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From XP to Linux...


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#1 RJNB

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 03:47 AM

Hello,

I run a Windows XP laptop(specs in signature) and am interested in making it into a dual boot one...So,

  1. Which would be the best linux/ubuntu distro for me-I use the laptop for browsing, a bit of gaming, printouts, creating documents, presentations, rarely spreadsheets...
  2. I want to install it on my external hdd...How to do that?
  3. I have a usb with lubuntu iso mounted...Can that be put to use?

Thanks



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#2 cat1092

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 04:00 AM

RJNB,  :welcome: to the Linux section of BC Forums! :guitar:

Yes, if that Lubuntu ISO is a recent one, it can be used. Your computer can probably run several Linux distros, and you'll likely try a few before settling on one. It took me like 3 to 4 months, though this was in 2009 & support wasn't as good than as now. 

 

As to installing on your external, the safest bet if possible is by removing your installed HDD & performing it, that way all the Linux installer 'sees' is the external. You'll need three partitions on it, which will be created during install, a 12GiB root or / partition, a 20GiB /home partition, and with 2GB RAM, a 2GiB Swap partition. This is plenty of room for your first install, and unlike Windows, not a ton of space is needed. 

 

Most likely, some other members will chip in with some ideas, so that you may not have to remove your HDD, the reason I say to do it is for safety. What you don't want is your other OS's bootloader being written over. 

 

Good Luck, am glad that you're here! :)

 

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#3 RJNB

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 09:33 AM

Hello,

Thanks for the reply...The iso is quite old, I think I created it when I had a BSOD long back-the unmountable boot volume error if you remember under your suggestion of course :), around December last year...

Is the bootloader(boot.ini) the only thing that will be written over?? If that is the case, I will create a backup of the bootloader and then install...Or create a ghost image...I really would like to avoid messing up with the HDD...

I will need 34GBs then right? Well there are plenty there already so we can use that without any trouble-there is atleast a hundred and eighty on that hdd free...

Thanks



#4 brainout

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 03:48 PM

Agree with cat, on any Ubuntu installation -- especially, if it's an OLDER Ubuntu (2 years old or prior).  I temporarily wrecked my machine 2+ years ago, trying to install older Ubuntu.  It wants to write grub to the internal hard drive, if present.  It didn't override anything else.  Fedora did the same thing, too.

 

By contrast, this year's Mint 17 installation will likely see your external hard drive, even if you have the internal connected. I had good luck with it.  Mint is not wholly Ubuntu, though, is mixed with Debian.

 

It's possible that a newer Ubuntu/Fedora/other-version Linux won't overrwrite the boot sector, but why take a chance?  Isn't your laptop drive easy to slide out?


Edited by brainout, 19 July 2015 - 03:53 PM.

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#5 pcpunk

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 09:04 PM

Hey, good to see you over here finally!

 

I will suggest a few distro's here take it or leave it it's all good.  

 

Ditch the old one, Lubuntu, and get a new one of the same if that is what you like.  I've run it-it's nice.

 

Mint Xfce17.1 would also be good on that pc, remember Xfce will run faster than the other 17.1's, lighter desktop.

 

Also run the 13's they will be fast also, run them all live until you find one you like.  No need in sticking with that old one when it is very cheap to Burn these and try them out, and, it's fun!

 

If you try one of the thirteens, try Mintkde13, it's real cool.


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#6 DeimosChaos

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 09:38 PM

I know for sure that if you install most Ubuntu based distros ( and Ubuntu itself ) there is an option to install it along side of your Windows partition. It shouldn't mess with the boot loader to much. Grub will be installed on to be able to boot into the two different operating systems, but as in my experience if you wipe out the Linux partition you will usually get rid of grub as well. Unless you manually install it on a separate partition.


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#7 cat1092

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 05:32 AM

 

 

Also run the 13's they will be fast also, run them all live until you find one you like.  No need in sticking with that old one when it is very cheap to Burn these and try them out, and, it's fun!

