Elementary, my dear: How to revive an old PC with elementary OS

Breathe new life into tired computers by installing elementary OS, a Linux distro that feels like macOS.

One of the easiest ways to get more out of an old or underpowered system is to free it from Windows and install Linux software instead. An excellent alternative OS for business, Linux lets the computer run at full speed and, depending on the variant you choose, it can cost nothing.

From Aurora to Zorin OS, there are dozens of Linux distributions to choose from. My current favorite is elementary OS. It’s a software shell that sits on top of the Ubuntu distribution. Looking a bit like macOS, elementary is meticulously designed and easy to use. You can pay whatever you want for it (including nothing), and it takes no more than 10 minutes to install.

Elementary OS 5 Juno is the current release. It comes with the basics (email, web browsing, calendar, and more), and an online AppCenter lets you add programs for everything from to-do lists to presentations to file encryption. The underlying Ubuntu software lets you use a system’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM) if it has one.

In this story I’ll demonstrate how to convert a budget laptop to elementary OS using a $250 Asus VivoBook W202N. With its 1.1GHz Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, the machine felt underpowered running Windows 10S, but I found it had more than enough juice for Juno.

elementaryos 1 asus w202n IDG

Installing elementary OS on a budget laptop was easy and worthwhile. (Click any image in this story to enlarge it.)

Here’s how to get up and running with elementary OS, including some tips to find your way around the Juno release.

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