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Linux project ideas for vista era laptop

I’ve got a Dell D830 laptop that I want to play around with.

I’ve installed Manjaro into it to try it out. Bit too much for that machine though. I’m new to linux, some familiarity with Ubuntu/Debian via rpi and popos. I’m interested in doing some sort of nas in the future, but this might not be the best machine for that. What are some basic projects a Linux noob might have fun with on an older laptop?


  • Core2duo T7200
  • 2Gb ddr2
  • 240gb ssd
  • Some low-end quadro mobile chip
  • Dead battery

I’d start by seeing if that chip is ZIF or not. If it is, swap that garbo out for a P86 or P8800. Don’t worry about the heat difference as the wattage is the same, if not up by like 5 watts. Then, I’d get a full 4GB of 800 or 1066 mhz ram in it. Its actually really cheap at recycling centers.

After that you can do whatever the hell you want with it.

debian xfce might be worth a try

I’ve had good luck running LXLE on machines like that.

I’ve used an old thinkpad of the same era with a busted display (external monitor vga) as a pihole before. The only weird thing is that routers need two dns ~providers~ addresses so I think you actually need two pihole servers?

Nope. Just one.

iirc my Verizon actiontec router didn’t let me put the same up address for dns twice

Pic unrelated

I’ve got a pi3 already serving as a pihole, good idea however.

I have another box (4590, 12gb, ssd) running a simple minecraft server that I would probably convert into a freenas box eventually, this was more for a learning exercise since it’s just setting there doing nothing and I’m in between semesters in uni.

Thanks for everyone’s replies and ideas

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to the op.
first research the specs on the laptop and find out the max processor and memory it can use, get those and install them.
a vista era lappy can run a lot of versions of linux! some pretty fast and some will run slow but they will run.
I install debian on systems like that a lot because of it long term support and also because it runs pretty snappy. it also gives these machines a new lease on life.

there is also a plethora of different uses for old machines that many people often forget.

I ran LXLE on a emachines 1300=02w with a 1.6GHz AMD Athlon 2650e single core and 2 gigs.
Ran like a champ.
There are a bunch of “small linux” distro’s to choose from

Basic projects? Learn C or perl with it.

As in, starting from first steps. That hardware is pretty old and slow, but it is more than enough to run perl or a c compiler for noob learning projects.

Especially if you do it via the command line, which would also help you learn either terminal based vi or emacs…

Moving from Windows to linux a big difference is that you have a heap of free development tools available… even included with the OS.