Revive Your Old Computer With Lubuntu Linux
Published: Jun 20, 2022
My father-in-law has an old Dell Inspiron 660s desktop computer from 2012. The hard drive crapped out, so he started looking for a new computer, planning to throw this one away.
Here are the specs, which aren’t too shabby for a 10 year old machine: OS: Windows 7, CPU: Dual-core Intel i3-2120 @ 3.3 GHz, Memory: 6 GB DDR3 1600 MHz.
If he paid for a new hard drive, I offered to replace it and install Lubuntu Linux. So, he ordered a new one for about $50, a Western Digital 1 TB 7200 RPM (model WD10EZEX), and we were off to the races.
There are a bunch of Linux distributions, so why Lubuntu? Well, I wanted a lightweight OS, a simple UI, and for it to be Ubuntu-like. Lubuntu meets those criteria. He uses a Chromebook every day, so learning a non-Windows UI wasn’t an issue.
The install wasn’t too bad:
- Replace the physical hard drive
- On another computer: Download the Lubuntu ISO, preferably an LTS one, then burn it to a USB stick
- Reboot the desktop and mash
F12until the boot menu comes up
- Select the USB stick, then follow the GUI install steps
- After the install, connect to WiFi, then run
lubuntu-upgraderto check for further OS updates
- Run the Driver Install Tool for his Brother MFC-9130CW printer. It’s a shell script and you just follow the prompts
My initial reaction was shock… I couldn’t believe how “snappy” everything felt. The LXQt (Lightweight Qt) Desktop Environment was, well, lightweight. Opening a Firefox window, and subsequent tabs, was quick. LibreOffice was responsive. Terminal even felt zippier. It made the previous Windows 7 experience feels like wading through mud (no disrespect, I’ve got some good Win7 memories).
There you go. Don’t throw your old hardware away just yet, you can squeeze a few more years out of it.