Linux: Revitalise your old computer for free

Not everyone can afford the latest Microsoft Windows 7 PC or Apple Mac and not everyone needs the speed they give to everything. Many people want something that can surf the web, let them email people and do ‘a few other things every now and again’ – all faster and with less crashing/freezing than their current system.

For a number of years there has been an alternative to Windows and Mac OS called Linux. There are a number of providers for this but the one I have used most often is Ubuntu. It’s free and has become easier to install, use and maintain.

Tux – The Linux Penguin

By default, it uses Mozilla Firefox as its Internet browser which will be familiar to people who use this on their PCs in preference to Internet Explorer. Evolution is an easy to use email and calendar program or you can use MozillaThunderbird instead and LibreOffice, also available for windows, offers the word-processing and spread-sheeting experience.

My test machine is a 5 year old Lenovo running a CoreDuo 1.8Ghz dual processor and 2GB RAM. With Internet Security and all the rubbish I had installed and uninstalled on this Windows XP machine it took over 5 minutes to start-up although it ‘wasn’t too bad’ once it was ready.

The same machine has been transformed by Linux. Less than a minute to start and fast response times when browsing, etc. I have no internet security installed to be fair and, although ubuntu is more secure, there are still benefits to having some added protection.

Ubuntu can be downloaded from www.ubuntu.comand burnt to a CD. You can then run it from the CD to decide if you like it – be aware that it will be slower running from the CD rather than the PC disk – then you can install it instead of, or alongside, your current windows system if there’s room on the disk. It will even copy your documents and photos across if you choose.

As always, make sure you have backed up everything important before you start.