It was the time of resurrection of Jesus and took the challenge not knowing what a lot of time it would take.
in my case it was the longest time I spent in doing a similar in that time I would have resurrected three old IBM desktops.
Anyway to cut the story short and to keep my reputation intact, I went down to work with serious intent.
Japanese and Korean Laptops are the worse in this context since they have finicky hardware and finding drives especially in Linux is difficult if not impossible.
Problems I encountered were
1. the RAM which was 512 was not enough to boot even 2010-2011 versions of Linux (even xFce and LXDE).
2. Combo drive was not working properly and the first thing I detected was that the DVD was not working. Even the CD ROM was painfully slow moving. Could not read high speed data written Linux CDs
3. I did not have the USB boot up but Floppy disk boot up and I did not want to waste checking the Floppy Drive.
4. Processor was 2.0 Hertz which was faster than most of my old computers and graphic was working OK.
5. Could mount a CD and connect to the Internet instantly so I decided that it is worth at least as a spare computer to access Internet and post an email.
6. Sound was difficult to configure but one can plug in a USB sound card and the two USB ports were bit rusty of use but working OK.
I fished out some of my old Linux CDs and it booted up well with PCLinux (SAM-the Mouse)-2007 (has Skype, Open Office and many light weight games) which was the only distribution that could run the CD ROM on its optimum speed. Did not try Puppy since with the poorly working CD (combo with DVD not working) repeated CD run was not an option.
Booted up with 10th Anniversary Knoppix CD (not DVD) and it booted well,
Used its gparted and deleted all the old Microsoft partitions and make one NTFS partition and 4 other partitions (1 rersefs, two Ext 4 and 1 SWAP with 2 GiB) and installed Knoppix and browsed Internet.
Mounting the second Linux was the most difficult part all new Linux distributions I tried either froze due to CD Rom freezing or the RAM freezing.
I was about to give up when I realize that peppermint would of 450 odd MiB was worth a try.
I booted it up with normal mode but it also froze but as a final try I tried it with compatible mode which is for old computers.
It really did the trick and this old laptop without Microsoft is now running with two Linux distributions.
Knoppix takes the crown (CD version) and it was the only one which did not freeze.Its file compression is extremely good and now can it be installed with root permission granted if you decide to do so after initial installation.
Peppermint comes close second and thanks to all the guys and girls for producing light weight versions.
Peppermint of course have all the Google application, gParted and Dropbox too.
Those are the two Linux distributions I recommend if one is prepared to spend time to resurrect any old laptop..
After that I told my friend he has to buy at least another 512 and DVD ROM which is very difficult to find even secondhand.
I told my friend do not use the CD and sealed it with a tape (in case I need to reinstall Linux-rarely happens, though) and it is good as gold to browse the Internet for another five years.
The bottom line is do not buy secondhand laptops even if they are pretty cheap and especially if there is no boot facility for USB booting.
None of my Flash Drives with UNetBootIn did work with this laptop.
Do not get caught to gullible secondhand vendors.
If one wants to svae time one could have uesd an external dirve to do the job and I have several (DVD witers) of them but thay are not used for odd jobs but only image writing.
I recommend netbook for laptop which can be eaily booted up with a USB Key.
I hate heavy luggage to do simple jobs.
One should check the battery before any of these and if the battery is not chargin it is not worth the try.