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Is HP Omnibook xe4400s a good laptop to install Linux on?


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#1 BlueGalaxy

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 05:43 PM

Hi everyone. I have a HP omnibook xe4400s laptop. Now I haven't used it for several years because it became infected with malware, spyware, and browser hijackers to the point that it became very slow and difficult to use. Additionally it was dropped a few times, although I do not know the effects of this. Now I want to give it a new life by installing Linux on it. If a laptop has a very serious infection, which hardware parts of it may be damaged? Can a computer virus/malware cause physical damage to the hardware? I think that I would need to buy a new hard drive for this computer. Obviously, a cooling fan is not affected since it is a mechanical device, however I am not sure about the CPU and RAM, since those hardware components come into direct contact with the data. I would probably need to get new hardware components for the laptop if they are outdated or if they are not compatible with the Linux OS. I would be willing to learn something about how computer hardware works if I need to manually assemble the parts. The keyboard of the laptop is missing a few keys, or rather the external plastic coverings, but that's not a really big problem for me because I want to use an external keyboard. So here are the hardware specs for the laptop.

http://www.cnet.com/products/hp-omnibook-xe4400s-15-p4-win-xp-pro-256-mb-ram-30-gb-hdd-series/specs/



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 06:32 PM

Your chance of physical damage from an infection are slim to none. Your hardware would get damaged more from a drop. 

 

You choice of distros will be small with this computer, most likely Puppy linux. The BC advisors can give you some suggestions. You can test your hard drive to determine if it's failing with a bootable disk like UBCD. UBCD can also be used to wipe your disk.

 

That retail price blows my mind.


Edited by JohnC_21, 23 September 2016 - 06:37 PM.


#3 MadmanRB

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 08:34 PM

Yeah puppy or antix are the only ones I see can do any good for such a old machine.

I would try puppy first as its not too bad for windows users with such old hardware.


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#4 NickAu

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 10:52 PM

 

Your chance of physical damage from an infection are slim to none. Your hardware would get damaged more from a drop.

I agree.

 

 

I would also suggest you try Puppy.  Download this and try it tahr-6.0.5_noPAE.iso

 

Do you know how to create a bootable CD/DVD or USB? 

If no please tell us what Operating system you are using on your main PC and we can provide instructions.

 

Do you know how to set BIOS to boot from CD/DVD or USB on the laptop you want to install Linux to?


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#5 Al1000

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 03:30 AM

I second all the advice that has been provided so far. The main limitation with this laptop is that it only has 256MB of RAM. However it is upgradable to 1GB, so if you do want to spend money on hardware to improve performance, and widen the number of operating systems you can choose from, more RAM would be what to go for. RAM is often easily accessible in laptops too, so upgrading it is relatively straightforward. I wouldn't spend much on it though, because the laptop probably wouldn't cost much to replace with a used equivalent (or even one that's slightly better), and you don't need to worry about infections when dealing with old computers if you're going to be (wiping the HDD and) installing Linux.

Puppy and AntiX use around the same amount of RAM - which is less than just about any other Linux distro - and the reason these two have been recommended.

Both AntiX and Puppy come with Firefox and Dillo web browsers. Firefox alone, will use most of you computer's RAM, meaning that browsing the internet using Firefox is going to be very slow.

Dillo is a text-based internet browser. Being a text-based browser, web pages won't display "properly," but Dillo uses very little RAM and will be a considerably faster way of surfing the internet on this computer. The version of Dillo that comes with Puppy is not pre-configured for https, so is limited to browsing http pages by default, whereas the Dillo that comes with AntiX can browse both http and https web pages. So there's that to factor into your decision. Personally I use both AntiX and Puppy, and wouldn't recommend one the other. So I suggest reading some more about them, and/or trying them both out, and seeing which one you think would suit you best.

Here's the main page for AntiX:

http://antix.mepis.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

Edited by Al1000, 24 September 2016 - 03:34 AM.


