Recovering an old Linux computer

computer that comes to life thanks to a lightweight Linux distribution

I continue with the repairs of PC and devices although this cannot be considered in itself a repair. But it is something that they ask me more and more. Install some operating system that makes them work on computers with old hardware.

And although I tell you a little about the decisions I have made in this specific case, it can be extended much more. I will try to update and leave what I have done every time the case is presented.

Follow the series of articles on computer repair. Common things that anyone can fix in our house like when the computer turns on but you don’t see anything on the screen.

ACER Veriton L460

They leave me to update an old computer, an Acer Veriton L460. It originally came with Windows Vista Business OEM, and now it had Windows 7 installed. They complain that it is going very, very slow and since it will be used for very basic tasks, they want to try to recover it.

Windows 7 is no longer supported either and this computer can no longer move Windows 10. It has become obsolete. At least to use a supported version of Windows

The computer is only used to navigate and for school tasks, use a Word text editor, LibreOffice. Read pdf and print something.

If you see the characteristics of the PC it only has 1Gb of RAM with what today has almost become obsolete.

Windows or Linux

Mysteriously they have asked me to put Linux without me mentioning it. So I forget to look for a Lite version or to put a Windows XP that is no longer supported and to have to install pirated software. I think it’s great to add Linux to it. The advantages are many in this case.

Lightweight Linux distros for low-resource computers

ACER Veriton L460 running Xubuntu, Linux

This needs an article in itself, but here are some options:

Advantages of installing Linux

  • Xubuntu
  • Lubuntu
  • Linux Lite
  • Puppy Linux
  • Ubuntu Mate

There are many more and I will discuss them further in a light distribution article.

Testing Xubuntu Linux

This time I hesitate between installing Xubuntu or Manjaro XFCE which are two distributions that require 512 MB of RAM. So it should work smoothly.

I have finished installing Xubuntu in its stable version 18.04. The rolling release of Manjaro has scared me, because the idea of this pc is that it is very stable so that you don’t get tired of using Linux. Don’t give them a problem.

So let’s go with the installation. The steps are very simple.

Since the PC already came with its backups done, so it did not have to save any data and could delete all the content.

How to create a USB boot disk

To install I have created a bootable USB with the Xubuntu iso using Etcher. There are several ways to create a bootable usb but I really like that cross-platform application.

We download the Xubuntu ISO image from its website

Download Etcher, unzip it and run it, open it with a double click.

A window with 3 steps opens. Select ISO, USB and flash

Make USB Bootable Balena Etcher

First we select the ISO image that we have downloaded from Xubuntu, then we select which unit we want to make bootable. For this you have to have the USB, and be careful in this step do not select a different hard drive and erase everything. Because it formats the drive you select to install Linux.

Finally you hit Flash! and ready.

How to install Xubuntu

Once we have our USB ready we will install it. For that we put it in the PC, and start it. If the USB starts up great, just follow.

If it does not start from USB but it turns on normal, in this case loading Windows 7 because you have to enter the BIOS and change the option so that it first loads external disks.

The BIOS is normally accessed by pressing F2 as soon as it is switched on. We keep pressing F2 until it enters. In some computers or laptops instead of F2 is Esc or some other key, if they do not work you will have to search in Google or in the manual of your motherboard what key is used to enter the BIOS.

How it looks

We look like this. Works like a charm.

Xubuntu, light distribution for Linux

The truth is that it is pretty. The menus are a bit simplistic, but of course if we want it to be light we cannot ask much of it graphically.

xubuntu menu

I hope you enjoy it, that you are encouraged to try Linux and if you have any questions leave a comment


Two topics that I have to deal with in depth in another article

  • Create article on the best distributions for old computers and laptops with few resources
  • Explain how to make a bootable USB to install a Linux or Windows distribution.

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