I’ve got a friend of mine who has an eight year old laptop that his son used in high school. It was one given to him by the school and thus he doesn’t have any restore disks or any Windows setup keys. The computer only has 512 mb of memory and a 30 gb hard drive.
My friend further wanted me to wipe the disk first so that any personal information would be deleted on the hard drive.
After I wiped the disk, the question is how much time and effort and money would it take to get this laptop working so that he could give it to a friend to use.
The answer is a lot, a lot and a lot. While I do have an old Win XP disk and codes for a computer that I don’t use any more, this is a ten year old operating system. I would have to download and install ten years of updates and security changes.
It would also take a lot to install all the drivers. On the T41 support drivers page, there are 11 pages of drivers and instructions on how to do each one.
The other thing about XP is that it loses its support in April 2014, so in essence it would be somewhat dangerous to use it after that date.
The other possibility is to upgrade to Windows 7. Online the cost is $120. The memory would also have to be upgraded – say another $100. Then your left with only 15 GB of space on the hard drive – not much by todays standards. If you get another hard drive – that’s another $100. All together you’re investing $300 in an eight year computer with no guarantees.
Costco had five new laptops all around $400 with a two year guarantee.
In conclusion, while it’s theoretically possible to still update/upgrade the old XP computer, in practical terms it doesn’t make much sense. I’d spend the extra $100 and get a new laptop with a new operating system.