DON’T sell your old laptops!

Ethan Roberts on 2022-05-29

Computers have endless capabilities. That’s why whenever a family member or friend gives me their old computers I get very excited. I always know I can use it for some awesome projects.

The projects I will show you are really interesting, and while some require a bit of work, they make very fun side projects.

I have an old laptop from about 2010, the Acer Aspire 5742Z-4685. Packed with an Intel Pentium P6100 it’s pretty much only useful for light web browsing. It also comes with 4gb of ram. At the time this was probably a pretty good budget laptop with decent performance.

Despite being so old, this thing has lasted a long time. It came into my possession as a gift (more as a “take my junky laptop please”). The screen was already broken and it wasn’t in the best condition. Though luckily for me the previous owner upgraded it to 8gb of ram. 8gb of ram was the max for the laptop anyways.

In this whole process, I found out that the laptop had a bad hard drive. I will talk about that later and how I overcame this problem.

The Operating System

I still felt like this laptop had the potential for something. Although first, we need to install an operating system. If you are not familiar with the term, it is the graphical interface you see when you open up your laptop — such as Windows 10 or macOS. However, we are looking for a lighter solution.

Because of the state of the laptop, I decided to go for the operating system that needed the least amount of resources (e.g ram, storage, processor speed, etc) I tried out 3 options.

1. Lubuntu

Lubuntu means “lightweight ubuntu”. Out of all of the operating systems, I like the aesthetics of this one the most.

It looks nice and plays nice. It has that Ubuntu feel. Even the requirements are pretty low. Lubuntu can be installed on a Pentium II or Celeron system with 128 MB of RAM.

The ISO file is 1.5gb which is larger than the rest of the operating systems.

Though I did run into the problem again. After a couple of hours of moderate usage, the filesystem turned to read-only. Some of the files were on bad blocks and it forced the system to shut down.