Nicky has a Chromebook, and it’s a great little computer for most things. But it is small and she prefers to use a larger Windows laptop for her school work, although she mostly works in Google Drive which works through the browser.
This second computer, an Acer laptop, just stopped booting up properly the other day. Over the years of using Windows laptops at school, I know how to boot in into repair mode, but the problem – whatever it was – was too serious to be fixed that way. Now, I could have taken this machine to a technician or just bought a copy of Windows, but I wanted to see if I could fix it inexpensively.
I remembered that Google had made the Chrome OS available for machines other than Chromebooks, so I set about finding that. It turns out that it is called Chromium, and it was pretty easy to make a USB memory stick that I could boot the computer from. This isn’t quite as good as a Chromebook, but it’s damn close. The only real problem was that it doesn’t run the Chrome browser, but the Chromium browser, which is very similar but not doesn’t run the extensions from Chrome.
So I checked what types of operating systems did run Chrome and discovered that a number of linux systems, including Ubuntu did, so I set about making a memory stick that I would use to boot the computer into Ubuntu and then install onto the machine. By the stage I had pressed another old laptop into this operation. In for penny, and so forth.
Finally, after a frustrating degree of stuffing around, I managed to install Ubuntu on these machine and it’s fantastic. It looks much cleaner and prettier than Windows and runs quite quickly. It connected to our home network and printer easily, so it’s all good. In fact, I now wish that I could have it on my work machine, but only Windows is fully supported at school and Windows 8 is certainly a good deal less vexatious than Windows 7.
So, if you’re a wee bit nerdy, and have some older computers that could do with some new life, look into Ubuntu. As you can tell, I’m very taken with it.