Rarely do we hear of anyone discussing Mint 13 these days, including KDE (not advisable for a newbie to begin with). Though if needed for less than 2 years, it's still supported & all, not only is it slower than Mint 17, my goodness, look at the huge update list from the go. Usually over 700MiB of updates are needed after removing of the now abandoned Medibuntu repositories or PPA's, which adds to the things to do list. What we don't want is for the OP to be overwhelmed by older choices. I'm also hopeful that the Intel GMA 915/910 are better than the ATI Radeon 7500 graphics on my older notebook, which has only a 32MB chip. Hopefully 64MB at a minimum, was looking for this in the Speccy specs, which is highly informative, sometimes not every last detail is included, 

 

If still running XP, GPU-Z (a portable app) can be used to determine this. It's important, because if the GPU is limited to 32MB, we'll need to go with a lighter distro, with 64 to 128MB, should be able to run Linux Mint MATE or XFCE fine. Note that there are no 17.2 XFCE versions out yet, it'll likely be another month or two away, this is out of the control of Linux Mint & Ubuntu. XFCE & KDE are used by many distros outside of Ubuntu & it's derivatives, including Mint. Here's the link to GPU-Z. Just click the bottom option when opening, there should be three choices, this is the portable one, where you can see how many MB's your graphics has. 

 

http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/2506/techpowerup-gpu-z-v0-8-4/

 

While one can install 17.2 MATE (recommended for this computer if 17.1 XFCE is not used), only 60MiB or so of updates are needed post install. 

 

It's also important for the OP to know that the Firewall needs to be enabled as soon as the OS is installed & booted back into for the first time. Mint has a Start Menu similar to XP, and clicking Menu (same as Start on XP), go to Terminal & click onto it. Now type in sudo ufw enable and then press Enter, when prompted, also enter your password, note that no movement will be seen during this time for your security & press Enter again. It should show that the Firewall is active and enabled on Startup (or similar wording). This is the most important thing that a Linux user can do for their security, the others being using the same responsible computing practices that one would use if on any other OS & having personal responsibility for one's actions while on the Internet. 

 

Being a Linux user has it's perks, such as for the most part, being EULA free, yet it doesn't mean that one can just do as they please & not face the consequences. For example, one cannot use their Linux OS for illegal purposes, it has many features that Windows & Mac doesn't, some has to be added post install. Nor can one download protected content, for example, most all versions of Linux ships with a Torrent client, Mint has Transmission. It's just as illegal to use this feature to gain access to movies & music as it is using BitTorrent on Windows. Being that I don't use Torrent software, I always remove Transmission from my Linux Mint installs & any other that ships with it or another Torrent client. 

 

Just some things that I feel people needs to know, there's a common misconception that Linux users are free to do as they please, and that's not always true. However, there's many things that Linux users can do legally, one of these is that no activation is required for most Linux distros, and another is that there's over 40,000 totally free software choices that Linux users can pick & choose from. Another is that a Full Office suite is included with LibreOffice, which is also available for Windows. No need to pay MS $150-500 for a COA of the latest Office, when LibreOffice usually more than meets the need for most Linux users. 

 

And Yes, the install can be done on a portable backup drive, which is often faster than the built in one. Many runs at 7200 rpm & has a 32MB cache, if I keep on going, you'll just want to boot into Linux Mint or other distro more & mode. 

 

I'd suggest that that with a faster external drive, even on a USB 2.0 port, that before installing, you should download a few, chances are, whenever you find that special OS, you'll know that 'this is the one' in 10 minutes or less. Then we can discuss installing to that drive. Because regardless of the OS you've chosen you'll likely sill require assistance from the community before performing the install, and we need to ensure that at least for now, that you've found one that you like. Then we can assist with the install, which actually is the easy part, It may not seem so now, but will after the install, 

 

Finally, don't hesitate to ask questions when needed, There are no 'dumb' questions here, if it matters to you, then it certainly does to us. We're rooting for you on this & stand with you for whatever time is needed, within reason of course. 

 

Hopefully it won't take you as long as it did me to find that distro, the sooner you get to that point, the better, Though don't rush yourself, make sure this is the one that you'll likely go with.  :thumbup2:

 

Good Luck! :)

 

Cat


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#8 pcpunk

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 01:09 PM

 

 

 

Also run the 13's they will be fast also, run them all live until you find one you like.  No need in sticking with that old one when it is very cheap to Burn these and try them out, and, it's fun!

