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  • Register:12/15/2008 12:30 AM

Date Posted:10/22/2015 3:47 AMCopy HTML

A friend wanted me to take a look at his secondhand Sony Vaio laptop, which once had XP on it... He had let someone install Windows 7 on it, and there were problems -- no wireless driver, no audio driver, no USB driver, no webcam driver, etc. Oh, and it was also not a legal installation -- "go figger," as we like to say here in these mountains.

Well, I hacked around a bit and got rid of the non-genuine Windows notification and found some drivers that would mostly work under emulation (they had to be XP drivers since this thing is almost an antique), but the machine was still not up to snuff. I added RAM and it was still slow and crashy. Needless to say, I thought putting Windows 7 on an eleven year old laptop was never going to end well, legal or not... I recommended Linuxing the machine if he wanted to keep it.

I tried several Linuxes and out of 12 or so only three booted on it, and one installed. This was Snow Linux Ice 32 bit. At first there was sound but no wireless and the updater wouldn't work. Kept tinkering, digging packages out of the old Debian repositories and installing the suckers manually. Got the wireless going with a manual install of firmware-ipw2x00_0.43_all, and then the updater kicked on for some reason and downloaded 234 updates. Got DVDs to play with libdvdcss2-1.2.10-1, libdvdread4-4.1.3-10, and regionset 0.1-3.

The web browser is the Chromium version from Debian 6.0, but it works fine on YouTube and other places so far. HTML5 video is working.

The machine is fast and stable, and runs fine (videos play with no stutter, even at 720p) with just 1.5 GB RAM, but getting it running with the desired functionality was an adventure.

The owner will be surprised that I didn't throw it in a dumpster and tell him to get a new one...

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