uses for old laptop?

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uses for old laptop?

Postby linuxuser » Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:34 pm

I have a Dell Latitude C800 with a brand new 30GB hard drive.
I have Windows XP installed.
The laptop is Pentium 4 with 640MB of RAM.

I don't want to load Linux on it, because I already use Linux on my main laptop.

I was thinking of running Windows Virtual Server 2005 on it, but I am not sure if that will bring the laptop to a crawl.

EDIT: It is a C840 which means faster processor and 1 GB RAM max.
Last edited by linuxuser on Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby investor » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:02 pm

Don't feel bad, I still have and use an DOS 3.2 Machine with a 40MB HD. I run LOTUS 123 on the beast. Also have two Apple machines.

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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby freebeer » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:42 pm

investor wrote:Don't feel bad, I still have and use an DOS 3.2 Machine with a 40MB HD. I run LOTUS 123 on the beast. Also have two Apple machines.

investor


I think this is taking "Bogleheads frugal" way beyond the point of diminishing returns...
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby rayout » Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:57 pm

With the energy consumption you might end up losing when money on it when compared to a raspberry pi or andoid on a stick. I'd donate it. Sometimes Staples offers a $100 credit towards the purchase of a laptop/desktop if you give them your old PC/laptop.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby investor » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:19 pm

freebeer wrote:
investor wrote:Don't feel bad, I still have and use an DOS 3.2 Machine with a 40MB HD. I run LOTUS 123 on the beast. Also have two Apple machines.

investor


I think this is taking "Bogleheads frugal" way beyond the point of diminishing returns...



Who is frugal ?
I just bought my first Cell Phone and also have a working Rotary Dial telephone which I do use. Just can't dial 1 for English. :-) I have a Western Electric with push buttons when I must press the majic "1". It has ample volume for my old ears.


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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby JustBill » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:04 am

investor wrote:
freebeer wrote:
investor wrote:Don't feel bad, I still have and use an DOS 3.2 Machine with a 40MB HD. I run LOTUS 123 on the beast. Also have two Apple machines.

investor


I think this is taking "Bogleheads frugal" way beyond the point of diminishing returns...



Who is frugal ?
I just bought my first Cell Phone and also have a working Rotary Dial telephone which I do use. .


investor


We knew that perhaps we were behind in technology when a friend of DS's needed to use our phone to call his parents, and upon lifting the handset off the wall literally didn't know how to "dial" the phone.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Grasshopper » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:04 am

Target practice. :beer
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Spades » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:14 am

linuxuser wrote:I have a Dell Latitude C800 with a brand new 30GB hard drive.
I have Windows XP installed.
The laptop is Pentium 4 with 640MB of RAM.

I don't want to load Linux on it, because I already use Linux on my main laptop.

I was thinking of running Windows Virtual Server 2005 on it, but I am not sure if that will bring the laptop to a crawl.


One use could be as a back up for anything you use your computer for. For example, a back up business computer if you travel. Do you have any young family members that don't have a computer? I remember getting my first computer when I was a kid in high school and it helped with learning and gaming..... You could donate it to a charity you like as well.

:sharebeer
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Spades » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:15 am

Oh and before you donate it to a charity, reformat it. You need to make sure all of your previous documents are gone and non-recoverable to protect your indentity.

:beer
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby rkayakr » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:17 am

I did load Linux on an old machine. I use it only for financial transactions: banking, Vanguard, TIAA, ...
I never web browse or email with that machine.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby SC Hoosier » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:19 am

You could use it as a portable DVD player for those long car rides with the kids. :happy
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby bUU » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:50 am

Spades wrote:Oh and before you donate it to a charity, reformat it. You need to make sure all of your previous documents are gone and non-recoverable to protect your indentity.

Reformatting is generally enough, but not always. A determined exploiter can recover data from a reformatted drive. For that reason, there are products like BCWipe. It writes random data to every bit of the hard disk, seven times I think, making the data you had placed there previously practically unrecoverable.

The last laptop I needed to discard was non-operable, so I wasn't able to use BCWipe on it. Instead, I simply removed the hard drive from the laptop, and will physically destroy its platters.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby flossy21 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:58 am

I use an older laptop in the garage. These days you can find a Youtube video for almost any DIY type project. it is handy to have the laptop there to watch the video in real time while I do the DIY work.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby TimDex » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:04 am

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit once posted that he had a laptop he used only for financial transactions and accounts. I emailed him to ask him about it, and he replied that it was an old laptop that had a new hard drive. He said he realized it was essentially a virgin machine so he relegated it to financial account websites only. (Seems to me like a good use, and one possible way to avoid viruses, trojan horses etc. infecting the machine you use for finance.) tim
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Sidney » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:47 am

rayout wrote:With the energy consumption you might end up losing when money on it when compared to a raspberry pi or andoid on a stick. I'd donate it. Sometimes Staples offers a $100 credit towards the purchase of a laptop/desktop if you give them your old PC/laptop.

I'd be interested in any experiences with raspberry pi -- specifically what anyone has used it for other than just experimentation.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Epsilon Delta » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:33 pm

linuxuser wrote:I have a Dell Latitude C800 with a brand new 30GB hard drive.
I have Windows XP installed.
The laptop is Pentium 4 with 640MB of RAM.

I don't want to load Linux on it, because I already use Linux on my main laptop.

