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Setting up linux mint on a really old computer


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#1 rp88

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:01 PM

Given ms's recent actions with KB3139929 and it's mate KB3146449 I have decided it's time to take the plunge. I want to set up linux mint on my really old computer next weekend. Please can I have the links I will need to download linux mint itself and to download the software necessary to make a live USB for it. I'm not sure if the old machine can boot from USB, it certainly doesn't show the USB dirve as an option of where to boot from when I go into it's BIOS with no USB plugged in, but I hope that if I go into BIOS with the USB inserted it might list the bootable USB as an option I can put to the top of the boot list. I could also use having some links to tutorials about using a mint live USB, for now I have no intention of doing any permanent installs to the harddrive.

Thanks
P.S. I heard the news about the compromised mint download a while back, I gather that to protect against this kind of thing one must, before making the live USB, check the digital signatures on the downladed file*. 7z has a really nice feature that you can select any file on your machine with it and it'll give you a sha-256 hash for it, does mint's site have a hash posted anywhere for the download of mint so you can compare it.
P.S.2 if I want to test mint on other machines I need to check in advance that they aren't the sort which risk bricking by trying to boot it, just a live USB boot, no installation intended. Does anyone know of checks that one can run to make sure a computer won't brick when this is tried, also can anyone post a precise warning list about what types of computer are known to do badly with linux mint live USB boots, anyone know how an "HP Notebook-15-r218na" or "Toshiba satellite pro L850-UJ" does, if I were to wish to at some point try a boot on them, or if the old machine cannot be made to detect the live USB at all.

Thanks

*I don't have any torrent client programs, I assume that I can download the file in the way one ordinarily downloads a file, just like one downloads a file from the downloads section of this site, but obviosuly with a rather larger file size. I'm not worried about the download being slow or bandwidth hogging, my connection is good enough that it'll manage a megabyte or so a second and if the download takes hours there's plenty of non-computer related things I can get on with while the download completes.

Edited by rp88, 10 March 2016 - 09:01 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

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#2 Daydreamed

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:09 PM

Download is here: https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php

I'm yet to see anyone brick their computer with trying to install another OS. If you want to watch a tutorial about it, there are plenty on YouTube.

What OS are you running on? If it has UEFI, you will have to disable secure boot and move USB boot to the top in the boot tab (if there is one in your case). You'll also need to enable Legacy USB support.

Edited by Daydreamed, 10 March 2016 - 09:11 PM.

- Daydreamed


#3 rp88

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:18 PM

The old computer is from way before UEFI ever existed, it's ths computer I want to try linux mint on. I only gave details of the other two because I might want to try them at a later time if mint works well on the old machine or might want to test it on one of them if I can't get it to work on the old machine. The toshiba is a BIOS, probably one of the last computers with BIOS. The HP uses UEFI, I do know about the need to disable secureboot and have checked that works, I didn't realise one had to go legacy for USB booting, I thought it could be done while still in UEFI mode. The old machine, the one I want to test mint on, is BIOS. I think the machine dates from 2004 ish hardware wise, or maybe 2006. Should computers of this age generally be able to boot from USB? does such old BIOS tend not to show the option to boot from USB unless a bootable USB is plugged in?

Edited by rp88, 10 March 2016 - 09:19 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:22 PM

It would help if you published a speccy report or at least what the make and model of the computer is along with how much RAM you have. There are different Mint distros and the speccy report would help in determining which would be the best for your computer. I don't believe you need to worry about an infected distro now but you can check the SHA hash with what is listed on the download site of Mint.



#5 NickAu

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:24 PM

 

does such old BIOS tend not to show the option to boot from USB unless a bootable USB is plugged in?

I had an old Hp that was like that, It only gave you the option to boot from USB when there was a bootable USB plugged in,



#6 rp88

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:25 PM

"I don't believe you need to worry about an infected distro"
It's not just infections, hash checking makes sure the download hasn't been somehow damaged or corrupted as well doesn't it. The download site has sha-256 hashes posted to compare the downloads to?

Recently I discovered that feature in 7zip, it's really helpful. Lets me check, when I have two copies of the same file, whether they are truly identical or whether one is infact an altered version. Sometimes with some files I make I edit them slightly but don't remember to rename them so end up with the old copy in one folder and another copy in another folder where, especially if it's been stored in a zip file for anytime and so lost it's "date created"/"date modified", I'm not sure if they're infact the same file.

