Not long ago I acquired a couple of old computers that the orginial owners had decided no longer worked well enough - and to be sure these are rather old, single core, 32 bit machines (which could use a stick of RAM or two), but turned out to be perfectly capable for running Linux. Indeed, one of them is already in use as a backup and testing server and has already proved quite capable of running my website for at least a few hours. The other I have slated to use to try out some distributions to try out and review for this site (VirtualBox I know - but setting up networking so that you can access the Virtual machine from any other computer is hard - and I don’t have virtualization hardware on any of my computers).
The Dell was in good condition when I got it, save a missing hard drive. Having installed that, got it up and running, and it became the aforemention backup server. The HP had been subjected to a bit harsher treatment. As can clearly been seen in the picture, the cover was removed from over the USB ports and what appears to have the floppy drive (I’m not sure about it being the floppy drive - it was removed). I suspect that someone was attempting to remove the hard drive on this machine - and didn’t know what it was, given that the hard drive was still in place. More interesting as far as repairs go, was that the CPU cooler had been ripped out at some point, whether this be in an attempt to remove the hard drive, or the problem that caused the computer to be scrapped in the first place I don’t know, but the cooler was sitting in the bottom of the case when I got it. Fortunately, it also was able to boot as soon as I had reinstalled the CPU cooler. If luck is with me, I’ll find a stick of RAM lying around our house that I can use with the HP, before I begin using it to test various distributions.
Having the HP may also lead me to try playing aronud with some of the open source that’s aviable for Windows, as it came with the orginal product code for Windows XP, meaning that I can reinstall the very damaged system.
By the way, if anyone was wondering, I found a Trojan and three pieces of spyware when I scanned the HP’s installation of Windows - but even after the removal of all those, Windows Rot has set in too heavily for the machine to be usable without a reinstall/a new OS.