Ubuntu is a very popular Linux operating system which has many functions that are equivalent to those provided by Windows, such as web browsing, playing music and videos, and support for office applications like writing letters and spreadsheets. Ubuntu and several other Linux operating systems are free to use, so they can give new life to old computers. Now that it is possible to get a new laptop for less than $300 dollars, it does not make economic sense to take for repair a laptop with a crashed hard drive and then spend about $200 dollars more to buy a Microsoft Windows operating system and Microsoft Office. The cost of the repair plus the software will exceed the cost of a brand new computer, but it would be a shame to throw away such a piece of technology if it can be reconditioned cheaply. The smart thing to do is to replace the hard drive by yourself and install a free Linux operating system that will perform all the functions of the old computer.
This is exactly what I did with a Sony VAIO computer with a crashed hard drive. Ubuntu 14.04 installed without any problems and I was able to network the VAIO computer with a Windows computer using a wired Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN). However, when I disconnected the Ethernet cable and tried to connect to the network wirelessly, Ubuntu could see the WiFi access point, but it could not connect. I went through the Ubuntu Wireless Troubleshooting Guide, but none of the suggestions worked.
Finally, I came across a blog where one user said that he had solved this problem by using a USB wireless adapter. I happened to have such an adapter that I had used on a Windows 95 computer a long time ago. I plugged it into the USB port of the Ubuntu machine, and lo and behold, the connection worked, but only at 54Mbps which was the rate limit of the old wireless adapter. I went back into the Ubuntu wireless configuration panel to see what the difference was between the USB wireless connection that worked and the one of the built-in wireless connection that did not work. I copied the configuration, and everything worked fine, but at a higher speed. Below is the configuration that worked for me. The Ubuntu installation had originally set the WEP index to 2 and I had to change it to 1. It was a simple change, but it was crucial.