Rarely do we hear of anyone discussing Mint 13 these days, including KDE (not advisable for a newbie to begin with). Though if needed for less than 2 years, it's still supported & all, not only is it slower than Mint 17, my goodness, look at the huge update list from the go. Usually over 700MiB of updates are needed after removing of the now abandoned Medibuntu repositories or PPA's, which adds to the things to do list. What we don't want is for the OP to be overwhelmed by older choices. I'm also hopeful that the Intel GMA 915/910 are better than the ATI Radeon 7500 graphics on my older notebook, which has only a 32MB chip. Hopefully 64MB at a minimum, was looking for this in the Speccy specs, which is highly informative, sometimes not every last detail is included, 

 

Cat

I should have been more clear.  I thought this would be a good option if RJNB's graphics would not work well with 17.1.  On my Acer it helped, but now I see that he has some decent graphics so good catch cat.  Still may be needed though and would be easier than messing around with drivers etc.


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#9 NickAu

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 06:05 PM

Unless I am reading the speccy wrong the pc has Intel graphics.

 

Also that is a HP PC not an Acer PC, So the problems you had with your Acer are different.

 

Lets not create problems by jumping ahead with problems that may or may not exist, This can also confuse the member asking a question because they are bombarded with too much information.



#10 cat1092

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 04:03 AM

Intel graphics tends to be more reliable than some of the other options on older computers, and there are Linux drivers built into the ISO for this, though an update may still come in every now & then.   

 

I feel that the OP has a few choices here.  :thumbup2:

 

2GB RAM and a 2048MB L2 cache for the CPU helps too. Many older computers are restricted to a 256 to 512MB cache, which limits performance big time. I have no doubt about finding an OS to suit RJNB's needs, it's just a matter of what is wanted.  :)

 

The way it's going to be ran is where the tricky part comes in. Normally I'd advise one to uninstall their drive, this type usually slides out (very gently to avoid bending of pins) after removal of a cover or screw, install the distro to the external, update & then replace the stock drive back in the same way, gently, using no force. Then upon reboot, RJNB would have two choices, setting it up in the BIOS to boot to that drive first when present, otherwise it'll boot into the internal drive. Or press & hold whatever 'F' key controls the bootable devices prior to pressing the power button, and manually selecting which drive to boot. 

 

Doing this through the BIOS is the easiest way, that decision rests with RJNB. 

 

I also see that an Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG Network connection is used, this will also make for an easy install, my 2nd Dell Latitude D610 notebook had the same card, most any distro will run fine with this still very popular card for these type of computers, my IBM T42 has the same. In fact, there's not a lot of difference between the two, only my CPU is the next model newer (Pentium M 740). If it can run XP along with Norton Internet Security, surely it'll run Linux on an external. 

 

Depending on which type of powered external it is, the OS may perform better than on the internal drive. I've ran Linux from drives in powered enclosures & these were always faster than the stock HDD, even plugged into a USB 2.0 port. This was due to three reasons, the external was powered, the HDD has a 32MB cache, and spins at 7200 rpm. Still used as a backup drive today. 

 

I don't see a problem going forward, other than RJNB may be forced to use Forced PAE Mode, though this task is easier than on versions just a couple of years back. As I understand it, both Ubuntu 14.04 & Linux Mint 17 has this as an option, there may be other distros that has this as well. 

 

Let's wait from RJNB to hear what he has to say before proceeding further. I believe that'll be best & hopefully will respond soon. :)

 

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#11 RJNB

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 11:38 AM

Hello,
I have no idea which one is suitable for me...So, please suggest recommended distros...
What exactly gets modified??Is it the boot.ini file or something else...If it is the boot.ini file which is the cause of the issue of hard drive removal, I say it won't be a problem as I have copies of it on the external hdd and also one on my other pendrive...
As for the graphics, I am too astonished to see the memory size...Just take a look yourself...9gk.png

So, what do you think will be best for me??

Thanks

RJ



#12 Al1000

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 01:02 PM

I'll second Cat's suggestion: Linux Mint 17.2 MATE
 

What exactly gets modified??Is it the boot.ini file or something else...


