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Richard85
December 16th, 2010, 02:43 AM
So I finally decided enough was enough. Everytime I go home my dad is bugging me about defragging the computer, or that his computer is running slow, or asking me to do routine computer stuff that totally blows his mind. On top of that, when I went home for Thanksgiving, he asked me "what anti-virus do you use? My subscription is about to run out and I need to buy a new one." That was the straw the broke the camel's back.

And guess what else, they still use AOL for internet/email. My girlfriend constantly makes fun of me saying that my parents are the only people in the world still using AOL.

Now, I'm finally taking action but I would like to get advice from anyone who's done a similar thing with family members.

First things first. I've set up a gmail account for my parents and I'm going to link up their AOL account with the gmail and slowly ween them off of AOL.

Second. I'm going to get them used to using a browser. They've only ever used AOL since 1995. Any suggestions ? I think I'm going to get them to use Google Chrome. They know the Google name and they trust it. My mom finally knows how to 'google' things on the internet.

Third. I think I'm going to get them to use Mozilla Thunderbird for email. I think the interface is similar enough to AOL so that they won't be disoriented.

Fourth. I'm going to make sure that they aren't using any special programs. The only use the computer for photos aside from word processing and the internet (to the best of my knowledge). They own a Panasonic Lumix camera and I need to make sure they can connect it to Ubuntu and download all their photos.

Fifth. Back up. Wipe Windows. Install Ubuntu.

Any suggestions would be nice. Or if you have a similar story, by all means I'd like to hear it!

pricetech
December 16th, 2010, 03:08 AM
You asked for input, here's mine; Leave it alone.

Recommend a good, free antivirus and maybe even install it for them.

If you don't want to work on the computer, find a way to explain that to them. Something like "gee mom and dad, I came to see you, not to fix the computer".

They're not the only ones using AOL, but they're probably in the minority. If that's what they're used to though, and it works for them.......

You'll probably end up with a lot more issues to support than what you have already, if for no other reason than the learning curve. If it's bothersome now, it will get worse if everything doesn't work perfectly AND the way they expect it to.

Just one man's opinion.

Spr0k3t
December 16th, 2010, 03:22 AM
First off, thank you for moving them off of AOLmail... browser wise, you can't go wrong with anything that isn't IE. Since the AOL browser is just a shell frame for IE rendering, it's good to move them off that one as well.

However, I would be careful what you ask for moving them away from Windows. It could be a match made in heaven, it could be a nightmare just waiting to happen.

This is what I would do... start with installing WUBI making it so the default system is WindowsXP... having a backup operating system on their computer is always a good thing to do. Not to mention it helps them get used to the idea of using something different. If you move them little by little to open-source applications, eventually everything will just fall in to place... but don't expect it to happen cold turkey.

What I would do, give them a LiveCD and call it "Emergency Boot". If they get a problem with their computer system so heinous to deal with, tell them to use the LiveCD until you (or another person) can get them back up and running with Windows. I've found giving out these OS on a CD tend to help potential users ease in to Linux a lot easier. It fills that need of "if they need to get online, they'll use it". What's interesting though, if you make them a few copies... tell them to give them out to friends who have major problems with their computers as well... they will build their own support network without knowing it. When you have multiple people eventually learning the same thing at the same speed, these tend to give a solid foundation of learning.

Nevertheless... don't get rid of xp on that computer... leave it there for them to use until they have a comfortable feel with other systems.

akand074
December 16th, 2010, 03:28 AM
You asked for input, here's mine; Leave it alone.

Recommend a good, free antivirus and maybe even install it for them.

If you don't want to work on the computer, find a way to explain that to them. Something like "gee mom and dad, I came to see you, not to fix the computer".

They're not the only ones using AOL, but they're probably in the minority. If that's what they're used to though, and it works for them.......

You'll probably end up with a lot more issues to support than what you have already, if for no other reason than the learning curve. If it's bothersome now, it will get worse if everything doesn't work perfectly AND the way they expect it to.

Just one man's opinion.

