Monday, March 2, 2009

Scenes from a Recession - Resurrecting an abandoned computer using Puppy Linux, and scrubbing boot-loader security

One of my neighbours was quickly packing some of his belongings into a moving van and leaving his house empty, and was throwing out many items, including a couple of old computers. One of the computers was an old eMachines box running Windows 98. He was happy to give it to me, as he'd left it out as rubbish to be picked up (along with beds, couches, a stereo unit, etc).

I scrubbed off Windows 98 and put on Puppy Linux. It runs a lot faster than Windows 98 did on it, the Seamonkey browser runs great, it prints fine from my Brother printer (using CUPS). It also meant that I had to sort through old cables and keyboards, and bring an old ten-year-old flatscreen monitor up from the basement, which was good because they are now being used again.

If anyone out there sees an old computer being abandoned, consider Puppy Linux. My six-year-old son was happily using it yesterday, it's that easy. Give me an email if you have questions about it. It's a lot better than throwing a perfectly good computer out in the trash.

In other recession-related IT news, I had to scrub some boot-loader security off a laptop for another neighbour whose company had gone out of business. This was quite tricky, but it also meant that the laptop was usable again and did not have to be thrown out.

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