Edited by rp88, 10 March 2016 - 09:32 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#7 rp88

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:28 PM

Post#5, to clairfy the old machine isn't an HP, the HP is the most modern machine I have. The old machine is, well I'm not entirely sure what brand it is. But I'll get it's speccy logs and post them here next weekend when I have chance to turn it on, speccy is already installed on it, just a matter of copying the text outputs to USB, transferring them to an internet connected machine and then pasting them into a post here. Thank you for clarifying that some old computers have a thing where USb isn't listed as a boot option unless a bootable USB is plugged in.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#8 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:30 PM

"I don't believe you need to worry about an infected distro"
It's not just infections, hash checking makes sure the download hasn't been somehow damaged or corrupted as well doesn't it. The download site has sha-256 hashes posted to compare the downloads to?

Sorry, I thought it mentioned that SHA hashes were available on the download page but I guess that has not been implemented yet.

 

Edit: If the computer is that old it may not support USB boot from a flash drive.


Edited by JohnC_21, 10 March 2016 - 09:31 PM.


#9 rp88

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:34 PM

Post #8, what hashes to they have on the download site which one can use to check the file? sha-256 is the only one I know how to check for files on my system, but I guess there must be fairly simple ways to generate other types of files hashes.

Edited by rp88, 10 March 2016 - 09:34 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#10 rp88

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:37 PM

"If the computer is that old it may not support USB boot from a flash drive." versus "It only gave you the option to boot from USB when there was a bootable USB plugged in"


I assume the way to tell which is the case is to make the USB, plug it in, look in the BIOS and see if it's listed then. If it isn't can anything be done to make it appear, so that the system can boot from the USB? At present, going from what I remember from when I looked at the thing's BIOS, the system lists 3 things it can boot from, the cd drive (so old it's not even a dvd drive), the floppy drive and the hard-drive.

Edited by rp88, 10 March 2016 - 09:37 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#11 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:42 PM

If you do not see USB in the Boot device Priority you will not be able to boot from a USB flash drive unless you use a kludge workaround. I have an old emachines that lists USB floppy disk drive but I have not been able to get it to boot from USB flash drive. 

 

The workaround is to boot a CD of Plop Boot Manager and select USB.  I have done this on a very old Dell and was able to boot from a USB flash drive even when the BIOS did not support it.



#12 NickAu

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 09:49 PM

 

the cd drive (so old it's not even a dvd drive), the floppy drive and the hard-drive.

This may not be an issue since most distros will fit on a cd.

 

Also going back to this.

 

does such old BIOS tend not to show the option to boot from USB unless a bootable USB is plugged in?

 

I had an old Hp that was like that, It only gave you the option to boot from USB when there was a bootable USB plugged in,

This same machine had no problem booting from a portable USB DVD drive.

 

 

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EDIT bellow

The PC treated the USB DVD as if it was installed, I set it to boot from  optical first then HDD once in bios, If the optical drive was plugged in with bootable media it booted from the CD/DVD if not it booted from HDD.


Edited by NickAu, 10 March 2016 - 10:03 PM.


#13 JohnC_21

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:06 PM

Post #8, what hashes to they have on the download site which one can use to check the file? sha-256 is the only one I know how to check for files on my system, but I guess there must be fairly simple ways to generate other types of files hashes.

You can get the SHA256 hashes on the mirror site.



#14 pcpunk

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:13 PM

also can anyone post a precise warning list about what types of computer are known to do badly with linux mint live USB boots, anyone know how an "HP Notebook-15-r218na" or "Toshiba satellite pro L850-UJ" does, if I were to wish to at some point try a boot on them

Without more research, you should be able to boot from either.  The HP will be the best/easiest to install to but the Toshiba might give some issues with graphics, although, again, you should be able to run a Live Session via USB or DVD fine.  There were some Samsung Laptops that will brick when an install is attempted, cat1092 will probably comment on that later tonight.  I looked those pc's up but wouldn't hurt to know what country they are from if further suggestions are needed. 


Edited by pcpunk, 10 March 2016 - 10:13 PM.

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#15 raw

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:19 PM

I use raymonds md5 sha checksum utility.

it's free and works very well.

https://raylin.wordpress.com/downloads/md5-sha-1-checksum-utility/

And just about any distro will work on that toshiba, i just acquired one

and installed Peppermint 6 on it. working great.


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Current systems: WHAT OS, BackTrack-raw, PCLinuxOS, Peppermint OS 6, Kali Linux

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