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Replacing Ms Windows With Linux (jumping Ship)


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9 replies to this topic

#1 Linda Murphy

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 08:48 AM

After "upgrading" to MS Windows SP2 (see http://forums.tomcoy...a...t&p=358105), my

700Mhz CPU,
256 MB RAM,
10 GB HD
computer (Dell Inspiron 2100), is now crippled :(

Can anyone refer me to good resources on replacing Microsoft Windows with a Linux-based operating system? (paper book or e-book, magazines or other periodicals, URLs, forums, etc). I specifically need the information for the Dell Inspiron 2100 laptop.

Over 10 years ago I used Unix (on Digital Equipment Corporation's Ultrix o.s.), but now I only vaguely recall what that was like. It might or might not come back to me, like riding a bicycle. At any rate, since that was so long ago, what I knew back then is probably not very useful now anyway.

thank you.
Linda
-Linda

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#2 Doug

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 10:17 AM

Hi Linda Murphy, There are tons of Linux Forums and tons of happy Linux users. Google is your friend in finding them. However, your own individual "purpose" in migration to a Linux distribution, will depend on what you want to be able to "do" with your machine. The learning curve can be steep for some, and can totally disrupt their "use" of their computer. By "disrupt", I mean, that Linux can become "addictive". There is so much to discover and build, and so many options to explore, that building and tweaking Linux can become the "primary" activity that the owner/user is occupied with when they turn on their machine. If, right now, you "use" your computer alot for business, or gaming, or browsing and email, you may find that you suddenly no longer do those things as much as you'd like to and instead spend a great deal of your time building and tweaking your Linux machine, at the expense of no longer "using" your machine the way you have in the past. It can be a wonderful adventure in itself. On the other hand, if you would prefer to continue with your present "computer use" activities, you might benefit from selecting Windows 2000 (which will run quite nicely on that machine) as your operating system. The above, are not recommendations, just thoughts and opinion. Some folks take to Linux like ducks to water, and never look back. Enjoy. Doug
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#3 Linda Murphy

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 12:18 PM

There are tons of Linux Forums and tons of happy Linux users. Google is your friend in finding them.

Thanks. Google is very very broad, but I'll try to narrow it down. Maybe I'll find someone who has already installed some flavor of Linux on the same computer as I have. Google has references to so much, I just might.

The learning curve can be steep for some, and can totally disrupt their "use" of their computer.
By "disrupt", I mean, that Linux can become "addictive". There is so much to discover and build, and so many options to explore, that building and tweaking Linux can become the "primary" activity that the owner/user is occupied with when they turn on their machine.


The primary activity when I boot my MS Windows machine is booting my machine!! The next most time consuming activity on my MS Windows machine is securing it from hackers and thieves and all the various malware they write. The rest of the time, I'm running scans: anti-virus, Hijack-This (which thank God runs fast), spybot S&D, or I'm frustrated with that so-called "Help Center" which takes forever to come up with the list of topics on what I need help on - and often doesn't provide the right topic anyway.

If, right now, you "use" your computer alot for business, or gaming, or browsing and email, you may find that you suddenly no longer do those things as much as you'd like to

Right now, I can't use my MS Windows computer a lot for anything. No word-processing, image-processing, printing, email, web-browsing, writing software, or other things I would normally do. The only thing that sort-of runs on my computer is the O.S. My computer got a lot worse with all the latest Windows updates from Microsoft (or, as I like to call them, Microbrain). The only way I could run MS Windows on this system is to go back to running Windows XP Sp1, or perhaps Windows ME, and then never, ever again use it to connect to the Internet. That's not realistic.

I'm thinking about learning a programming language that is cross-platform. I thought Python might be good, because it is available for Mac and Windows. I believe it is available for Linux also. That way, whatever hardware I might actually be able to afford to buy in the future, I could transfer my software and my programming language expertise, and keep on working (I hope).

and instead spend a great deal of your time building and tweaking your Linux machine, at the expense of no longer "using" your machine the way you have in the past.

I am already past that point with my computer, with MS Windows (i.e. spending my time on wasteful activities as described above). That's why I'm asking about Linux. It is no longer feasible, sane, reasonable, etc to run MS Windows on this computer.

Thanks for your thoughts, Doug.

