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Thread: Where to begin?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    9

    Where to begin?

    I have a dell inspiron 1721 which came with windows vista and after several complete crashes is now running windows 7 very poorly. It's 6 years old and I hate the laptop and am ready to drop kick it but I though I might as well try some sort of Linux as an experiment and since I have a little experience with unix (very basic commands only). But I don't know where to begin to get it installed. Is it even possible on this laptop as I have a RAID and windows 7 wasn't even supported for it. Where do people get drivers for ubuntu?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    London, England
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    7,513
    Distro
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Where to begin?

    Where to start? Download an ISO image of Ubuntu and burn it to DVD or USB. Note the heading in this link Help with installing Ubuntu. There is a section for Windows. If your CPU is 64bit, then you need Ubuntu amd64. This is true even if your CPU is an Intel CPU.

    http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

    Ubuntu 12.04 LTS has support for about 4 more years. Which means that you can upgrade in May 2014 to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (with 5 years support) or wait to May 2016 to upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (with 5 years support).

    Ubuntu 13.04 has support until December 2013. If you choose 13.04 you will have to upgrade to Ubuntu 13.10 before 13.04 reaches End of Life. But Ubuntu 13.10 will only have support for 9 nine months. So, you will have to again upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 before 13.10 reaches End of Life. It is your choice.


    Once you have Ubuntu on a DVD or USB you can run a live session to test if your hardware is detected and to see if your are happy with Ubuntu. The live session runs slower than an installation to hard disk. So, keep that in mind.

    That I think is enough for now. Drivers for Linux are included in the core part of the operating system (called the Linux kernel). If the live session runs well and activates the hardware then all the drivers are present. What you will need to check is the wireless adapter. That is one area where there may be issues with drivers but there are ways to fix things. Wait until you find out if that is an issue.

    This link has images of what you will see when you run the live session and choose the Install Ubuntu option

    http://www.ubuntu.com/download/deskt...g-term-support

    Regards and welcome to the Ubuntu Forum Community
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    12o4/14o4
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    Hidden!

    Re: Where to begin?

    There are different flavors of ubuntu, some are made to run better on older equipment. Whats your lappy specs? Dual core? Gig of ram? What kind of video support do you need?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Beans
    1

    Re: Where to begin?

    Welcome GirlFromMars,

    You should read a beginner guide like the following before installing Ubuntu to learn some ideas and key features about Ubuntu.

    http://www.makeuseof.com/pages/ubunt...eginners-guide

    Good Luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Beans
    635

    Re: Where to begin?

    Without knowing why the system crashed, all I can suggest is downloading (torrent method is best) a ubuntu install iso image of one of the desktop versions and booting from that. I prefer installing it to a usb drive. It's much faster. But you can boot it from cd or dvd as well.

    That will boot ubuntu linux on your machine and you can see how well it runs.

    If it's a 2Gb ram or less computer, which I suspect, I wouldn't recommend ubuntu with the unity desktop. It won't run very well. I had it on an i3 based laptop with 4Gb ram and found it too slow.

    For 2Gb I'd recommend kubuntu. Actually I run kubuntu on a 1Gb netbook and it runs fine for me but many would recommend xubuntu for a 1Gb ram laptop. Less than 1Gb, definitely xubuntu or maybe lubuntu.

    I'd try version 12.04, which is the long term support version (length depending upon desktop version).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Across The Pond
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    778
    Distro
    Xubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Where to begin?

    Welcome!

    With an older laptop you may want to try Xubuntu 12.04 LTS. Another advantage is that it may seem more familiar to you, coming from Vista and Win 7.
    "Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    North Carolina
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    458
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Where to begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by GirlFromMars View Post
    I have a dell inspiron 1721...
    If I understand your hardware correctly, it is 64-bit, with max memory of 4 Gigs. You will increase your choices of Linux distros by maxing out your memory to 4 Gigs. If you have 2 Gigs of memory, that should allow most Linux distros to function fine.

    As suggested before, burn a live 64-bit iso, and test your hardware for compatability - and it also gives you a chance to test drive the desk top environment

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Beans
    5

    Re: Where to begin?

    This Laptop has the ATI Xpress 1270. I had one of those. You're stuck with the open source driver, and I never had much luck with the Unity Desktop or Gnome-Shell. Your best bet on that machine is Lubuntu, especially with only 2 gigs of RAM. I wouldn't wast my time with the main edition, it's not going to work with your GPU.

    If I owned that particular machine, I would put Legacy OS on it. It's a flavor of Puppy Linux, with an older Kernel and older version of xserver, then install Catalyst version 9.3 on it. It would perform really well, but there's a learning curve....I'd start with Lubuntu to get my feet wet in the Linux world first.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    New York, NY
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    1,178
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn

    Re: Where to begin?

    Oh yes...not sure if this was mentioned, if you burn an iso dvd to try it, then don't forget to go into your bios settings (when you are initially booting up your computer) and change the sequence to have it boot off the cd/dvd drive first (rather then the hard drive first which is the default)...Then, after you burn the iso dvd...put it in your dvd drawer after you are in your regular system and then you will restart your computer and you will go right into booting off the ubuntu dvd...try the live session first (when the screen for that comes up and says "try" or "install")...

    Keep in mind it take a few minutes to go into the session, so be patient...and if your computer is 64 bit...then best to get the 64 bit version...
    Try ubuntu 13.04 first i would say...see if it runs properly on your hardware (including the unity desk top)...if not, then you can always live run the other variations such as xubuntu or lubuntu to see if they will work better for you...but no harm in trying the regular ubuntu first...
    Last edited by craig10x; August 3rd, 2013 at 05:21 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
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    Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
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    1,923
    Distro
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Where to begin?

    Girl from Mars,
    It's 6 years old and I hate the laptop and am ready to drop kick it
    don't drop-kick the machine, it probably didn't do anything wrong and you'll likely hurt your foot. Rip Windows out and drop kick that, it's likely the guilty party and deserving. The advice above is good. My laptop is a Thinkpad of similar vintage. It works well with Ubuntu & gnome-shell though I have Intel graphics so no older ATI issues. Perhaps the most difficult thing is to remember that Ubuntu is not Windows. There are similarities but there are likely more differences. Drivers are a whole different ballgame in Ubuntu/Linux for starters.

    There are a number of different distro choices. One I haven't seen mentioned is Linux Mint. It's built on Ubuntu but has some tweaks and differences that might make it more familiar to Windows users. I find the Cinnamon desktop fairly intuitive and software to play media e.g. flash for Youtube videos is included in Mint but must be installed separately in Ubuntu and its variants.
    Last edited by kurt18947; August 3rd, 2013 at 10:01 PM.

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