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Old 01-31-2018, 12:09 PM   #1
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New to computers know nothing

Good Evening to you All,
May I introduce myself?

I am a 67 year old gardener, just retired and my Grandchildren introduced me to computers a few years ago. I know very little about computers, the language used leaves me deaf and it took me 5 times to register as a user on this site. There, you have it.
If anyone can assist me with simple advice, it would be most welcome.

First, my problems.

I had just got used to the Windows xp and then this Christmas they bought me a new computer with Windows 10. A nice little thing called Lenovo 64 bit with Windows 10 and a thing called Edge that is driving me up the wall. Everything has been done to correct this all to no avail. It crashes all of the time, it sends me to places that I do not want to go to.

I use a computer to send emails, scan, buy and sell my vintage postcards on Etsy and Ebay, to read the newspapers and pay at Paypal. Oh yes, to talk to my children and grandchildren when I can. Sometimes I watch a film, but that is about it. However, I just cannot get along with Windows 10. I live in the countryside and internet connection is bad, about half a gigabyte if I am lucky.

My family suggest that I use Linux something 18.5 with Wine as it would be easier for me, but when I go onto sites to find out about these things, I get lost as the talk is all gobblygook for me.

Advice needed.

Where can I buy the Linux 18.3 with Wine on Disk? ( Disk needed because my internet connection is so slow)

Can an older chap without computer understanding use it easily?

Where would I go for an instruction course for beginners that will instruct without the presumption that I understand computer speak?

That is about it for the moment, Kind Regards, MHP
Old 01-31-2018, 02:39 PM   #2
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You should have your family help you install and get Linux running. They are making the recommendation, it seems a sound one, however given your very limited understanding of computers in general, this doesn't seem to be a task you are ready, or willing, to do on your own. While it may be pretty easy to find a version of Linux to install, there may be a few issues with your very new computer and the type of BIOS it has on it. Next, Wine is also a large topic which has a learning curve.
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:19 PM   #3
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Hello and welcome to LQ.

There are many places that will sell a cd/dvd/usb. I can't say to the honesty of the vendors. I personally would not buy from ebay.

Distrowatch usually has a vendor ad. I'd be more likely to use them. Forget the one I used to use in Walnut Creek Ca.

Now getting wine will be another story. As above maybe someone with a flash drive could bring it from town. I know about living in the sticks.

Every once in a while you can get a pre-made virtual machine and use it in Windows. It may be the best way to learn.

In a simple sense, Linux is just like windows. All the tasks are similar with different names.

Reminds me of a movie with Peter Sellers. Chance the gardener.

Last edited by jefro; 01-31-2018 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 01-31-2018, 03:40 PM   #4
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RTMistler and jefro,

Thank you very much for your prompt and informative replies. It is kind of you. RT, I do have an ability to learn new things, just slowly and when my sons visit at Easter, I will of course ask for their advice, but sadly, like yourself, they see me as a bit of a Luddite. But I will learn, today Linux, tomorrow, the world.
Jefro, I live in the hills of the Morvan, mobile telephones do not work well, nor do computers wifi. I use land line connection and internet connection is promised by the powers that be in 2023. Until then, your suggestion of going to town is one that in my dotage, I just did not consider. Of course, there is an internet café and I can ask them. I am sure that one of the young bucks there will understand it all. Thank you, that helps me. Old age, the simple sometimes seems hidden in the dark until a helpful soul like yourself shines a light.
Again, thanks to you both, between you, I am now on the right road to a new concept.
Kind Regards, MHPaine
Old 01-31-2018, 04:20 PM   #5
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If you can get a copy of Linux on a USB (it needs to be "burnt" like a CD, not simply copied), then you can boot the USB and run that without modifying your system at all. It runs from RAM in what is called liveCD mode. That way you can test that you are comfortable with Linux, and make sure the system works - especially the screen and the network.
It runs a little slower as it occasionally has to reference the USB, but is quite usable. You could conceivably run this way for ages, even until you get a visit from the family. It is possible to install software packages in liveCD mode, with the caveat is that the packages have to be re-downloaded and reinstalled after every boot.

