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Old 06-01-2017, 11:25 PM   #1
SchizoScherzo
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Dell XPS


I have a Dell XPS that was running Windows 7 but I don't even remember the specs or the password. The HD is likely around 250GB, but it's a pain to get out and actually look. The old monitor is a VGA but the Video card is a 2008 era NVIDIA or Radeon. Knowing me, I likely chose the biggest bang for the buck at that time, but can't remember the specs or even the brand. The video card itself has a heatsink, and ran games of that era pretty well, but now all I really want is text output.

Can anyone recommend a distro to install on it? My primary use will be gcc with no internet connection.

I think it has 4GB of RAM but I'm guessing since I can no longer get into it to see what Windows has to say about the hardware.

It's worth noting that I need to download the distro on my work machine which runs Windows and install it on another. I know how to burn an ISO image, but I tried antiX and it seemed weird under Windows 10, creating a phantom drive rather than just letting me burn the ISO image.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
 
Old 06-02-2017, 07:23 AM   #2
rtmistler
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Hi SchizoScherzo and welcome to LQ.

Recommend you look at https://distrowatch.com/ to see the various distributions you can choose and then try a few of them to decide for yourself which ones seem suitable for you.

Fairly all of these distributions' download and install links tell you how their recommended means to create an install media and give you references in accordance with the working machine you have so that you can accomplish this feat.

Your system specifications sound normal, however you are going by memory for most of it versus taking the time to look it up. Unfortunately, many times the video card is an exact problem for various Linux distributions. If you happened to have chosen something special, exotic, or just one which turned out to be rare which never really took off in the industry, then you will have problems with it. Therefore as much of a nuisance as you feel it would be to derive the full system specifications, perhaps you ought to do exactly that as you begin your experiments with Linux distributions.

You may want to look what your BIOS settings feel some of these devices are, there should at least be some information in there to indicate the number of hard drives, the sizes of them, the amount of RAM in your system, and potentially what the video card, or driver chip for it is.

And for what it's worth, I like Mint Debian Edition using MATE.
 
Old 06-02-2017, 07:41 AM   #3
syg00
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Anything should be ok to check out what you have. It's been so long I can't even recommend a Windoze burner - infrarecorder was what I used, but I dunno about it burning to USB. Find a mate with Linux and just use dd.
 
Old 06-02-2017, 08:07 AM   #4
Soadyheid
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Hi! Welcome to Linux Questions.

What you need is what's called a "Live DVD" You can download an .iso of the distribution of your choice (See rtmistler's link above) and either burn a DVD or make a bootable USB memory stick/drive out of it. (Google it or search these forums)

You boot the live distribution from the DVD or USB drive and see if you like the distribution. It all runs in memory so when you shut your system down, nothing's changed.
While it's running you can also mount your Windows drive and see what you left on it before its demise.

You can save any important data files; picture, videos, music, etc providing you have some sort of writeable medium attached (Like the USB drive.)

Distribution? You may want to try something sort of main stream like Ubuntu or Mint to start with.

My

Play Bonny!


Last edited by Soadyheid; 06-02-2017 at 08:10 AM.
 
Old 06-02-2017, 08:22 AM   #5
wpeckham
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For a USB I no longer burn single images for either live or install use. I use Easy2Boot (E2B) to create my USB device and load it with ISO images. You can pick it up at http://www.easy2boot.com/ along with instructions for use under both windows and linux.

Loading live-cd images before you install gives you a pretty good test of the hardware and compatibility.
 
Old 06-02-2017, 10:15 AM   #6
SchizoScherzo
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Thanks guys, you've all been a big help. Can't believe I didn't think of looking in BIOS! (150GB HD, Pentium D 2.8GHZ, 4GB RAM).

I'm going to use E2B and try Ubuntu and then maybe some oddballs. https://distrowatch.com/ is great resource. I think if it's out there, I should be able to find exactly what I'm looking for.

It is looking like I may need to connect to the internet for package installs, but I'll deal with that when I get there.

Thanks again!
 
Old 06-02-2017, 11:34 AM   #7
rtmistler
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I know you've said Ubuntu. Just a heads up that the Mint I suggested was Debian Edition. Mint is a derivative of Ubuntu, however when they do Mint DE it is derived from Debian.

Ubuntu and the various flavors Lubuntu, Kubuntu, etc, actually have (in my opinion) a great track record for working on hardware where other stuff doesn't. But meanwhile my point about a Debian derivative is that you can similarly find Debian itself or Mint DE, or some other derivative which my work if something like Ubuntu doesn't. And per my comment about the graphics, is that you'll know right away. You try to load a Live USB or DVD to do the install and you see absolutely nothing, then it may be that it's not booting at all or you can't see video.

Good luck and happy hunting/computing!

It's definitely worth running a live distro first before installing to verify you like it and that it does what you want such as sound, video, networking, ...
 
Old 06-02-2017, 01:37 PM   #8
Rickkkk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpeckham View Post
For a USB I no longer burn single images for either live or install use. I use Easy2Boot (E2B) to create my USB device and load it with ISO images. You can pick it up at http://www.easy2boot.com/ along with instructions for use under both windows and linux.

Loading live-cd images before you install gives you a pretty good test of the hardware and compatibility.
I'm like wpeckham - I use a tool called YUMI that enables me to create and maintain a "multiboot" USB key. If you're interested in checking it out:

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-mu...t-usb-creator/

Cheers.
 
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:19 PM   #9
wpeckham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickkkk View Post
I'm like wpeckham - I use a tool called YUMI that enables me to create and maintain a "multiboot" USB key. If you're interested in checking it out:

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/yumi-mu...t-usb-creator/

Cheers.
I also once used YUMI, and also used SARDU. I find E2B more useful for more versions, but YUMI and SARDU still have a place for certain (very few) Linux distributions that do not play well with E2B.
 
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Old 06-02-2017, 03:41 PM   #10
Rickkkk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpeckham View Post
I also once used YUMI, and also used SARDU. I find E2B more useful for more versions, but YUMI and SARDU still have a place for certain (very few) Linux distributions that do not play well with E2B.
... good to know - thx wpeckham - will have to give E2B a go ....

Cheers !
 
  


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