Agreed. But you could always bring up the option to see what they think, but to me they wouldn't strike me as the type to embrace change if they have been using the same thing since 1995. If they are willing to give it a try, you can set up a a dual-boot so if they decide they don't want it then you can always get rid of it and leave them back with Windows.

trinitydan
December 16th, 2010, 03:28 AM
Ubuntu is very user friendly. I think you should go for it. I set my mom up with Ubuntu 10.10 on her laptop and she loves it. She is probably about equally as tech savvy as your mom it sounds like. She just learned how to google things on the internet as well, but even for her basic needs, Ubuntu just works better. Especially since her computer came with Vista which is just an atrocious OS. I don't think you will have to spend all your time doing IT work for your parents after this, and even if you do have to, tuning up their Ubuntu install sounds a lot more fun than antivirus installations and constantly de-fragging windows anyway.

sandyd
December 16th, 2010, 03:49 AM
make sure you disable the update manager.
That is usually where the problems begin on a system thats healthy....

wilee-nilee
December 16th, 2010, 04:00 AM
If you don't set boundaries you have these problems. If you look at the rest of your relationship with the parental units it is probably a two way street. In that it is a usual codependency, but hey don't worry the rest of are doing this in all of our relationships as well.

I doubt cutting them off from windows is going to get far, get them W7 and setup limited accounts and dual boot them for the experience.

Really no matter what you do I doubt much will change. I gave up trying to help the people who just want a magic box.

sydbat
December 16th, 2010, 04:11 AM
You asked for input, here's mine; Leave it alone.

Recommend a good, free antivirus and maybe even install it for them.

If you don't want to work on the computer, find a way to explain that to them. Something like "gee mom and dad, I came to see you, not to fix the computer".

They're not the only ones using AOL, but they're probably in the minority. If that's what they're used to though, and it works for them.......

You'll probably end up with a lot more issues to support than what you have already, if for no other reason than the learning curve. If it's bothersome now, it will get worse if everything doesn't work perfectly AND the way they expect it to.

Just one man's opinion.Make that "at least two men's opinion".

/thread

linux18
December 16th, 2010, 04:15 AM
I set both of my parents up with lubuntu 10.04 (Lubuntu > ubuntu IMO) installations,as well as a dozen people at my college, all dual boot of course. As far as I know, none of them have even booted windows since I installed linux. I use a three phase strategy:

Phase 1: Observation
What programs do they use on their computer? -no required special proprietary application
What assessories/printers do they use? -hopefully fully supported
What is the computer hardware? -does it boot a live cd/usb


Phase 2: Action
Once you have gathered the answers to phase 1, introduce them to an 'alternative' OS, show them a brief tourial of a live cd (or even better a live usb, it's faster). Very important! don't be overly enthusiastic and actually under-promise the results of lubuntu (It "only" browses the web, views pictures, and writes documents) Inform them that the live usb deletes everything on shutdown and have them use the live usb "as needed" for a week or so. Then tell them that they can have persistent changes with dual booting, if they agree, go for the dual boot install (make a back up first!)


Phase 3: Maintainence
Immediately after installation, grab the ubuntu-restricted-extras package (for flash, java, mp3, etc) and update the system (usually requires a reboot, most first time upgrades are kernel upgrades) once everything is upgraded, stable, and working, your done. the next few weeks may be riddled with lubuntu based questions, but they will subside and you'll know you've succeeded. A recommendation is to keep the root password to yourself and have the computer log in automatically that way nothing could possibly happen that couldn't be fixed with 'rm -r $HOME/.config' which could be aliased to fixme in the bashrc


Good Luck

Khakilang
December 16th, 2010, 04:21 AM
Well my parent is no longer around so I don't have the experience as yours so I can't really know how to give advice but I manage to switch my daughter to Ubuntu by letting her play around with my computer. I let her know what Ubuntu can do and she totally convince. If you have a laptop maybe you can do the same.

potat
December 16th, 2010, 04:37 AM
make sure you disable the update manager.
That is usually where the problems begin on a system thats healthy....

"Settings" in the Update Manager will let you disable normal updates without disabling "important security updates". I recommend it. And you can always do the full updates when you visit so you can solve any issues that might arise.

And like trinitydan said, how can it be worse than defragmenting and *shudder* updating antivirus software?

kidsodateless
December 16th, 2010, 05:08 AM
just give them a full support

goodluck!.

sdowney717
December 16th, 2010, 07:16 AM
Avast is free
Ask them if you can put Linux on as a dual boot.
Actually this is best as they can switch back and forth.
I agree windows is such a pain with all the malware.

