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hazel 01-10-2019 10:25 AM

My new computer
 
It isn't new, of course. It's a reconditioned Lenovo Thinkstation E50-00. I saw it languishing in a corner of the window in our local Computer Exchange, priced at 68. I saw that it had 4 GB of RAM, twice as much as my present machine (and I have had a lot of problems with failing hardware on that one), so I went in and bought it. Better to have a second string to one's bow. They threw in a keyboard and mouse along with it, and they usually retail for 25 when new, so all in all I think it was a bargain.

It has a Pentium J0900 processor with four cores, so again it's twice the size of my current machine. Did you know that the Pentium name is still in use for multi-core processors? I didn't. Here's an Amazon link if you want to see what it looks like:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-Thin...SIN=B00OZIKSTG

Today I started to play about with it. It boots incredibly slowly, straight into Windows 8 registration. You can't get any further unless you sign the EULA and I took one look at the terms (you accept that Microsoft is going to collect all kinds of data on your computer use) and said no!! Even though I am going to scrap Windows (so they wouldn't actually be in a position to skim any data from me) I still said no on principle. Surprise, surprise! There's no exit button, only a yes button.

So I put SystemRescueCD in the optical drive, switched off and went away to think. The next time I held down the F1 key and got into the bios. Except that it isn't a bios, it's a uefi. I disabled secure boot and fast boot, then switched to legacy mode (csm) because I don't know if my SystemRescue does uefi boots. Of course the Linux boot was a lot faster and I was able to get some useful information.

There are 7 partitions, with the EFI system partition on sda2, a boot recovery partition on sda3 and Windows on sda5. I think sda6 and sda7 are Windows recovery partitions. The graphics are Intel and the ethernet is Realtek RTL8168g. According to the manual I found online, there should be wifi too but I saw no sign of it.

I shall have to plan carefully what to do next. My initial plan is simply to clear Windows, repartition if necessary, and unpack tarballs of my present systems onto the partitions. That won't give me a bootable system, but I can work in chroot until I've installed a bootloader. I'd like to go back to native uefi and use elilo, but I need to do some reading first.

l0f4r0 01-10-2019 10:38 AM

Thank you for relating your story. So much adventure and many emotions :)
Keep us posted!

rokytnji 01-10-2019 10:48 AM

Quote:

I shall have to plan carefully what to do next.
My take. Your windows 8 drive has money on it. So if me. It goes into hard drive bin with a label describing it.

I would install a blank hard drive and, keep the Windows 8 drive as a spare string also.

That is just me. Though.

jsbjsb001 01-10-2019 10:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hazel (Post 5947095)
...
Today I started to play about with it. It boots incredibly slowly, straight into Windows 8 registration. You can't get any further unless you sign the EULA and I took one look at the terms (you accept that Microsoft is going to collect all kinds of data on your computer use) and said no!! Even though I am going to scrap Windows (so they wouldn't actually be in a position to skim any data from me) I still said no on principle. Surprise, surprise! There's no exit button, only a yes button.

So I put SystemRescueCD in the optical drive, switched off and went away to think. The next time I held down the F1 key and got into the bios. Except that it isn't a bios, it's a uefi. I disabled secure boot and fast boot, then switched to legacy mode (csm) because I don't know if my SystemRescue does uefi boots. Of course the Linux boot was a lot faster and I was able to get some useful information.

I would have said no too. I'm not surprised Linux boots faster, you could probably install anything but Windows and it would boot faster.

Quote:

...
I shall have to plan carefully what to do next. My initial plan is simply to clear Windows, repartition if necessary, and unpack tarballs of my present systems onto the partitions. That won't give me a bootable system, but I can work in chroot until I've installed a bootloader. I'd like to go back to native uefi and use elilo, but I need to do some reading first.
I'd do a backup of Windows just in case, wipe it, and then install Linux or whatever else you want instead.

