck up my dislike for things Microsoft/Apple and just go with the flow. I also find myself in Walmart more these days than I could previously stomach, as it is in walking distance. I'm too tired for the battles these days.
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Offline Alex Simmons

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #27 on: March 01, 2018, 03:40:30 PM »
Dude, Linux. Come on, now.
I can't tell whether that means you're suggesting it's a good or a bad idea.

I'm saying it's probably the best idea. Linux is an excellent way to get longer usage out of older hardware. Most Linux distributions have much lower spec requirements than Windows or Mac OS.

Thanks for clarifying.

I'm not interested in what's popular, I'm interested in utility/usefulness.

Offline Mr. Beagle

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2018, 08:29:05 PM »
Linux Mint has long seemed the best Windows transition distribution, and Elementary was quite impressive to me on a very low-spec machine I had.

Puppy still amazes me at how a functional distribution can be so small.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: What to do with old laptop?
« Reply #29 on: March 04, 2018, 06:30:08 PM »
Linux Mint has long seemed the best Windows transition distribution, and Elementary was quite impressive to me on a very low-spec machine I had.

Puppy still amazes me at how a functional distribution can be so small.

Linux Mint is a great entry-level Linux distro. It's not necessary to be a "geek" to use Linux. For about a decade now, Linux has offered some distros that are at least as user-friendly as Windows or OSX.

Just be aware that you may have to use some alternatives to your favorite Windows or Mac applications, or else run them under virtualization. If you absolutely rely on some specific business-critical Windows or Mac application that absolutely requires the full hardware capability of the machine to run properly, then Linux is probably not for you.

But for regular day-to-day computing tasks like Internet stuff, reading documents, watching movies, editing graphics, or programming, a Linux distro like Linux Mint is no harder or more complicated to use than Mac or Windows. In fact, the Linux Mint "Cinnamon" desktop option is an even more basic, traditional, and simpler UI than that of OSX or Windows 10.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 06:32:09 PM by John Albert »