Megaptera
December 16th, 2010, 07:46 AM
So I finally decided enough was enough. Everytime I go home my dad is bugging me about defragging the computer, or that his computer is running slow, or asking me to do routine computer stuff

Any suggestions would be nice. Or if you have a similar story, by all means I'd like to hear it!

Change your dad to my father-in-law/mum-in-law in my case & it reads the same. They were always struggling with XP and my bro'-in-law who knows about these things ;) was always messing around fixing it ;).

They surf very bland sites, a bit of email and photo storage (no editing)I explained about Ubuntu (free & legal was their worry) and from their point of view maintenance free:
- no defrag
- no security suite
- no risk of virus

I wiped XP & installed 10.10 in default settings three months ago and they love it!
No trouble with top panel, soon adapted to Firefox (I put them on WOT too as red/green lights nice & easy to choose sites to avoid) and they cannot believe how fast it loads & runs!
I run update when I visit (they love not having to re-boot after updates) so all in all it worked for them!!

My bro' in law can't mess with the set-up as he's even less knowledgeable about Ubuntu than he is with XP/Vista but he too is impressed with speed & stability and ease of use.

As I said, it works for them ... I didn't impose it, I suggested it and had they not liked it I'd quite happily have put XP back for them 'cos it's all about choice and what's best for the user (sermon over!!)

:o

dmizer
December 16th, 2010, 08:17 AM
I switched my parents to Ubuntu because (at the time) it was the only way I could provide secure remote support. It was either switch them to Linux, or they would have to find a local pay-for-it support outlet.

For at least 2 years, it was a fight every single step of the way (still is occasionally). Be prepared to constantly hear the "In Windows, this was so much easier". Be prepared to google for days after your parents fail to consult you before buying a new printer or other peripheral hardware. They will say, "Yes, I know you told us to talk to you but we didn't want to bother you."

No matter how much you think your parents don't need any special proprietary Windows only software, they will need it at some point or another. At that point, you'll have to provide a satisfactory solution.

Currently, if the computer has problems, your parents probably blame Windows for the fault. But once you switch them to Linux, any time the computer has a problem, you personally will be blamed because it's your fault for changing them to Linux.

In my experience, you will not have less "support requests" by switching them to Linux, and at the beginning, you will have many many more.

In my case, there was no other real alternative and after several long discussions and realistic explanations of the limits of Linux, we reached a unanimous agreement to make the change. If I had to do it all over again, I would have helped them to find a reputable and reasonable support shop for Windows.

johntaylor1887
December 16th, 2010, 09:17 AM
You asked for input, here's mine; Leave it alone.


If everyone thought like you, there would probably be a few million less linux users.

I see nothing wrong with setting up a dual boot and showing them the basics of ubuntu. You may be surprised.

I hate it when I see linux users who don't want to talk about linux, or share it with anyone, as if they are happy being a secret society. This attitude helps no one.

Paqman
December 16th, 2010, 09:21 AM
You haven't actually mentioned what your parents think of the idea of switching to Ubuntu, Richard85. For it to work, you'd need to have them on board. People tend to resist change that's forced upon them, especially if it's a change they don't really understand.

rvchari
December 16th, 2010, 09:36 AM
honestly speaking, by now you must be confused on what decision you should take. just as someone has posted, its one man's opinion. so u ll have lots of one man's opinion from which you can decide.

a fool proof way will be to keep XP and install ubuntu (use grub for dual boot and keep windows XP as default till they get used to ubuntu)

dont worry abt ur cam, ubuntu supports most of the devices off the box and u wont face any prob.

finally we can say that more and more people wont like ubuntu on first time use. but as they keep using, m sure they ll never stop using it and ur parents mite some day ask u to simply wipe off xp !!!

happy ubuntu...ing !!!

julio_cortez
December 16th, 2010, 09:52 AM
I see nothing wrong with setting up a dual boot and showing them the basics of ubuntu. You may be surprised.
I agree that having a dual boot is good (my Windows XP crashed a few days ago and refused to boot, and I had it fixed easily by booting into Ubuntu and moving the 5 infamous files (sam, system, security, default, software) from a working snapshot back where they belonged.
Where, I removed it last week to make space for Mint anyway, but I'll probably have it back soon as I'm kind of nostalgic (and OS-o-holic, probably) :P

But, honestly, he didn't talk about dual boot:

Fifth. Back up. Wipe Windows. Install Ubuntu.