Good luck with it anyways Hazel - I'm sure you'll make the right choice for you. ;)

dc.901 01-10-2019 11:10 AM

Windows 8 was/is SLOW; I replaced with Win10 (work computer) on same hardware and boot time is much better.
I would say, keep that drive in a spare drive bin for future, replace with SSD and install your favourite OS...

hazel 01-10-2019 11:30 AM

Oh, you people are always so ready to open a machine up and switch drives around! Can't you get your heads round the fact that hardware terrifies me?;) And I don't have any local friends who are knowledgeable enough to do that kind of thing for me.

Dumping Windows isn't practicable either unless I splash out some more money on a set of high-capacity memory sticks. I think I'll just wipe it, like I did on the laptop. It means I can't return the machine to the shop, but I know now that it can run Linux; if it works with SystemRescue, it'll work with any distro.

I have a home-made kernel on LFS; that will have to be rebuilt to incorporate the new ethernet driver. The same with Crux if I transfer that too. Of course with a gpt disk I have lots of primary partitions to play about with. I might even install a bsd someday.

jsbjsb001 01-10-2019 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hazel (Post 5947148)
Oh, you people are always so ready to open a machine up and switch drives around! Can't you get your heads round the fact that hardware terrifies me?;) And I don't have any local friends who are knowledgeable enough to do that kind of thing for me.
...

Come on Hazel, it's easy! Just rip her out and whack a SSD in!

But seriously, that's what I'd do (wipe Windows that is), unless you need to run anything you need Windows for, you don't need Windows anyway. Best of luck once again anyway - whatever you decide to do.

Almost forgot; I installed OpenBSD in a VM the other day, pretty easy when you know Linux. ;)

rvijay 01-11-2019 12:29 PM

Wow, for me this is like a PC from the future, my PC is super old and slow compared to this but am still quite content with it. I would just use a Linux live CD/DVD on it then. Simple way around if you don't wish to swap the HD. Good Luck.

hazel 01-12-2019 09:58 AM

Today I carried some more cautious exploration. First I switched the UEFI back to native mode and also changed the normal boot order to favour the cdrom drive. Then I booted and GRUB came up. So SystemRescue does do UEFI boots, only with GRUB rather than isolinux. That will be useful when I come to unpack things. For example, Slackware's elilo comes with a configuration script, written by Patrick, which sets everything up but checks first whether there's an efi section in the /sys tree. If not, it won't proceed. If I had to set it up in legacy mode, it would mean running the commands in the script by hand but leaving the test out. Not really the kind of slog I want.

I called up gparted and had a close look at the hard drive. Its capacity is 500 GB compared with 200 GB on my current machine. So I definitely wouldn't want to scrap that drive, even if I knew how to take it out. There are seven partitions but most of them are small. sda5 is the big one, 438 GiB. That's where Windows currently lives. The EFI partition (sda2) is 260 MB. I shall need to consider whether to extend it so as to have space for all the kernels and initrds. Apparently elilo works best when these are on the EFI partition and not elsewhere.

And I really need to consider whether to transfer Debian. Debian uses GRUB and has conniptions if you try to use LILO. The best solution, I've found, is to have LILO in the mbr but let Debian think you have GRUB there. But I suspect that will not work with a UEFI, which keeps all its boot code in locations where scripts can easily check what is there. Of course I could just switch to using GRUB for everything. It's already the preferred bootloader for LFS and Slack has it as an option. But I don't like GRUB and I especially don't like the automated script-ridden Debian version of it.

Actually the only thing I really need Debian for now is my genealogical work. This uses a program called gramps, which surely must be available in AntiX too, since AntiX uses the Debian repositories. So I could transfer the database to the laptop, install gramps and run it from there when required.

I don't want to do anything irrevocable yet.

BW-userx 01-12-2019 11:38 AM

what year is that processor, it is not even mentioned in wiki
Pentium or on intel's page.

hazel 01-12-2019 12:02 PM

It's apparently a Bay Trail Pentium 2900. You can see it here. That page describes it as "discontinued", which is probably why you couldn't find it on the main Intel site.

