New Operating System for an Older Laptop

Discussion in 'Computers & Technology' started by Southern Presbyterian, Aug 4, 2018.

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  1. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Attention all PB Computer Wizards: I have an old Dell Inspiron 1764 that I purchased back in 2012. It has Windows 7 currently installed as the operating system. I would like to replace that with a free operating system so that my wife can use it for some web-based activities such as: web browsing (Facebook, Etsy, etc.). I am not overly technically gifted - I know just enough to be dangerous - so I'm looking for something as close to plug and play as possible.

    What would be some good options that would also be reasonably secure and easy to use?

    Thank you.
  2. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I don't know if they still offer free upgrades to Win10. "ve been very happy with it and have not paid for any OS upgrades as they continue to improve the OS> Microsoft has changed its business model over they years to make more money in services and cloud offerings and less toward client software so theOS is sort of a give away if you already have a licensed copy of Win7.

    Ubuntu is an option if you want to go the Linux route.
  3. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Laptop that old probably has a DVD player. Burn several flavors of Linux from full featured to lightweight, set your laptop to boot from DVD first, and try them out. If you find one you like, put it on your hard drive.

    I used to boot Puppy from a CD (Linux wasn't bloated in those days) when I traveled since it was so much quicker than waiting for Windows to load. A full Linux version isn't going to be any quicker than what you have now.

    But why get rid of 7? Like I've said, Linux with compatible features isn't going to be any faster these days. And if everything is installed, licensed, and works, you are probably going to create more problems than you solve unless she's experienced with Linux or likes to hack her computer. (In which case, there's always a Raspberry).

    That all being said, most of what I've read recently recommends Mint over Ubuntu. Start out over at Distrowatch.

    Again, why dump 7? It's not XP, but it's almost as good. Just add a couple of browsers - Brave and Chrome, perhaps.
  4. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm concerned that it is not as secure as something more up to date.
  5. Krak3n

    Krak3n Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm going to second what Edward said, use Brave or even Firefox (with appropriate plug-ins) as a browser, but I'd stay away from Chrome if privacy is a concern. Here's more to be concerned with.

    If you really want to go the route of a different operating system then Linux Mint is excellent. I also had an old laptop that I wanted to pass on to my wife for similar purposes. I put Linux Mint: XFCE Edition (XFCE uses fewer resources than the other variants) and she has been plenty happy with it. You can find it at the main Linux Mint site and here:

    Linux Distros do not all demand the "DIY" approach that they used to, and Ubuntu and Linux Mint are quite user friendly at this point. As most of the things you are looking to do are browser based in the first place I don't see that there will be much of an issue. (The browsers are going to be the great equalizers when it comes to the different operating systems.)

    That said, if you're tech savy enough to make a bootable USB key from a DVD ISO then you can try it out on the laptop without making any permanent changes. (It can be permanently installed later if that's what you wish from the same USB drive.)

    The only issue I've found so far was that getting my printer to work over the wireless network with it took about an hour, but my network skills are not what they should be. ;^)

    Also, Windows 7 should continue to receive security updates until January 2020. (Microsoft will continue their own data-mining, but they will do so safely!)
  6. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Linux Mint, PClinuxOS, would both fit your needs very well.
  7. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Linux very secure..
  8. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Unless your wife is very tech savvy or likes to hack, it probably wouldn't be very nice of you to hand her a Linux machine if it is running just fine on Win7. My suggestion would be to give her the machine as it is now configured, clearing all the caches and documents that you feel you need to. Then get yourself a really cheap used machine and start playing with Linux on that. When you get comfortable with a flavor of Linux, then upgrade her machine at that point (or make it dual boot).

    A lot of the folks on the Linux boards are real jerks, and you don't want her to be having to go there as a noob looking for help.

    The main advantage for Linux on a laptop is if you do a lot of airplane travel, some of the stripped down versions are going to boot a lot faster when you get to your destination.

    Windows 7 is fine. Just set Defender to update and scan regularly, don't open emails that you don't know or which look suspicious, and stay off of "those" websites and it's good for a few more years.
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