#6 BlueGalaxy

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 05:31 PM

Would you guys recommend any hardware modifications for the laptop, to make it be able to run Ubuntu without any problems? How about in terms of replacing the CPU, RAM or hard drive disk? I would like to be able to run bash scripts that parse files with thousands of lines in a reasonably quick amount of time. I understand that the hardware for this laptop is outdated and ancient by modern standards. This is my mom's old laptop by the way, and I'd like to modify it rather than throw it away and buy a new laptop from the store. I would like to add more speed, memory, and storage to the laptop because it was really slow when I used it last time. I think that maybe the motherboard may have different connections that no longer support modern computer hardware, but I don't really know for sure. I know more about software than hardware, so please let there be no misunderstandings. I'm under the impression that Puppy Linux does not have as many features as Ubuntu does. Ubuntu seems more customizeable, with more themes and a larger user support community available for it.


Edited by BlueGalaxy, 24 September 2016 - 05:36 PM.


#7 NickAu

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 05:38 PM

 

How about in terms of replacing the CPU, RAM or hard drive disk?

I cant see the point other than adding more ram, Is the hard drive physically damaged? Bad sectors? If not then there is no need to change it.


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#8 Mike_Walsh

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 08:03 PM

I will also agree with all the preceding advice about Puppy Linux.

 

I run an ancient Dell Inspiron laptop of around the same vintage. Originally came with a Celeron (the 'budget' version of the Pentium 4), 128 MB RAM, and a 20 GB HDD. It now runs a 2.6 GHz P4, 1 GB of RAM, and a 64 GB IDE/PATA interface solid state drive. (Yes, you can now get SSD's for machines of this vintage.....and they make a hell of a difference.) This is a good one:-

 

http://www.transcend-info.com/Products/No-418

 

And a pair of 64 GB USB 3.0 'nano'-sized flash drives permanently plugged into the rear USB ports, giving me a total of nearly 200 GB of storage.....

 

She triple -boots three different versions of Puppy Linux, and they all run fine, at a highly acceptable speed, too.

 

Nick's right, though; unless disk analysis proves the HDD to actually be damaged in any way, there's no point in changing it. It boils down to economics; does the machine mean enough to you to be worth spending a sizeable amount of money on....or would you be better off getting hold of a decent, second-hand one off eBay or Amazon? P4's and HDDs are cheap on eBay/Amazon; where you'll start to find things getting expensive is with the RAM. DDR1 So-DIMMs are getting quite hard to locate, if you want good quality. Don't go for the cheap stuff on the web; it honestly is more trouble than it's worth.

 

Me, I simply like messing around with old hardware, keeping it running, and seeing just what it's capable of..... That's just me. But in a nutshell:-

 

The P4 and HDD will be fine for Puppy.

 

The RAM could do with 'expanding' to at least 512 MB.....but preferably 1 GB. This is because when Puppy boots, the entire operating system is loaded into RAM, and runs from there.....and RAM is by far & away the fastest part of any machine. So the more you have, the better..!

 

I would like to add more speed, memory, and storage to the laptop because it was really slow when I used it last time.

 

Yeah, well.....that was running XP (probably with 10 yrs-worth of adware, bloatware, malware, and general assorted crap 'installed'..!)

 

Mike.  :wink:


Edited by Mike_Walsh, 24 September 2016 - 08:38 PM.

Distros:- Multiple 'Puppies'..... and Anti-X 16.1

My Puppy BLOG ~~~  My Puppy PACKAGES

Compaq Presario SR1916UK; Athlon64 X2 3800+, 3 GB RAM, WD 500GB Caviar 'Blue', 32GB Kingspec PATA SSD, 3 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, ATI Radeon Xpress 200 graphics, Dell 15.1" pNp monitor (1024 x 768), TP-Link PCI-e USB 3.0 card, Logitech c920 HD Pro webcam, self-powered 7-port USB 2.0 hub

Dell Inspiron 1100; 2.6 GHz 400FSB P4, 1.5 GB RAM, 64GB KingSpec IDE SSD, Intel 'Extreme' graphics, 1 TB Seagate 'Expansion' external HDD, M$ HD-3000 'Lifecam'.

 

KXhaWqy.gifFQ8nrJ3.gif

 

 


#9 Al1000

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Posted 25 September 2016 - 10:21 AM

I'm under the impression that Puppy Linux does not have as many features as Ubuntu does. Ubuntu seems more customizeable, with more themes and a larger user support community available for it.


