This shows how to use a computer with NO HARD DRIVE. The computer memory is used as a hard drive with a free operating system loaded by CD.

Often it is possible to get computers at low cost or given to the school by people who want a later model computer or often older computers come in from Europe. Usually the hard drive has been removed and destroyed. This is to ensure all the previous owner's letters and documents are removed from the old computer.

The picture on the right shows six computers which have no hard drives. The computers are older types XP or Vista no longer required The hard drives have been removed and the computer would be thrown out or recycled but could be used in schools in Africa.




Hopefully the school has a usable computer gifted to them but the computer has no hard drive.
This is a very serious problem because not only does the computer require a hard drive but it also needs an operating system to control the operations of the computer and an experienced computer technician to install the operating system on the hard drive. All of this is very expensive.

To overcome these problems there is a very simple way to use old computers in the classroom at very low cost.
The computer needs a CD player installed on the computer. It does not need any kind of hard drive at all. If you plug in the power cord and the mouse and the keyboard and turn on the computer is will not go. It will say "no system disk" and it cannot work because there is no hard drive but we will put a special cd into the CD drive on the computer and the computer will then read the cd and the computer will function. This is a special computer program you can get free most places in the world.
It is called LINUX PUPPY VERSION 5.2.5

LINUX PUPPY computer program is excellent. It contains a good range
of simple but capable programs all on one CD disc and when put into a suitable computer it becomes usable. The version of LINUX is PUPPY LINUX 5.2.5

LINUX computer software is generally free all over the world except for a small cost for copying and postage. Try a local computer software shop. The disc must be LINUX PUPPY 5.2.5

Put the PUPPY disc into the cd player. Press enter. The computer will read the PUPPY disc and transfer all the files on the cd into the computer memory and when finished the computer will become active and after a few moments the computer is fuctioning. This turns a computer with no hard drive back into a working and very useful computer that does not need a hard drive.It is a very simple operation the teacher can put the cd into the CD drive or even a pupil can do it. Just be careful not to scratch the surface of the cd.

The PUPPY disc contains very useful progams well suited for school use. There are the following programs

(1) Set screen resolution. 800 x 600 is good
(2) Play CD music
(3) draw program
(4) paint program
(5) Write a story or a letter
(6) Calendar reminder list
(7) Play music on a USB memory stick
(8) Play DVD (needs a computer dvd player)
(9) Connect to the internet
(10) Small selection of computer games
(11) You can plug in a USB memory stick and play music or a DVD movie or games
(12) You can save information back onto a USB memory stick such as drawings or music or songs or stories the children have created

As well as being extremely easy to get an old or new computer running and using the programs listed,, this PUPPY computer disc is very suitable for younger age children but is also quite a complex program suitable for older school children teaching about setting up a computer, discussing many aspects of computer technology, and including connecting up to the internet but the main good feature the teacher can get the computer running extremely easily just by inserting one simple cd, and after a few days even the youngest school pupil will know how to do it and this is very good basic computer education.

Computers need a HARD DRIVE to store the operating system which are instructions for the computer how is saves your information and brings it back when you need it. You type in some details into the computer. Could be a story you are writing or your school work or holiday pictures and much more information. Without a HARD DRIVE the computer cannot play music or play a DVD or let you play games or draw pictures nothing can be done on the computer but the LINUX PUPPY cd works as a small size hard drive and makes the computer usable and good for children to learn.


Very big difference in usual computer and Linux Puppy computer. Puppy does not need a hard drive and can operate with a cd player or a dvd player


PUPPY LINUX is usually on a CD disc but may be on a DVD disc in which case you need a computer dvd reader. These are usually a very low cost item.

For more advanced students there is a wide range of LINUX programs on cd or dvd most are free or very low cost and many are extremely good software but too advanced for children. LINUX PUPPY 5.2.5 is the best I have seen for children.

These computer programs on disc that become active when put into a computer are called a live disc and do not need a hard drive. They have compressed files on the cd that are de-compressed and start a ram drive using the computers memory.

To function the computer must have memory. If there is no memory it will not work. Computer memory is very cheap.. There are different types of computer memory. It needs someone with computer knowledge to get the right memory. Most of the time a thrown out computer still has the memory cards fitted.

You need 512MB of memory. If after loading, the CD or DVD player is locked and will not open means there is not enough memory.

You are best to have at least one DVD player because that will play a DVD. It will also play a CD for music and it will load the PUPPY disc.

DVD works best in full screen mode. Press right mouse button select full screen from menu

PUPPY is usually supplied on a CD which will also play in a DVD player.


Things are changing very quickly in the computer world. The information above will give you a very cheap and usable computer system for a school at very small cost. Older type CRT screens are given away because people want the thin screens. The computers are given away because people want more advanced computers. The Puppy cd disk is usually very low cost or if not in your area I can put you in touch someone who will send you a Puppy cd disk free. The only disadvantage with this older equipment is it uses 230 volt electricity.

New technology is the Raspberry Pi small size computer not much bigger than a credit card.

But they are not cheap. About $50 US dollars. Thats just the computer. It needs a setup program and an experienced computer person to set it up. The Raspberry is amazing. it is the future probably with very small similar computers replacing large desktop computers but it costs money and not as simple for schools as the older computer system I have described

Richard Williams
New Zealand