I'm guessing you have been suggested Linux Mint - 18.3 is the current release. Will be an interesting retirement project; see if you have a Linux User Group (LUG) anywhere in the vicinity.
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:27 PM   #6
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Being a grandfather myself. I consider it you are never too old to learn.

Think of it as learning a new language. Like Windows communication. Just differently.

Like English vs Spanish. Both do the same job. But can leave you frustrated because they handle things differently.
It takes a adventurous soul not to get frustrated and plod along at his own pace.
Like I did. With just a G.E.D. education .

Now. I am phone support for my Autistic Grandson who is a chip off the old block.

Quick linux lesson in thinking how file structure works.

Think of your linux operating system as a house.
The kitchen, living room, bathrooms are /home and need no special permission to walk into those rooms.
Mom's jewellery box, Dads Tool box in the garage. Is / <root>
You will know /. It will be everything above /home. Names like /boot /etc /opt /bin

$ cd /
$ ls
bin  boot  dev  etc  home  lib  lib64  lost+found  media  mnt  opt  proc  root  run  sbin  sys  tmp  usr  var

You need a key to open those rooms and items in /. < sudo or su or gksu ( with a password even) >

A linux terminal always opens in /home. Unless you get good at this stuff and learn how to open a terminal in root.

Linux will let you know when this happens <permission denied> . Like when raiding locked up items. It is good advice to make a backup of what you are raiding. In case you break something when playing with Mom's or Dad's stuff. So you don't get a whipping < crash your install> when you break what you are fussing with.

Translation: Make a exact copy of any file or folder being edited in root and save it for being restored. AKA:
/X11.backup or /X11.old

My suggestion for new adopters like you is to run off USB 1st. Leave Windows 10 alone. I have ran like this before with no hard drive in my laptop. Newly purchased, Broken. Cheap. Off ebay.

Brief explanation. Make a Live MX usb drive using a Windows tool like RUFUS. Make sure you use the bios to boot the usb drive without messing with Windows 10.
Boot it up.
Plug in another USB drive. Use it to make the persistent usb while MX linux usb is running on your computer. Using the youtube video I provided.

Welcome to the kiddy pool. MX forums members are polite and knowledgeable. Most are elderly like me. They got me into AntiX and taught me a lot.

Good luck teaching a old dog new tricks. Rok.

Last edited by rokytnji; 01-31-2018 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:18 PM   #7
Mill J
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I've heard that knowing very little about computers/operating systems actually makes it easier to learn Linux Because you don't have to relearn everything.

Have Fun!
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Old 02-01-2018, 03:49 AM   #8
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Two things, download & install Firefox as your web browser, & as above, 'test the waters' by using a 'live' distro on a pendrive, no need to install Linux just yet.
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Old 02-01-2018, 04:03 AM   #9
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Hi Grandfather, and welcome to LQ.

If you decide to install Linux Mint (one of the several Linux distributions that have a reputation for being easier for newcomers), the developers have produced a useful installation guide which may help you here:
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:10 AM   #10
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I fully agree with rtmistler about having your family install your computer. See, if you try to install it yourself, the second question asked could send you into the woods. The question will be about partitions and drives and maybe boot sector. For you, those question mean as much as Russian for me.

The suggestion for "18.3" is likely about Linux Mint. A good choice. My wife uses it without a problems. I love her very much but she doesn't know the difference between a web page and a USB stick. Mint does not unnecessarly complicate things. And menu items at the start menu stay where they are and don't move and flash all the time like in Windows 10.

I don't see a use for Wine. For what you do, Linux alternatives exist. Wine is somewhat complicated to install and mixing Windows with Linux is like mixing water and oil.

