UPDATE 11/23/2020: Am reclaiming Media Library space by deleting old pics. Trying to thin out the Media Library’s pics from posts that get few visits … hopefully it doesn’t ruin your view of the post.

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Part 5

Everything is looking good, so this post will have fewer updates in the coming days. This was just one brand of laptop – $259 so it’s possible to find a laptop at bargain prices during certain times of the year…even Dell had some laptops below $300. Read where ‘School-Time’ was approaching again, and that OEM’s and ‘Big Stores’ were lowering their prices – don’t know that was the reason, but $259 for this Acer Aspire 3 was a great price and I saw many with price drops from just a few months ago. These below $500 laptops probably don’t compare to the $700-1500 ones…in display clarity (and such?), graphics, drives, processors and maybe even memory (this came w/ 8GB – which was more than most bargains), but I am delighted with ‘Ace’ so far – i.e. has done better than I expected, in fact. This post was about trying Linux on a Laptop … caution is certainly advised if you have one of those $700-1500 laptops, especially if you don’t have a lot of hardware and/or software experience. At below $300 for a brand new decent laptop, it won’t hurt much if you screw up…it’s a ‘Test’ computer for Karma’s sake! My Linksys router’s Wi-Fi gave out, slowed me down a tad in my testing, but this cheap D-Link router performs a whole lot better with Wi-Fi than the Linksys ever did (which is why I had hard-wired all my computers to it in the first place). Fact is, after some speed tests this morning; I moved all my computers to Wi-Fi, so problems can turn into better solutions.

Rule of Thumb – if you can’t install Ubuntu on it, then you can’t install any Linux Distro on it.’ If you’re new to Linux or just considering it, go with Ubuntu, Mint or maybe one of Ubuntu’s Flavors (tho Ubuntu works when nothing else will!). I was a little disappointed that MX Linux wouldn’t work on this new laptop – had intended to install it as the primary OS (may try again when they update to a newer version); however, with any Linux Distro, other than Ubuntu, you just never know. Just a few years ago, Ubuntu was the only tested Distro that worked on all 4 of my computers (some were different than ones now), besides Puppy Linux. Mint only worked on a couple – Zorin, Elementary and some others didn’t work on any. Don’t listen to the LinuxJihadists … they are as bad as the MacJihadists. Don’t believe anyone who tells you ‘Linux is better than Windows 10’ – they either don’t know what they are talking about or they are lying to you or both of those. Linux has never been able to even master the basic scroll mouse (not even Ubuntu, yet). I like testing OSes … Microsoft has taken advantage of me in the past, but has corrected the problems I have had with them (one may happen again when I try to put 2007 Home/Student Office on the laptop – I just uninstalled a license from old Dell computer, and my Office version allows it to be installed on 3 computers…did same thing after building ‘Rose’ and they activated it quickly, so they have improved on that point). I also want a backup plan to WIN10 – in case they want to start charging an OS ‘service fee’ or change WIN10 too much or whatever…I want a backup plan, and Linux is that to me. Linux has come a long way, but it is certainly not “better” than Windows 10. Heck, all the Linux Distros (Android not included) combined can’t find more users than Chrome OS (Chromebook), so there are many reason why Linux stays at the 1-2% area of total Desktop/Laptop users.

Will not do a ‘Page’ of this in my WP Page section, but will probably do an occasional update, especially in a few weeks – to report on how Mint is doing on my new Acer laptop, ‘Ace’. Get a bargain priced laptop and give Linux a try!

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Part 4

Living’ post continues … Just finished backing up the WIN10 installation earlier, and then tested that image by restoring full system back – restored perfectly, and shows it’s Activated. Always a good idea to backup your Windows installation before trying to install a Linux Distro on it, and now I’m ready to try installing Mint as a separate installation, to see if it will work that way w/o having to install it as a dual-boot. If things go wrong, or I want to do a reinstall of Mint later, I’ll have that backup image to fall back on. On a Desktop PC, it’s a lot easier to swap and/or disconnect drives to use different OSes than Laptops are – so far anyway. I have 3 fulltime OSes for the ‘Rose’ computer – WIN10, Mint and MX Linux – all on SSD’s that I can swap out in a SATA Hot-Swap drive tray, i.e. they never see each other…hard to do with a Laptop if you want WIN10 on it (WIN10 checks SATA on MB and doesn’t like USB docks or even eSATA, as an OS).

