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How to Revive an Old Computer Howard Fosdick (C) 2008 FCI V 1.0.

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Presentation on theme: "How to Revive an Old Computer Howard Fosdick (C) 2008 FCI V 1.0."— Presentation transcript:

1 How to Revive an Old Computer Howard Fosdick (C) 2008 FCI V 1.0

2 Who Am I ? * Independent Consultant * Oracle DBA (not a PC specialist) * Founded Database User Groups (IDUG and MWDUG) * Author of Rexx Programmers Reference hfosdick at the domain

3 Why This Talk ? Geek ! My hobby -- 1. Get PC donations 2. Hardware (verify / rebuild / fix) 3. Software (verify / anonymize / install) 4. Give away to someone who needs it

4 Topics 1. How to revitalize an old computer 2. Implications -- What it all means

5 Outline I. What can old computers do II. Hardware III. Steps to revitalize an old PC IV. Windows V. Linux (and other free Oss) VI. Where to get a Free computer (and where to donate one) VII. Free Computing VIII. Resources

6 I. What Can Old Computers Do ?

7 Why Older Computers ? * Old computers improve capabilities yearly * Save the planet --> reduce e-waste * Appropriate technology -- is not always the latest technology Example -- P-II laptop giving this presentation ? ? ? ? FreeFunUseful

8 Save the Planet -- PCs and monitors contain toxic... -- lead-- mercury-- bromine -- cadmium-- chlorine -- nbd plastics -- 400 to 600 million PCs yet to be disposed of in attics -- Avg PC lifespan < 3 years One solution -- use them ! Sources: Galt Global Review

9 Office Fast Internet (Broadband) Slow Internet (Dial Up) Multimedia Games Word Processing Spreadsheet Presentation Graphics Graphics, images Web surfing Research Wireless Social websites Email Brief web searches IM / Chat Photos Music / Audio Video Current games Older games I II III IV + What Can You Do With an Old PC ? Caveat: end user running common software

10 Office Fast Internet (Broadband) Slow Internet (Dial Up) Multimedia Games Word Processing Spreadsheet Presentation Graphics Graphics, images Web surfing Research Wireless Social websites Email Brief web searches IM / Chat Photos Music / Audio Video Current games Older games I II III IV + What Can You Do With an Old PC ? Caveat: end user running common software

11 More Uses for Old Computers... Specialized App servers Routers Firewalls Print, File, or Network server Email station Word processor other single-use Run old programs (compatibly) Business programs (eg: Instrumentation, Farming) Retro gaming box Act as terminals (Linux Terminal Server Project - LTSP) Run Free software on Free hardware

12 New PCs are required for -- Latest games State-of-the-art graphics High-end multimedia Current Microsoft software Pentium III does everything else Pentium II fine for many uses but -- 450 Mhz + 256 M tops Pentium I useful but -- 266 mhz + 128 M tops Security software overwhelms them Summary Dial-up

13 Driven by -- Technology Examples -- Monitors -> flat panels ZIP disks -> USB thumb drives Pentium-IIs -> newer machines Marketing Examples -- New releases of MS Office Vista What happens to PCs that cant run Vista ? Turnover Events TechnologyMarketing or

14 II. Hardware

15 IV + III II I pre-Pentium (486, 386, 286/AT, XT, PC) Pentium Generations of PCs Simplified View

16 * Memory varies widely * Desktops versus laptops * Maxed out versus what shipped * Celeron and Xeon mean nothing Source: Toms Hardware, other web sites Typical Hardware

17 AMD Equivalents Typical Hardware Source: Toms Hardware, other web sites

18 128m 256m varies P-I P-II P-III Maximum RAM (typical) Memory Source: Toms Hardware, other web sites --- Usually --- * Use one level slower as next level faster * All in group cost same -> buy fastest !

19 What Is Free ? Mix changes yearly Capabilities of old computers constantly increase Where you get free PCs shades the mix Pentium 10% 70% 20% P-I P-II P-III IV + III II I pre-Pentium (486, 386, 286/AT, XT, PC)

20 This Talk focuses on PC Desktops...Other Computers ?... Laptops -- Fewer out there -- Higher priced -- Free is less common -- More proprietary Apples -- Proprietary--> even across the Apple line ! -- Parts --> expensive, hard to find

