• Breathe New Life into an Old Computer

    Your first port of call should be ditch Windows as your main OS and install a lightweight Linux distro. I use ArchBang for the choice of software of Arch, the convienence of install and the speed of the Openbox desktop manager. There are others that more closely resemble Windows to ease the transition. My refurbished 2010 Lenovo X201 uses virtually no processing power at idle and 5Gb of memory even though it is packed with software. Compare that to the 35Gb that Windows 7 used without any additional software.Then you can install a virtual machine and install a legal copy of Windows XP (there are lightweight versions of XP, 7 and even Vista floating around the internet if you know where to look). Since it will not be connected to the internet it is perfectly secure without anti-virus software or security updates. This will allow you to install Office, Excel or other MS products you cannot do without.I did upgrade the RAM to the full 8Gb which allowed Office to work better though it was useable before.Best of all all software except for XP (£15 off ebay) and Office (license already owned) were free and you can customise your desktop to your hearts content. I've undertaken similar operations with 4 or 5 laptops for friends and family. If your laptop is particularly old you can even install ultra lightweight Linux Distros such as Puppy or Tiny. Perfectly useable with a decent choice of software available.

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