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Old 09-23-2011, 11:46 AM   #1
Forresl
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Angry Laptop with no operating system


My daughter has been given a used laptop from work without an operating system on it. I am used to M'soft and am not sure if Linux is a suitable alternative to use on a PC. M'soft Windows seems to be quite expensive and I am reluctant to buy it only to find that the PC has deeper problems on it! I only have recovery discs available for my desktop so am unable to try out my software.
Can anyone help please?

Regards

Forresl
 
Old 09-23-2011, 11:57 AM   #2
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forresl View Post
My daughter has been given a used laptop from work without an operating system on it. I am used to M'soft and am not sure if Linux is a suitable alternative to use on a PC. M'soft Windows seems to be quite expensive and I am reluctant to buy it only to find that the PC has deeper problems on it! I only have recovery discs available for my desktop so am unable to try out my software.
Can anyone help please?
Help with what? Unsure what your question really is.....

Yes, Linux works fine on PC's, since that's what it was designed for/on. Runs well on laptops and desktops, and is totally free. For a brand-new user, I'd suggest Ubuntu or Mint, as they'd be more familiar to you, coming from Windows. Not sure what you mean by "my software", so can't tell you if it works or not. You can get a 'live' distro of Linux, which can be run on your machine totally from the optical drive, and it won't install ANYTHING on your hard drive, so you can try it out before you install it.

Bear in mind, though, that Linux is *NOT* Windows. There will be a certain amount of adjustment/learning that you will have to do, which is no more or less than if you went to Windows from a Mac, or vice-versa. It's different. Also, your Windows programs won't work under Linux, but chances are, there are Linux programs that already do the FUNCTIONS of your Windows software...for example, MS Office won't work, but Libre Office works just fine, and reads/writes MS Office files with no problems.
 
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Old 09-23-2011, 11:58 AM   #3
druuna
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Forresl View Post
My daughter has been given a used laptop from work without an operating system on it. I am used to M'soft and am not sure if Linux is a suitable alternative to use on a PC.
Donload and burn Ubuntu and give it a try: Download Ubuntu

Quote:
M'soft Windows seems to be quite expensive and I am reluctant to buy it only to find that the PC has deeper problems on it! I only have recovery discs available for my desktop so am unable to try out my software.
If you are going to give Ubuntu a try you will immediately know if something is wrong with the laptop.

I'm not sure if I get the am unable to try out my software. part. Is this Windows specific software you are talking about?

Hope this helps.
 
Old 09-23-2011, 12:04 PM   #4
Forresl
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What I meant by my software was that i cannot use my recovery discs to install my windowsXP on her machine. Despite the fact that I was service manager for a a very large computer company all my experience was on Mainframes. I use a PC but would not profess to be an expert or even very knowledgeable.
Thanks for the answers so far .

Forresl
 
Old 09-23-2011, 12:25 PM   #5
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forresl View Post
am not sure if Linux is a suitable alternative to use on a PC.
I hope you understand that is primarily a question about the user (and to some extent the use) and not a question about Linux.

Obviously, for the right user, Linux is more than a "suitable alternative". It is a better OS while Windows is often not a suitable alternative.

But if you expect (as many new Linux users do) that Linux should be a cost free (and malware free) version of Windows, then you aren't a suitable user.

Linux can be cost free. Linux is largely malware free. But Linux is not Windows.

If you want to test the hardware to see exactly what it is and whether it all works (before wasting money on Windows), a Linux liveCD is one of several fairly good low-cost ways to check out the hardware.

If you want a better OS to use (instead of wasting money on Windows) you need to be prepared to do some learning and have an open mind rather than automatic "different is worse".

If you know rough stats (ram size and hard drive size) for what the laptop is supposed to be (or you know how to get that from the BIOS), you ought to post those to get better advice.

The generic advice for beginner friendly distribution of Linux is "Ubuntu". If the laptop has decent ram and disk size, that is likely the best advice. If the laptop has tiny ram or disk capacity, either you're wasting your time trying to use it, or you ought to choose a "lighter" distribution of Linux. That can be tricky, because too many Linux advocates are too happy with command line mode, so "lighter" gets interpreted as less (or even no) GUI support. If you have a low capacity laptop, I'm pretty sure you want "lighter" but with full GUI support.

Last edited by johnsfine; 09-23-2011 at 12:35 PM.
 
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:27 PM   #6
rich_c
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While I agree broadly with everything that's been said so far, I'd draw your attention to the fact that no-one that has responded thus far lists Ubuntu as one of the distros they use. Read into this what you will...

