- It pains my heart to see machines that have given good service jettisoned for no better reason than MicroSoft can’t think of a way to make money out of them any more. The machine works but it becomes a security hazard for the organisation using it.
This picture shows 62 days to the launch of Windows XP back in September 2001 but at the time of writing there are just 32 days before Microsoft stop providing security updates for XP. Whilst they are offering some kind of support to anti-virus companies for another year, managements are anxious that they will not be showing due diligence if they continue to use it.
If the organisation is running a Windows Remote Desktop (Terminal) server, as many of my clients do, there may be life in the old dog yet.
- Replace Windows with a form of Linux because Linux will run on these machines more securely without the need of an anti-virus program and is regularly updated
- Use a Linux distribution like Lubuntu because it is lightweight and will run fast even on old kit.
- Install it so you don’t have to login and so the remote desktop program loads automatically – this way the first login box the user sees is the one that will create their session on the terminal server
- A remote desktop program like RDesktop or Reminna is not part of Lubuntu because the basic installation is very minimal but these can easily be downloaded and installed using the built-in installer. These programs are fine for most aspects of a remote session that users will need (accessing company files, using local printers and so on)
- So it’s very like the session they are used to logged into the company server via the remote desktop server. What other programs should they use the Lubuntu machine for? Web browsing is often more responsive if using a local machine (Firefox is bundled into the Lubuntu installation) – on a terminal server it can be slow because of all the screen redrawing.
- There should be no need for office or email programs but they are available if they are needed.
Well that’s one way to use these great old machines.
Another is as Network storage. See this good article in my colleague Paul Craig’s InfoSys newsletter.