BeOS, Corel Linux, Xandros and Haiku

The BeOs was originally released back in 1995 and the BeOS 5 Pro edition was released in 2000. It’s an elegant and revolutionary OS that many people saw as a future competitor to Windows. Microsoft certainly thought so. They enforced an OEM agreement that didn’t allow vendors to sell more than one OS on a system. Be, Inc is no longer around, but you can try out a beta version of an open source implementation of BeOS by downloading Haiku from

(Who else would have shrink wrapped copies of this?)

Corel Linux was released in 1999 at a time when there was a great deal of interest in Linux as an alternative to Windows (a little like the excitement around Bitcoin about a year ago)

(This one came with a free Penguin)

Corel Linux is no longer being developed, but it continued for a while as Xandros. You might find a free copy of Xandros on the web today. I recently installed it on a very old computer as an alternative to Millennium. Unlike WinME, it comes with a web server.

Making Windows 10 Look Better

Windows 10 bombards you with ads and invades your privacy… and that’s before the manufacturers add all of their kitsch.

Why do we put up with this stuff? Certainly ads shouldn’t be part of an operating system…. and these ads rotate and flip around. Fortunately, the ads can be removed, and the appearance can also be improved.

There’s still the matter of privacy. The privacy invading features can mostly be removed… and we shouldn’t forget that 10 can be slow on many systems. There are ways to improve this situation as well by turning off some things… like the BitTorrent like way that Microsoft sends updates to you. That’s very processor intensive.

If only we could force it not to do a reboot update while it’s re-encoding videos with Handbrake for 24 plus hours. Maybe someone knows.

Did You Buy a Laptop on eBay With a BIOS Password?

It might be a great computer, but if it has a BIOS password then you’re locked out. It isn’t like a windows password that can be easily removed… and you can always just install a new copy of Windows. The BIOS password is requested before Windows even loads. If you’re lucky, the password is only needed when entering the BIOS setup to change boot options, etc. In any case, it can be frustrating.

Over the years, I’ve collected a number of procedures for either clearing the password or finding a backdoor password that allows access to the BIOS setup where it can then be cleared.

In one case, I guessed 146 times before hitting the correct password which was ‘james’. That’s not really practical, but sometimes it works.

If you have a computer like this, just give me a call. I can usually help.

Think Your Old Vista Laptop or Desktop is Useless?

It really isn’t. Vista was a clumsy and bloated OS, but the computer running Vista had to meet certain requirements just to run the software. They will usually run Windows 7 easily and even Windows 10. You should also consider Linux as a modern lightweight version of Linux will make you think you’re using a new computer.

Here’s an old SONY Vaio recently brought in by a customer and upgraded to Linux after backing up all of the files. It’s like a new computer now.

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It’s modern, fast, snappy and nothing like Vista.

Consider the possibility that your old laptop may be sturdier and better constructed than some of the thin, flimsy newer laptops. That’s when cleaning, upgrading and modernizing your old laptop makes even more sense.

… 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, no 2019 definitely – The Year of Linux

A lot more of my customers are using Linux this year and it’s mostly the result of a frustration with Windows 10 and my suggestion to move to something more secure, more fun and less likely to delete your files during an update. Windows 10 can be improved greatly (I do a lot of things to improve performance, privacy and the basic look and feel) and of course a lot of software requires a current version of Windows, so Windows isn’t going away. However, Linux has improved greatly on the desktop and it’s not just for servers. If you have an old computer that won’t run Windows 10, or a new Windows laptop with only a 32Gb solid state drive, or even if you have a new computer and you don’t need it to run the desktop versions of Quicken or Peachtree, then Linux could be a good alternative. It can even work on a computer that only boots via UEFI.