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£250 desktop for mother in law

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Nic Robinson, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Hi all,

    Can anyone recommend a desktop (no screen needed) to replace my mother in law's dying Dell XP machine. She uses email and internet, Word and prints art materials but doesn't do much else (ie no need to render the latest Call of Duty). I would prefer if it came with an os disc but I appreciate not many machines have these any more.

    I should say I tend to build my own so if anyone knows of a suitable bundle I could put together for that price, but would need to factor in a copy of windows (7 or 8, don't mind).

    Many thanks,

  2. Brian

    Brian Eating fat, staying slim

    What's wrong with it and where is she? Or you?
  3. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Sorry, replacement options only at this stage.
  4. Brian

    Brian Eating fat, staying slim

    Ok, please yourself. I'm not selling anything, Nic.
  5. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

  6. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    No disrespect intended. I could rebuild it myself with a copy of XP I have or put a Linux OS on it. But she wants a machine from this century with modern windows, hence the OP.


  7. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

  8. Briain

    Briain pfm Member


    From the thread title, I initially thought that you were trying to arrange a very odd swap! :D :D :D

    When the patch trickle for XP stopped, I was going to replace my mothers Windows XP Dell, but instead, I installed Linux Mint (Mate version) and it's actually turned it into quite a swift machine. It does everything she needs (which in her case, is really just mail, web and creating documents) right out of the box - the Libra Office Writer is far less complex than the MS Word; far better for my mum than that over complex MS Word 'bloat' - so I am totally delighted with it (and it's also saved a few hundred pounds)!

    I've also set my laptop up as a dual boot with the latest Linux Mint 17 (supported with 'patches' and updates until 2019) and it's so good that I now only boot into Windows 7 to rip a new CD (I use dBpoweramp) or for the occasional use of MS Access; the rest of the time (email, www or for document creation), I now just boot into Linux Mint.

    So, the point of my post is more to make folks aware that rather than just binning it, you can easily rejuvenate an older XP machine by simply replacing XP with the Linux Mint (Mate version), and it installs everything you'd need (and, of course, it's all free) in one go. It boots up, runs and and closes down much faster than windows XP, so well worth experimenting with it before ditching your old machines. I'm not sure if your own machine is physically busted, but even if you do replace it, why not try LM out and see what you think; if it's headed for the bin, anyway, nothing to loose but some free time.

    Bri :)
  9. RickyC6

    RickyC6 Infuriate the frog-men

    Sounds a fair swap?
  10. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    And why not! :D

    Funnily enough it's currently working with the Mint Live CD to get it working. I would install Mint and forget but unfortunately (and I should have mentioned this) she has quite a lot of arty software that's mainly produced by small outfits which only runs on Windows. It would need to work seamlessly with her printer too. I know there's WINE but I've had little success with the stuff I use which just never seems to work. Maybe it's better now?

    Mind you, there's no guarantee it will work with 7/8 for that matter.


  11. Briain

    Briain pfm Member

    Hi Nic

    Yes, that is always the issue. As I say, it's fine for my mum as it comes with everything that she would ever need, so no issues with Windows programme requirements. I even managed to easily get her wireless Epsom printer to function, so all in all, it was surprisingly painless.

    In my case, I like Paint Shop Pro (mostly used for tweaking scanned CD sleeves, but I occasionally use it for work type things) and I've no desire to learn GIMP, so I'm going to see if I can run that under Wine. I'll be keeping Win 7 for dBpoweramp, anyway, so more just seeing PSP will run out of amusement.


    NB The only thing I did have to buy for mum's PC was an Asus WLAN USB stick as the previous one was not Linux friendly (the Asus was detected and just worked), so not quite true about it being totally cost free; I had to spend about £10 on the changeover to Linux. :)
  12. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    Which is fine but 99% of the population haven't the faintest idea that Linux exists or how to install it as an operating system.
    Like me with an XP net book about as much use as a doorstop!
  13. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant Trade: Mark Grant Cables

    Not sure if this is the exact same spec but Argos have an offer at £209.99 + delivery.

    I would want the slightly more speedy Pentium rather than Celeron but would be OK though.
  14. EIffel

    EIffel Cereal Killer

  15. Briain

    Briain pfm Member

    Hi Bob

    I've kept XP on my Samsung Q1 (one of the very early touch screen 'tablet' PCs). I've created a new admin account and demoted my current one to a user (the majority of MS 'critical grade' patches over the last year - something like 92% - were to prevent issues that would only impact on folks who use an administrator account for every day use; of course, as that is the default situation, that will be most people).:rolleyes:

    I've also removed MS Office and all unrequited programmes, but in any case, it's now only used to run Ekahau Heat Mapper to enable me to use it for wireless surveys (great use for an old XP tablet). As I bring my own router and don't connect it to the www (and use that - not the customer network - to plug the new WAPs into), there is no risk to me, nor to the customer, so at least it's not a bin job (and it would never cope with Windows 7).

    As to your comment about 99% of the folks not being aware of Linux, that's probably quite a useful thing as it means it's less of a target. :p The current versions of Mint are actually extremely simple to install as you only have to click on 'wipe disk and install Mint' (actually, that's the default selected one) then select your country, then your keyboard country, then enter your name and a password; the rest then just happens!

    The only more complex route would be if you wished to keep XP as you'd have to use gpaeted (which is on the live CD) to shrink the windows partition and create two more (one for Linux and the other for a swap file), but if you don't want to keep XP on your old machine, simply select the (default) to wipe everything and start over. I'd genuinely say that it is a lot easier than installing Windows as once you've entered your desired account name and password, you can go away and have a beer and unless there's a problem (hardware or the likes), it will all run automatically (without stopping to ask stupid questions) until it has totally completed. When you return, hit the reboot button and it's ready to go.

    As for configuring it, you might want to right click on Forefox, Mail and the word processor and add these as desktop shortcuts, so very similar to how you'd customise a window desktop to show your often accessed applications.

    Why not give it a shot; better than just leaving your old box to collect dust until the battery finally dies and the whole issue just ends up as land fill.

    Bri :)

    NB A small tip: if you do try it, once the machine has booted from the live DVD (so before you hit the install button) right click on the network (bottom right on the task bar) then the available wireless networks will show, so log into your one then hit the install button. By doing that first, at least you verify that the wireless aspect of your box will work under Linux before installing it.
  16. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    I see ex-lease HP and Dells for about GBP100 with a legal Win Vista/7 and lcd screen
  17. Richard Nichola

    Richard Nichola pfm Member

  18. mmterror

    mmterror pfm Member

    I rolled several of the previous Atom powered Q180's a few years ago to some small business users. They look the same. They open up nicely to take a SSD at a later date too.

    The only niggle I had with the Q180 was that it didnt seem to offload flash video usage to the HD6450 GPU, but for business use it wasnt too much of a problem.

    Sexy little boxes though.
  19. russel

    russel ./_dazed_and_confused

    I think that is adobes fault, they cannot be bothered to write software that uses the GPU, roll on HTML 5 and adobe can fvck off, useless cvnts.
  20. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    Are you looking for one with very high voltage on the keyboard?

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