Donated laptop for Hebrew/Russian user

More fun at work setting up computers as gifts to local people.

Today in between usual jobs I have to do at work as the IT systems admin of a charity here in Jerusalem, I was setting up this Compaq Presario 2100 laptop I blogged on previously on replacing the DVD drive. This same computer came into my workshop as the staff member replaced it with a newer Toshiba, and this machine is to be a gift for our cleaning lady who is originally from Russia.

This lady hasn’t got her own PC, and told us she had been praying she could get a computer given to her somehow.  So we are looking forward to surprising her later this week. 🙂

To start with I needed to take a Ghost image of this system in case any files got lost.   It turned itself off part way.  Bah.   Turned out it had overheated.   I stripped it down and found that the fan inside was clogged up with dust, there was a wall of fluff so the fan was turning but no air could escape out of the system. After pulling out the heatsink and fan assembly and blasting some canned air into it, some big balls of fluff came out of it, and once clean I put it back together.  I managed to do a full back up off everything on the hard disk.   This computer is pretty old now being a 2004 model, but it has a 2800 AMD Athlon processor, so performance is quite good actually.

Next was to install Windows.   I found a copy of Windows XP home Hebrew edition in a drawer, I made a duplicate of the CD and merged in Service Pack 3 for XP into it and burned a new copy of the CD.  I used the normal XP home licence code on the sticker on the bottom of the Compaq.

This is interesting as our cleaning lady doesn’t speak much English, she speaks Russian and Hebrew only.   For me installing XP hebrew version is a little interesting.   After formatting the hard disk etc, everything seems to be like normal Windows XP in English, once the computer does its first reboot, it will show the “35 minutes left to install” in Hebrew.  The rest of the install I can do from memory as I have installed XP enough times to know roughly which menu features do what.

Once installed, up comes the familiar desktop with the grassy hill background, but with the Start button on the right.   Everything is back to front as Hebrew is a right to left language.   I am doing everything else from memory here,  I put on all the Windows updates which took about an hour.   All the drivers go on after this.

Laptop pimpin’

This particular type work I do is quite fun as I get to use creativity in setting up the equipment for user so they can work with no hassle.

If you remember the TV show ‘pimp my ride’ where car modification specialists adapt and improve and tired and shabby vehicle of a viewer of the show, they write in complaining their car is old and jaded and would like to be considered to be the subject of the show.  Usually around $30,000 is spent on a car worth virtually nothing to start with. Part of the charm of the show is the outlandish over the top extras done such as 8 TV screens set into the interior.  Of course this particular business that has the team of vehicle technicians do actually have customers in posh parts of California with vast amounts of disposable income purely for aesthetic make overs for their cars.

Here in my workshop I enjoy pimping out  old computers, generally tune and tweak things for performance and usability.   I also try and reuse second hand parts where possible, usually I prefer to buy new parts such as cooling fans and batteries as used versions of these components are never any good, so everything can be done as cost effective as possible.  I always use a lot of open source software which is free and doesn’t have unreasonable and complex licence agreements.

This particular system I have worked on is based around this lady’s background, and as Russian is her mother tongue, I put on the Hebrew version of Firefox, and also installed a Russian version of ‘portable’ Firefox.   This particular version of this popular browser (70+ languages are supported) is meant to be installed on a USB stick.   This means two versions can be put on together.  There is also two versions of OpenOffice, using a standard version and portable version.

Hebrew Firefox with Lion of tribe of Judah theme!!!

Russian Firefox with Tetris type church theme 🙂

Sadly it doesn’t seem both apps can be run at the same time, but don’t think this is too much of an issue.

As well as a simple Compaq wallpaper from the internet, I set the Firefox background themes to fit in nicely for each version of the browser 🙂

Software installed:- Windows XP home with Service Pack 3, Internet Explorer 8 (as not a great browser its just on for security updates) Media Player 11, VLC player 1.12, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8 Hebrew version, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8 Portable Russian version, Open Office 3.2 Hebrew version, Open Office 3.2 Portable Russian version, Adobe Acrobat 9.3, Google Earth, Free AVG 9.0, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and lastly Infrarecorder CD/DVD burning app which has support for Hebrew language.

Of course all the security is tightened up with Internet Explorer icons removed, all Windows updates on, AVG 9 does the job nicely and Malwarebytes is good for scanning for more complex threats – albeit has the to be run manually once in a while.

All software installed is legally licenced and has cost the grand total of zero. 🙂

Only slight negative points of this computer is the silver paint on the palm rest is a little scratched, the battery doesn’t work for more than 5 minutes and there is no onboard wireless card.   I think I will go with a cheap USB wireless stick if she needs this access.

Now just need to give this computer a clean and could benefit from some Hebrew/Russian keyboard stickers for its new owner.

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