Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Setting up an old laptop

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Screenshot of Windows update

When I’ve not been looking at animals or model trains, I’ve spent quite a bit of the weekend setting up a laptop. It’s my dad’s old laptop that is being given away to a charity worker. So I needed to wipe it, re-install Windows, and then set it up ready to use.

I’m writing this on Monday, having worked on the laptop since Saturday afternoon.

It’s a 2009-era HP Pavilion laptop, so using the recovery partition meant taking it back to a 2009 state. Whilst this fortunately means it had Windows 7 installed, it didn’t have the service pack and needed over eight years’ worth of Windows Updates. All in all, I think I installed around 250 updates over 36 hours.

As well as this, I needed to remove some of the cruft that came with it, such as HP branded games. There was a free trial of Norton included, which was removed and replaced with Microsoft Security Essentials. I uninstalled Java (which I don’t feel is necessary nowadays), Silverlight (likewise) and Flash Player, and installed Google Chrome (which has Flash built-in). Eventually, Internet Explorer updated itself to version 11 as well.

I didn’t remove the majority of the HP software that came pre-installed, although I uninstalled the now defunct HP Update and replaced it with an up-to-date version of the HP Support Assistant.

Microsoft Office 2007 was pre-installed, albeit as a trial version. I left it there, just in case the new user of the laptop had a license or wanted to upgrade it, and made sure that it had the various necessary security updates. But I also installed LibreOffice, which, incidentally, wouldn’t work until I had installed the majority of the updates from Windows Update. I think this had something to do with the Microsoft C++ 2015 libraries.

I also made sure that the graphics drivers were as up-to-date as possible (AMD stopped issuing updates for this particular card in 2013) and installed updated Ethernet drivers for good measure. And I added 7zip, as it’s useful for opening RAR files and less common archive formats.

I didn’t upgrade it to Windows 10; I’ll leave that decision to its new owner.

Considering its age, it’s not a ridiculously slow laptop and works okay for light use – despite the long time required to update it. Doing a factory reset probably helped, of course. I’m hoping that it’ll serve its new user for a few more years yet.

One Comment

  1. That’s actually impressive that you managed to get it in a “really quite usuable actually” state. And yipes, 8 years of updates in one go!

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