Have them install Firefox and Chrome for you. Both are use to browse the internet. The both display web pages, but sometimes a page does not show up well in one or the other.

Let your family explain you where and when you have to enter passwords. Let them set up accounts for you where needed. And if more passwords are asked, give them a call to ask whether it is right to do so.

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Old 02-01-2018, 07:50 AM   #11
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Since the OP needs a CD, it is almost a catch-22, since in most cases, you need internet access to obtain a CD.

The two major outlets for Linux, Walnut Creek and Cheapbytes no longer operate. Towards the end, Walnut creek had stopped selling Linux and was selling mostly clothing.

If the OP can get on Amazon, there are CDs available for recent versions of Linux. Patrick Volkerding's book with a CD inside is still available there. However, the book is circa 1995.

In addition, back in the day, you could go to a computer store or bookstore and buy a Linux book with a CD inside. The OP might want to check if this option is available. Local public libraries where I live have Linux books with CDs.
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Old 02-01-2018, 07:51 AM   #12
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Good Afternoon All,

As is my wont, I have slept on this and after reading all of the very helpful comments to my questions, I have decided that changing to Linux from Windows is just the same as changing the layout of a planned garden. First I must study the land, find the pitfalls and damp spots, choose what is best planted where, design what I shall plant and learn a bit more. Only then can I plant with a chance of the best crop. So, I have decided that I must first read and learn more about Linux. I am a plodder and being a gardener am used to planning seven years ahead, so no problem for me. Little by little.
From all of your kind replies I have learned what a Live Disk is, that I must choose either Windows or Linux and that I must read a lot more before I rush where angels fear to tread. This I will do with the information already posted on this site on other questions asked by my Fellow novices.
Thank you all. I will start by visiting the Internet café in town on Saturday when I visit the Market and I have found out that with this new computer comes a one year free technical support from Lenovo and that they are committed to Linux and will assist and guide me through the process. Little by Little. I will get there for I am determined to do so.
Again, I thank you all for your very kind help and assistance in showing me the learning path that I must now gently tread to design this new garden that I desire.
Be good and stay well and I am sure that I will meet you all again somewhere on this site during my search for the Grail.
Kind Regards
Old 02-01-2018, 07:53 AM   #13
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I don't doubt that you can learn stuff.

Perhaps a combination of suggestions from others as well as some of my earlier one.

I like the suggestion that you obtain a live media, either CD/DVD or USB thumbstick to run Linux.

I would ask your family members to get you one. See if you can boot your computer off of that media, and then just run it like that.

What you won't be able to do is save bookmarks or things to that live media; however you can save information to another drive, either USB or the hard drive that the computer already does have. So a minor learning curve.

Another potential problem is if that live media doesn't have all that you desire for programs, you'll have to install the ones you want, but they won't be there at the next bootup, because they'll only be in memory. So that's sort of a big litmus test if that's even workable for you.

Meanwhile, as others have said, if you have all you need in Linux, you will not need Wine at all.

What Wine does is provides a Windows environment to run Windows programs. However there are many substitutes for those programs available in Linux.

What you've said:
emails, scan, buy and sell my vintage postcards on Etsy and Ebay, to read the newspapers and pay at Paypal. Oh yes, to talk to my children and grandchildren when I can. Sometimes I watch a film
I don't see anything here stopping you from using Linux to do this all.

Paypal, Etsy, Ebay, reading the news are all web browsing - Linux has web browsers and many options. (Admittedly Windows has many browser options - they just don't like you changing it.)

Watching a film could be Netflix, could be a DVD, could be using a viewer to view a file, or look at YouTube - all available under Linux.

Scanning, and printing - available under Linux.

Talking to people is also available under Linux, for things like Skype or other types of audio/video calls or conferencing, or just messaging using text also.

Someone suggested you start with browsing, I believe they said Firefox. Start with that, and add capabilities as you get comfortable and learn more. And you can go at your own pace.