OK … looks like all has gone well with the Mint 19.1 installation. In a Desktop PC installation, I remove or disconnect all drives other than the one I’m installing to – not as easy to do with a laptop, and I had a difficult time in the choice of drive & partition section. Normally, on a PC, I just select Install (usually first selection choice), but today I had to select “Something Else” (first option was Install Alongside Windows – which I’m trying to avoid), and that always gives me difficulty. Lots of ‘tInKeRiNg’ hoping to get it right, then forgetting how I did it – may do a test w/ pics later, since Laptops may need such). Looks like Mint has included Windows in its boot manager…let me do some tests.

OK…Acer BIOS and Boot Menu have trouble identifying Mint…has changed 3 times during 4 reboots, but mostly see’s Linux as another “Windows Boot Manager” along with another Windows Boot Manager that has a long number in parentheses next to it. Acer Boot Menu see’s Mint as “ubuntu” sometimes, so far. Mint’s GNU GRUB (a boot manager) see’s Linux Mint and Windows Boot Manager (boots to WIN10 if selected), and you can enter setup from there.

Unplugging Mint’s “StarTech USB 3.0 to 2.5 Hard Drive Adapter Cable” (after a shutdown) leads back to WIN10 – if selected in Boot Menu or if Drive Boot Option is switched in BIOS. May be able to avoid doing a ‘Mint Alongside Windows’ installation, if this keeps up; however, I’ll give it a couple-to-three weeks before deciding. Plug cable back in and Mint’s GNU GRUB is back (if still 1rst boot option in BIOS). No problems – *so far* – with Mint messing with the WIN10’s Master Boot Record (MBR), which was a main reason for this cable testing. Looking great!

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Part 3

6/20/19: ‘Ace’ and I have gone round and round … blood everywhere, and most of it is probably mine!  😉 Laptops can be tough, especially if they form a ‘Wi-Fi Mob’ to help them. Still not sure what happened to that Linksys router – other than I noticed the Tablet couldn’t send email soon after I turned it on. Anyway, I took it out; cleaned and put vacuum-hose to it…the D-Link was working, but very slow with all computers except the Tablet. Hooked everything back up and pressed the reset button hidden in a small hole on the bottom. Had to use the setup CD is came with, and that apparently fixed it…no wonder most people don’t want to mess with their computer’s hardware or software! Laptop hasn’t been as difficult to work with as I had been imagining, but probably more difficult to work on the hardware than in a Desktop PC. Changing the HDD and SSD was simple, but changing a MB must be a pain. Well, it’s still Thursday, and I fixed the router (temporarily at least – fingers crossed!), then decided to go ahead and swap that 1000GB 2 ½” HDD out for the new spare 240GB SSD (paid like $25 w/ free shipping a month or two ago). That HDD is small in size, but I could feel the vibrations…not silent like SSD, so it will become a great little test, data and/or backups drive – may see how clean Gparted can get it. With router working again, I went ahead and installed a clean copy of version 1903 WIN10 on it – it automatically Activated since this Laptop already had a digitally recorded WIN10 on it…at 22GB’s compared to 30.4GB (with only version 1803 on it) Acer had installed on it. I’ll partition the 240GB SSD tomorrow, install my 3rd License of Microsoft 2007 Student/Office, and then make an image backup of it for later, if needed. Maybe try a couple of more MX Linux tests on it, because I had really wanted MX on this Laptop. Past my bedtime, so will wait until tomorrow to post this…

6/21/19: Router’s wireless working fine, after some early problems…not sure, but maybe updates did something to the router…just don’t know!?! Anyway, everything in Device Manager is now fine and Wi-Fi on all computers. Am using MX on another computer right now, having MX Live USB Maker fix up that MX ISO to see if it’ll work better on Laptop…tic toc tic…nope, no difference – mouse/touchpad/keyboard not working under default ‘Live’ boot, so will see what option 1 does – booted w/o text input for language, time zone, etc and right into desktop, but still no mouse/touchpad/keyboard. Have to hit shutdown on laptop to get out, so looks like MX is missing drivers, at least. May try again in a few months to see if their updates fix it…can’t get it to install on laptop, so they will need an updated ISO (can’t find earlier versions either).

