I want to move my wife's pc from XP to Ubuntu before the end of the month. She has been using one of my cast-offs for about 3 years with an MSI motherboard and Intel Pentium Dual-core E5200 @ 2.5Ghz with 1G of RAM - running XP sp3 and connecting to my internet router using a Lynksys wireless USB device. She just turns it on, starts Firefox and Thunderbird and does emails and browsing with seldom a problem. I thought Ubuntu might give her the same experience.
I downloaded 1310 desktop (64 bit and 32 bit) - blew the iso's onto a couple of new Kingston Data 8Gb usb sticks and tested them both on my pc (running windows 7) in 'live' format. All seemed fine and simple so I tried the 64bit version on the XP box as a 'live' version and all seemed to work well.
I used Gparted to shrink her NTFS partition to make space for Ubuntu, created a / partition of 40Gb exp4, 3Gb swap, and 10Gb /home partitions. I used third option 'something else' during the installation, the wifi link established ok. I deselected download updates during installation to speed up the process but I noted that language packs amongst others were being downloaded. After installation, the reboot was completed and then came the disappointment.
The display looked good, just as I had seen it in the 'live' trials but when I clicked on anything, the pc either froze up losing keyboard and mouse control or accepted the click and produced a garbaged screen. The manual reset button on the pc became my best friend. After many attempts, I tried the advanced options in the boot manager, using the recovery mode initially and then completing the standard reboot. This resulted in a good display but with larger icons (different screen resolution) and I was able to start 'Software updater' and check for updates. Informed that I needed about 250Mb of updates I clicked to download and the wifi dropped out. The drop-down menu in the top left of the screen showed that I was still connected to the wifi but an additional error dialog said I was disconnected and anyway, the download stopped.
I got it back and the download completed about halfway and then dropped out again. Getting it back involved physically removing the wireless usb devioce and replugging it. When download was completed, the updates were installed and I rebooted.
This time the display was good and things seemed to work - no more frozen pc or garbaged display and I supposed the updates had removed the problems. The wifi disconnects, I put down to 'one of those things'.
Testing at odd intervals over the next week, showed that the pc was prone to freeze at odd times at apparently random moments following a mouse click. Unfortunately, one of these occasions was when I was demonstrating this super new system to my wife - sod's law.
The other main problem was that when the previous session had been ubuntu, and current session was XP, the wifi while looking as though it was connected was in fact not able to connect to webpages or email servers. It looked as though (in windows dialog boxes) the system was unable to determine the wireless usb device's IP address from the DHCP server. The workaround was to physically remove the usb device and then replug it and whenever I completed a session with ubuntu, I had to make sure the pc was reset before leaving it my wife.
Eventually it became clear that I could not leave this pc for her use in this state so I re-installed Ubuntu (using 32 bit version this time) - reformatting the partitions beforehand.
The reinstall went exactly like the first time even to the update dropping out the wifi just after clicking to download. After installation I had to use recovery mode to get and install the updates because the pc either froze or garbaged the screen otherwise. With updates installed, there is still the same tendency to freeze at random and the wifi still goes 'disconnect' (while showing connected) from time to time.
Although this pc must be 6 or 7 years' old, it works fine under XP but seems to have some driver troubles with Ubuntu. Can anyone, please, suggest where I might start looking - and how ?