I was thinking of running Windows Virtual Server 2005 on it, but I am not sure if that will bring the laptop to a crawl.


When repurposing old machines it seems to me that the CPU cycles have relatively low value while the IO (including the screen and keyboard for a laptop) has relatively higher value. After all, you can run the same calculations on a tiny corner of a new machine or something like the raspberry pi quite cheaply. On the other hand providing a pi with a keyboard and screen equivalent to the old laptop costs more than the pi. Thus it seems that running a very old machine as a headless server is the wrong way to go, unless it is purely a learning experience. If you want a good fit for an old laptop you want a task with light computation that requires human interaction.

The oldest laptops I've seen in use are dedicated to data entry in an exposed environment, where you don't want to use a new machine for fear of theft or damage. I know of one 486 laptop running DOS that is used by a bridge club to score duplicate games. A shop machine for accessing the web with greasy/wet/dirty hands also looks like a good use, though it probably would not last long.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby linuxuser » Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:49 pm

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions.


I thought I would update everyone.
I ended up installing Windows Virtual Server 2005 R2 on it.
I know this laptop's vintage is limiting what I can do, it still slightly exceeds the system requirement of Virtual Server 2005 R2.
Besides the VS 2005 R2 is free, so good for learning.
Next up will be Windows Sharepoint Services also free.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Aptenodytes » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:12 pm

I keep one old laptop attached to my scanner, which sits on top of my lateral file. I don't have a desktop at home (I use strictly the work laptop), so using an old laptop this way guarantees that I can scan and store documents very quickly without having to hook anything up.

I keep another old laptop attached to a TV in the exercise room so that I can watch streaming Netflix on it.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby hicabob » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:14 pm

If you have a cat they seem to greatly enjoy sitting on them.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Woodshark » Fri Feb 01, 2013 6:18 pm

TimDex wrote:Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit once posted that he had a laptop he used only for financial transactions and accounts. I emailed him to ask him about it, and he replied that it was an old laptop that had a new hard drive. He said he realized it was essentially a virgin machine so he relegated it to financial account websites only. (Seems to me like a good use, and one possible way to avoid viruses, trojan horses etc. infecting the machine you use for finance.) tim


If you have an old PC laying around this is a very good idea. I'm have one for the same reason.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Dibbels81 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:58 pm

I just popped a new 1gb ram stick into my 2005 HP ZV6000, which runs XP and had 512 MB of RAM (now 1.25 gb). It went from barely functional to being a serviceable laptop. I'm very pleased with the result. Try adding some RAM into yours.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby linuxuser » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:14 pm

Dibbels81 wrote:I just popped a new 1gb ram stick into my 2005 HP ZV6000, which runs XP and had 512 MB of RAM (now 1.25 gb). It went from barely functional to being a serviceable laptop. I'm very pleased with the result. Try adding some RAM into yours.


The C840 takes a max of 1GB. I can make it 768MB instead of 640MB, but that is about it because I don't have a spare 512MB stick around.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Jerilynn » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:48 pm

Target practice.

I have a Glock model 26 with a crimson trace laser. Old laptops don't have a prayer.

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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby rayout » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:56 pm

Sidney wrote:
rayout wrote:With the energy consumption you might end up losing when money on it when compared to a raspberry pi or andoid on a stick. I'd donate it. Sometimes Staples offers a $100 credit towards the purchase of a laptop/desktop if you give them your old PC/laptop.

I'd be interested in any experiences with raspberry pi -- specifically what anyone has used it for other than just experimentation.


Will report on my raspberry pi project once the 50+ hour work weeks combined with birthdays/family celebrations on the weekends are over...which will be at least a month!
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Rich Cape Cod » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:44 am

I have an old XP Dell that I use as a dedicated MagicJack machine (VOIP telephone). Works great for that purpose.

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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby linuxuser » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:40 am

Rich Cape Cod wrote:I have an old XP Dell that I use as a dedicated MagicJack machine (VOIP telephone). Works great for that purpose.

Rich


Excellent idea. The shame about this laptop is that it has a nice big 15" 4:3 LCD just underpowered.
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby mickeyvee » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:45 am

Go to your local library, rip some DVDs on it. Then either hook it up to your flat screen in your bedroom or run it in your workout room down stairs. You could get about 20-30 movies (or more TV episodes) on it. 8-)
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby Sidney » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:59 am

mickeyvee wrote:Go to your local library, rip some DVDs on it. Then either hook it up to your flat screen in your bedroom or run it in your workout room down stairs. You could get about 20-30 movies (or more TV episodes) on it.

Would this not violate some intellectual property rights, somehow?
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Re: uses for old laptop?

Postby dsanders79 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:09 am

Sidney wrote:
rayout wrote:With the energy consumption you might end up losing when money on it when compared to a raspberry pi or andoid on a stick. I'd donate it. Sometimes Staples offers a $100 credit towards the purchase of a laptop/desktop if you give them your old PC/laptop.

I'd be interested in any experiences with raspberry pi -- specifically what anyone has used it for other than just experimentation.


I built my RPi as a replacement for storing music, scans, etc. I haven't actually switched over to it because I am contemplating using it for controlling temperature and humidty for a meat curing project (that's along the experimentation lines). A practical project is using it to run XBMC with something like http://www.raspbmc.com/.
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