Have you ever cleaned your house one day and accidentally stumbled upon an old laptop or PC that you’re not using anymore? Is it too slow to run Windows 8, Windows 7 or even XP? If you’re anything like me, then you probably do have at least one of them lying around simply because you don’t want to throw it away. The answer to your dilemma is to Linux, a free operating system (OS) with a huge number of versions which can cater to just about everything from a full OS like Windows or something a little lighter.
Head over to Distrowatch.com and you’ll see a large amount of Linux distributions that are free to download.
On the right side of the site, you’ll find a list of Linux distributions. They’ll run on almost any system, but if you’re computer is a really old model, along the lines of Pentium III, then I highly recommend getting Puppy Linux, but Arch and Lubuntu are good choices too.
Once you’ve decided on which distribution you want to download, simply click on the name and it will take you the overview page. I will be using Puppy Linux here as the PC I’ll be installing it on is Pentium III.
You will usually find it in your default Download folder by clicking on Start>Computer>Downloads
Linux distributions can be anything from 100 MB to around 1.5 GBs and will be classified as a “Disk Image File.”
Now that you have the new Operating System, all you need is to get this on your laptop. We’ll use the USB method of doing this and for that you’ll need LinuxLive USB Creator.
Click on the download tab and you’ll be reconnected the download page.
Then click on the download button to start the download. You don’t have to worry about viruses as these sites are legit. When the download finishes, install LinuxLive USB Creator and start the program. If you can’t find the LinuxLive program, go to Start and type LiLi on the search bar.
When you have LinuxLive running, plug in any USB of your choice and make sure that it has enough storage to save your chosen distribution.
Once you have your USB plugged in, press the Refresh button on the right side and click on the drop down menu for Step 1.
Look for the USB that you’re going to use and click on it. It should be listed under the “Choose a USB Key” tab.
Now move on to step 2, click on the “ISO/IMG/ZIP” option and browse for the Linux version that you downloaded. I placed mine on the desktop for easy browsing. The program will read the file for a while, but it shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to finish. You may also get the “This Linux is not in the compatibility list. However, LinuxLive USB Creator will try to use the same install parameters as for (other distribution).” Don’t mind it; the installation will still work perfectly even if you get this message.
Ignore Step 3, this can be either a more advanced option or the distribution you downloaded will automatically fill it out for you.
Moving on to Step 4, you’ll have three checkboxes to click on:
If you’re going to use this USB for something else, then I would suggest that you check the “Hide created files” option. If the USB has some important file in it, be sure to back it up before ticking the “Format the key in FAT32” option. You can leave the last option unchecked. Finally, click on the lightning button on Step 5.
This extraction process will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes, maybe longer or shorter depending on your computer set up and if you chose to format the USB. When it finishes, disconnect your USB from your PC and plug it in your old Laptop or PC.
In part 2 of this article, we’ll look at how to install Puppy Linux on your old PC.