Install linux on an ancient laptop

    Good afternoon friends.
    Today I will talk about how I was able to install Linux from scratch on my ancient laptop. And this story would not be so interesting if this laptop had no CD-ROM, no floppod, or boot from USB.


    So, in some time immemorial, I became the owner of a Toshiba Portege 7020 laptop (by the way, it is on it that I am typing this text now). Brief specifications: on board the Pentium II, 192 MB of RAM and a 15 GB hard drive. It is designed, as the sticker on the case says, for Windows 98, 2000. In principle, such a good hiking option. An undoubted advantage is the low weight, since the laptop, in fact, consists of the laptop itself and the docking station. Those. on the road it’s enough to take the laptop itself, without a docking station.

    During the purchase, I even managed to install Windows XP on it, and he pulled it pretty well. But I decided not to buy the docking station (due to inexperience), which played a fatal role, since all the drives were located on it.

    My tears, my sadness

    Since the laptop was marching, it is easy to guess that viruses soon picked up on it. Of course, there was some kind of antivirus, but it was very unpretentious, since its percentage was hardly pulling. If you add a monstrous XP, heavy programs like Word, and other “joys,” then working on a laptop soon turned into a torment. Brakes, constant humming of the cooler and strong body heating. Also viruses.

    Deciding what was enough for me, I pulled out a hard one, formatted it, bought an external box for it and turned it into a big flash drive. The laptop itself, alas and ah, migrated to the mezzanine for a long time.

    Attempts to install the system

    I realized the importance of the docking station when I tried to put the system back on my laptop. There it was. Of all the ways to "communicate" with the outside world, the laptop has only one USB connector and an infrared port. It’s not thick, frankly. Naturally, the BIOS does not support booting from USB.

    The first attempt was frontal: we connect the hard drive to the main computer, put the system on it, and then rearrange it to the laptop and try to boot already there. All versions of Windows flatly refused to boot. There was even an attempt to rearrange the hard one at the first reboot, between copying system files and installing drivers and everything else. The fakir was drunk, the trick also failed.

    Months passed ...

    Gradually, my horizons expanded, and I became acquainted with unix-like systems. My first “sexual” (in terms of active configuration :-)) partner was FreeBSD. It is known that it is initially installed with support for fulla set of equipment, i.e. of all that is in the world piece of iron. Well, I thought, since it is installed in this way, there is a chance to deceive the system: install it on the main computer, and then switch the hard one to the laptop.

    For the purity of the experiments, the system was installed in a virtual machine. In short, there is the opportunity to use any hard drive completely under the virtual operating system. That is, all those files that appear during a typical installation are created on the disk.

    Having done all the tricks, I saw that FreeBSD starts to load, but then it drops into fatal error and drags the laptop into reboot. Well, already something. Unlike Windows, which are only 4 versions, there is room for experimentation. Therefore, in further experiments OpenBSD, NetBSD, CentOS underwent the same “executions” - in the hope that some of them would still start on a laptop.


    The first glimmer of hope came from ubuntu, more precisely, xubuntu. It was already loaded normally on a laptop, but ... only the first time two or three. Then she just hung. Well, the plus was all the same heavy for a laptop (the cooler turned on too often).

    Searching the Internet, I came across the easiest version - ubuntu-lite. Surprisingly, it installed quite quickly and confidently started on a laptop. The last three months there have been no complaints about her. In this photo, for example, you can see the starting login:

    ubuntulite login screen


    Thus, the laptop was reanimated and is now successfully used for reading electronic books and writing articles. In addition, it even got a web server, which I use for demonstration purposes (when I need to go somewhere and show my achievements). The system is light, the processor heats up weakly, the cooler buzzes rarely. The problem with viruses is not so acute, but even if it picks up (hmm, where would I find one when around Windows?), You can always reinstall the system.

    Well, and finally: even the most hopeless situation (which turned out for me) can be solved with benefit for myself. And, of course, my vote is in support of Linux-like systems!

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