In my opinion, wiping Windows and installing Ubuntu only will be a little exxagerated.
The best thing would be to let them see Ubuntu and see if they feel comfortable with, only then he should try installing Ubuntu (in dual boot).

Avoid imposing one's choice to other people is the key in this case.

amsterdamharu
December 16th, 2010, 10:02 AM
It depends on the size of their harddisk and how much stuff is on. If it can have both windows and linux I'd go for that.

Here is my layout that I use for myself and my dad or anyone if they ever ask for technical help:



primary windows partition for XP about 20GB win 7 and vista maybe 30
primary partition for tinycore Linux with a restore script for partition 1 dd the disk after they are happy with it but don't install too much because you'd have to update or re install it after restore anyway. about 10 to 15 GB depends how much you install on partition 1
primary partition for ubutnu about 10GB
extended split in 2 for home and D drive for windows

When (not if) Windows breaks, gets slow or has a virus you can choose tinycore restore from boot menu that will use dd and zip to restore the system. Ghost is good too but you have to pay for it. I currently have my 2nd partition as fat32 and have a dos image that starts using memdisk but this doesn't work on newer systems.

When (not if) Ubuntu breaks you can boot in tinycore and have them run a script that will restore Ubuntu. You can back up the ubuntu system with tar.

And if it boots from usb make a bootable tinycore usb that has a backup of the mbr and partition tables. When the system is unbootable you can boot with that and have it restore the mbr and partition tables.

Sounds like a lot of trouble but if they get stuck they can always restore the system by them selves. I had this setup for my dad and he never needed help much. If something didn't work anymore he would just restore the lot. He only used the computer to browse and play bridge so after I made sure everything worked the way he wanted it I backed it up.

One more important thing is that the system is actually the least important part. Ubuntu is free, Windows costs some money but your pictures, documents and videos are priceless. Please remember that before you start resizing partitions to make room for Ubuntu.

Sean Moran
December 16th, 2010, 11:02 AM
I did my Mum's laptop a few days ago, at long last. The usual scenario - install Startup Manager to make it easy to set WinXP as default boot and leave her to it. She hasn't even booted into Ubuntu once yet, but it's there for when she'll be needing to open up Brasero to copy all her Christmas photos to DVD in a couple of weeks.

One nice part of the installation was that it recognised all her Documents (and bookmarks apparently - I never checked it out myself), and migrated the lot across from WinXP. That's the first time I've ever had the chance to see how that part of the install works (it doesn't seem to bother migrating from Ubuntu to Ubuntu, but that's no problem. I feel a lot less anxiety doing things that precious myself.)

Just a word of caution regarding partitioning too. I helped a bloke out last December with an Ubuntu install, and did a bit of resizing of partitions (using gParted), and his darned Xp wouldn't boot, (because I'd changed the partitions in ways that Windows found offensive). I can't remember how I fixed it after all this time, but I did eventually get his XP running again, and chose a logical, rather than primary partition for the linux root partition.

Older and wiser now, I noticed that my Mum's XP was across two primary partitions, (one for C: and one for the D: RECOVERY drive - 8.5 Gb), so rather than try to muck around with the status quo, I installed Easeus partition manager and just downsized primary C:, moved primary D: back to fill the gap, and created logical partitions in the new free gigabytes for both the linux root and linux swap.

WinXP never even noticed the difference. which was a relief, because I'd have hated for her to have to watch me sit there for three more hours reinstalling XP, configuriong her ADSL and restoring all her stuff back from the half-dozen USB drives I'd had to use to back up all her data.

Richard85
December 16th, 2010, 12:03 PM
I'm glad I posted this before taking too much action. Everyone's input has been a good help.

I know I've heard my dad complaining about paying for AOL and cable internet so I don't think it will be too hard to switch them off of AOL and have them use Google Chrome and Gmail. And like I said in the original post, I'll probably have them use Thunderbird for email.
I'll just take it slow with them.

My laptop is loaded with Ubuntu. So I'll take it home with me next time and show them.