If you install the bootloader to your HDD, the MBR will be overwritten. However installing the bootloader to your HDD might not be a good idea if you're installing Linux on an external drive, as the files needed by the bootloader would be on the external drive. So you would have to have the external drive plugged in to be able to boot into Windows.

The easiest option might be to install the bootloader to your external drive. If your BIOS sees the external drive as a removable device, it will probably be possible to set your boot priority menu in the BIOS so that if the external drive is plugged in when you boot up, the computer will boot straight into Linux, and if the external drive isn't plugged in it will boot straight into Windows.

#13 brainout

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 01:18 PM

@RJNB:  Because your internal drive is so small, I disagree with the other posters here.  They aren't wrong, but you need more room.  And, you want to turn Hibernation OFF.  Linux won't work with a hibernated drive.  Do you know how to enter BIOS?  In HP, you hit the F10 key as soon as you power on.  Once you're in the BIOS menu, look for anything about Power Options or putting the computer to sleep.  One of these will specify 'Hibernation Enabled', as shown in your Speccy specs.  Change it to disabled

 

Also, in XP, look at your Power Settings (Control Panel Power Options), Find the 'Hibernate' tab in Power Options Properties, and uncheck 'Hibernate'.

 

So here's a way to install Linux without even using, your internal hard drive.  The instructions below should work with any Linux distro, but I'd suggest you first try Mint17, 32-bit.  It comes in various desktop/interface 'flavors'.  The  KDE  flavor (link  download locations vary, look toward bottom of that page), is most like XP in its 'intuition', and even has settings designated as Windows so you can make it look 'traditional'. 

 

A smaller version is Linux Mint Mate 32-bit, so maybe try that first, but although it's XP friendly, it's maybe not as full-featured as the KDE.  You can see the interface differences once you burn them to DVD.

 

I say this, because Mint 17 runs well on my Acer A0A 150, which only has 1 GB of RAM, and an Atom processor, which is far weaker than your Pentium M.  But Mint is NOT on that computer.  I instead installed it to an external drive and to a stick.  The drive is 250GB, bigger than my internal drive, so I can download all the programs in Linux if I want.  How?

 

1.  Burn each of those download iso's linked, to its own DVD.

 

2.  Turn off your machine, leaving the DVD inside.  Wait a few minutes, then turn on machine again.

 

3.  While waiting for the Linux Mint DVD to boot (maybe 10 minutes), go grab some external drive you have or stick, which is at least 32 GB preferably bigger.  Pick a drive whose files you don't want, or one that is empty.  Or, pick a stick.

 

4.  When it boots, you'll see 'Install Mint' icon almost in the middle of the screen.  Hook up that #3 drive/stick to your usb port.

 

5.  Then click on 'Install Mint', and it will present you with both your 37 GB internal drive, and the external.  Select the external.

 

6.  At this point, Mint might fight you over the drive being too small.  Ignore that, and look for any option to 'free up space' on it, and let it decide the partitioning.  You may have to go back and forth to get it to accept the drive (bug in the installer).

 

7.  After it accepts the drive, it will prompt you for a domain/network name. Accept the default.

 

8.  It next prompts you for username and password.  DO provide each (have password be as short as possible), and write down what you typed.

 

9.  Go get lunch.

 

10.  In about 30 minutes, you should hear a nice sound telling you the installation is over, with instructions for shutdown.  Follow them.

 

Wash rinse repeat for the other iso.

 

Now, you're ready to boot in Linux with NO space taken up on your internal hard drive, which is precious. NO changes are made to boot.ini or your mbr, so NO problems with XP.  (XP likes to be alone, and on your 37 GB internal hard drive, you want it to be alone.)  To boot in XP, just remove the external hard drive or stick, and turn the machine on.  It's the same, unchanged XP as it was, prior.   :grinner:

 

So to boot in Mint, plug in the external hard drive or stick now containing Mint, and turn on the machine.  First time, it takes a good 10 minutes to boot, as it reads what's on your machine, and deploys the right drivers, etc.  It's especially compatible with HP, so don't worry about anything.

