Sunday, July 27, 2014

This Old Laptop Part 2

Some of my experience with installing Solydx on my laptop. 

I'll start with some background from my original November post and then tell you about this weekend.

I was fortunate enough to get a hold of a laptop this year for $49.  If you’re wondering it’s a Dell Latitude D600, 1.4 GHz, I GB memory, 40 gig hard drive, Wi0Fi, DVD/CD/RW and the AC adapter.  I was told that the battery most likely would not hold a charge.  I came loaded with windows XP.

My original thought was to replace XP with a different operating system.  I tried a few live cds, or should I say flash drives so could test run them first and noticed that many of them would not operate.  I’ve heard that sometimes certain distros will not work in certain machines but had no idea what the underlying reasons were here. My first successful launch was with Peppermint (version 2) which ran live without a hitch. I ran it live, without installing.  I later found out that I could run operating systems live as long as they did not require PAE.  I continued using the machine occasionally over the past several months, but only booted up and ran from live flash drives.

Yesterday I realized why I was dragging my feet to permanently replace XP with another system.  I was afraid that I'd lose something, as if there was some valuable and irreplaceable software on my forty- nine dollar machine.  Yeah, right.  
Windows XP - Tech00001

Original Windows XP Screen The insight of having nothing to lose hit me when I hit a wrong button by mistake, and saw that a program that I thought was on the machine only had a link to get you to where you could download it and many other similar items.  Microsoft office was not there either, instead being represented by Microsoft Works.  I still had a fear that the wireless would not work if I wiped out XP, so had to keep on reminding myself that if wireless ran off the live flash drives they should run on a new install.

I began to try to decide on a distro this time to install.  I looked at a few live versions again to try to decide:

Peppermint: I thought this would have been great on the laptop, but if I chose it, I'd have to use an old version.  The current versions required PAE

Mint Debian: This was going to be my choice, but when running live it seemed to take too much of the system resources.  This is most likely because I was trying to run a Cinnamon desktop.  Sadly as I am very comfortable with Mint and Cinnamon

Bohdi Linux: Seemed very light on resources. Their browser was new to me.

After the sampling above, I thought I'd prefer a desktop that I was familiar with.  I like Cinnamon, but with this machine believe I need something lighter, so thought of XFCE as a desktop.

I decided to install Solydx as it came with XFCE. The installation process surprised me, as there was a bit more than what I was accustomed to. It asked me where I wanted to install the system and where I wanted to install root (they suggest it is not the same as /home). Yikes, this was new to me. I thought my choice was simple,  GParted then opened at one point, and GParted is new to me too. I guessed and must have made bad choices as the installation continued for a while and then later froze. The hard drive no longer functioned and I got to see a "black screen of death". Pretty dramatic, huh?

I did not know what to do at this point, but thought that I might need to get the hard  drive functioning normally again first, so took out the Peppermint Stick (ooh I loved saying that) and easily installed Peppermint.
Peppermint - Tech00002

Peppermint Fired Up ! I tried to research and understand a bit and then tried again to install Solydx again.  This time I tried to assign partitions as root and /home.  My understanding of how to partition a hard drive is lacking, and I'm sure I will learn quickly.  If anyone has suggestions as better proportions, etc please feel free to contact me.  The current partitions are shown below:
Partition - Tech00004
Current Partitioning On New Solydx

I did not fully understand it all, but the install ran easily after that and the laptop is running fine.
Solydx Start Screen


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