On another note, I finally convinced my best friend to switch to Ubuntu and he's loving it. I'd always suggested it to him here and there. Last time I was at his house (we live a couple of hours away from each other, so I don't see him too often now) I asked him 'what do you use windows for? are you doing anything specific to windows?'
So he called me up last week to tell me that his laptop quit working, and that his mom gave him her old laptop. Then he downloaded Ubuntu and put it on himself! He's really impressed with it.
He's only the second person I've converted to Ubuntu (I'm probably not the best salesperson) but it feels like a bit of a personal milestone!

ronnielsen1
December 16th, 2010, 01:19 PM
I've never had someone complain on a box that I've set up for them. If you install flash and java and all of the other goodies that they're likely to use, I doubt they would have much trouble adapting to an Ubuntu box

P1C0
December 16th, 2010, 02:16 PM
My dad has almost zero computer skills, thus making him dangerous for what he can do to an OS if privileged.

I used to have him boot into Windows and run Firefox and Thunderbird under a sandbox. These were almost the only applications he needed.

It worked good, but it worked even better when I set a new user account for him with minimum privileges under Lucid.
I installed all the flash/Java goodies as mentioned above, set up his mail account in evolution and placed a shortcut icon for it in desktop.

For 3-4 weeks now he hasn't bothered me at all, he logins with his password, checks his mail, views some attachments, does a bit of browsing and that's it.

cra1g321
December 16th, 2010, 08:55 PM
i would look at the current software they use and ensure that theres a linux version or a alternative for linux.

Check that devices (,printers,scanners etc) are compatible and work fine.

Also check everything works by using the livecd, check that wifi, sound and all the usual stuff works fine.

then just do a backup of any important files from windows, then wipe tht HDD clean and get ubuntu on it :)

Update everything, remove unnecessary software, make sure codecs and required software is installed and working.
Also check how the system updates, might be a good idea to set it to automatically update, or to not update until the next time your at the pc.

If your using firefox or chrome as the main web browser then i strongly recommend installing Adblock Plus, stop dodgy ads and scams from showing up while their on the internet.


*one possible idea would be to start them off on dual-boot, and try get them used to using ubuntu and show them for example that AOL is now chrome etc
Then once their comfortable with using ubuntu more, you could remove windows all together and get them using ubuntu all the time.

nothingspecial
December 16th, 2010, 09:51 PM
Easy,

Do you want me to fix your computer everytime something goes wrong?

Yes

install ubuntu

No

Leave them to it.

My mother and father haven`t spoken for over 30 years. My father said yes, my mother said no.

My Dad get`s free it support.

unknownPoster
December 16th, 2010, 11:38 PM
Unless you own the computer, it's not your decision to make. Even if you are given free reign to perform the support tasks as you see fit, you should inform your parents of the decisions you are making, and check to ensure that they approve.

pricetech
December 17th, 2010, 01:01 AM
I hate it when I see linux users who don't want to talk about linux, or share it with anyone, as if they are happy being a secret society. This attitude helps no one.

Secret Society ?? Hardly my vision. You misinterpreted what I said.

I'm not interested in an argument though.

Hexley
December 17th, 2010, 01:08 AM
I switched my parents to Ubuntu and also my sister, by the simple reason that I refuse to mentain a windows machine.

Richard85
December 27th, 2010, 07:33 PM
Well, I've got them on board to switch from AOL to Gmail and start using the Google Chrome browser.
I told my dad that Gmail is Google's email service and its free and he was thought that was cool. I showed him my account and the labels/filters I have set up and he likes that feature alot.

So the wheels are in motion!

Megaptera
December 27th, 2010, 07:59 PM
Thanks for the update. I had a moment of worry with my in-laws (see #14 above)this week.
When I set them up with Ubuntu their Lexmarks b&w basic printer was easy to set up. This week they phoned to ask me to set up their new Epson 3 in 1 printer, copier & scanner!! Why they need such a creature is beyond me but never mind ...
I was worried 'bout this 'cos I've never set up this sort of thing in Ubuntu but it was a cae of downloading drivers (2 parts) and a generic linux scanner app. Phew !!! It all worked first time!!

trinitydan
December 27th, 2010, 08:08 PM
Thanks for the update. I had a moment of worry with my in-laws (see #14 above)this week.
When I set them up with Ubuntu their Lexmarks b&w basic printer was easy to set up. This week they phoned to ask me to set up their new Epson 3 in 1 printer, copier & scanner!! Why they need such a creature is beyond me but never mind ...
I was worried 'bout this 'cos I've never set up this sort of thing in Ubuntu but it was a cae of downloading drivers (2 parts) and a generic linux scanner app. Phew !!! It all worked first time!!
Ahh I hope I am so lucky! I have a epson printer/scanner/copier install coming up for my mom. But then, she is so much happier with Ubuntu than Vista I doubt she would even take issue with it if we had to find her a different printer. Coming from Vista to Ubuntu, my mom will probably use linux for life. :D

