I was brought two machines yesterday for appraisal, both running Windows XP Home. The question was simple enough. Did either or both have any life left in them?
Computer #1, a Dell D610
Not particularly well specified, but quite a tough case, it is definitely NOT a candidate for upgrading to anything above XP in my opinion. With the demise of XP being only 36 hours away, the only chance for this machine was to have Linux installed.
I took the original 40gb hard drive out and replaced it with a similar blank unit, and then tried Linux Mint 16 on it. Unfortunately, while the CD based OS did show itself, it would do little or nothing, no programs or menus capable of opening. Next, I produced an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS CD and ran it. I wasn’t too surprised that it all worked because I had played with this version on an aging HP DC5000 desktop machine.
Clicking on the icon to install Ubuntu was a no brainer and it wasn’t too long before it was all up and running. The OS picked up on ALL of the devices and everything works. I then ran the updates, and still everything is working.
The next job was to get documents and photos across from the original FAT32 XP drive, and that was easy too. Lastly, I set the Firefox homepage to the clients preference, and now all I have to do is ‘sell’ the concept that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is not that bad.
I am actually quite pleased with it. The client almost exclusively uses the web to do everything, and when it is used by all at the client’s summer cottage, it will be nothing like the ‘malware honey pot’ that it was.
Computer #2, an Acer Aspire One AOA 110
I have crossed paths with Acer netbooks before and, apart from Sony Netbooks,are the most frustrating machines EVER, and this one doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it is WORSE, being fitted with a 7.8gb NAND flash drive in place of the more normal 80gb hard drive
As I received it, the 7.8gb drive was full, and I mean FULL. It would barely start, let alone open anything, and there are virtually no user saved files on it, no paging file set, nothing, just XP. I found this out when trying to install Malwarebytes. There was not enough room for it.
So I set about removing anything that wasn’t necessary, which included the update installation files, and eventually had almost 500mb free. McAfee was installed but had never had a subscription and wasn’t working, and the McAfee removal tool wouldn’t complete the uninstallation, so I installed Revo Uninstaller free edition and that saw it off apart from a popup on restart telling me that there was a McAfee element missing and that it couldn’t start. Regcleaner 184.108.40.206 saw that off.
Please note that I only use Regcleaner in dire circumstances, and I do not EVER promote the use of registry cleaners by those who are not techies, and even some of them should never be allowed near a registry cleaner either.
Next, I removed the MS Office trial, and before long, I had 1.5gb free space.A happy ending? I think not.
Apart from the XP SP3 update, this machine had not received any later updates, and after it did, free space was reduced to 339mb.
These machines were originally supplied with Linpus Lite Linux, and Acer gave in and offered XP as an alternative, presumably because the originals weren’t selling too well. I can’t take the existing drive out and replace it with a blank on which Linpus is installed because..
- the drive has to be replaced by an authorised Acer repair centre. The machine has to be ‘disassembled’ to get at it.
- There is not enough memory installed for the latest version of Linpus to install or work, and adding memory, assuming that it can handle it, is also a disassembly job
- The client, being the same owner as per the Dell, may not appreciate having to spend $$$ getting it done.
This computer has no place in a post XP world, and I have serious misgivings about it ever deserving a place when XP was top dog. There isn’t even enough room to install BitDefender Free!!
So, there you have it. One machined temporarily saved from the glue factory, and one that doesn’t even deserved to be turned into glue. It probably wouldn’t stick anything securely anyway..