Squeeze another year out of an old Mac or PC

You don’t need to buy this.

Don’t give in and buy that shiny new computer – squeeze another year out of an old Mac or PC instead. Or even more than a year! And do it for free, or at most a few quid.

Your Mac or PC can be brought right up to date with an operating system that is the latest release. It really doesn’t have to be slow and it needn’t be running yesterday’s software!

At least, that is my contention.

I know what you might be thinking; Apple has already said your Mac won’t run the latest system. Or Microsoft has said as much about your PC. Big tech companies have a little acronym – EOL – a jolly concept meaning End Of Life. That is, after 5 or 6 years your computer is considered past it! Or at least unlikely to make Apple or the PC manufacturer any more money. So, to run their latest software or even run it at a half-decent speed, you allegedly need to buy a new device. To be charitable, EOL is just the tech equivalent of a Best Before Date. But as such, it should be a matter for discussion and consumer choice.

I need to prove my point. I have two older computers that I want to press-gang into use for day to day computing. And I would like you to see them as indicative of what you could do with your old computer. Both are considered obsolete by their manufacturers, yet I think both are in “good physical shape” and not ready to be put out to grass.

Fujitsu Lifebook A512
Fujitsu Lifebook

The first is a Fujitsu Lifebook which came out in 2013. It runs on a humble i3 processor with a maximum of 4 GB of RAM. Nothing spectacular, even when it was new! This laptop is a hand-me-up having been used by both sons at university and comes to me as my wife has benefited from the hand-me-down of my 2012 MacBook Air so she can give tuition via Zoom.

MacBook Air 2011

The second is a 2011 MacBook Air, which I would possibly have settled with, even if the maximum macOS it can run is High Sierra. But because the previous owner lost their Apple ID details, macOS is compromised. So it is prime for another system. I am writing using it now having installed the latest Ubuntu on it, and it is quick and secure, which it hasn’t been since it was first bought.

Having laid out my stall, here is the deal: I want to try some alternative systems on both these computers to prove to myself, at least, that these devices can still cut it. This doesn’t come out of the blue, I have always dabbled, but the need is more earnest now we are facing recession and now that the main system vendors are forcing us towards believing in disposable (but still expensive) technology.

Among the systems I want to try on these computers are;

  • Chromium OS
  • Elementary OS
  • Ubuntu
  • Zorin
  • Haiku
  • Windows 10 (on the Mac)
  • ReactOS

And any others that take my fancy.

The purpose will be to end up with a useful computer or two that I can work with daily. And to find solutions I can recommend and demonstrate to others to prevent them from just going out and spending their hard-earned cash. Also, of course, to have a lot of fun!

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