--Linda
-Linda

#4 paws

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 03:57 PM

Hi, Both Dough and I run similar (but not the exact same) specified machines to yours (although both of us have installed extra RAM and this gives considerable "extra horsepower" and in my view provides one of the best returns in terms of extra performance per dollar (or pound) spent on a Windows machine. I can well understand how you may be feeling pretty fed up with the Microsoft folks especially if your computer takes an age to do anything useful (or at all!) I'm not going to hold out that Microsoft have all the answers but both Dough and I have found that using Windows 2000 on a Pentium P3 with a clock speed of 600 to 800Mhz and with 256Mb or Ram or greater can produce a pretty slick machine that has a lot of the features of XP but without some of the hassle and hardware requirement that XP really needs. I find that my laptop P3 800Mhz with 448MB of Ram running Win 2000 is only just fractionally slower than my desktop Athlon 64 2800 with 512MB of Ram running XP with SP 2. Having said that, I am not a gamer or a video editor, or a great watcher of DVDs I just use the machines for Word processing, spreadsheets, photo image/editing, email, using the Internet, and fixing other folks computers by long range commucications! One avenue that you might like to consider, is using a "live" distribution of Linux that will run directly from a CD (there is no need to install anything at all on your hard drive, as the whole thing runs in memory.) There is no need to boot into Windows (or try to :) at all, your machine will boot directly into Linux with nothing being retained on your hard drive ( unless you want it to) This is a way or dipping your toe in the water without burning your boats (sorry for the mixed metaphors!) If you fire up your favourite search engine and look for Linux Puppy or Ubuntu you should be able to download a free iso, so that you can burn your own Linux CD. There are any number of Linux distros that will run from CD and even quite a few that will run from a floppy disc and I even have used one that can surf the net just from a floppy, but that is pretty rarified stuff. Some folks now are even running live distros of Linux from USB flash drives/thumb drives/memory sticks but I reckon thats showing off! Anyway I just thought that this approach might be helpful for you to consider and this is why I have jumped in on your's and Dough's thread. Regards paws
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#5 shelf life

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 05:46 PM

my two cents:
i have installed linux on my main computer and laptop as a duel boot with both W2k and now XP. Mainly other than browsing i use XP for video encoding.

anything in windows has its linux equiv. although you might have to spend time re-learning them in linux.

One thing that can be tricky in linux is getting wireless to work. Most distro's are very easy to install to your HD and as mentioned can run out of memory from a iso image you burn, This way you could check them out first and install your favorite. i have used both Mandrake and now use PClinuxOS, which i like better thanks to the ease of getting,installing and updating apps.

Linux isnt all cmd line/bash/terminal/shell like you may remember from unix,although it can be. theres a nice GUI just like in windows. at the core i think most distros are the same, what makes them different is the software/apps and package manager they come with. that opinion could get me in trouble in a linux forum.

there is a huge list of the different distros here:
http://distrowatch.com/

windows/linux equivalents:
http://www.linuxrsp..../table-eng.html
http://linuxappfinder.com/utilities

shelf life
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#6 Linda Murphy

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 12:05 PM

What is involved in going back to Windows ME? My computer has a sticker on it that says "Intel Inside pentium !!! Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Windows Me". So I think I have the original Windows ME installation disk.
  • Is Windows ME secure for using the internet? I don't want to end up compromising my system by switching from XP to ME
  • I need very explicit printed directions, so that I have it as I'm working through the installation steps. Where do I find that kind of support?
  • What is in XP which I've gotten used to and can't work without, and will need to either write myself, or find as freeware or at least cheapware? For example, I bought WinZip before I had XP, and I hope I still have the license key.
  • Will I be able to write CD-R and CD-RW disks using Windows ME, or will I need to buy additional CD burning sofware?
  • As time goes by, won't less and less software be available or supported for ME? E.g. I think ZoneAlarm removed support for an operating system recently (don't remember which one)
  • It will probably take hours to install ME and re-install all of the applications I use
I'm kind of confused, because...I thought I might try finding a Linux distro and writing it to CD so I could boot from it and check it out. Got a little boot-strapping problem, though: CD burning is broken on my Windows XP system. Click here to see my post.

So am I
  • staying with XP,
  • going backwards to ME, or
  • dumping all Windows for Linux
If I can't burn a CD so that I can try Linux, maybe I can find a way to get one sent to me in US mail. But, having CD burning being permanently broken is bad, anyway. Have I mentioned lately that I don't like MS Windows? <_<

I wonder how much it cost to buy a laptop with Linux already installed? Maybe I can find something on e-bay for a reasonable price. It's a shame to throw away this perfectly good computer... This computer is only a little old. There's nothing wrong with the hardware. Its the OS and software that's the problem.
-Linda