Instead of assuming that we assume you are a luddite, don't cut yourself short and don't dismiss complicated topics with the term gobblygook. I'm not as old as you, and do have the benefit of working with technology for over 35 years. However there are new things that I take some time to grasp, and mainly because I'm skeptical that they are any better than traditional programming. However the one thing which always seems to work for me is the self admission that some other person figured this out, so I can do it too.
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:23 AM   #14
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Good Afternoon RT,

I must confess that I am a bit of a Luddite. No offence was or can be taken by your kind replies and advice offered to me. I am a bit of a Luddite, but at my age and in this Brave New World, I know that I must change and learn new things. The problem with age is that things slow down, one becomes comfortable with what becomes habit and old entrenched habits are sometimes harder to remove. Habits like Windows.
I continue using it with all its faults, errors, slowdowns and perpetual updates, but then one day I saw that it was like working in a perpetual rainstorm that needs a new overcoat each and every day. Wait for update this, do not turn off because of that, stand on one leg and whistle Dixie and on and on, that is Windows and to be quite honest, I am fed up with it. So, this old Luddite has now realised that he is wrong and must change with the times.
RT, your advice is sound, kindly offered and well accepted. I thank thee, but I am a Luddite that must change. Truth never causes me offence, even if I find it uncomfortable sometimes. I will get there, with a little help from you Kind Souls here and from my Family and Friends.
I like the look of Linux, I like the feel of Linux, so I will get there, little by little. You have no idea how much I have learned already from the replies offered to me on this site. My brain is spinning with it all, so I have decided that I will take it one thing at a time and of all of the advice offered, that I should get a live disk first and learn from that, seems the soundest.
Again RT, you did not offend me, I am too old by far to ever be offended by anything having learned long ago that if I do not like anything to walk away and get on with something else.
I will end this now as all of my questions have been answered and answered well.
Thank you all, stay safe, we live in interesting times.
Kind Regards,
Old 02-01-2018, 09:31 AM   #15
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I take my hat off to you. 'Tis a brave thing to embark upon at your time of life.....learning a whole new way of doing things. Credit where credit's due.

I'm not so much younger than yourself; perhaps a decade or so. I was fortunate enough to be leaving full-time education right at the point when the 'home computer revolution' of the early 1980's was just getting into full swing. Even at that tender age, I was already technically-minded, and excited at the possibilities the future held.....but since, at that point in time, Linux would not even exist for another 10 years or so, I didn't have much option but to get embroiled in the 'hell-hole' that is the Windows eco-system (after a few years dallying with MS-DOS, Commodore, Amiga, Sinclair, and a few others).

I stuck with it all the way from the original Windows 1, right through to the very end-of-life for Windows XP in 2014 (at which point, 25 years in, I was more than ready for a change!). For me, there was no 'gradual transition' from one to t'other (I honestly couldn't get away from Windows fast enough); I wiped Windows out of my life, installed the then newly-released Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 'Trusty Tahr'.....and dived in. Head-first!

It was a case of sink or swim.....and for me, it didn't take me long to float to the top & improve my breast-stroke by leaps & bounds..!

Linux is not hard to learn. The biggest hindrance for many, as MillJ mentioned further back in the thread, is that of 'un-learning' a lifetime of entrenched Windows habits. Too many folks do, indeed, get comfortably set in a rut.....and for many, the older they get, the less willing they are to encompass change.

Keep an open mind; never, ever, be afraid to ask questions (you're never too old to learn, trust me).....and above all, have faith in yourself. I agree with RTM; if others can figure this stuff out, you should be at least as capable as they were. Take it at your own pace; this is not a race, there's no rush to have to learn X, Y or Z according to some pre-determined timetable. And above all else, make sure you have fun along the way.....

We've got faith in you, even if your own may be lacking.


Last edited by Mike_Walsh; 02-01-2018 at 09:37 AM.
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