Free Computer

This was originally posted to Ecency in May of 2023 by me.

For my job I work 90% remote which is usually at home. But I am required to physically go to the office at least twice a month on Fridays. Which is nice since 90% of my job involves talking on the phone and resolving problems in a tech/safety/legal type of situation. When I am required to be in the office is when I do things that I have to be done in that environment. Meeting & training with drivers & students, mountains of paperwork filing, accessing the local NAS, etc. You get the idea.

Story time

So I have basically ended up with two offices. For the one at home I had been secretly using Linux for well over a year before I finally came out and told the CEO I was returning the laptop he had provided when I started. It’s a nice Dell with 16gb of ram 500GB ssd with Window10 on it. It worked fine and did the job well. But my desktop was so much faster I couldnt pass up using it at home. He was actually shocked when I told him I hadnt used the laptop for so long. And gave me his blessing to continue using the OS of my choice at home. But in the office I have to use the one the IT company provided. It too was an acceptable Lenovo A10 with 12GB ram and a 2 TB HDD. A little slow because of the spinning hard drive but it got the job done. The Lenovo A10 as it sits on my desk now.

The Crash

About a month ago I went into the office and tried for almost an hour to get the Lenovo to boot. It was just stuck at the boot screen and wouldnt go any further. So I called the IT peeps and they showed up that afternoon with a new computer. Saying it was almost time for me to have a new one anyways.

He whipped out the little Dell mini tower he was replacing the Lenovo with and I had to catch my breath, it was so tiny! I asked what was inside and he said a 12 gen i5 16GB of ram and a 500GB nvme ssd. He laughed when I told him it would be running Linux by the end of the day. They put passwords on the bios to prevent their customer from playing with the new machines. Long story short I asked what was going to happen to the Lenovo since it was just a bad hard drive. He said they would just take it back to “computer room” on site. The machine belongs to the owner/CEO and he can do with them what he wants.

So I texted the boss and asked if I cold recycle it and give it a good home. He said sure. He also said that the next time we were both in the office together that he would unlock the computer room and let me take whatever I want! Do you see now why I say I have the greatest boss in the world?

Now the fun part

So I get it home and swap out the drive for another old spinner I knew was good. Threw on a current Linux Mint and boom. It’s up and running. A couple of reboots later and it freezes at the boot screen again. So it’s obviously not a dead hard drive. So I throw that 2TB back in and proceed with trouble shooting at my leisure over a couple of weeks. I checked everything I could think of. Power supply, different HDD’s, cleaning everything as good as I could as I went.

Then I hit pay dirt!

I’m not sure what it was actually because I did 2 things at once yesterday. I removed and cleaned both sticks of RAM and reseated them nice and tight. I did notice that when I pulled the RAM that one end of one stick was not pushed all the way in and locked. They are in snug and locked now for sure.

I also popped out the CMOS battery for about 5-10 minutes to reset the bios. Then I threw it all back together and fired it up with my fingers crossed.


I was jumping for joy. But trying my best to not get too over excited. I quickly did a reboot. Then again. Another one. And one more. Each time it did a full boot without hanging. I was estatic. Since I’ve been using Ubuntu 23.04 since it’s release in April and completely satisfied with it I threw that on there to see how it would respond. Not a problem. I ran a stress test and this machine is actually performing better than my good computer. My good computer’s temp topped out at 87C. This Lenovo never went over 58C. Over the last 2 days I’ve rebooted it several times just trying to get it to hang. But I cant get it to do it. This is awesome to have a back up computer for work & play. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I found the problem.

My current work station. Top monitor is for the Lenovo A10 (on the right side of the desk). Bottom 2 are for my work horse (I named it BigBitch. It’s behind the monitors.)

About that title

When recycling old computers do not throw them away. Nearly every machine can be repaired or refurbrished and you can get many more years of use out of them. Computers that were manufactured in the last 4-5 years are built to to be just thrown away. Because they are built for people to get online and give all your data to Microsoft, Apple & Google. These computers are tools for them to build their profiles on us that they can sell. We can change their ways by continuing to reuse computers with Free and open source software and operating systems that dont collect your data. Some Linux distro’s do collect information on your machine to improve the OS. But thats as far as they go. Linux isnt hard to learn to use. For the average computer user it is literally no different than using WIndows or Mac. It’s got a web browser, office tools, audio/video editing, Steam, etc. A lot of the same apps you use on Windows & Mac are also on Linux. People only say it’s hard because it’s new to them and not what they are used to using.

If you get a new computer give your old one to the local computer store or give it away on Craigslist. Hell throw it on the Hivelist Community for a couple of Hive to cover shipping. I’m sure someone can make it work for cheaper than buying a new one. Not to mention not giving up their data and privacy while doing it too.

As for me, I cant wait to be at the office when the boss is there. Cause I bringing a big ass shopping cart and filling it with some new to me toys!

Crap, I just realized that I think I may need a bigger desk. Till next time, be safe and dont stick your finger where you wouldnt stick your face!