The other day someone who knows I am in the computer business came to me with a very sick laptop (Gateway W340 with Intel graphics chip and Broadcom wireless). The machine was a fairly innocuous little guy that had some serious issues. I'll list them out:
- The operating system was Windows Vista (he did not want to shell out the money for Windows 7).
- There was a root kit.
- Numerous malware issues.
- Chock full 'o viruses.
- Wireless was flaky (at best).
- Machine was horribly slow (presumably because of the above).
My usual first steps are to boot into safe mode, run Combofix, run CCleaner, boot back into regular mode, run Malwarebytes, and then run the antivirus. After this was all complete the remaining symptoms were:
- Wireless was still flaky (at best).
- Machine was still slow.
After doing everything I (and the consultancy I work for) would have done, I determined that the best approach was to re-install the OS. Problem is, he couldn't find his restore discs and (as I mentioned earlier) he didn't want to shell out the money for Windows 7. This laptop was just going to be his spare laptop for home use (it was his primary laptop at work).
I decided it was time for an experiment. I knew the laptop had a restore partition so if I left that partition alone we could still restore the machine back to factory defaults (if he could find his restore discs). So...it was time to bring out the big guns. Said big guns? Ubuntu 10.04. I was fairly certain 10.04 would work like a champ on the machine. It did. But the big test would be when the user had the machine in his hands and put it to use.
Naturally, before I handed over the laptop, I made sure it had everything installed he would need for home use:
- The GIMP
- Google Chrome (he used Chrome when it was a Vista laptop)
- Empathy (for chatting)
- I also made sure Rhythmbox had everything it needed to connect with the Ubuntu One Music Store.
- Just for fun, I enabled Compiz, because I know the person would get a kick out of it.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.