Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 05-19-2014, 08:20 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2014
Posts: 1

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Question Replacing Win XP with Linux on 1) Dell Laptop 2) Dell Desktop

As a Newbie to Linux I would like to replace Win XP with the a single version of Linux on two computers. A Dell laptop (Inspiron 5160, model: PP08L with 1 GB RAM}; and a Dell Desktop (Dimension E510, also with 1 GB RAM). In case my Linux-learning-curve is very "slow" I would like to make the transition to Linux such that I can alternate between the two OSs as needed until I get up to speed on Linux. Some of this may not be possible. Which version of Linux will work on both PCs, and is there a good guide to performing this replacement on one or both of my PCs?

Jim Starr
Retired from USDA ARS in 2006

Last edited by JLTStarr; 05-19-2014 at 08:26 PM.
Old 05-19-2014, 09:15 PM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Florida
Distribution: CentOS/Fedora/Pop!_OS
Posts: 2,983

Rep: Reputation: 551Reputation: 551Reputation: 551Reputation: 551Reputation: 551Reputation: 551
A good "newbi" distro would be Mint, but you might want to play around with several via LiveDVD/CD/USB to both test hardware support and how comfortable you are with them.

in no particular order here are a few distros Id encourage you to check out with some side notes:

Fedora (roughly 18mo life cycle, close to bleeding edge, what leads RHEL's next kernel for release. massive package manager full of supported applications. Gnome3 shell has had some very nice updates to make installing applications/packages/repositories via the GUI much better. requires 3rd party support for most multi-media, but not hard to find and install)

Mint (a fork of Ubuntu without the malware, runs on a very large amount of hardware and is very similar to winXP/7 in feel)

Debian (the original that ubuntu forked from. if you use stable you have a very long life span in the support cycle, but you can opt to upgrade to unstable (testing now i think it is) for a roughly 18mo life cycle. arguably one of the largest databases for package managers.)

OpenSuSe (yeah im going to catch some flack with this one, but hey their GUI is very heavy and bloated, but rock solid also some of the best GUI network tools ive ever seen/used.)

if you are really gutsy check out

sabyon linux. (extremely BLEEDING EDGE, its their stated goal!!! This is an easier to use fork of Gentoo, a not so newbi friendly distro but unlimited in customization)

note I did not mention Ubuntu as a recommended distro. This is personal as i refuse to allow malware to be installed even for a second intentionally on any system i manage, own, work on, etc... use at own risk of having your personal data sold to the likes of Amazon, e-bay, etc...

do keep in mind that those older hardware, just as if you were to attempt to run win8.1 on them, will struggle with a modern Gnome3, or KDE desktop. you might consider a version of the above distros running Xfice or some other lighter GUI.
Old 05-19-2014, 09:18 PM   #3
LQ Veteran
Registered: Aug 2003
Location: Australia
Distribution: Lots ...
Posts: 21,164

Rep: Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125Reputation: 4125
Originally Posted by JLTStarr View Post
Which version of Linux will work on both PCs
They all will - and this will no doubt start a war with everyone touting their favourite. It's called dual booting, and a quick google of "dual boot linux and windows XP" gave this link which is an old (no surprise with XP) but pretty good guide.
Be careful as a few of the newer Linux distro versions seem to default to using the entire disk - that means you'll lose your XP. I've seen a few posts from new Linux converts from XP being bitten by that.

The video hardware might be a limiting factor on new releases - particularly your laptop. You might need to choose a "light" desktop that doesn't have too high a demand. As I said, others will no doubt offer their favourite.

Last edited by syg00; 05-19-2014 at 09:19 PM.
Old 05-20-2014, 12:58 AM   #4
Registered: Apr 2012
Location: Netherlands
Distribution: Linux Mint 21.1 Vera / Zorin Pro 6.2
Posts: 155

Rep: Reputation: Disabled

Personally my two favourite distributions are Debian and Mint. Both are quick and very stable.
Out of the two Mint is by far the best suited for a person who is new to Linux.

From that I gather is that both your computers are relatively old. So you might want to look for a lightweight desktop like XFCE. Back to old school looks I guess, but it uses far less resources than KDE or Gnome 3.

