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I have an old laptop with Windows XP on it (really) that I'd like to keep around. I thought this would be an ideal situation for me to replace XP with Linux. Is there a guide out there for this? I am a total Linux newb. Additionally, my questions are 1) do I need to remove XP first and 2) which distro should I use?
Distribution: OpenSUSE 13.2 64bit-Gnome on ASUS U52F
Whe you said old you should be more specific. How old is your computer? How much memory ram do you have and hard drive size. Do you have a proprietory video and sound card?
What do you normally do with your computer? do you plan on just browse the web and read emails? or do you play games with it and watch movies and music in it?
Are you looking for learning the in and out of a new OS or you just want something working out of the box and dont care about the bihand the scene?
All these will make it more easy for suggestions on what distro to install in your computer.
Also you can check in distrowatch for the most rated Open Source Operating Systems according to that site. Here is their link http://distrowatch.com/
Post more details on what are your plans for this installation.
If you have never used Linux before, I recommend you create a "Live DVD" or "Live USB" of a user-friendly distribution (such as Mint or Ubuntu) and take it for a test-drive ("try without installing") on fast, modern hardware. Do this for a few days to see if you even like Linux, and whether Linux has all of the applications you need for work/school/play.
1. If you don't need Windows on that computer any more, the Linux installer will delete it for you. Most use this http://gparted.sourceforge.net/
You just select the existing partitions and delete them. Then you make new ones:
/dev/sda1 for Linux and programs: say 10GB
/dev/sda2 for your files (the /home directory): as much as you have
/dev/sda3 for swap, used if you run out of space: 2x your RAM or 1GB, whichever is the smaller
2. The choice of distro will depend on the size of the computer and the GUI you prefer (you get a choice!).
128MB: AntiX (Icewm), Bodhi (Enlightenment), or ZorinOS Light (LXDE)
256MB: Exe Linux (Trinity) or the above
512MB: Fuduntu (Gnome), Salix (Xfce), or the above
1GB: Mint (Mate), or the above
There are reviews on this site (mostly by me) and via http://distrowatch.com
The GUIs are described at Wikipedia. All the distros listed have live disks so you can try before installing.
I suggest you download xubuntu-desktop live cd/dvd? 32bit version 12.10 follow the instructions to create an imaged cd with your windows system (there is a free image programme you can download to do this if you do not have one). Then boot the live cd with your laptop and see how it performs. Just bear in mind it will run far slower from the cd than your hard drive. Xubuntu is the ubuntu with an easier and quicker desktop. If xp works ok, xubuntu will fly.
Thanks for all the suggestions. The laptop (an obsolete freebie they gave me at work) is a Lenovo Thinkpad and about 6 years old. I added memory to it to max it out at 2 GB (ha!). The drive is only about 30 gb. I mostly surf the net and check email. No development work, video editing, game playing here...I have a desktop for all that horsepower. I like the idea of 'test drive it' first. So I may give it a shot. I also wonder if Linux will run faster on this laptop than XP will. The current XP set up just seems so 'clunky'. Once again, thanks for being so helpful...your info is spot on as far as my experience level is concerned. I forgot to mention that I'm not just interested in this as a 'black box' concept - I'd like to acquire more in-depth knowledge of Linux than that.
Last edited by zipperhead; 04-04-2013 at 04:43 PM.
Distribution: OpenSUSE 13.2 64bit-Gnome on ASUS U52F
The ThinkPad I have is a T-42, I cant run Ubuntu anymore in it. The processor in this computer (I am typing on it right now) is a Pentium M. Ubuntu droped support for it a while ago, I succefully installed Lubuntu 12.04 in it but I could not upgrade.
Currently I am running Arch, Slackware, and FreeBSD in it and they all run fine. I would not suggest you these distros if you are just starting get in to linux. I have also had Opensuse in it running find. OpenSuse is more user friendly than the ones I mentioned
my Thinkpad R40 currently runs Mint13-MATE and has 1GB of memory, all is well-at least from what you seem to want to run.Drastic measures would be to install minimal systems like Puppy, etc. Have you tried a web install of Debian?
I'm a hard-core Fedora/RedHat and ThinkPad user. I have run Linux on more models of TPs than I care to remember. I'm currently running T30 (it's off and gathering dust atm), T40, T42, 770z (it's a firewall, 'nuff said), a number of T61s, w510 and w520.
You have received a number of good responses so I'm just going to comment on areas where I have experience:
I like reformatting the HD for a clean install. You can install with windows. I just don't like it. I have discovered that I run less windows than most Linux enthusiasts I've met.
As a TP owner you should know about ThinkPad-ACPI - http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Thinkpad-acpi - it is probably less of an issue now as it seems to have made it main-stream but still probably good to be familiar with.
Another site you should know is ThinkWiki - http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/ThinkWiki
Navigate here to find out a lot of information about ThinkPads including some installation instructions. I've rarely found exactly what I needed there but I've always found just enough to figure it out on my own.
And one thing I almost forgot: RPMFusion for your nVidia!!! http://rpmfusion.org/Howto/nVidia
I cannot tell you how handy I found this. Note it is distribution-specific. You *really* want to understand this. It give you access to some very cool graphical features via the proprietary nVidia drivers.
XP doesn't need to be 'removed'. You can just format the partition(s) during Linux installation which has the same effect.
Which distro to use is very tough to answer because it depends on what you personally prefer. Some like this while others like that. There's a plethora of choices. Maybe you want to try some *buntu variant, such as Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu or Linux Mint, as those are kinda beginner-friendly, but these are not the only choices in this regard. The choices are endless..
I have an IBM Thinkpad (even older) with a Pentium M: that's what I run Salix on. It may take forever to boot, but it's fine once it's up and running.
If Ubuntu still has last year's bug in the start-up routine, the installation disk will not boot on it. Ubuntu has poor quality control for older computers, which is why I didn't recommend it in my post (number 4). All the distros I listed will work: I know, because I've actually tested them myself.