Linux can and is installed on a diverse range of machines from phones, fridges to computers. Let us install Linux Mint 17 on laptop MacBook Pro 5,4. The only thing I changed in this machine is the harddisk.
Do yourself a favour. Buy an ssd.
So I opened the laptop and switched harddisks. Just look at some youtube movies and you will now how to do that too. I remember I needed a stork screwdriver to get it out. If memory servers, number 6 but look that up. Finding out where to buy a stork screwdriver took up most of the time not switching harddisks. That took about 10-15 minutes.
Install Linux Mint like you always do with an usb or a cd-rom.
Then it is time to update till there are no more updates.
That will be the place where I will make my future updates.
You can arrive at a laptop like this depending on choice of themes and icons.