Old Laptops

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Sparrow
Other Christian
I have an old lenovo laptop I've had in my closet for 10yrs (!)

Opted to install Xbuntu and use it as a backup for data (encrypted) and maybe a few lighter tasks.

Just curious to know what someone else as done with an old laptop besides pulling the hard drive and either donating or destructing. I have a friend that uses one as a server, I'm sure there's many more possibilities.
 

joost

Kingfisher
I used Mac in the past. Always selling the old one to buy a newer. I moved away from Apple and now I use a cheap Asus laptop I bought on Walmart for $215. I formatted the HD to install Fedora and my experience so far have been great.

I'm waiting for Asahi Linux to work on the M1 macbooks. Might take some years.
 

Sargon2112

Woodpecker
Protestant
I've got an old HP running Ubuntu that I use in the shop for pulling up service manuals from a NAS and watching the occasional repair video. It's about 10 years old with an early i5 processor. It was a work computer in it's day, so the ram and HDD are maxxed.

I play with SDR on it a bit too (gnu radio, rtlsdr, unitrunker).

I bought a 35 dollar docking station for it off Amazon several years ago when I decided to use it out there. A good retirement for it for sure.
 

CaliforniaBased

Robin
Catholic
I've got an old HP running Ubuntu that I use in the shop for pulling up service manuals from a NAS and watching the occasional repair video. It's about 10 years old with an early i5 processor. It was a work computer in it's day, so the ram and HDD are maxxed.

I play with SDR on it a bit too (gnu radio, rtlsdr, unitrunker).

I bought a 35 dollar docking station for it off Amazon several years ago when I decided to use it out there. A good retirement for it for sure.
I use an old laptop for a similar purpose of logging data as I drive my car around while trying to tune the engine.
 

budoslavic

Eagle
Orthodox
Gold Member
Three of my old laptops - Dell, IBM Thinkpad & Lenovo - are running on Linux Debian OS. As part of work, I also still use my two other old laptops - MacBook & IBM Thinkpad's Windows - that contained a lot of software programs I still use (i.e., Adobe Photoshop, Indesign, Acrobat Professional, etc.)

All 5 of my old laptops are from early 2000's when I bought them used back then.

Currently - whenever I have time - I have an old IBM server that I am trying to set up and install (likely Linux Debian server) as part of my small business project - i.e., plan is to set up a LAMP web server and host the websites on my own machine instead of relying on web hosting provider.
 

Street Justice

Sparrow
Protestant
Before everybody started carrying smartphones I used to set them up around the house on ethernet connections to look up information, whether from the home server or on the Internet. I still prefer to have one at my chair to read on, rather than looking at a tablet or phone.

Lately as a hobby I've been cleaning up and repairing all the old electronics I still have, which includes some computers of various types. In my opinion, laptops are much harder to service and repair than desktops. I don't think I'd like to use a laptop for a home server, for which I care more about reliability than mobility.

If you have kids the old laptops can run educational software. Could install some networked games on them to play when you have friends or family over. Keep it in the car in case you need a computer somewhere. Do people still wardrive? Hook it up to a TV as a media center PC. If the machine breaks, someone could practice soldering with it.
 

Seeker79

Kingfisher
I have a an 11 year old Dell that I also installed Xubuntu. While it runs good enough for basic web browsing and email, the keyboard and display are just woefully outdated. I think I'm going to remove the newer SSD and just trash it when I move because I like to declutter.
 

lonew0lf

Chicken
Other Christian
Well, i actually using a 12 year old notebook for my daily life /work (5-6 hourts a day) and it is still working for nearly everything.

Some key facts why it is working. I replayed the hdd with an ssd (big improvement), i maxed the possible ddr ram from 4 to 8 gb.
And you really need to disassembly , clean and repaste (cpu/gpu) every 2-3 years of notebooks (big improvement).

Laptops run very high temperature, the paste will get hard and the laptop heats up faster and therefore loses performance.


Do this and try what still is possible based on performance with your laptop.

It is always good to have a backup laptop for example for vaccation, just at home for bed use, for using in the toilet, if you have kids, just give it to them that they get kown to notebooks.

There are so many cases. If you dont have win 7 or wont buy it, just use Ubuntu / Debian for free.

Have fun.
 

Stadtaffe

Kingfisher
Orthodox
Gold Member
I used to set them up around the house on ethernet connections
I wish I had that instead of WiFi.. I have to ask a private question - do you have blue cables running accross the floor in your house or have you somehow managed to hide it in the walls?

Speaking of this topic, what's the best way to destroy or write over an old laptop that you don't (want to) use anymore? Thanks.
Bleachbit - as trusted by Hillary Clinton to wipe the hard drives in her email server. But I recently learned that while this definitely works for a traditional spinning mechanical hard drive, for a modern SSD it does not really work, there is not way to absolutely wipe an SSD according to the EFF. The correct thing is to have an SSD encrypted from the start. I have a task, not yet sure how to tackle or if I will tackle to switch the SSD in my laptop for a drive with the home partition encrypted.
 

Seeker79

Kingfisher
Speaking of this topic, what's the best way to destroy or write over an old laptop that you don't (want to) use anymore? Thanks.
Full reformat (writing over every bit). Then remove HDD/SSD and physically destroy it. The rest of the laptop can be donated, trashed, or destroyed as you see fit.
 

bucky

Hummingbird
Other Christian
Speaking of this topic, what's the best way to destroy or write over an old laptop that you don't (want to) use anymore? Thanks.
I used to use DBAN: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darik's_Boot_and_Nuke

It writes all 1s over the drive, then all 0s, then all random 1s and 0s, or something to that effect. However, the article above says it's no longer being developed and its successor is not FOSS (free open source software).

The article mentions a fork called nwipe, which I was just able to install on Ubuntu with a 'sudo apt install nwipe'. Looks like it's Linux only, but if you're on Windows or OSX, you could probably boot to Linux on a flash drive and run it from there. It would probably take a little knowledge of the Linux command line and how file systems and physical drives are represented in Linux.
 

presidentcarter

Ostrich
Protestant
Gold Member
Still using a 2014 Macbook Pro. They can be had for pretty cheap now and are still great.
Still rocking my 2013 Air. Things a beast. I've got battery #3 ready to go in whenever this one acts up but running over 1500 cycles on it now.

My girl has a 2015 Pro that's a bit sluggish and seems to crank the fan a lot. Needs a tune up or something.

Is there anything to do besides delete old stuff? Any good programs for cleaning up an old macbook? I like Disk Inventory X for finding old files but that's about all I know.
 

Street Justice

Sparrow
Protestant
I wish I had that instead of WiFi.. I have to ask a private question - do you have blue cables running accross the floor in your house or have you somehow managed to hide it in the walls?
The blue cables are in the walls. I used to have three places where I ran cables along the edge of the wall but now it's just one place in the basement. The house did not originally have ethernet in the walls. We were having some work done in the house years ago and had them put it in at that time while they were in there.
 

placer

Kingfisher
Protestant
I have a couple of old laptops and low-cost Raspberry Pis I use as Linux servers or desktops. Zoom runs nicely in x86 Linux on an older laptop, so I put a new hard disk in my old laptop, put Linux on it, and used it for Zoom calls for a while. I still have that laptop around; my next plan is to install Linux on the laptop again so it can go back to running Zoom calls again.
 
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