 

So now it's booted, you can play.  Left click on the menu in left lower corner, just as with XP.  Notice all the programs you have.  Play with them, see what they do.  If you want more, then click on the 'Synaptic Package Manager', type a category.  Or, do the same in the Software Manager (which is easier).  These 'stores' of programs, are called 'repositories'.   There are hundreds of thousands of free programs to play with, but you can search by category.  One of my favorites is 'redglass cursor' which you can download when you're configuring your cursor in 'Appearance' menu option.  You'll see what I mean when you play with 'Appearance' options.  :welcome:

 

Mint will recognize your sound card and motherboard, and monitor.  All your changes and configurations store on that external drive/stick as if it were an extra internal drive.  So now you can use it on any machine, in hotels, at your friends' houses, without any damage to their machines.  Again, since it remembers YOUR monitor and YOUR machine, it will run ever faster each time it's plugged into YOUR machine.  But when you plug it into another machine, it redetermines what drivers to use, keeping YOUR information intact as well.  So after awhile, if you use only certain machines regularly, it will 'remember' them all and boot quickly.

 

And best of all, you can use it to do XP rescuing and housekeeping, mass copy your XP stuff, write to DVDs (which XP cannot do), clone and backup in ways XP cannot do, etc.  You'll like that.  Linux can even run some XP programs directly, but that's a lesson for another day.      :bike:

 

Hope this helps.  Yell at me if it doesn't!


Edited by brainout, 24 July 2015 - 02:03 PM.

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#14 pcpunk

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Posted 25 July 2015 - 01:58 PM

I'll second Cat's suggestion: Linux Mint 17.2 MATE
 

What exactly gets modified??Is it the boot.ini file or something else...


If you install the bootloader to your HDD, the MBR will be overwritten. However installing the bootloader to your HDD might not be a good idea if you're installing Linux on an external drive, as the files needed by the bootloader would be on the external drive. So you would have to have the external drive plugged in to be able to boot into Windows.

The easiest option might be to install the bootloader to your external drive. If your BIOS sees the external drive as a removable device, it will probably be possible to set your boot priority menu in the BIOS so that if the external drive is plugged in when you boot up, the computer will boot straight into Linux, and if the external drive isn't plugged in it will boot straight into Windows.

 

+2 Well said by Al000.  You might want to test this stuff out on a cheap/inexpensive 16gb usb, then move to the External Drive install, will be the same thing anyway.

I would start with the best suggested here like MintMate, then if that don't run like you want, or a fast as you like, then go down to Xfce which will run Very Speedy.


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#15 cat1092

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Posted 26 July 2015 - 04:57 AM

After some further testing in recent days, have learned that Linux Mint 17.2 is not the best compatible version with some notebooks, though 17.1 is, and what was running on the notebook before a clean install of 17.2 was performed. Very unimpressed, and I suggest for now to go with Linux Mint 17.1. 

 

Paul confirmed this in another Topic, that 17.2 was buggy, I didn't believe this, until trying it on the MSI notebook built in early 2011. Talk about being disappointed, I was very much so. Here's the links. 

 

http://www.linuxmint.com/release.php?id=23

 

The MATE 32 bit option needed will be the first of that version listed to be downloaded, same for XFCE at the bottom of the list, the top choice of the two. Here's the links pointed out, if needed. XFCE is faster than MATE, but one will have to add needed packages. With MATE, all of the packages are there, yet any that aren't needed can be uninstalled. By uninstalling what's not needed, this will make the install a little faster. Both ran OK on my IBM T42 of similar specs, it was just that at boot & shutdown, the text was garbled, likely because of the low cost ATI 7500 Mobility card installed. 

 

MATE 32 bit.

 

http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=173

 

XFCE 32 bit. 

 

http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=181

 

I'm posting this because you need a reliable OS. LInux Mint 17.2 needs more work, for some computers, likely was released a little too early. Also, this is the first time that the MInt team have stuck with one distro as a base (Ubuntu 14.04 LTS) & have used these point releases (.1, .2, etc). They are still learning also, this is a first for the Mint team. 

 

Yet overall I've felt that they've done quite well, and am looking forward to Mint 18 next year. 

 

Cat


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