Onno Vocks Images


(Not betray you as badly anyway)

Recently a question came up about Search Engines and Computers storing everything you look at or do. In order to do that, a Search Engine needs to recognize you through your hardware, Browser, Operating System or IP address, and your computer saves all kinds of Data that we aren’t even aware of. I’m no expert, but I like to tinker with machines, and was wondering why I couldn’t reuse old computers with smaller Linux operating systems, and still get basic things done like searches, video, inter net surfing and E-mail. What I eventually came up with was mostly FREE, free computer and free software.

For starters I got hold of a Compaq Presario 2100 from about 2001 or thereabouts, that was originally designed for Windows XP. It had no Battery and no Hard Drive and a conventional BIOS. I then down loaded Puppy Linux 5.7 and burned a “live” CD, still had to buy the blank CD of course. From there it is pretty simple. Click the images for enlargements should you want a closer look.


As you can see, the Hard Drive Bay is empty


Upon startup you’ll get this message, confirming there is no Hard Drive and no Operating System. This is the time to open the CD drive.


Insert the Non PAE Puppy Linux “live” CD in the tray and close, you may have to restart if the process does not start automatically. Upon startup you’ll have a short setup session for your inter net connection, that’s it! The reason I use the CD or DVD is because the Operating System can not be corrupted as the disk can no longer be written to, no Mal-ware, no spy-ware and no viruses….EVER!


TAADAA!! Any material you wish to save can be stored on a flash drive; remove the flash drive and CD and the machine is the old empty shell it was before. Now you say there are still remnants of data in the RAM, true, but it will be very little as a lot of RAM is used to swap files for the OS, and that’s still better than a decade’s worth of Cookies and Data. The next time you start the machine and reload the OS, most info from the previous session will be wiped/written over and most Snoops expect a Hard Drive, not RAM.

Now all you need to do is find free inter net access, like in a public or school library. Don’t forget your ethernet cable if your old Heep of parts is not equipped with wireless, and a usb flash drive. You can also use this setup at Home, eventually the machine will be recognized, as will your IP address, but it will still remain incorruptible.

Do not expect stellar performance from this setup, it will be slow, but if they steal this laptop, all they have is an old pile of parts and there is nothing for “you know who” to copy 🙂 (like at the airport) I also like to use really old machines, the newer ones have hard ware that can be traced while on line.

As stated before: I’m no expert, in my opinion total inter net anonymity and privacy does not exist, but this setup makes it a lot harder for anyone to steal your Data. The flash drive is easier to hide, and the data stored on it is entirely controlled by you. For even better privacy, consider Tails with a TOR browser, it too can be run from a live DVD, but will consume much more memory, and require newer, faster hardware than this old Heep.

Links to Puppy, and I recommend visiting them as my “Puppy” is outdated, “Woof”




I’m off to the next weird Computer project. Happy tinkering 🙂


6 responses

  1. What an splendid idea! I have such an old Dell, although I’ll have to remove the hard drive, not a big deal. And though I don’t travel often, this is the way to travel.

    Thanks, Onno, peace.

    July 27, 2015 at 11:23 am

    • You can try out how Puppy will function before removing the hard drive. At startup, at the initial Brand screen hit the correct key (esc on Compaq or F12 on Dell, usually, but screen should tell you) and choose the option that allows you to boot from the CD/DVD drive. Should you not be happy with Puppy, you’ll not have wasted your time removing the Hard Drive. I happened to get mine with HD and Battery already missing, the machine then defaults to the CD/DVD drive automatically. Linux operating systems are capable, but require a little more knowledge/effort from the user.
      Good luck and have fun Peter.

      July 27, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    • The reason I recommend testing it prior HD removal, is because sometimes there are hardware compatibility issues that can not be solved easily when the hard ware is permanently mounted in the Motherboard, video cards. Greetings.

      July 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm

  2. You know onnovock, Tubularsock has always wanted to be a hacker. And the ONLY thing that has kept Tubularsock from being a hacker is the fact that besides his vast knowledge of the use of the on/off button on Tubularsock’s computer Tubularsock knows little else. But Tubularsock can dream.

    Interesting post.

    September 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    • Thanks for the visit. Tubularsock does not need to be a Hacker, Tubularsock has friends in lo.., err,… cyber places. There may be an even smaller OS, I’ll post results if I ever do get to play with it. My main objective was reusing old machines, the “empty shell” was just a happy accident, though I did suspect linux could be used like the original DOS machines that loaded the OS the same way but used a 5.25″ floppy instead. DOS, Disk Operating System 🙂

      September 7, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      • onnovocks ……. it’s all Greek to Tubularsock and Tubularsock doesn’t speak Greek! But thanks for trying.

        September 8, 2015 at 2:36 am

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