Building Old Machine With Linux

Some on this forum have entertained the thought of using old hardware
for a Linux machine. I have an Acer desktop PC with a bios date of 2006,
and it just might qualify. The machine started life with Windows Home Basic
installed on a 160GB HDD, 2GB ram and NvidiaGeforce 6100 onboard graphics.
HDD gave up the ghost a long time ago, it has been replaced with a 500GB
Seagate HDD. Ram has been maxed out to 4GB, more about graphics later!!!
I will be using Gentoo 32BIT for this build, why, simply because it is more flexible,
and can be tweaked to fit the hardware, and even that is sometimes a challenge.
I will say, a desktop PC, compared to a laptop, certain hardware can be updated a lot
easier, as you will see in the build. The next few screenshots will kind-of document my
adventure. I am no stranger to Gentoo, so let us start building.

The first thing I did was boot the machine with gparted and make and set the
/dev/sda1 ntfs was made for Windows Vista Basic
/dev/sda3 ntfs was made for a DATA partition
/dev/sda2 extended was made for Linux
/dev/sda5 swap
/dev/sda6 ext2 GentooBoot
/dev/sda7 ext4 GentooRoot

Vista was installed first without any problem, everything worked, except Internet Explorer,
which hasn’t worked since IE11. Gentoo was a totally different animal.
I then booted with the 32Bit Gentoo CD and set the mount points on the Linux partitions.
and was then ready to compile Gentoo.
The first thing I run is " ip a " to check if internet is up, and write down the name, mine was.
" enp3s0 ". Use " ping -c 3 " to check for contivity and use " net-setup enp3s0 " for

For Gentoo you will have to edit the make.conf to fit your machine, when first opened, all you
will see are the first 5 entries, the rest are for you, the installer.

The neuveau graphic driver would not boot the NvidiaGeForce 6100 so I replaced it with
a GeForce GT 430. Changed make.conf from neuveau to nvidia and booted into my X

After a week of compiling and tweaking I have the Acer running Vista and Gentoo with Xfce. Took
about a day to install Vista and a week to compile Gentoo. If it was all I had, I could live
with it, but I doubt it will see much use.

Well done. Gentoo is definitely an option for old machines.
I think if you want to save an old machine badly enough , a week is not too much time to invest. I spent longer than that with my Pentium laptop and Gentoo, and only got as far as the CLI interface.
How about maintenance… have you tried a world update yet?

Oh yes, but I copy and paste package updates to notepad and run one or two at a time.
Just wish I could find someone whom might want to use it!!! Thanks.

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You mean your laptop or the Gentoo install ?
There must be someone here with an old laptop willing to try a Gentoo install.
It would of be a waste of timd… you get something useful and you learn something.
Any takers?

The Acer!!! Running out of places to put my machines.Tried to give it to the
Wife, but she refuses to give up her W11 machine

Should be ideal for a beginner with lots of time and no money. Not for games, but for real learning.

Surely there’s a charity-based thrift store in your area. Impoverished students, among others, haunt these places for things they need and want. An inexpensive, functioning computer would be a Godsend to a stludent who is just getting by. I’ve rehabbed many XP-vintage computers with a Linux installation and a little maintenance and passed them along to thrift stores.

Just be sure to sanitize it–shred or zero-fill any personal data.

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None that are close, and if I did it would have to be restored to Linux only, and with
something other than Gentoo. probably Debian 32bit. Even then I doubt it will boot
with the onboard graphics, guess I could wipe the drive and start over.

My word! Didn’t know it was that old! We have a local operation that ‘e-cycles’ computers and peripherals. And then there’s Free Geek. They disassemble machines and sell or scrap the bits; when they have working machines, they sell them.

why not with Gentoo?
The whole idea is for someone to use it to learn

One word “maintenance” Gentoo is not an install and leave it alone Linux, it requires the
the human touch to keep it running.

Well you could freeze it, but then upgrading would soon become impossible.
In that sense it would be no worse than a frozen XP.

I got my very first ASUS build with a Windows 8 ready gaming motherboard running ArcoLinux 32G DDR3 Ram, AMD quad core 100watt CPU with Radeon graphics, 1050ti NVIDIA Card. Icy Docks for different SSD drives. Samsung DVD drive for ripping DVD films and series through K3B, Handbrake, DVD Shrink through WINE in case K3B or Handbrake have problems deciphering the security on the disc. I do this for myself, not reselling or playing in public places.
Years ago there was the law that said you cannot record off the radio, because it’s against the law. Yet they still made the hardware to do so. Tape machines with a big record button and built in radio. The temptation was there already to record off the radio. Same goes with piracy. Back in the day DVD Shrink free software to rip DVDs decryption software still available today and works wonders in WINE. That’s what I use my first ever build for. Linux can run easier on Desktops than Laptops, depending on hardware on Laptop of course. If we could just recycle old tech to run Linux on, it’ll save on the rubbish tip.

I can remember a time in Australia when one had to have a licence to legally listen to a radio
(called ‘wireless’ then). It carried over into the TV era. Probably disappeared about 1965.

Thats one thing we can be grateful for… no taxes on internet usage yet.

That is a big “IF” in some cases, especially old laptops.