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  1. #1
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    Switch to Linux on Old Laptop

    My relatively new laptop is running Win10 AU now and doing vey well. I would like to make some use of my old laptop that is running Win Vista and is so short on disk space that it is almost useless. My impression is that if I installed Linux instead of Vista on the old laptop it would be more useful to me.

    Questions:

    1. Is Linux smaller than Vista?

    2. Which Linux would you recommend I use?

    3. With Linux installed will I be able to use the screen on the old laptop as a second desktop for my Win10 system?

    I expect I will have more questions but I'll stop here for now and see if I'm on a reasonable path.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  2. #2
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    1. Yes - even the largest I work with, Mint Cinnamon 18, has an ISO size of 1.6 GB.
    "Cinnamon requires only 512MB of RAM, 5GB free HDD space and a 700MHz CPU to run with a minimum resolution of 800x600.
    KDE, on the other hand, requires 2GB RAM, 10GB HDD space and the same CPU clock speed to operate at a minimum resolution of 1024x768."


    2. If you want a Linux distribution whose desktop looks somewhat like Windows 7, you might want to go for Zorin Core. Mint Cinnamon is also good.
    Maybe try PCLinuxOS, Linux Lite or Puppy Linux.
    All these can work from a CD or a USB Flash Drive without installing to the hard drive, the so-called "Live CD", more or less successfully. Puppy Linux runs entirely from RAM, once loaded.
    You can try the look and feel of several distributions at the cost of a DVD (or CD, if small) or a USB Flash Drive.

    3) I'm not entirely clear what you mean by this question, but I'm tempted to say the answer is No!

    I would suggest that using Linux is a steep learning curve for the elderly, less so for the young, but be prepared to be frustrated about the absence of features and procedures which you automatically rely on in Windows...
    BATcher

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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    If you have never used Linux before then I suggest the latest release of Linux Mint Cinnamon too. It looks fairly similar to Windows, has a great deal of support (both documentaion and its own support forums) and, IMO, one of the least learning curves.

    I've experimented with several different Linux distributions for desktops/laptops (Ubuntu, Linux Lite, Zorin) but keep coming back to Linux Mint Cinnamon... basically because I just like quick and easy.

    Have a look at reviews online, for example: The best Linux distros: seven versions of Linux we recommend which shows what each desktop looks like.

    Hope this helps...

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    When I installed Ubuntu Linux, I was concerned that my wifi adapter might not work. It found it and activated it during the install process. I didn't have to do a thing, except select my network and put in my password. I had the same easy experience with my wifi printer. It found it, asked me if that was my printer, and it then worked immediately.

    Ubuntu came with Libre Office, which is in many ways a free version of Microsoft Office. So far, my experience with Libre Office has been great.

    In fact, I have found that if it works in Linux, it works well, and it is fast and stable. But not everything works, at least not yet:
    * I haven't found an equivalent for Microsoft Publisher.
    * I can't get my scanner to work.
    * I can't get a Youtube downloader which works.

    Also, you must do some things in a Terminal session (Command Prompt). If you are familiar with DOS, then you shouldn't have too much trouble there. But be aware that you might. For example, I installed Sophos Antivirus for Linux, because it was free, and because it is highly rated. But I had to install it from a Terminal session. Sophos had good info on their website, so it wasn't hard.

    Ubuntu Linux is the only version of Linux I have tried, so I can't speak for the other versions. But I'm sure that the above will be about the same for other versions of Linux.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BATcher View Post
    . . .
    3) I'm not entirely clear what you mean by this question, but I'm tempted to say the answer is No!
    . . .
    I have read about people using more than one screen where they can move the cursor back and forth from one screen to the other. I don't know if that only works with extra displays or if it works with a 2nd laptop used as a display-only for this purpose. I assumed that it would work with a 2nd laptop running Windows and I was asking if it would also work with a 2nd laptop running Linux. I suspect that it only works with a separate display!

    Thanks for the great info on the other questions.
    Bill

  6. #6
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    Rick Corbett and mrjimphelps:

    Thanks for your info. I expect I will use the Linux Mint Cinnamon as suggested by Rick.

    Bill

  7. #7
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillWilson View Post
    I have read about people using more than one screen where they can move the cursor back and forth from one screen to the other. I don't know if that only works with extra displays or if it works with a 2nd laptop used as a display-only for this purpose. I assumed that it would work with a 2nd laptop running Windows and I was asking if it would also work with a 2nd laptop running Linux. I suspect that it only works with a separate display!

    Thanks for the great info on the other questions.
    Bill
    What you are referring to is a second screen/monitor directly connected to a two-head graphics card on a PC!
    Instead of the usual single directly-connected screen/monitor, you then have two and the Windows software on the PC handles the two screens, the cursor, and so on.
    BATcher

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  8. #8
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    Thanks BATcher, for clarifying how the two-screen thing works.

    Bill

  9. #9
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    Speaking of good Linux distros for amateurs like me, has anyone tried the "Elementary OS"? I read a review of the best distros, and it was mentioned. It looks interesting, and appealing if you like the Mac interface (or can't decide between Windows and Mac which one you ultimately prefer) and simplicity. Of course simplicity and ease of use is why I like PCLinuxOS/KDE, especially the Start Menu. Anyway, check it out at https://elementary.io/ and http://www.techradar.com/news/softwa...ommend-1090058 for the other six recommended distros.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    DistroWatch did a review of elementary OS in April. "Pretty, but lacks refinement." And it doesn't have a lot of packages pre-loaded. None of this will matter if you like what you see!

    I would say that TechRadar's recommended distros are a mixture of the usual suspects and a few less usual ones. With the number of variants of variants of Linux, a scattergun approach is not what I'd look for. Better a list of "distros suitable for the newbie", or "distros which have a Windows look and feel", and so on.
    BATcher

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  11. #11
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Personally, I think you ought to just pick a distro and plunge ahead. You can always change to another one later if you don't like the one you picked.

  12. #12
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    True, but distros like Ubuntu, Linux Mint Cinnamon, and Zorin are good ones to start with (and of course, my favorite). It's important to know which ones to definitely rule out because they are either intended for business use, or just not there enough yet, etc.. You guys have a better feel for that than I do. A "good" distro has to have the essentials, like 1) Essential pre-loaded software so you can do what you need to do, 2) getting online easily, 3) Configuring any peripherals easily, 4) Updating easily, as with Synaptic, and obviously, an easy to use OS design you are comfortable with. Not every one likes the same kind of car, and such is the case with Linux. Thank God Linux is so easy nowadays. IMHO, the only decision to make these days is which distro you prefer. You just have to try a few and make up your mind, and it can be a little difficult because of the large number of distros and how good many of them are. That's really the only trouble with Linux; there are so many distros, and Linux is arguably TOO configurable. Just get it set up the way you like it, and get to work. You can always fiddle around with it later. (that is once you figure out how to do all that...) Good luck!

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