21 III. Steps to Revitalize an old PC

22 Steps to Follow With an Old PC 1. Identify what youve got -- Hardware -- Software 2. Verify hardware & software -- Check the boot configuration panel & run diagnostics -- Ensure devices work (hardware and drivers) -- Check disks, reading/writing CD/DVD & floppy -- Windows Device Mgmt panel -- Ensure software is malware free -- Verify installed programs work -- Break login password (ntpasswd in Linux rescue CDs) 3. Define objectives 4. Determine whether this old pc can achieve them 5. Download drivers, manuals, etc, from vendors web site 6. Fix hardware & software, download, configure, install to achieve objectives

23 Example -- This Laptop IBM Thinkpad 770Z P-II @ 366 mhz / 128M ram / 14g disk CDROM, floppy, 56k modem, USB port 13.7 screen w/AGP graphics and 8M ram NO --> 10/100 port, wireless card, Writeable CD or DVD All hardware works Config panel * Disk check Config diagnostics * Tested devices Windows Devices panel Software is Windows 98 Virus / malware clean* Programs work Registry clean * MSCONFIG and daemons More at --

24 * Office support (word processing etc in MS formats) * Presentations (in MS format) * Email (dial-up ok) * Web look-up (dial-up acceptable) * Run common Windows and Linux apps Example -- My Objectives... Keep Windows Install Linux and run from RAM Buy 128M for $20 --> 256M Conclusion ->

25 Example #2 -- Professionals Desktop Office work (all in MS formats) Word processing Presentations Spreadsheets Email Web use: 0 in 1996 to lots today Doesnt want to pay $500 for new computer Pentium-II Purchased 1997 Goal -- heavier multi-tasking --> Upgraded memory to 256M --> Windows tune-up Goal -- heavier web use --> Switched to free P-III --> Added $10/month AT&T DSL Goal -- OS outdated --> Added Ubuntu Objectives P-IIP-II+P-III

26 Example #2 -- Professionals Desktop Dell P-III 550 mhz / 448M ram / 2 x 6 G disk DVD-ROM, CD/RW, floppy, 10/100 card, USB ports From the P-II -- P-II monitor, keyboard, mouse Original 6 gig disk From one P-III -- System Unit, 320m ram, USB ports, DVD-ROM, CD-RW, floppy, 10/100 card From the other P-III 2nd 6 gig disk, 128M ram Remaining P-II parts go to other builds

27 + Viruses / spyware / malware + Registry or software corruption + Slow and needing software tune-up -> Defrag disk, remove malware, prune start-up list (msconfig & Runlist), check daemons & Services, erase index.dat & other temporary, set-up, internet, cache, & junk files, cookies, URL history... + Broken or replaceable device + Slow due to needing memory + Random shutdowns -> Overheating - check fans, redo heat sink, clean PC + Wont boot -> Check wires, card seating, loose screws + Bad device driver Easy-to-Fix Problems Windows Hardware

28 Operating System Choice is Key * OS overhead on limited computer resources * Your Apps * How easy or hard they are to find * How much they cost or if free OS determines -- O S

29 3 Operating Environment Choices Keep Windows only Replace Windows w/ Linux (or other OS) Add Linux to Windows + Easiest + Drivers included + Age-appropriate software -- Cleanup required -- No MS fixes or support -- License & COA required + No malware + Simplest install + Linux benefits -- Drivers? -- Loses value of the installed software + Benefits of Windows and Linux + Linux co-exists with Windows -- Effort -- Requires 1/2 G disk

30 IV. Windows on Old PCs

31 Windows Benefits (versus Linux) Comes on the computer Device drivers Efficient GUI on 486 to P-II Easy to use Compatible file formats

32 + Faster than Linux GUIs on 486 or P-I + More user-friendly ! + Retain this software on 486 to P-II Example -- 486-DX2 @ 25 mhz / 8M ram / Windows 3.1 / WordPerfect 5 Eg -- firewall + virus scanner + malware scanner + intrusion blocker is required if you connect to internet Microsoft GUI is Efficient on 486s - P-Is - P-IIs Windows 3.1, 95 or 98 with Office 4, 95 or 97 But security software sinks them

33 Windows 98 SE plus Office 97 * P-I 90 mhz / 32M * P-I 166 MMX mhz / 64M Both work great Both crawl if you add-- -- Virus and spyware scanners -- Firewall and intrusion detector -- Plus try downloading anti-virus updates with dial-up ! Examples Windows 98 plus Office 97 * P-I 90 mhz / 32M * P-I 166 MMX mhz / 64M