Here's the Wikipedia entry.

enorbet 01-12-2019 01:58 PM

Hello hazel
Congratulations on your new PC. Sorry to take so long but I just got around to looking up your exact model and there is quite a lot of variation for subtle differences in naming. For example the E50 Think CENTRE is much older and has the rather seriously outdated PATA hard drive interface. If the E50 Think STATION is the exact model you have it is an ingenious lil' bugger. :) So, is this the one? ====>> https://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc...1292040/review

Lenovo flipped the script with that one and used all the integration of a Laptop's motherboard assembly but 1) employed a 3.5 inch SATA HDD as they are substantially cheaper (along with lots more models/features and a bit more reliable all on their own) 2) using a tower case gave it LOTS of breathing/cooling room and 3) leaves an empty 3.5" slot for additional devices most commonly a 2nd HDD.

This is great news for you. Even if your old HDD is a 2.5" laptop hdd it is still absolutely foolproof to install that HDD even if only temporarily whether to quickly transfer a file or an entire partition or in fact the entire drive as a clone to a new same size or larger drive. There really is no need to be terrified especially when there is so much open space inside. PC components, with the only exception being a few holdouts like Dell power supplies) are completely standardized and have connectors that simply will not connect except for the one, correct way. Unless owned by some ham-fisted brute, it is impossible to make a mistake. Even the ham-fisted brute is highly unlikely to create a mistake that could damage anything. It just wouldn't power up until the error was corrected or removed.

If your old drive is 2.5" you may possibly need an adapter cable to connect it to the ThinkStation but conversion devices that convert laptop hdd connections to a host of other connections including USB are common and cheap. However since the mobo is from a laptop it is very likely the original 2.5" dock is still in it as is (I can't see from the photos I've found) which would mean no adapters are needed and it would just plug right up.

The biggest obstacle for one terrified of hardware is actually removing the HDD from the laptop but even that is a no-brainer breeze on most laptops since HDDs are by far the most common upgrade and you just know no manufacturer makes choices blocking future sales :) It generally doesn't even involve laptop disassembly as the dock usually has it's own little access panel, commonly on the underside. Installing it in your ThinkStation is even easier. Again, it is all but impossible to even make a mistake let alone damage anything as long as you don't drop the HDD from a 2nd story window ;)

You may elect to never do this but I did want you to know it is an option and that it is a very easy one at that. Good luck and have a ball!

PS - If you'd like to know more I'm quite willing to help in any way that I can.

hazel 01-12-2019 02:20 PM

Yes, that's the one. And thanks for the link. I notice that the review mentions how little the machine weighs. That was one of the first things I noticed about it.

But why does everybody want me to change the drive? My present machine has a 200 GB drive and this one is 500 GB. Even apart from my disinclination to muck about with hardware, I don't see any point in replacing a larger and more modern drive with a smaller and more old fashioned one.

No, I'll just repartition it and that will be that.

rokytnji 01-12-2019 02:40 PM

I don't blame ya hazel.
Since I am a wrencher at heart.

Quote:

But why does everybody want me to change the drive?
I'll explain my money statement.

I could flip that 500 gig Windows 8 drive for the price you paid for that tower and also probably have change left over for the purchase of another blank drive.

But on the Texas border. Not England.

But since you are more of a operator/racer vs a wrencher like me.
I can understand how you would not want open the case.

enorbet 01-12-2019 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hazel (Post 5948243)
But why does everybody want me to change the drive? .

I wasn't promoting replacing the 500GB drive. I was mentioning how your existing older drive whether temporarily or permanently could become an additional drive in your new system which would then become 700GB.

Since you are already multi-booting it would be trivial to add your old systems to your new system. I could likely do that in under an hour. Unless there is some reason to have more than one PC, which is certainly valid, I'd go with the faster system with more resources but also any copying/cloning if desired would be faster than through any other type of connection. It's just an option should you want or need it.


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