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Old 10-11-2017, 03:47 PM   #1
atcggcta
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Change operating system?


I've heard Linux is way better (safer, quicker, etc.) Also im new to computer science and have been told to get accustomed to Linux. I have a Microsoft surface (not a surface pro or anything, just a surface) is it possible to switch my OS from windows to Linux? If so, how? Thanks in advance and sorry if it's a dumb question!

Some Specs Below:

OS Manufacturer: Microsoft Corporation
System Model: Surface 3
System Type: x64-based PC
Processor: Intel(R) Atom(TM) x7-Z8700 CPU @ 1.60GHz, 1601 Mhz, 4 Core(s)
RAM: 2.00 GB
Total Physical Memory: 1.92 GB
Available Physical Memory: 170 MB
Total Virtual Memory: 4.07 GB
Available Virtual Memory: 921 MB
Page File Space: 2.15 GB

Last edited by atcggcta; 10-11-2017 at 05:56 PM. Reason: More Details
 
Old 10-11-2017, 05:48 PM   #2
pholland
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Welcome to the linuxquestions.org forums!

You have a good question. If you are getting into computer science, than I also think it is a good idea to get acquainted with Linux. You can probably put Linux on your computer, but it depends on your computer's specifications (cpu and amount of memory). If you have a desktop or laptop computer less than 10 years old, it should be acceptable. Posting your specifications would allow someone to give a more definitive answer.

Linux plays nice with other operating systems, so you do not need to dump your MicroSoft Windows operating system. You can run both Windows and Linux as a dual-boot system or run Linux in a virtual box under Windows.

That is about the best answer I can give. People with more experience and better writing skills than mine write books and magazine articles on this subject. Here is a link to one such web page.
https://www.pcworld.com/article/2918...ers-guide.html

Hope all that helps. Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux!
 
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:34 PM   #3
frankbell
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I can't provide a citation, but I read that MS has zipped up the Surface so that you can't install a different OS. A web search for "Linux microsoft surface" turns up some articles claiming that you can put Linux on it, but the procedures they outline are quire complex and not something I'd want to try myself if I had a Surface, unless I didn't care whether I bricked it.

You might check your local thrift shops and used computer stores. It should be pretty easy to find a laptop that's plenty beefy to run any contemporary Linux distro (4GB RAM and Intel Inside would be what I'd recommend looking for--the Intel Inside is optional) for a very reasonable price. The disabled veterans thrift store I usually visit will sometimes have computers for as low and $20.00.
 
Old 10-11-2017, 09:48 PM   #4
grail
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I agree with frankbell that the process of having linux run natively on a Surface is a bit of a nightmare.

To this end, I would suggest installing virtualbox on the surface (as suggested by pholland) and then you can play with as many different distros as you like until you find
your niche. You could even have it launch on startup in seamless mode and then unless you choose to it would almost appear that you are running linux natively
 
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Old 10-12-2017, 01:10 AM   #5
Shadow_7
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I find HP laptops pretty easy to use linux on. HP stream 11s are $200-ish. Spam ESC at power on, press F9, cursor to the USB storage media, press enter. You can use rufus to put a bootable linux / installer on a usb device in windows. Have a 2nd usb storage option plugged in for an install location and you can get away with NEVER booting the OS that shipped with the device. Caveats of course, like needing usb storage options, and probably a usb to ethernet dongle depending on which model you're using as the wifi can be difficult to get going on HPs (and other brands).

As far as the surface, it can be done, many have done it. But as a first exposure to linux, definitely not ideal. Various other linux out of the gate options available, as in devices that ship with linux. System76, some dells, minnowboard, udoo x86, mint box, and various other options (most over priced IMO). I tend to stick to sub $500 laptops OTS at most box stores. Take a cell phone pic of the ones that interest you, go home and do some research. Linux is always easier to install if you have more than one computer, especially if one of them is already running linux.
 
Old 10-12-2017, 03:31 AM   #6
!!!
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Welcome to the OS that 'runs up to 98% of the www', future CSguru
Start botom-up here, and let me hear that you 'got' your first hundred cmds in 9minutes!!!

Definitely VBox, for several reasons: VM (kinda like VR) is beyond amazing, and a huge part of CS/IT.
And I think I've seen 'issues' with installing Linux on M$Surface (YMMV; web-research a lot!!!)

Start with CLI first, for learning CS foundations, vs. GuiToy pleasures. VBox leaves your web-browser 'app' running, while other VMs boot&run as simply another 'app'. Also, M$ seems to have shorted you a bit with 2G ram, in their attempts to be a $700 iPad version of a $70 Android tablet. With Win10 lightly wrapping its tentacles around 90% of the 2G, running a 1G VM GUI (WM/DE) may be slow, paging&swapping. Wiki everything

Last edited by !!!; 10-12-2017 at 04:02 AM.
 
Old 10-12-2017, 07:42 AM   #7
Rickkkk
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Although I can't speak to the capabilities of the plain Surface (not "Pro"), I am writing this to you while using Arch Linux natively in a dual-boot setup on my MS Surface Pro 3.