34 Double Microsofts values for good performance ! Windows System Require- ments From: Microsofts web site 2006

35 How to Secure Your Windows PC Using Free Software by H. Fosdick at DBAZine Free Software Required to Secure Windows

36 How to Anonymize Windows PCs When you Delete files, and empty the recycle bin, those files are still accessible When you Delete IE history, the list of all web sites you ever visited is still accessible When you Outlook Delete email, & empty the waste basket, all that email is still accessible When you change personal info in product Options, that doesnt change the splash panel or product ownership Conclusions -- (1) Windows gives users into a false sense of privacy (2) Anonymizing Windows is hard

37 Re-format hard disk -> Dariks Boot and Nuke + Quick, easy, sure -- Loses value of installed software ****************************************** or ******************************************* Remove personal info Registry (First name, last name, organization, user id, etc) (Do this for all users, in both Keys and Values) Spash panels (Product Options, Registry, Office 95/97 binaries) Locate & delete personal files (in My Documents & elsewhere) (*.doc, *.xls, *.ppt, *.txt, *.rtf, *.wab, *.acl, *.pwl, *.pcb, *.pst, *.pps, etc) Address book files (Outlook, Outlook Express, IE) Email (*.mbx and *pst files) Web history (index.dat files and Registry) -> PurgeIE and manual Virus / spyware / malware scan -> AVG, A-2, Clamwin... Delete Temp, Internet Temp files, cache -> CCleaner, FIWW Delete MRUs, product histories, IE history, cookies -> MRU-Blaster Delete user ids and their files Delete info embedded in products (registration, user ids, etc) Defrag then overwrite unused disk (inc slack, swap & dir.) -> BcWipe or Eraser How to Anonymize Windows PCs

38 Rescue Disks Ultimate Boot CD for Windows Ultimate Boot CD (for Linux) Linux Rescue Disks Knoppix and others (To Fix Windows or Linux)

39 V. Linux (etc) on Old PCs

40 Linux BSD Minix DOS Others + Biggest family + Most software + Most popular + Fast + Small + Bug free rep + Very lightweight + Inspired Linux -- Limited apps -- Less popular + Tons of apps + Very lightweight + Still popular worldwide -- GUI + BeOS + OS/2 soon? + New Deal -- Not popular Free Operating Systems

41 Linux Benefits (versus Windows) Small distros Free apps ! No forced upgrades No artificial lockout from current software No licensing issues No WGA, Product Activation, or stealth updates Co-exists with other operating systems Many distros No privacy issues No viruses, spyware, malware No Registry or DLL problems

42 Small Linux Strategies Small distro Older release of big distro Tailor distro during install 1. 2. 3.

43 See -- Some Small Linuxes Review System Requirements

44 Damn Small Linux Puppy BeatrIX / BeaFanatIX + Smallest (486 w/ 16M) + Popular -- Geekiest (not for end user) -- Minimal apps + All the apps you need + Popular + Not as geeky as DSL + Small 128M -> 320M to run in ram -- Not as friendly as BeatrIX + For end users + Runs on any Pentium + 128M to run in ram -- Not widely used 3 Favorite Small Linuxes All run from memory with 128M +

45 Ways to Install Linux 1. Live CD -- To verify product, video, drivers, etc -- To evaluate and learn product 2. Full Install -- Co-exist with Windows -- Needs its own partition -- Most Linuxes recognize Windows -- They create boot selection list -- Little disk required (Continue to use Windows partition for your data) 3. Frugal Install -- Stores Linux as file(s) in existing Windows partition 4. Windows Program -- Icon on Windows desktop 5. USB memory Stick -- Leaves Windows un-changed 6. Updatable CD or DVD -- Leaves Windows un-changed Almost all Linuxes Some Linuxes

46 How to Co-Install Linux with Windows 1. Verify Windows disk is good (My Computer | Properties | Tools | Disk check) 2. Defrag Windows volume 3. Live CD to boot Linux 4. Resize Windows partition smaller if you need space 5. Create new Linux partition 6. Create Linux Swap partition 7. Install Linux 8. Verify boot selection menu (/boot/grub/menu.lst) Linux includes the Partitioning, Boot Selection, and Windows-recognition tools you need… free

47 GUI is Key to Resource Usage * Always in use * Memory-consumptive * Gnome & KDE + Linux standards -- Require 128 M * JWM, IceWM, Xfce, FVWM, Flubox, others + Much less Memory ( < 64M) * Command line + Fine for App Server + Ok for geeks -- Not ok for end users See for GUI details

48 Pick Light Apps ! AbiwordOpenOffice 1 (64M) GnumericOpenOffice 2 (128M) DilloFirefox, Mozilla Terminal windowGUI apps JWM, FVWMGnome, KDE Older releasesNewer releases of (Acrobat, Winzip, etc) the same products Office 97Office 2000, 2003, 2007 NotepadWord K-MeleonIE (any version), Firefox ImgBurn, FinalBurnerEasy CD Creator, Nero TinyFirewall, SygateZoneAlarm Ad-aware, AVGClamWin Windows 98, 3.1 GUIsVista GUI GoodBad Linux Windows Lite !