Megaptera
December 28th, 2010, 08:27 AM
Ahh I hope I am so lucky! I have a epson printer/scanner/copier install coming up for my mom. But then, she is so much happier with Ubuntu than Vista I doubt she would even take issue with it if we had to find her a different printer. Coming from Vista to Ubuntu, my mom will probably use linux for life. :D

I'm sure it'll go OK ... :D

richardpd
December 28th, 2010, 12:55 PM
Hi Richard85

I have a similar issue with my parents' computer as yours!
It is an EON make (I forget the model) running Vista and it runs so slowly despite the fact Dad mainly uses it for browsing /online uses. Other than MS Office he has barely any other programs on it.

So you have set me thinking about doing a Wubi install of Ubuntu10.04 for a dual booting with Vista for them. I think Dad could cope with that?! This is the set up I have been using since I started with Ubuntu (see my post in Introduce yourself forum section). I still select Ubuntu o/s at bootup & I don't think Dad would like that too much but I suspect I can change the boot order & make it boot directly into Ubuntu (?). I know Dad would like a better performing computer though he is reluctant to buy a new one (having not had a great experience with this one-unfortunately my brother in law recommended it to him mainly as it is a cheaper model-you get what you pay for!).

I don't know if I will try Ubuntu for Dad. Time will tell! I am enjoying using it though & getting to know it! I look forward to hearing how you get on with your parents Ubuntu install.....

----------------------------------------------------------------
Ubuntu-Uwhatu

kevdog
December 28th, 2010, 04:29 PM
Slightly off topic but relevant to discussion --

I had to reinstall WinXP on my parents computer due to a corrupt networking stack a few months ago. (Actually finding XP for sale out in the wild is very difficult). None the less after installing it, they asked where the MS Office Programs were (as they were present in the old installation). I asked them if they had the install disks, and they said they didn't. I remember looking at the price of a new MSOffice Suite and said -- forget that!!

Anyway I installed OpenOffice (free!!) on their computer and showed them how to use it as an alternative. Still to this day I get questions about why things are different and why things don't function the same as in Excel, etc.

With just a taste of switching them to a Windows alternative, I can't imagine actually changing their entire OS to Ubuntu or anything else other than Windows. Easiest for most people is what they know. If this however requires a reinstall of the OS about every other year due to registry corruption, slowdowns, etc, I'd rather except that alternative than teaching them an entire new OS.

trinitydan
December 28th, 2010, 06:27 PM
Well it also depends if your parents need to learn a whole OS. My mom uses her computer to get online, type an email now and then, and manage her photos. She only really has to scratch the surface to learn how to do that. It's actually much easier than doing things in Vista, from the experience I have had teaching her. The part kevdog described about differences in programs is probably the worst part for a basic computer user making the transition.

Old_Grey_Wolf
December 28th, 2010, 10:53 PM
Hi Richard85

I have a similar issue with my parents' computer as yours!
It is an EON make (I forget the model) running Vista and it runs so slowly despite the fact Dad mainly uses it for browsing /online uses. Other than MS Office he has barely any other programs on it.

So you have set me thinking about doing a Wubi install of Ubuntu10.04 for a dual booting with Vista for them. I think Dad could cope with that?!

I am 62 years old. I have used Linux distros for many years.

Please! Please! Don't set up a WUBI install for them. It has limitations for virtual disk size that do not support long term use. WUBI is also prone to break when there is an update to the OS. It has no advantage, that I am aware of, over a normal dual boot install other than saving you from the fear of partitioning the hard drive or burning an ISO to CD/DVD/USB. Backup their hard drive just in case something does go wrong, make a copy of the OS install to CD/DVD/UBS using the utilities from the OEM manufacturer of the computer if they didn't supply them with the computer, and do a normal dual boot installation.

If I couldn't maintain my computer myself, my children could install Linux, Microsoft, or MAC if they were going to maintain it and protect it from malware. If I couldn't install Linux myself, and my children used WUBI to install the OS for me with it's limitations, I would be pissed.

northwestuntu
December 29th, 2010, 01:54 AM
So I finally decided enough was enough. Everytime I go home my dad is bugging me about defragging the computer, or that his computer is running slow, or asking me to do routine computer stuff that totally blows his mind. On top of that, when I went home for Thanksgiving, he asked me "what anti-virus do you use? My subscription is about to run out and I need to buy a new one." That was the straw the broke the camel's back.