Ubuntu has a graphically intensive desktop, and the graphics chip in this laptop may not be capable of running it. IIRC your current RAM doesn't meet the minimum system requirements for Ubuntu, so you would need to add more RAM just to be able to see whether or not Ubuntu will work.

There is a much better chance that Lubuntu or Xubuntu will work, as their desktops are not nearly as graphically intensive as the Unity desktop on Ubuntu.

#10 BlueGalaxy

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 06:15 PM

 

 

Your chance of physical damage from an infection are slim to none. Your hardware would get damaged more from a drop.

I agree.

 

 

I would also suggest you try Puppy.  Download this and try it tahr-6.0.5_noPAE.iso

 

Do you know how to create a bootable CD/DVD or USB? 

If no please tell us what Operating system you are using on your main PC and we can provide instructions.

 

Do you know how to set BIOS to boot from CD/DVD or USB on the laptop you want to install Linux to?

 

 

Where is that .iso file coming from? Where is the source? I would be suspicious of direct download links, as in my computing experience I should download software only from the official site.

 

I upgraded the RAM of this old laptop to 1GB.

 

When I visited the official website, I found that there are many download links. Which one is better? Which one should I use?

http://puppylinux.com/index.html#download

 

I'm going to follow this tutorial to install Puppy Linux. Do you guys think it's a good one?

http://www.wikihow.com/Install-Puppy-Linux



#11 MadmanRB

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 06:23 PM

Its from this mirror:

http://distro.ibiblio.org/puppylinux/puppy-tahr/iso/tahrpup%20-6.0-CE/

 

ibiblio is very good and reliable, I would use the image that NickAu linked.

Its trustworthy


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#12 NickAu

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 09:55 PM

Hi

 

 

Where is that .iso file coming from? Where is the source? I would be suspicious of direct download links, as in my computing experience I should download software only from the official site.

These are the best question I have seen in a long time and I thank you for them.

 

 

 

Where is that .iso file coming from? Where is the source?

The ,iso is from the official Puppy Linux server. The source is the developer.

See this liknk.

http://puppylinux.org/main/Download%20Latest%20Release.htm

 

And this link.

http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=96178

 

I just used a shortcut to the version that I think would suit your PC.

 

 

I would be suspicious of direct download links, as in my computing experience I should download software only from the official site.

 

As you should be. While downloading from the official site is always the best policy Linux is not Windows and Puppy Linux is a whole new ballgame as they say, It is not uncommon for people to share software and scripts on forums, There is a fair bit of trust involved and as people who do that sort of thing usually know Linux well, They know what to look for.

 

Bleeping Computer is a reputable site and you can trust any link posted by a staff member We are the ones with the funky colored ID's

 

 

In the Linux section long time members of good standing are also allowed to post links to down loadable content subject to approval by Admin Moderators and BC Advisors, The best thing about forums is that everything is in the open and peer reviewed not only by staff but by the members as well.

 

Hope that answers some of your questions, If not, feel free to pm me and we can continue this conversation in PM so as not to spam this thread,

 

 

Regards

Nick.


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#13 BlueGalaxy

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 02:54 AM

I think that "this conversation" means the credibility of downloadable software. Anyway, I used the aforementioned tutorial, and I installed Puppy Linux with the .iso file that you provided. I followed the tutorial exactly, and the new OS loads on the computer well, but when I open the terminal, I see a prompt root# for any commands that can be entered into it. It seems that the system always logs in as the root user. I've researched that logging in as the root user is not recommended for non-administrative tasks. Also I did not set any passwords or anything. What next steps should I take to set up the user accounts/privileges etc, etc? Are there any other tasks that need to be done at this stage?



#14 NickAu

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 03:08 AM

Puppy is a different ball game, It always runs as root, Mike will explain it in great detail for you, but even with puppy as is you are way more secure than any Windows system out there,


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#15 Al1000

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 06:20 AM

I'm going to follow this tutorial to install Puppy Linux. Do you guys think it's a good one?
http://www.wikihow.com/Install-Puppy-Linux


Yes, although I think it would be better if it provided some information on "Frugal (recommended)" versus "Full" installation.

Which did you select?




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