Went to install Microsoft 2007 Home/Office/Student this morning, then remembered this laptop doesn’t have DVD player…guess I might try an external one!? There is supposedly some software that converts such to USB, but I am wary of most apps and/or software.

May try to install Mint today, on a separate SSD, since I am waiting for “Tina” Mint to come out. Had bought a StarTech USB 3.0 to 2.5″ SATA III Hard Drive Adapter Cable with UASP (see pic at end of Part 1) so will get to test it today. Works for 2 ½” SATA HDD’s and SDD’s only, so may try that 1000 GB HDD that came with this laptop.

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Part 2

The Living post continues … may move a copy to the Page section, at some point. Swapped the 1T 2 ½” HDD that came w/ ‘Ace’ (Acer Aspire’s new name) for a SSD yesterday, then discovered that MX Linux was having problems w/ new laptop (see Part 1 below) – Mint and Ubuntu’s ‘Live’ versions both worked fine. Rule of Thumb – if you can’t install Ubuntu on it, then you can’t install any Linux Distro on it. Today, I removed the SSD and put back the 2 ½” HDD back in. Laptop documentation didn’t say what the Boot Menu key was, so I ran a search and found “Booting to the Boot Menu and BIOS” – found “Acer Aspire v3, v5, v7 F12 (“F12 Boot Menu” must be enabled in BIOS)” so I could use external drives and/or USB for Linux installations and boot from them (trying to avoid Grub & Boot managers getting crossed) since it is a pain to disconnect the main drive each time, and Linux can work fine on external drives. Linux usually goes ahead and does a dual-boot w/ Windows anyway, so will have to wait ‘n see. Hate to waste 1000 GB’s even if WIN 10 is on it, so may end up dual-booting if F12 and Boot Menu doesn’t work. Probably just switch out the 1000 GB drive for a spare 240 GB SSD, if dual-booting is going to be needed. Linux Mint (probably) and WIN10 can work together on 240 GB, and I’ll use that big drive for data and backups. Am in the process of doing a clean install now, Windows Activated itself, and is now going through updating. Rain is slowing all downloads down – Hughes.net satellite goes in and out with rain and clouds. Acer’s WIN10 version was 1803 and the clean install got it to latest version, 1903, without requiring a huge download (I updated my installation USB about a month ago).

Will finish tweaking WIN10 today (if it ever stops raining), and start planning on how to install Linux and which Distro (probably Mint unless I can get MX to work better). SH#T!!

My Wi-Fi had stopped working … naturally, must be the new laptop, huh. It was out when I turned my Tablet on…and that Tablet never has Wi-Fi problems. Both are showing other Wi-Fi connections available, from neighborhood. OK … back again, and have been running the laptop thru a complete OEM system recovery – may take “several hours” to finish, and I am thinking about taking this laptop back to Walmart tomorrow. However, another couple tests later, and I find the Wi-Fi on main computer isn’t working with the wireless USB adapter I just plugged in. Well, maybe the Wi-Fi on the router stopped working…usually direct wired between router and computers, except for that Tablet…and now the laptop. Out to a storage shed, and drag out two older routers. Finally discovered the security code on one, but main computer said it was a security risk (really old). D-Link gave me problems before, but its Wi-Fi is working, for now anyway.

Well, am going to close testing for today – wasted day. Looks like laptop was not the problem, and all today’s tests are another example of Newbie Testing Nightmares. I may need another router – have to have Wi-Fi for a laptop, so D-Link might do for awhile, I hope.

Oh, will also add a few pics of my desk area – ‘Ace’ along w/ a 22”, 27” and 32” displays (that 32” in the back is shared by two older computers, and it’s actually a TV (set at 1366 x 768 ??). Will be at end of Part 1. Taking pics is how I found Wi-Fi not working…

 

