We have a 10-year old computer in the house (we bought in 2008), and it virtually stopped working. The camera did not work for about eight years now after it had a screen burn out and we replaced the screen. In 2008, when I bought this computer, it has 500 GB of hard disk space and 4 GB RAM. In 2008, was a good deal. It worked for several years loaded with Windows Vista, but two years ago, it kind of died. The computer weighs about three kilograms, bulky, slow, and there is little chance anyone would buy this. On the other hand, it would still work if it could be revived. I revived it after I loaded Ubuntu 17 on this computer.

I burned the Ubuntu 17 image that I downloaded from distrowatch. Then I created a boot disk with the following code in the terminal using a USB disk (it had 4 GB on it, and one of the spares hanging around in the house somewhere, grabbed it and put this iso image on it):

sudo dd if=/home/<username>/<location>/file-name.iso of=/dev/sdd bs=1M

To run the above code on your own, replace the <username> with your own username or whatever username of the computer where you have downloaded the image of the distro. Here’s some other notes¹.

When you will burn the USB disk to make it bootable, make sure that you do not mount it. You also need to attach a USB drive with no data in it, and formatted as FAT32. In my case, sdd was the drive code for the USB port I was using. In linux or unix systems, you can find out your port addresses by typing the following code:

fdisk -l

Do not mount the USB disk. Ideally, your USB disk should be empty; if the USB stick is not empty, you may want to delete all partitions in it and format the disk. Use gparted to partition and delete partitions on the USB disk. If you use a Mac, use the “Disk Utility”. Howtogeek has a tutorial about it.

Change the boot order of the computer to select the removable media. For the Acer laptop I used, I could do it by pressing the F12 key and adjusting the order in which my computer would search for the boot media. Here’s a tutorial for entering the BIOS.

Once you have configured the boot image, pop the disk back to the computer and reboot. I saw Ubuntu load first from the USB because my USB by then was a live USB, and then I decided to install Ubuntu directly into the computer removing existing data and partitions. Post installation, I had a functioning computer that ran Linux. With Linux on it, it runs fast, and workable.

¹<username> and <location> indicate your own username and folder location where you have stored the ISO. File-name.iso is about image file for the distribution you want to install.

Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Also in: https://refind.com/arinbasu

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