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Optimizing an old office computer

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#1 Bellzemos


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Posted 26 September 2014 - 06:47 PM


I'm helping my friend with an office computer optimization (it's for a small company, only one computer in use).

The computer is around 10 years old (AMD Athlon XP 2000 +, 1 GB RAM, ATI Radeon 9000). The IDE disk is dying (SMART data is quite critical), he already made the backup, now he'll be geating a cheap used replacement HDD from the flea market.

All he needs is a computer with which he can send e-mails, writes documents in Word, watch/print DWG (CAD), PDF and similar files. Motherboard is old - Asus A7V8X-X, he also uses the LPT port to print with an older printer (HP Laserjet 4) and to access the Internet he uses a HSDPA USB modem.

He has to buy licensed Windows XP and Office because he has an unlicensed version on atm (he has a license for Windows ME which is useless).

But then I thought of it - for his basic needs he could have it all for free - with Linux! Right? If only the drivers for all of these things (USB modem, LasterJet 4, etc..) exist. A nice Linux distribution which is suitable for commercial use, a Free/Open Office and a free AV - that's all.

Do you have any experience in setting up an old office computer like that with Linux based OS and all-free programs? Would it work?

Thank you!

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#2 sflatechguy


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Posted 26 September 2014 - 10:06 PM

If he installs Linux, he won't be able to use Office, unless he installs Wine and runs Office in the Wine environment. On the other hand, most Linux distributions come with either OpenOffice or LibreOffice, and both can convetr and open Word documents, as well as save documents in the Word format.


Linux also usually includes Firefox, and an email client like Thunderbird or Evolution. He'll have to connect to his email using POP or IMAP, although add-ons exist to connect Thunderbird and Evolution to an Exchange server. Thunderbird's add-on uses the Exchange web service, while the Evolution add-on uses MAPI.


Based on the hardware specs, that computer should have no problems running Linux. There are Linux drivers for that graphics card available from AMD. And most of the recent Linux distributions will run on 500 MB of RAM or less.

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