1 gb of RAM should be sufficient if you don't run many programs at the same time. Biggest resource eater here is my web browser. If you have a lot of tabs open with different sites. It will eat RAM for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

When it comes to Mint, soon Mint 17 will be released. It's an LTS version, which means it will get 5 years of support. Compared to the normal 9 months for the other versions. I'm already running my laptop on the RC version. And it runs like a charm.

When it comes to installing Mint. You start the computer with the live DVD which you can download from the Mint website ( Burn it on DVD and you can boot from there. The system will completely start up from DVD. And it allows you to look around Linux a bit. If you choose to install it, there is a shortcut on the desktop which will allow you to start the installation. It's very straightforward
Old 05-20-2014, 10:57 AM   #5
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: Michigan USA
Distribution: OpenSUSE 13.2 64bit-Gnome on ASUS U52F
Posts: 1,444

Rep: Reputation: 340Reputation: 340Reputation: 340Reputation: 340
Go with Linux Mint, choose a light weight graphical interface like Xfce, Stick with a Long Term Support version (LTS), 32bit.
I say that because regular releases of Linux Mint tent to go end of life pretty quick and you end up with an unsupported version, then to upgrade you have to do a fresh install.
I dont really know if Linux Mint offers you a way to upgrade your release over the internet, which I find very convenient in other distros.

Dell in Laptops include the Broadcon wireless cards these requires you to manually install the drivers for it, so make sure you know what wireless card you have.

You can also install Debian and go with the Xfce or LXDE graphical interface, Gnome or KDE might not work that good.
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 05-20-2014, 03:25 PM   #6
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 22,027

Rep: Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632Reputation: 3632
You can pick almost any of the choices at While your systems are great and you most likely will have to do some extra steps, all of the top 25 ought to run. (you will need swap space and consider low resource window manager) Be sure to test a few. Now is the time to play with and see what you like. You may be interested in some of the above mentioned or go to specialty distros. Things like LPS, puppy, wattos, Slitax, BSD's and even MenuetOS and HaikuOS are worth playing with.

Last edited by jefro; 05-20-2014 at 08:37 PM.
Old 05-20-2014, 03:48 PM   #7
Senior Member
Registered: Nov 2005
Location: ...uncanny valley... infinity\1975; (randomly born:) Milwaukee, WI, US( + travel,) Earth&Mars (I wish,) END BORDER$!◣◢┌∩┐ Fe26-E,e...
Distribution: any GPL that work on freest-HW; has been KDE, CLI, Novena-SBC but open.. &c ;-)
Posts: 4,888
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567Reputation: 1567
Hi. I also suggest trying many, they are for the most part all free (so to speak; some more than others.) There's some links from the second one in my signature that may help, live is fun++ to see what works and if you install one you could still install others even multiboot Linuces? Best wishes and have fun.

Last edited by jamison20000e; 05-20-2014 at 05:12 PM.
Old 05-20-2014, 04:15 PM   #8
LQ Veteran
Registered: Mar 2008
Location: Waaaaay out West Texas
Distribution: antiX 23, MX 23
Posts: 7,162
Blog Entries: 21

Rep: Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485Reputation: 3485

It is what I am posting here on a Acer Aspire ZG5 netbook with 1 gig of ram and a single
core atom cpu. Runs fast. Runs good. Mepis and Debian repositories included.

It should run on both dells replacing xp just fine.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New to Networks. how to connect old dell laptop[slack12] to new x86-64 Fedora desktop darkhorsexpress Linux - Networking 7 10-29-2009 06:30 AM
Getting a Dell A940 USB printer to work on Dell Inspiron 1100 Laptop benrose111488 Linux - Hardware 12 09-24-2007 12:04 PM
LXer: Dell Promises Linux on Desktop and Laptop PCs LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 03-30-2007 08:31 AM
[Panic] Grub fail to dual boot win XP/Fedora Core 3 on Dell Laptop Latitude D610 syseeker Linux - Software 15 04-17-2006 06:32 AM
broken dell laptop. Can I put the chip in a desktop? Motown General 11 02-19-2005 11:31 AM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:48 PM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration