I have a Windows 7 laptop. It does not have the power to use Windows 10. In a few months Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7. My laptop still works very well. I am not in the mood to buy a new computer and then look for a way to recycle my current computer.
Ten years ago I experimented briefly with Puppy Linux. It boots from a Live disc or thumb drive. Remove the disc or drive, and the laptop boots Windows 7 on a restart, just like always. Tahrpup is a derivation of Puppy Linux. It is available as a free download in two versions. One is for 32 bit computers and the other is for 64 bit computers. I was fairly certain mine is 64 bit. I did an Internet search for the brand and model number to confirm that it is indeed a 64 bit architecture machine.
Tahrpup is free. It looks and works just a little differently than a Windows computer. I know very little about Linux, but want to share some things to help anyone who would choose to try a Linux system rather than buy a new Windows computer.
The graphic is the opening screen for Tahrpup 64 v. 6.0.6. The Menu button is much like the Windows Start button, but also brings up links to a variety of utilities.
I could just install one of many versions of Linux directly to my hard drive, but there are a couple of Windows programs I will want to use in the future. Those do not require an Internet connection, so I can use them safely without Microsoft support for Windows 7. For my Internet surfing and for e-mail I can use Tahrpup Linux. The Linux system loads very quickly and allows me to do just about all of the things I would want to do in Windows.
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Step 1: Navigating the File System
Navigating the file system in Tahrpup Linux is bewildering unless you know a couple of basic things I am showing here. In the lower left corner of the screenshot are five round icons. These are the various drives and partitions in Tahrpup. The small open window resulted when I left clicked once on the second drive: sda 2. Getting around and finding files you have saved is easy if you left click once on the house icon in the upper part of the window. Then you will see things like root, documents, desktop, and downloads. Your saved file will usually be in one of these.
Here is one thing to note. The fourth icon from the left (sdb1) has a different appearance. See the second graphic. It is an SD card that is actually part of my Windows system. I use it to store backup files going back about twenty years. I can actually access those files through Tahrpup, open them, and save changes through the Abiword word processor in Tahrpup.
It did happen once that this drive became inaccessible. I deleted the Tahrpup Save File and reinstalled Tahrpup. Access to the SD card has been flawless since.
Step 2: The Pale Moon Browser and Facebook
In October 2019 I am getting notices that Facebook soon will no longer support the embedded browser that is part of Tahrpup. It is called Pale Moon and has its origins in Firefox.
See the first graphic.* The round black and white icon is Quickpet. It offers software add-ons, including a version of Firefox and several other browsers. Facebook is suggesting I need to add either Firefox or Chrome to Tahrpup if I want to continue visiting Facebook. Before I could do that, I had to increase the memory storage set aside for Tahrpup. Follow this path: Menu > Utility > Resize personal storage file. (second graphic) Changes do not become effective until a reboot.
(Note: I am not sure if it made a difference, but I opened Install [round icon in the top row on the opening screen]. I clicked on Install applications. I clicked to install the Puppy Package Manager.) See the first graphic. I clicked to download Firefox. If it fails, try adding more memory. I had to do that several times. Then I had to download an up-to-date version of Firefox. But, now I have Firefox. An icon does not show on the desktop, but follow this chain: Menu > Internet > Firefox. You have the option of making Firefox the default browser. (Update: Firefox has begun to crash before opening. I have submitted error reports. Time will tell if this gets resolved. If it does not get resolved, I may have to dump Firefox and try Chrome.)
*These graphics are photos taken with my camera phone. I did that because I have not yet mastered cutting out part of a graphic and saving it. The image quality is not as good as could be hoped.
Step 3: Installation and Setup
You can get Tahrpup 64 here. I first got a 32 bit version and it did work. The 64 bit version is nicer and allows me access to sdb1, my Windows system SD card. Follow the prompts to burn a Live disc.
Installation will lead you through connecting to your WiFi router. If in doubt about options, select one. If it does not work, you will be redirected back to the previous screen and you can try another option.
Ten years ago Puppy Linux would not recognize my printer, but Tahrpup had no trouble recognizing my basic model Epson wireless printer, and it works flawlessly. CUPS is a required basic setup that renders a document as a PDF saved on your computer. You end up with two printers, a CUPS designation and your actual printer. You will need to select your actual printer when printing as opposed to CUPS-PDF. I could not find the exact printer I have in those listed, but noticed the driver for a large number of Epson printers was the same driver. That driver worked just fine for my printer.
I have Comcast e-mail. It took me a while to get my e-mail to send. Set incoming to POP3.comcast.net. Use SSL authentication. The incoming port is 995. Outgoing mail uses smtp.comcast.net. The port is 465. Check SMTP authentication.
Tahrpup loads much faster than Windows. It is much faster when browsing the Internet than Windows. It can safely be used without buying anti-virus protection. It has a few limitations I may yet learn ways to overcome. But, it is a new lease on life for my Windows 7 laptop.