Learn how to reuse your old pc’s that are obsolete and are not usable for everyday tasks any more, or work very slowly. It’s free, all you need are some cd’s, an internet connection on your main computer and an old computer you do not use.
Before we begin:
1.You should note that using this guide to revive your old computer will not let you use it to play newest games or run intensive software.You will, however, be able to surf the internet, listen to music, watch videos, use instant messaging.
2.Do not use Microsoft Windows operating system for old computers. It is slow, old, plus it is illegal to install it if you do not have a licence, and you probably wont get a licence for, lets say, windows 98 today anyway. And in this guide we will only use Linux based distributions for our old computers.
3.What is linux? Linux is an operating system, like Microsoft Windows. Basically it makes your computer be able to open applications, manage files. For more information visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux.
Lets get started then!
First we need to chose a distribution of Linux that we are going to install to our pc. All Linux distributions use the same kernel (a kernel is what controls the communication between software and hardware in your pc). That means they all use the same base, but come preloaded with different applications.
Two really small Linux distributions are Damn Small Linux and Puppy linux. Both can fit in less than 100 megabytes of hard drive space (though if your pc has a 100 megabyte hardware, it is probably beyond reusing, exept maybe for a firewall or a router).
You can download them here:
These are my two personal favourite. There are a lot of minimalist linux distributions available, you can look at a list of them here:
you need to select that your platform is Intel compatible and your distribution should be minimalist.
Now we need to download the operating system cd image file (we will talk about what is this later).
Usually there will be a download section in the website dedicated to a distribution of linux.
There can be many versions to download, sparc, intel, amd64, IA-64, powerpc (ppc), risc, arm, and so on…
Now, to find out your architecture, you need to know these things:
If your pc was running Microsoft Windows, OS/2 or MS-DOS operating systems, it is probably 99% i386, also called x86 or intel compatible. There is little chance you will be using a computer other than that, but just in case:
If you have Amiga OS – your architecture is Power Pc based
if Arthur Os or RISC Os – architecture is ARM
if IRIX from SGI – architecture is RISC
Just google what your pc is running and you should find out information about architecture of your pc, but i think there is probably no chance for you having an old computer running SGI IRIX and not understanding basics about computer architecture, but
Now lets say you selected an internet directory for x86 or i386, but again, there are alot of files to download and you do not know what to download. What we are looking for is a disk image of the operating system you are downloading. A cd image (which has an .iso extension to it) is exactly what it is named after: it is a disk image. Data in computers is represented only by two symbols 1 and a 0 (possibly just the non existence of 1) so if we use a program, to get all these 1’s and 0’s that are stored on the cd and write them all to a string in a single file, we get an image of the disk. So what you are looking for is a download that ends with .iso (there are other types of disk images but they are much less common, like bin or nrg).
Now once you downloaded the image, you need to burn it to an empty cd. NOTE: SIMPLY WRITING THE .ISO FILE TO THE CD WILL NOT WORK! You need to use a special program to burn the image to the cd. I recommend using Nero, but there are many other programs that will be able to burn the image to the cd. Just search google for ” Burning .iso images to cd’s “.
Now once finished burning, you need to make sure that your pc boots the operating system from the cd drive. Firstly just insert the new cd inside the cd drive of your old computer and turn it on, if it boots into the setup program you can move on to the next step, but if it doesn’t, here’s what you do: First, your pc might have a boot menu option. Right when your pc is turned on, it should say something like “boot menu : F12″ or “to select storage to boot from press F12″ in that case, just press the button it asks you to and you should get in a menu where you can select from what storage you want to boot your system. Just select the cd drive.
If your pc doesn’t have such an option, you need to go to the bios and change the boot settings. Right after the computer is turned on, the screen should display something like “Press DEL to enter setup.” or something similar, just click the button it asks you to and you should get into bios settings. Now you should find an option called boot settings or boot sequence, something among those lines, fortunately i cannot say how to find it since bios settings menu are slightly different from pc to pc.
After you have found the boot sequence settings, you need to select your cd drive to be booted the first, or simply choose your hard disk drive to be booten the last. Then just exit saving the settings, restart your pc and you should get into the operating system installation setup. OR: it might be a live cd. in that case, it should boot into linux, and then check the desktop for an installer.
Installation will be different for every distribution, so i can’t describe that here, but basically it is just pointing and clicking. If you dont mind losing your files that are in your old pc, when asked for partitioning your hard disk just select an option “use entire/all disk” or similar. If you do, however, need the files that are on your pc, first copy them somewhere becouse they will be gone once you are done installing the new system.
When the installation is over you basically just shut down your pc, turn it on then remove the installation disk and let the pc boot, and you should eventually get to your new operating system. Now it should have an internet browser right out of the box, but for extra programs you should check the distribution website or google for ” Download”.
You’re done! Now you can use your old pc to do simple tasks like watching videos, instant messaging, listening to music and so on.
Thanks for reading!