It was 2007, and the nearly 4 year old HP laptop I used at the time for on-the-go work was all-but dead. Its internal hard drive interface had died, rendering the laptop little more than a plastic box. But with no funds for an alternate, it’d have to make do somehow.
There was little else to do other than find a way to install Windows XP on an external HDD, and convince the laptop to boot from that drive. A few hours of hacking together a custom XP install disk that would load USB drivers early enough to make booting from an external drive possible, and we had a working laptop again. Wonder of all wonders, it actually was passably usable, all the more surprising seeing as it was running its OS off an external HDD via a USB 2 connection. The final contraption was far from a real laptop — its battery was long-since dead, so you had to plug it in and have an external drive connected to get it running at all — but it kept me connected for the crucial months that I really needed it in college.
I was reminded of this story this week when, of all things, I was reading a story about making a hackintosh Mac Pro along with a reader’s comment about how he’s continued to upgrade his original Mac Pro to be Mavericks comparable. I never did make a real hackintosh, but did have OS X running in VMware and VirtualBox on PCs in college before I could afford a Mac.
This week, instead of a poll, it’s story time. What extremes have you gone to in trying to keep a computer — Mac or PC — alive? Or how far have you gone to get OS X running on any computer when you didn’t have a Mac? We’ll be looking forward to hearing your stories in the comments below!