Desktop computers and Laptops are often replaced when they are perceived as too slow for the latest software. This may well be true for gaming enthusiasts and professionals trying to get peak performance out of their hardware and software. For the rest of us, computer up-cycling by replacing the operating system is an option well worth considering.
Alternative operating systems are available that run quite happily on old hardware - We like to use the open source Ubuntu Linux. It is immune to viruses, and much of the software surprisingly compatible with Windows and Macs. The main disadvantage we can find is no iTunes (we would gladly pay for a Linux version), and gaming enthusiasts tell us support is limited for high end graphics cards, although it is getting getting better. If you can live without iTunes then all is not lost and there are plenty of excellent Open Source equivalents manage your music collection.
You can even enhance performance of your old computer if you are prepared to spend a little money on items such as:
- More memory;
- New video card;
- wireless networking card.
To ensure compatibility with any new hardware look for Tux, the Linux penguin on the packaging, or ask a computer Techie in the shop. They will probably tell you that they do not support Linux, and then tell you that's because Linux does not need any support. (It's a Techie joke). Then they will probably tell you which is their favorite version and finally which products are known to be compatible.
An old favorite desktop computer of mine bought around 2000 is still working well. It boots from cold in around 1 minute 20 seconds and is still in productive use in a small business.
If you are trying to persuade an elderly relative to go on-line then consider up-cycling that old computer or laptop. Contact us if you need help.