Well, the test rig arrived and I've made some good progress. First, it came better equipped than advertised which was great. It came with a 500GB hard drive, and two CD/DVD players, so I didn't have to swap hard drives after all. Heck, it even has a floppy drive.
First I made a full image, then formatted it to make sure no bad blocks existed, and then I did my first manual install of Mint Mate 17.3, 64 bit. I took your advise and made three partitions – root, home, and swap. I made root a primary partition, and both home and swap logical. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. Today I am going to install TimeShift and try it out.
The E8400 processor wasn't bad in its time, and Mint flies on it. One advantage of it over the processor in my XPS system is that it supports VT-x. I have been wanting to try Virtualbox in Linux for a while, so now I can.
So far I have encountered only two problems with the new system:
First, just as was the case with my XPS system, my Epson, WF-3620 printer simply won't install. I have tried at least ten times and it just stops midway. It finally did install on my XPS, but I have no idea why. I have rebooted after each attempt but no joy. I suspect there is something flaky about that driver.
Next, I've noticed on occasion that the “Update Manager” icon in the tray changes into a red X. This message appears when it does:
Could not download all repository indexes
The repository may no longer be available or could not be contacted because of network problems. If available an older version of the failed index will be used. Otherwise the repository will be ignored. Check your network connection and ensure the repository address in the preferences is correct.
E: Could not get lock /var/lib/apt/lists/lock - open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)
E: Could not open file descriptor -1
E: Unable to lock the list directory
The computer connects to the Internet perfectly (Ethernet cable), so I have no idea what that error means.
That's it for now, but if you have any ideas about my problems, I certainly would appreciate your help.