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

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

  3. Geek ! Why This Talk ? 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. 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 Outline

  6. I. What Can Old Computers Do ?

  7. ? ? ? ? Why Older Computers ? Free Useful Fun * “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

  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 webofcreation.org

  9. What Can You Do With an Old PC ? Caveat: end user running common software I II III IV + • 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 • Office • Fast Internet (Broadband) • Slow Internet (Dial Up) • Multimedia • Games

  10. What Can You Do With an Old PC ? Caveat: end user running common software I II III IV + • 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 • Office • Fast Internet (Broadband) • Slow Internet (Dial Up) • Multimedia • Games

  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. Summary • 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 Dial-up

  13. “TurnoverEvents” • Driven by -- • Technology Examples -- • Monitors -> flat panels • ZIP disks -> USB thumb drives • Pentium-II’s -> newer machines • Marketing Examples -- • New releases of MS Office • Vista • What happens to PCs that can’t run Vista ? Technology or Marketing

  14. II. Hardware

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

  16. Typical Hardware * Memory varies widely * Desktops versus laptops * Max’ed out versus what shipped * “Celeron” and “Xeon” mean nothing Source: Tom’s Hardware, other web sites

  17. Typical Hardware AMD Equivalents Source: Tom’s Hardware, other web sites

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

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

  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 you’ve 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 vendor’s 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 -- www.Desktoplinux.com/articles/AT6185716632.html

  24. Example -- My Objectives ... * 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 Conclusion -> • Keep Windows • Install Linux and run from RAM • Buy 128M for $20 --> 256M UpgradeMemory.com KingstonMemory.com

  25. Example #2 -- Professional’s Desktop Objectives • Office work (all in MS formats) • Word processing • Presentations • Spreadsheets • Email • Web use: 0 in 1996 to lots today • Doesn’t want to pay $500 for new computer P-II P-II+ P-III Goal -- heavier web use --> Switched to free P-III --> Added $10/month AT&T DSL Goal -- OS outdated --> Added Ubuntu Goal -- heavier multi-tasking --> Upgraded memory to 256M --> Windows tune-up Pentium-II Purchased 1997

  26. Example #2 -- Professional’s 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. Easy-to-Fix Problems Windows + 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 + Won’t boot -> Check wires, card seating, loose screws + Bad device driver Hardware

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

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

  30. IV. Windows on Old PCs

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

  32. Microsoft GUI is Efficient on 486s - P-I’s - P-II’s Windows 3.1, 95 or 98 with Office 4, 95 or 97 + 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 But security software sinks them

  33. Examples 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 ! Windows 98 plus Office 97 * P-I 90 mhz / 32M * P-I 166 MMX mhz / 64M

  34. From: Microsoft’s web site 2006 Windows System Require- ments Double Microsoft’s values for good performance !

  35. Free Software Required to Secure Windows “How to Secure Your Windows PC Using Free Software” by H. Fosdick at DBAZine http://www.dbazine.com

  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 doesn’t change the splash panel or product ownership Conclusions -- (1) Windows gives users into a false sense of privacy (2) Anonymizing Windows is hard

  37. How to Anonymize Windows PCs • Re-format hard disk -> Darik’s 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

  38. “Rescue Disks” (To Fix Windows or Linux) Ultimate Boot CD for Windows ubcd4win.com Ultimate Boot CD (for Linux) Linux “Rescue Disks” Knoppix and others ultimatebootcd.com

  39. V. Linux (etc) on Old PCs

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

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

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

  43. Some Small Linuxes See -- DistroWatch.com DistroMania.com Review System Requirements

  44. 3 Favorite “Small Linuxes” Damn Small Linux BeatrIX / BeaFanatIX Puppy + For end users + Runs on any Pentium + 128M to run in ram -- Not widely used + 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 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 Linux includes the Partitioning, Boot Selection, and Windows-recognition tools you need… free 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)

  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 xwinman.org for GUI details

  48. Pick Light Apps ! Lite ! Good Bad Abiword OpenOffice 1 (64M) Gnumeric OpenOffice 2 (128M) Dillo Firefox, Mozilla Terminal window GUI apps JWM, FVWM Gnome, KDE Older releases Newer releases of (Acrobat, Winzip, etc) the same products Office 97 Office 2000, 2003, 2007 Notepad Word K-Meleon IE (any version), Firefox ImgBurn, FinalBurner Easy CD Creator, Nero TinyFirewall, Sygate ZoneAlarm Ad-aware, AVG ClamWin Windows 98, 3.1 GUIs Vista GUI Linux Windows

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

  50. CTL- ALT- DEL 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 1. FreeDOS 2. OpenDOS 3. DR-DOS Learn about today’s DOS at -- www.devedia.com/dosghost/dos/dosw31.asp Collectable Computers -- www.vintage-computer/vcforum