One 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.
- 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.
- Using the free InfraRecorder I follow the super easy steps here to burn the image to CD.
- 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.
- Once in the BIOS, set it to boot from your CD-ROM drive. Save changes and exit.
- 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.