49 BSD requires minimal resources for older versions -- originally released in 1993 Inspired Linux Fast and light (down to 486s) Apps cover all the bases... but not as many as Linux Open source Free BSD Minix 3

50 Free DOS Tons of apps Best on really old equipment (486/386/286/XT/PC) Great for non-GUI systems Some GUIs available Modern DOS overcomes old DOS limitations Learn about todays DOS at -- Collectable Computers -- www.vintage-computer/vcforum 1. FreeDOS 2. OpenDOS 3. DR-DOS CTL- ALT- DEL

51 Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP) 100 mhz and 64 M + X-terminal PCs Running LTSP Linux PC Linux Server See: article by Robert Pogson Also: Big Money Saver !

52 VI. Where to get a Free PC -- or -- Give one away !

53 Where to Get a Free PC-- Phoebe Jane does the job !

54 Where to Get a Free PC-- * Trash * IT co-workers * Friends * * * * Rummage sales Church rummage sales FreeSharing works ! (or very low-cost PC)

55 What Does Free Mean ? Free Hardware Free Software You pay labor Maybe you buy a part (eg: Memory) Internet subscription is not free $ 10 avg / month SLOW ($5-10) $ 30 avg / month FAST ($10-40) AT&T / Yahoo DSL is $10 / month !

56 Where to Donate a PC ? Environmental Protection Agency,,, rummage sales Peoples Resource Center ( Wheaton -> 500 mhz or better If too old for re-use -> Sims/United Recycling 166 Harvester Ave, W. Chicago $0.25 / lb. Works?Resources?

57 VII. The New World of Free Computing

58 Wintel monopolizes U.S. computer market Over 50% of Microsofts revenue is from Windows & Office They have to force you to upgrade Each release soaks up new hardware for new functionality This Planned Obsolescence is artificial Conclusions -- Word 97, 2000, 2003, 2007…. Who cares? Non state-of-the-art PCs are useful Vista -- a great example of a needless upgrade How the PC Industry Works

59 How Microsoft Forces You to Upgrade MS software is designed not to run on older computers Software prerequisites are marketing-based (not technology-driven) (eg: you must have IE to get Windows Updates or run XP or etc. Or, you must have a certain level of product to use an unrelated product) Older MS software doesnt run on newer machines (eg: Win 98 needs bug fixes for > 512 M and > 2 ghz) MS terminates security fixes, support for older software (key due to Windows security flaws) WGA & PA kill old copies of software Registry prevents porting a Windows disk across computers or even an upgraded computer Registry locks / controls installed software Intentional incompatibilities between different versions of the same product (eg: older version of Word can not read *.doc file from newer version) EULAs say you cant legally transfer software to a second owner without COA and all doc Very difficult to anonymize Windows without wiping the disk New Windows versions are bundled with all PC purchases (no consumer choice due to coerced vendor lock-out)

60 Ability to Enforce Planned Obsolescence 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 US Automotive Industry PC Industry High Low

61 The Monopoly is Ending Result -- End of Monopoly Free software Cheap commodity hardware Planned Obsolescence Appropriate Technology

62 Low-end Machines Proliferate OLPC -- 433 mhz, 256M ram, 1G flash Self-powered Linux $175 -> $100 Intel Classmate -- 900 mhz, 256M ram, 1-2G flash 4-hr battery Windows XP Pro or Linux $225 -> $200 Household appliance School requirement Purchase at Walmart or Target Laptop Projects Millions to be produced Built-in WIFI Kid-tough case Specs, cost in transition Consumer PC

63 VIII. Resources

64 Example Computer Charity Programs -> 500 mhz or better -> Give away > 5,000 computers in Dupage Country -> 100 / month -> Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) -> Linux on old PCs (Suse or Ubuntu) -> Give away 5,000 to 10,000 / year Re-use, then Recycle Obsolescence is just a failure of imagination -- James Burgett Alameda County Computer Resource Center ( Peoples Resource Center ( Wheaton

65 Recommended Resources Free software websites-- Windows-- Linux-- Hardware books-- Upgrading & Repairing PCs by Mueller Complete PC Upgrade & Maintenance Guide by Minasi Hardware Info websites-- 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Where to get Drivers-- Windows -- Linux -- Articles --

66 ? ? ? ? ? questions... ? ? ? ?

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