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Thread: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

  1. #1
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    switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    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!

  2. #2
    pricetech is offline Iced Blended Vanilla Crème Ubuntu
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    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.

  3. #3
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    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.

  4. #4
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    Quote Originally Posted by pricetech View Post
    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.
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  5. #5
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    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.

  6. #6
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    make sure you disable the update manager.
    That is usually where the problems begin on a system thats healthy....
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  7. #7
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    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.





  8. #8
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    Quote Originally Posted by pricetech View Post
    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
    This is a signature. It is original.

  9. #9
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    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
    if you need a fast live cd for testing or anything really:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...70#post9715370
    boots live in just 82MB of ram, no swap!

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: switching my parents from Windows XP to Ubuntu

    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.

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