Based on the experiences I've had with the distros I use, I'd suggest you try Mepis and openSUSE in that order. I've listed them in that order as personally, I think Mepis has the slight edge as far as being newbie friendly is concerned.

I'd just like to reiterate what others have already said. Linux is more than suitable, as long as you realise that it is an alternative. Superior in many ways, but quite different.
 
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Old 09-23-2011, 03:57 PM   #7
John VV
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suse is good BUT it requires a good computer
it will not run well on a lower end machine that had XP on it
it might install BUT it might be SO SLOW as to be useless
a min system requirements of 2 gig better of ram is needed
( i found the old suse 11.2 on a Pentium 4 with 1 gig ram to be unusably slow )
 
Old 09-23-2011, 04:01 PM   #8
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich_c View Post
While I agree broadly with everything that's been said so far, I'd draw your attention to the fact that no-one that has responded thus far lists Ubuntu as one of the distros they use. Read into this what you will...

Based on the experiences I've had with the distros I use, I'd suggest you try Mepis and openSUSE in that order. I've listed them in that order as personally, I think Mepis has the slight edge as far as being newbie friendly is concerned.

I'd just like to reiterate what others have already said. Linux is more than suitable, as long as you realise that it is an alternative. Superior in many ways, but quite different.
I agree, but I only vote for Mint and Ubuntu because of the ease at which new users/Windows refugees, can pick it up and get comfortable with it.

Hardware support for WLAN cards, sound, and laptops is good. I use openSUSE myself, but to be honest, I did have to play with a few things to get it all working the way I wanted it to. I'd say 98% of my laptop worked right off the bat, but to a new user, that may be a bit off-putting. Not knocking Mepis at all, mind you, or any other distro...but commenting on what may be best for a newbie just starting out.
 
Old 09-23-2011, 05:56 PM   #9
jefro
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Options.

Order replacement cd/dvd for nominal fee from OEM.

See if the laptop does have a way now to recover by a hot key or F key at boot.

Try any of the top 20 or so at distrowatch.com as a live cd. Live cd's are a good way to test distros.

The kid should be able to get by with typical uses but you and or her are going to need help along the way usually. We all needed help and still do.
 
Old 09-23-2011, 07:06 PM   #10
RockDoctor
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Go to Distrowatch and check out one or more of the live CDs. If the laptop has at least 1GB of RAM, virtually any Linux distro will run decently. If the laptop only has 512 MB of RAM, I recommend using a choosing live CD that offers either the LXDE or the XFCE desktop. Hardware support varies a bit between distros, so if one doesn't fully support the laptop's hardware, try another. Now if the laptop has less than 512 MB of RAM, I have a specific recommendation, Puppy Linux.
 
Old 09-23-2011, 08:23 PM   #11
frankbell
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Depending on what make of computer your recovery disks were from, they could be limited to the same make/model of computer.

Rather than Ubuntu, I would recommend Linux Mint, primarily because it is designed to look a lot like Windows. The menu is similar to the Windows menu, for example.

Other than that, any major distro would be probably work just fine. I would suggest that you take a look at the LQ "Download Linux" page, go to some of websites for the distros in the "Popular" column, and download and burn some CDs. Most Linux installation disks have a "Live CD" option that allows you to boot to the OS via a ramdisk and take a look at the distro before deciding whether to install it.

I will second the caution that Linux is not Windows. It's not hard, but it is different and there is a learning curve, but the learning curve is not great. I've found, though, that persons forget that they spent years learning Windows.

If your mainframe experience was on Unix, you be right at home.

Last edited by frankbell; 09-23-2011 at 08:24 PM.
 
Old 09-23-2011, 09:03 PM   #12
qlue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockDoctor View Post
Now if the laptop has less than 512 MB of RAM, I have a specific recommendation, Puppy Linux.
My experience with Puppy is that, because it loads entirely into ram, it prefers having more ram. This is especially true for playing movies.
On that note, I usually recommend Lubuntu, which uses Lxde. It has a desktop that is visually similar to older versions of Windows and it has much lower resource requirements than the standard Ubuntu. (Nautilus tends to prefer a big machine with lots of ram)
 
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:43 AM   #13
RockDoctor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forresl View Post
My daughter has been given a used laptop from work without an operating system on it
I (and the other respondents) probably should have asked for this first - what are the laptop specs?
 
  


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