New Life for Old Stuff

Most people are afraid to toy around with, or unaware that when they are unable to update their electronics to the current version, that there are ways to either change the operating system completely on a PC/Laptop or jailbreak/root their handheld devices to allow more functionality than was the last update left available on your handheld device or full functionality on a PC or laptop and you can usually do it for free.

I love when people give me their old stuff to toy around with.  If you look around and aren’t afraid to try, you can find ways to turn an e-reader like a Nook into an Android tablet or make your old iPad a bit more usable than it would be.

It is entirely unnecessary to allow yourself to be forced to buy new hardware or a new operating system (i.e Microsoft Windows or MacOS) for office or school just because your operating system manufacturer is no longer supporting your old OS or providing updates for security.  You can always download and install a free version of a Popular and user-friendly version of Linux such as Linux Mint or Ubuntu. There are both 32 bit and 64 bit versions of these and also different installations like XCFE, which will allow your device to run much faster using older hardware.

I’ve even taken the first used-to-be modern PC that I built back in 1998 and brought it back to life just to see if I could.  It ran very slow, but with all of the advances in technology since then, what can you expect.  It ran faster and more efficiently on Linux than it ever ran on Windows, however.

Linux has many different flavors called distributions or distros that will allow you to completely customize your device however you’d like, with as few or as many frills as you’d like. Most distros come loaded with free office suite software and everything you’d typically use and you can download many other types of free software including games. 

Most of the games are developed to remind you of  other games on the market and can look rather clunky since they don’t have millions of dollars in development capital, but there are many games on Steam that have been designed to run on Linux, as long as your hardware can support the game, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.  There are ways to run other Windows based games and software on Linux as well such as Wine and PlayOnLinux.

Fair warning, some of these can be rather difficult, but there are several very easy distros that feel as easy to use as switching to a new phone from a different manufacturer they all function basically the same.  Check DistroWatch for a comprehensive list.

Take a chance on learning something new and try it out on something that you haven’t been using much or haven’t been able to use for awhile.  It will give you a better understanding of how a computer works at the very least.

*I recommend that you have a flash drive that has enough space (4GB) to make a bootable Linux Mint USB drive (pen or thumb drive).  Download Linux Mint choose your desktop version and 32-bit or 64-bit depending on your old CPU and create it using Rufus on a Windows PC. Check out this 4 minute tutorial on the process. 


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