And guess what else, they still use AOL for internet/email. My girlfriend constantly makes fun of me saying that my parents are the only people in the world still using AOL.

Now, I'm finally taking action but I would like to get advice from anyone who's done a similar thing with family members.

First things first. I've set up a gmail account for my parents and I'm going to link up their AOL account with the gmail and slowly ween them off of AOL.

Second. I'm going to get them used to using a browser. They've only ever used AOL since 1995. Any suggestions ? I think I'm going to get them to use Google Chrome. They know the Google name and they trust it. My mom finally knows how to 'google' things on the internet.

Third. I think I'm going to get them to use Mozilla Thunderbird for email. I think the interface is similar enough to AOL so that they won't be disoriented.

Fourth. I'm going to make sure that they aren't using any special programs. The only use the computer for photos aside from word processing and the internet (to the best of my knowledge). They own a Panasonic Lumix camera and I need to make sure they can connect it to Ubuntu and download all their photos.

Fifth. Back up. Wipe Windows. Install Ubuntu.

Any suggestions would be nice. Or if you have a similar story, by all means I'd like to hear it!

thumbs up sir! i had almost the same problem. i got tired of fixing the same computer over and over. i switched my folks to ubuntu sent there aol to gmail and now i almost never hear anymore problems.

Richard85
January 14th, 2011, 04:43 AM
Update!

I've forwarded all of their AOL mail to gmail and set up labels and filters for them. They seem to be weathering the transition and haven't had any problems 'double clicking the google chrome icon' and checking their gmail. They've been emailing me regularly as always with family updates and such. So things seem to be going well.
The next step is to transition their ebay, facebook, etc to gmail but that won't be bad. Also, letting their friends know that they have a new email address.
Then they can cancel AOL and I'll switch them to Ubuntu! I don't think I'm going to worry about Thunderbird if they can handle gmail's interface just fine.

LinuxFox
January 14th, 2011, 05:36 AM
Can't say I have any suggestions, but since you mention stories, I have one. My mother got viruses on her computer years ago. She also used AOL and actually paid for the "virus protection". She needed to get her computer fixed, after that, she gave me the ok for Ubuntu.

Not only did she have no more viruses, she had a much faster computer too. She likes using it, and she's one who "sets her ways" too. 8)

I wish you luck in teaching your parents to use Ubuntu. :)

mamamia88
January 14th, 2011, 05:54 AM
I may be weird but I get a weird enjoyment out of cleaning up peoples windows machines

Richard85
January 14th, 2011, 07:24 AM
I'm totally with you on that one. I have plenty of friends that aren't tech savy and they ask me to help clean out their computers. I remember trying to check my email on my friend's gf's computer and it took 10 minutes for the thing to boot up and be ready for use then another minute or so for internet explorer to load. Talk about an absolute nightmare! Plus that was normal to her! None the less, I cleaned it out. Felt good.

With regards to switching my parents to Ubuntu, I'm going to make it look similar to windows xp. One panel bar at the bottom and all.

Richard85
January 15th, 2011, 10:04 AM
I'm looking forward to Unity and I think it will attract a lot of users. Definitely not going to set my parents up with Unity because it would blow their minds.
My parents machine will most likely end up with Kubuntu 10.04 or Ubuntu 10.04. For me, I'm going to try out Natty and if I don't like it I'll switch back to 10.04.

linuxforartists
January 15th, 2011, 10:35 PM
This has been a great thread! Lots of helpful suggestions. One thing I hadn't thought of until reading this is getting your parents to approve any new printers/faxes/etc. with you before they buy.

So true! I've had so many problems with printers in the past, and that was when I still used Windows. Never tried hooking up a printer with Ubuntu yet.

One suggestion I had was maybe you could install Remote Desktop access? That way, you can fix your parents' computer over the Internet instead of having to go over to their house every time something goes wrong. Could be a big time-saver.

Kudos to you for "converting" two more people away from the dark side.
Good luck with the transition!

