PC Salvation

UbuntuOne perk when working for a software company is easy access to hardware deemed insufficient for development purposes. At least this is a perk when you're buds with the IS guy. Older desktops and laptops are taken out of circulation and replaced, usually because the latest version of Windows demands too much under the hood.

When I get my mitts on one of these desktops or laptops, I breathe new life into them with a proven technique that never fails. I get Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system, and my personal favourite distribution of Linux. Oh yeah, and it's completely free. Here are the steps I follow when salvaging PCs.

  1. I visit http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download and download the latest version of Ubuntu's desktop edition, currently 8.10. This gives me an .iso file that will fit on a blank CD.
  2. Using the free InfraRecorder I follow the super easy steps here to burn the image to CD.
  3. With this newly burned Ubuntu install CD in the CD-ROM drive, I start up the PC and get into the BIOS. Usually that means pressing F10 or F1 or some key combination. Here's a cheat sheet.
  4. Once in the BIOS, set it to boot from your CD-ROM drive. Save changes and exit.
  5. Ubuntu will now guide you the rest of the way. It's super easy, trust me. You don't need to be a geek. The entire installation takes less than 30 minutes.

Almost everything is done in the browser these days, and Ubuntu comes ready to rock with Firefox. Connecting to the internet, either wired or wireless, is easy. It just works. Windows users will adapt quickly.

So if you have a PC that might be a little dated and lacks the horsepower for Windows, give it a new life. Give it Ubuntu. That's what I do.

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Comments (8 - click here to join in!)

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

I'm sorry that just sounds like too much fun to me

November 6, 2008 @ 8:24 AM

James Edgar

I have a second laptop that dopes almost nothing but provide media player playlists to the stereo in the Garage. It runs XP ok but this sounds like some winter spare time fun. I havn't plyed with Linux for some time. maybe I'l be inspired to do more than just play music through it.

November 6, 2008 @ 9:46 AM


That's something I'd like to tryout one day if I ever get around to adding a newer hard drive. I've got a triple Boot Manager set-up; Win3.1/Dos, win98, and XP.
W98 (and 3.1/DOS why not) since the '02 PC's CD burner* wasn't XP workable. Then the Audigy soundcard wasn't backwards compatible either.
Finally added Memory last weekend... and now I'll need to re-GLUE back the heat sink. It (RAM card) was finacky to clip into place.
Or maybe, I'll just let things be.

*also orig. modem driver :)

November 6, 2008 @ 10:22 AM

Toronto Mike

Jason sarcastically calls this fun, but it really is.

I use Windows on my work laptop, because they paid for the laptop and OS, but I have a lot of fun playing with Ubuntu Linux on the family laptop and the desktop I just gave my mom, etc.

It's so stable and fast, and it just feels better than hacking away in XP or Vista.

November 6, 2008 @ 11:06 AM


i have wanted to try ubuntu for a while now. i have an old Pentium 3 with 756mb ram that might benefit from this. i also read recently that you can run different ubuntu versions off a flash memory stick. i read it on lifehacker.com ,a great site for those needing a little direction when trying pc modification, software intalls, or just basic tips and tricks.

November 6, 2008 @ 1:44 PM

Toronto Mike

That's more than enough RAM - I've got Ubuntu running fine with 256MB, altho it's best to have at least 512MB.

And yeah, I subscribe to the Lifehacker RSS feed. Lotsa good tips for Gmail, Linux, Windows, Firefox, etc.

November 6, 2008 @ 3:02 PM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

Mike, it still doesn't sound like fun but it's usefull information.

November 6, 2008 @ 3:45 PM


Maybe I'll turn on the ole desktop and replace it with Ubuntu, and my old laptop and do the same.

We put XP on a leftover to be disposed of work computer for my mom, and it works decently.

November 6, 2008 @ 11:52 PM

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