As others have stated, getting linux installed on a Surface Pro involves some work, but can be done. In a nutshell, you have to :

- backup your Windows install with the tools provided by Microsoft on the Surface (Pro);

- repartition the main storage (SSD) of the Surface (Pro);

- temporarily (at least) disable Secure Boot on the Surface (Pro);

- install your linux distro to the partition created previously;

- choose and install an EFI-aware boot loader/manager ( I use rEFInd) ... This requires some tweaking of the EFI setup

- install some kind of MOK (machine-owner key) manager if you wish to re-enable Secure Boot (I use PreLoader - it comes with rEFInd).

... That's about it. Again - I've done this successfully on the SP3 - can't guarantee results on the non-Pro version of the Surface, but offhand I can't see why it wouldn't work. The main difference will be one of performance, since the hardware is much more limited (my SP3 has an Intel i5 CPU, 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM).

Let us know if you have any further questions.

Cheers.

EDIT: By the way, I wouldn't recommend outright "replacing" Windows on the Surface ... You may find you need it for certain specific tasks .. Firmware maintenance comes to mind ... And if ever you need to return it to factory condition for Microsoft maintenance, it will be much easier if you have preserved the native Windows installation. If you go ahead with this little project, I highly recommend you opt for creating a dual-boot environment as opposed to outright replacing Windows. The virtual machine option mentioned by others is also an interesting alternative, at least for trying out linux before committing to a native install ... Cheers.

Last edited by Rickkkk; 10-12-2017 at 07:48 AM.
 
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:28 AM   #8
YesItsMe
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I am a professional computer scientist and I respectfully disagree with the statement that this alone is a reason to "get accustomed to Linux".

Quote:
Originally Posted by atcggcta View Post
I've heard Linux is way better (safer, quicker, etc.)
If this is everything that makes you want to change your operating system, it is probably not worth the effort. Linux is exactly as quick and safe as you make it - which also applies to Windows. There are Linux distributions which are slow and insecure by default. ShellShock, anyone?

So, in order to answer your question: You probably can - but you should think twice before actually doing it. It is most likely a bad idea.
 
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Old 10-12-2017, 09:41 AM   #9
atcggcta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grail View Post
I agree with frankbell that the process of having linux run natively on a Surface is a bit of a nightmare.

To this end, I would suggest installing virtualbox on the surface (as suggested by pholland) and then you can play with as many different distros as you like until you find
your niche. You could even have it launch on startup in seamless mode and then unless you choose to it would almost appear that you are running linux natively
Yes, after more research on this I believe using virtualbox would be my best option. I have one more question though, Will having virtualbox launch on startup in seamless mode make my device run slowly? Thank you!!
 
Old 10-12-2017, 12:32 PM   #10
jamison20000e
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Going in as a slave*

https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...7/#post5769201

Have fun!

Edit: wrong link.

Last edited by jamison20000e; 10-13-2017 at 12:28 PM.
 
Old 10-13-2017, 01:56 AM   #11
grail
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As virtualbox is the only thing running (apart from required services) I would imagine it shouldn't be too bad. It would probably depend on how much memory you give the VB access to.
 
Old 10-13-2017, 07:22 AM   #12
Rickkkk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atcggcta View Post
Yes, after more research on this I believe using virtualbox would be my best option. I have one more question though, Will having virtualbox launch on startup in seamless mode make my device run slowly? Thank you!!
I agree with grail that just running the Virtualbox app itself will not significantly consume system resources. However, your use of the word "seamless" leads me to believe you are actually referring to the virtual machine itself, in which case grail's second comment is important: it depends how much resources (memory and CPU) you have allocated to your VM. With only 2GB RAM and an Atom processor, you will find yourself limited in what you can do with the VM without running into performance issues.

As stated in my earlier post (#7), a VM is a good way of trying out linux, but with your system, if you actually intend on using it for anything productive and don't wish to bog down your Windows host, you would be better off with a native (dual-boot) installation.

Cheers - hope this helps.
 
Old 10-13-2017, 12:35 PM   #13
jamison20000e
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Does it do "hardware virtualization" like some Thinkpads* or did m$ through a wrench at that?

Good news is if you graduate can afford the pro... https://ramsdenj.com/2016/08/29/arch...ace-pro-4.html
 
Old 10-13-2017, 05:32 PM   #14
mralk3
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Why not purchase a single board computer like the Raspberry Pi? You can then tinker away to your heart's content. The Raspberry Pi is intended to teach students how to program, about electronics, and Linux.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi
https://www.raspberrypi.org/

Quote:
OS Manufacturer: Microsoft Corporation
System Model: Surface 3
System Type: x64-based PC
Processor: Intel(R) Atom(TM) x7-Z8700 CPU @ 1.60GHz, 1601 Mhz, 4 Core(s)
RAM: 2.00 GB
Total Physical Memory: 1.92 GB
Available Physical Memory: 170 MB
Total Virtual Memory: 4.07 GB
Available Virtual Memory: 921 MB
Page File Space: 2.15 GB
Maybe I am reading the above incorrectly, (total of 2 GB of RAM???) but those are very slim resources to be running a virtual machine while still having resources to run Windows. If you do it's going to have to be an older Linux distribution or it's going to have to be stripped down quite a bit.

Last edited by mralk3; 10-13-2017 at 05:33 PM.
 
  


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