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Part 1

Waiting on a new laptop I bought yesterday, and suspect that this post might end up being “edited and updated” a lot so have decided to make it a Living post, AKA living document or evergreen document or dynamic document. Last time I owned a laptop was before I had built any desktop computers, and my only hardware experience was upgrading some memory, a HDD, and adding a CD-ROM (before DVD-ROM). Bought it from some company with a warehouse in California, and the main company built laptops for many American OEM’s – where the main headquarters and manufacturing took place I don’t recall, nor do I remember their name, but seems it may have started with an ‘H’ (maybe?). It was an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM), but I didn’t recognize any of the ODM names I recently looked over, and you could buy them online from their California warehouse at a price far below any other laptops at that time…Windows 95 had just come out, so it must’ve been close to 1995, since it came with WIN 75. I may have replaced a hard drive and/or battery in it – it didn’t last very long in the steamy remote dusty environment I was living in at the time, and the dust eventually choked it to death…so to speak of opening the entire laptop up in order to see if I could fix it. Seems the display was doing a lot of flickering, and the laptop seemed warmer than in the past. The insides were basically packed in dust (heavily packed, as I recall – ooops!). Could never get the thing entirely put back together, i.e. I had also took apart the display, and it never went back on right.

I was fearless when working with software back in those days, but mostly *FEARFUL* when it came to working on hardware. Dust and humidity were certainly a problem, but lightning strikes were as bad. I had lived in a 6’ x 12’ ‘shed’ I had built – screen over openings, and plywood ‘awnings’ on all sides so I could close up in the hard rains and cold season, and when I left for work. Before lightning would strike nearby, I would hear a ‘buzzzin–crackling’ sound, quickly followed by a BOOM! Couple of pine trees and my cooking area (tarp held up by metal pole, over small table and Coleman 2-burner) were struck at different times. I owned the property and was just waiting for more money so a house could be built. A few years later, I had the shell of a 620 sq. foot house on stilts up – a shell was basically framing, roof, and siding finished. Probably 1992, I bought my first computer, and a lightning strike knocked out the MB a year later. That Dell ended up getting struck twice more. First strike hit the phone line as it ran near a just struck tree, and then traveled over 200’ to the outside phone box, then into the computer. Next two strikes were both on the roof, where they looked for a way to ground – which was always close to the phone box!?! Insurance paid to fix the computer twice – the 3rd strike paid for the new laptop. Did manage to get that Dell working again, some years later, and gave it to a couple of Cuban boys who had just come to America – they loved it!

OK…26 hours after ordering my laptop it has arrived by FedEx – fastest Walmart has ever shipped anything to me! This might be a good time of the year to buy a Laptop for Linux since I saw some really good deals yesterday, and I have been looking for 3 months or so. Walmart was especially low on their prices, IMHO. Laptop is an Acer Aspire 3, 15.6″ Full HD, AMD A9-9420, 8GB DDR4, 1TB HDD, Windows 10 Home, A315-21-93EY for $277.13 from Walmart – that includes free shipping and taxes. See post – CloudReady OS and Laptop shopping for more info. Have a couple of quick tests to run: 1) want to see if I can swap 1T 2 ½” HDD for a spare 120GB SSD I have. 2) Want to test MX Linux, Mint and Ubuntu on it – i.e. ‘Live’ USB versions I have set up already.

From #1 above: Swapped that 1TB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive out with 120GB SSD with no problems – will post some pics of how to do it soon. Windows 10 Home is on that 1T HDD, and I’ll set that up later…probably use mainly as a data and backup drive.

BOTTOM of Laptop:

Remove red-highlighted area cover…1 screw and pry up.

Pry marked outside area up…notice red-highlighted SATA connect cable…

HDD lifted out…remove 4 screws from marked two sides…note “Top” area SATA connection…there is a rubbery ‘Edged-Brace’ being removed here – it helps to hold HDD or SSD in snugly. Then remove SATA cable and connect to new SSD, also adding the rubbery ‘Edged-Brace’ back on. Close’er back up – great to have upgrade ability, and there is a М.2 2280 NVMe PCIe slot somewhere, but I haven’t looked for it or read about it yet.

 

From #2 above: MX Linux is probably not going to work w/ this laptop – slow and has mouse/touchpad/keyboard problems. Mint and Ubuntu both worked like ‘Champs’ on the ‘Live’ USB’s – fast and recognized everything – am not use to a touchpad, so put in an old wireless mouse/keyboard combo I use on an old test computer…tested that keyboard, but will use laptop keyboard…mouse made it easier to move around until I get use to touchpad…Mint and Ubuntu both handled the router w/ no problems (just wanted security code).

Monitors

‘Rose’ on left bottom, then Dell and main Antec right bottom…’Ace’ on left side of desk.

4 Computer

Shot of 4 displays going…

Monitor 2

SATA 2 1/2″ HDD or SSD to USB cable…

Adapter SSD