#7 paws

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 03:41 PM

Hi, You mention Windows ME and Windows 2000 Professional. Just for the record Windows ME is a completely different operating system from Windows 2000 Professional Windows ME is no longer supported by Microsoft (since about July last year) in that there are no more new critical updates (security patches) being issued and so using ME with internet access presents extra hazard in terms of it's potential vulnerability to attack by malicious elements. You are quite right in that the latest versions of ZoneAlarn also no longer support ME. There are, however many expert or semi expert users of Windows ME who have configured their sytem and applications to reduce the risks as far as possible, but just as there are fewer and fewer folks using Win 95 or 3.1 or even DOS to access the internet so the use of Win ME and Win 98 will, I think, steadily decrease. However many commentators recommend Windows 2000 or Windows XP as the security patches available, over the next few years, from Microsoft, for either of these operating systems can make for "safer" internet use. The reason why I mentioned Windows 2000 in my earlier post is that it will run satisfactorily and provide good performance on a lower specification machine (older, slower processor. with less RAM) than is generally required by Windows XP (The operating system your machine is currently having difficulties with) The new Windows Vista is even more hardware demanding than XP and is really a complete non starter for your existing machine. Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 is a stable, tried and rested operating system, and has many of the features of Xp but without the same hardware requirement. However it should be noted that it does not include "System Restore" as found in Xp and also Windows ME and it may be sensible to use disc imaging software if this "absence" is likely to present a problem to you. The hardware requirements for most Linux distributions are generally far less than for Windows Xp and shelf life in his recent post in this thread gave excellent links for further information. To sum up it would not be my recommendation to use Windows ME as your sole operating system in view of the lack of support and critical updates no longer being produced by Microsoft for Win ME Nero offers very competent CD or DVD burning software that is easy to operate and inexpensive to buy and is often bundled with cd /dvd burners at seemingly no or little extra cost. However there are a number of alternatives including free ware. Compression utilities such as WinZip are good but there are freeware alternatives and if you can't find your Winzip key you can use the free evaluation copy whilst you search for the key or contact Winzip for a replacement. Hope this helps but please post back if you feel that we can point you in the direction of further information. Regards paws
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#8 Linda Murphy

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 06:23 PM

The sticker on the laptop itself says "Windows 2000 Professional", has a horizontal line, then "Windows Me". Really clears things up, doesn't it? :)

I've got a plethora of CDs, and I don't know which ones are the originals that came with my computer and which ones were the ones I received when I purchased my upgrade to XP Home Edition. If I were to re-install my original operating system, I don't know which CDs to use. Can I trade in XP for 2000 (since XP is not doing me any good)? From the list of CDs I have, I would say that I probably bought Me, not 2000.

it [Windows 2000] does not include "System Restore"

I assume by "System Restore" you mean the "Restore Point" functionality of Windows XP?

it may be sensible to use disc imaging software if this "absence" is likely to present a problem to you.

I don't know what disc imaging software is. What's the purpose, the inputs, outputs, resources used, etc?

The hardware requirements for most Linux distributions are generally far less than for Windows Xp

I kinda figured that out from reading things on the web, hence the reason for my starting this thread.

To sum up it would not be my recommendation to use Windows ME as your sole operating system in view of the lack of support and critical updates no longer being produced by Microsoft for Win ME

Assuming I can't use Windows XP, nor use Windows ME, and it's only a matter of a time before Windows 2000 is also either not supported or not safe, then it makes sense to stop trying to run Windows of any flavor on this system.

Nero offers very competent CD or DVD burning software that is easy to operate and inexpensive to buy and is often bundled with cd /dvd burners at seemingly no or little extra cost. However there are a number of alternatives including free ware.

Have you ever tried CDBurnerXP Pro 3.0.116. It's on CNET, here:
http://dw.com.com/re...4-10409087.html

I also have a CD for installing Roxio Easy CD creator (see the list below). If I can get to work, then I don't need to go out and buy something. I would prefer if I could repair Windows XP's built-in CD burning software, though. It doesn't matter too much, if the only thing I'm going to be doing is bootstrapping: preparing to switch to Linux.

I have a lot of thinking, learning, planning, research, and work to do. What exactly do I/will I use this system for? For example, does my ISP support Linux systems? If not, then I can't use it on the Internet - or I switch ISP.

One of the things I dislike about MS Windows is that after installation, it needs to run Updates, and before it gets itself all buttoned up and secured, it's sitting there on the 'net, open and vulnerable. (At least, that's the way it was when I installed my Windows XP upgrade)

Thank you for your informative response, paws. It is part of my "research" stage.