Richard85
January 15th, 2011, 11:39 PM
I've never done anything like that (remote desktop access) but my friend said it's not too bad.
Any forums up about that?

wgarider
January 15th, 2011, 11:57 PM
....... but I would like to get advice from anyone who's done a similar thing with family members.

...........Any suggestions would be nice. Or if you have a similar story, by all means I'd like to hear it!

I had/have a similar situation with my parents....both are in their 70's and are average savvy with a computer. My dad has a Celeron desktop that even with XP, was running dog slow. They also have a fairly new laptop that runs Vista but only use it for email.

Step one was to get them both Gmail accounts, step two was install and get them used to Firefox and three was to cut over one of the computers to Ubuntu. The desktop was a good candidate and they've made the transition with little pain. Next is the laptop.......

There were a few minor questions my dad had, but by and large, they are happier and have commented how much more they like Ubuntu, versus Windows.

Old_Grey_Wolf
January 16th, 2011, 01:00 AM
I've never done anything like that (remote desktop access) but my friend said it's not too bad.
Any forums up about that?

Before using remote desktop you should Google on remote desktop security. The various applications have different levels of security. Some of them actually expose passwords unencrypted. If I can, I choose to use ssh.

Old_Grey_Wolf
January 16th, 2011, 01:06 AM
Step one was to get them both Gmail accounts...

Why could they not use the email accounts they had always used? Did you switch their ISP? Were they using AOL email accounts, I don't know how AOL works these days? I got rid of AOL in the dial-up days 15 years ago.

Quadunit404
January 16th, 2011, 02:23 AM
AOL works with Opera's integrated email client.

It's practically the only way I use AOL nowadays, using M2 (aka Opera Mail.)

Richard85
January 16th, 2011, 03:59 AM
My dad was paying 15$ a month in addition to cable internet bill for pretty much using ebay and emailing friends. He can do that for free with gmail and google chrome.
Plus he was spending money on virus scan software and rather than get him free virus scan software, I'll just switch their desktop to Ubuntu and they/I won't have to worry about anything. Their usage of the desktop is not specialized by any means.

NightwishFan
January 16th, 2011, 04:09 AM
As long as the hardware works they might enjoy the heck out of it. I had friends once that had windows 2000 on an old server (that they used as a desktop). They only used it for solitaire and typing, as they had no net connection. It had some SCSI bug that caused w2k to take around 15 minutes to boot up. (Not exaggerating, it was a bug).

I installed Ubuntu 8.04 on it, and it was fast and the boot was around 5 mins. I did a workaround to disabled "ghost floppy" in the kernel along with another simple tweak that brought the boot down to less than a minute. They also had the whole open office suite, gimp, and the whole gnome games and they were dazzled.

HermanAB
January 16th, 2011, 06:43 AM
Hmm, in my experience, rather than messing with old people's machines and getting the blame for everything that goes wrong long after, I give them a brand new little Netbook with Linux installed. I make sure that their Printer, Camera, Web Browser, Webmail, Facebook and Skype works and have HUGE Icons on the desktop. Problem solved.

A year later, you can take their old PC and retire it to their basement, but don't ever throw it away. Old people do not like it when you throw their stuff away, even if they haven't used it in 50 years.

NightwishFan
January 16th, 2011, 07:20 AM
Hmm, in my experience, rather than messing with old people's machines and getting the blame for everything that goes wrong long after,

Single reason I quit tech support for family and friends.

linuxforartists
January 16th, 2011, 10:54 AM
I've never done anything like that (remote desktop access) but my friend said it's not too bad.
Any forums up about that?

Happy to help! I think you first need to sign up with a service like DynDNS to create a hostname that can access the IP address of your parents' computer. Luckily, they offer a free option: Dynamic DNS Free (http://www.dyndns.com/services/dns/dyndns/).

Now for setting up the remote desktop. This page had the clearest instructions I could find:

Remote access to the Ubuntu 10.x desktop (http://www.techotopia.com/index.php/Remote_Access_to_the_Ubuntu_10.x_Desktop)

Like Old_Gray_Wolf said, definitely consider the security issues. I should have thought of that. The same website also had this tutorial:

Configuring Ubuntu 10.x remote access using SSH (http://www.techotopia.com/index.php/Configuring_Ubuntu_10.x_Remote_Access_using_SSH)

Having a remote desktop is useful for those situations where your parents tell you a simple problem. Where you think, "I could solve that with one click!"

Good luck!