Need Help Setting Up Old Laptop

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Brother John

Puritan Board Sophomore
I have an old Sony Vaio laptop (PCG-R505GL) running Windows XP. I would like to set the laptop up as a dedicated photo/video editor. But when I plug my Cannon camera into the laptop it tells me that the camera is to new.

So to the techie PBers, what is the best way to proceed? Should I try to wipe out the laptop and load something like open office to get an updated operating system? What is a free editing program that I could download for use? As you may have picked up on I am trying to do this for zero cost.

Thanks for helping with my project :)
 

O'GodHowGreatThouArt

Puritan Board Sophomore
Photo and video editing on laptops is very processor intensive and memory intensive. It's further compounded when you bring onboard newer software onto older hardware.

With the specs of your laptop, it may be doable for photos but I'm not so sure about video. It's almost mandatory to have a dual core processor for videos, and that's the minimum. Real movie creation and editing (be it a motion picture or an animated picture) will require a lot of firepower that your laptop can't dish out.

What kind of projects are you wanting to do on the video end?

As for software, definitely bring GIMP onboard. It's an open-source photo editor with enough 3rd party plugins running around to rival Photoshop. Search around on Google and there should be plenty of articles running around about how to go about doing that.
 

Brother John

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks Bryan. Sounds like a bad option for video.

Regarding the picture editing. Is there a way to basically swipe the computer clean to start over new as far as the operating system?
 

Brother John

Puritan Board Sophomore
Its a project idea. I still have a MacBook Pro and iMac for my day to day use. Just wondering if I can potentially use this old laptop for anything useful.
 

Mathetes

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks Bryan. Sounds like a bad option for video.

Regarding the picture editing. Is there a way to basically swipe the computer clean to start over new as far as the operating system?

If you have your Windows XP disk, you can make a boot disk and wipe the hard drive with the "format" command. I would make sure everything you need/want is backed up first, though.
 

Berean

Puritanboard Commissioner
Should I try to wipe out the laptop and load something like open office to get an updated operating system?

John, Open Office is simply an office program, akin to MS Office. It is not an operating system (OS). Others more knowledgeable than me can help you with whether the machine is suitable for video/photo editing.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
John

You want to get a Ubuntu live disk and try running that, yet without overwriting the old OS, at least not until you feel you are comfortable with Ubuntu (or some other Linux OS). Once you decide on it, you can overwrite and turn that machine into a Linux-based machine, then install GIMP and whatever else you can find for those applications.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
I second Wayne's recommendation. Linux tends to be "lighter" than Windows, requiring less CPU, disk, and memory resources. I've used it on a number of occasions to get extra life from aging hardware.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Last time I played with Ubuntu, it was getting pretty bloated. Depending on how old the laptop is, one of the lighter flavors of Linux might provide better service.

Getting back to the original question, however - have you gone to the camera maker's website to see if they have drivers that will run under XP. If it's a problem of XP not recognizing the device, reinstalling XP isn't going to help.

Have you looked here: Windows XP does not recognize a Canon PowerShot S100 digital camera and tried that?
 

Vladimir

Puritan Board Freshman
Ubuntu is probably the most user-friendly Linux. Good for entry level. If you want Linux, get Xubuntu for a lighter desktop environment. But if you never had to deal with Linux, the time it will take to wrap your head around it is probably not worth the hassle.
If you don't have a Windows CD, you can download Windows XP, burn it on a CD and make a clean installation if you have the key. It should be on a sticker somewhere on your laptop, usually the bottom of it. I would guess that by now the system is pretty bloated with stuff you installed previously.
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
For what it's worth, I took an old laptop, that was ready for the heap, and used it as a music interface. My neighbor dumped a 60G hard drive in it so it holds quite a bit of music. I can also use Spotify for variety. The battery is dead and the display has issues, but the sound card works just fine :) I know, I know.... junk hoarder am I.
 

O'GodHowGreatThouArt

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ubuntu is worth knowing if you're in IT though because more and more people are using it with the economy not improving (it is free after all).

Another benefit with it is that it can be booted off a flash drive. If your BIOS is set up to check for boot partitions in USB drives, you can plug it in in the event your operating system buys the farm and recover all your files in about an hour. It's one of the reasons I keep Ubuntu on a flash drive.

It is true that the user interface takes some getting used to, as it is neither Windows or Apple, but it's quite friendly when you figure out the quirks to it.
 

jogri17

Puritan Board Junior
I would use one of the official or unofficial versions of ubuntu. My favourite is Mint (running the Cinnamon GUI).
 

Brother John

Puritan Board Sophomore
I will look into the Linux and gimp. I will also try the link regarding the camera drives. Thanks everybody. Maybe there is a chance to keep this old laptop useful!
 
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