Here are some of the CDs I have:
  • OPERATING SYSTEM
    • Reinstallation CD
    • WMe
    • Only use this CD to reinstall the operating system on a Dell computer. This CD is not for reinstallation of programs or drivers.
      For distribution only with a new Dell computer.
    • Copyrighted by both Dell and Microsoft.
  • DRIVERS AND UTILITIES
    • For Reinstalling Dell Inspiron 2100 System Software
    • This CD is part of the backup media for your Dell Inspiron 2100 computer. You do not need to use this CD to start using your computer. Store this CD in a safe place in case you ever need to reinstall your system software. See your Solutions Guide for instructions (I have no idea what media the Solutions Guide is on)
    • Copyrighted by Dell
  • APPLICATION
    • Adaptec Easy CD Creator
    • Adaptec Direct CD
    • Dell version 8.0
    • For Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows Me
    • Copyright by both Dell and Adaptec
  • APPLICATION
    • For Installing/Reinstalling Roxio Easy CD Creator 5.1 Basic
    • For use with the Microsoft Windows 98, WIndows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows Millenium Edition, and Windows XP operating systems
    • Copyrighted by Dell
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Upgrade
    • Version 2002
    • This program will search your system to confirm your eligibility for this upgrade edition
    • Copyrighted by Microsoft
    • The CD is holographic
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    • Version 2002
    • Step by Step Interactive Training
    • For distribution with new PC only. For product support, contact the manufacturer of your PC
    • Copyrighted by Microsoft
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    • Includes Service Pack 1
    • Version 2002
    • Copyrighted by Microsoft
    • The CD is holographic

Edited by Linda Murphy, 10 April 2007 - 06:44 PM.

-Linda

#9 paws

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 02:55 AM

Hi Linda,
I'm pretty pushed for time at the moment, so will give your interesting post a more full reply later on today, but in the meantime here's some information that I posted previously to a question about disc images and Restore discs

If you use Ghost, Acronis, Drive Image, Paragon or similar disc imaging programmes, you are creating an exact "image" of your partition or hard disc so it's very different from a standard manufacturer's Restore disc, but you can use the programmes to replicate the effects of one if you wish!

Let me explain please, if you have at the moment one partition on your computer, the c: drive and it includes your operating system, programmes/Applications, Data, including files with letters, spreadsheets, photographs, your university lectures, and your dissertation or thesis and all the other stuff: taking a disc image using for example Acronis or one of the other programmes is like taking an electronic photograph of everything on your computer. In the event of serious trouble that cannot be fixed by the usual methods, you can just reformat your C: drive and replace everything with the disc image you took using say Acronis.

This will mean that your hard drive will be restored to exactly the same as it was when you took the disc image or electronic photograph. Beware however that you will have been wise to copy amendments made since the last disc image was taken I.E. if you wrote up an important research document yesterday but your disc image was taken last week your research document would be lost unless you do as I do and copy it to removable media.

I could go on at length but will not do so unless you ask me to!

To sum up
1 A manufacturer's Restore disc will put your computer back to the exact state it was in ,when it left the factory.

2 The disc image (Ghost, Acronis etc) will put your computer back to the exact state it was in, when you took the disc image (so if you have installed lots of extra programmes, your email settings, address book, browser favourites, Internet access passwords, and also created lots of documents and other data, all these will be restored to the state they were in when you took the disc image.

Hope this explanation helps, with this part of the question
Regards
paws
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#10 paws

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Posted 11 April 2007 - 11:30 AM

Hi Linda, I've grabbed a few minutes to get back to you on your last interesting post. It does look as though you upgraded to XP from ME from what you have reported. I don't think you can trade in WinXp for Win 2000 . Any Windows operating system will need to be updated to counteract the bad guys who never cease their attempts to find any weakness or vulnerability that they can exploit. On my P3 laptop (800MHz) the updates are quick to download and install and I don't find it a problem, and with a good 2 way firewall (Zone Alarm Free) and good Anti virus (AVG Free) I don't feel particularly vulnerable with Win 2000 SP4 whilst I install critical updates. Other operating systems are not immune to attack , although its true that as Microsoft have a huge majority of "ordinary citizens" using their operating systems they are the target for the majority of attackers, and hence the need for updates and firewall/Anti virus etc. Only you can decide if you want to continue with Windows or make a change to say Linux. If you fancy a change why not try a Live distro that runs from memory and doesn't write to your hard drive as both shelf life and I mentioned in a previous post? If you can't get your cd to burn a disc then perhaps you can get a chum to burn one for you, Alternatively for a pound or two, or a dollar or four, some Linux sites will sell you a complete disc ready to go. Regards paws
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