• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Finally, you can manage your Google Docs, uploads, and email attachments (plus Dropbox and Slack files) in one convenient place. Claim a free account, and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio (from the makers of PBworks) can automatically organize your content for you.


Upgrading Laptop to Linux

Page history last edited by Paul G. Taylor 7 years, 5 months ago Saved with comment

I have been working on a laptop that had MS Windows XP installed but was in need of cleaning up after a virus attack. Having cleaned it up, installed anti-virus and anti-malware software, the poor thing was so overloaded and sluggish that I could not in all good conscience send it back to its owner in that condition. The challenge was, though, how to install a suitable Linux distribution to replace XP.


After mulling on the dilemma for some time, trying out some distros that I thought might do the job, I finally decided that it was Linux Mint that I would use. I downloaded the latest version and tried it out and then decided that I would revert to an earlier version that is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS as it will be supported until 2017, by which time the laptop, a Toshiba Satellite A100, will probably be obsolete.


First up was the challenge of reducing the footprint of XP so that I freed up sufficient room on the hard drive. Amongst the tools I used were CCleaner, to get rid of clutter,  a tool, Windows XP Update Remover, to remove the backups for Windows Security Updates, that were taking up a lot of space. Finally I used the LiveCD session in Linux Mint to search for files that could be safely deleted. First I searched for all files over 50 MB in size, then used that list to give me suffixes to search on, such as 'Install.exe', '.bak', etc. Rather than just deleting these files I used the mv command to move them onto an external hard drive where they could be held as a backup in case I needed them ever again. This proved useful as I inadvertently moved a couple of .exe files that I needed to copy back.


Having cleaned up as much accumulated crud as possible I then downloaded and used a freeware tool in XP, Easeus Partition Manager, to shrink the C:\ drive natively before using a Linux partitioning tool to set up the drive ready for an installation of Linux Mint 13 Xfce.


I downloaded the ISO image from the Linux MInt web site, burned it to DVD using K3b and rebooted the laptop with this in the drive.


While in the LiveDVD session I use PartedMagic to create new partitions in the unused portion of the hard drive, using 2.5 GiB for a swap partition and the balance for an installation of Linux Mint. Then I started the installation process from the link on the desktop. This was quite straight forward and uneventful and once completed I rebooted the system straight into the installed version of the OS. The GRUB boot screen offers Windows XP as an alternative to the default OS but I think that it will be very seldom used and eventually could be deleted to regain a quarter of the disk space for data.


I've been playing around with the system for a few days, making sure that everything 'just works' and trying to think of any other software that might be included. So far I have installed Zim Wiki, BTSync and RetroShare. I know that I would like to have these if I were using the machine but wonder if the owner will value them in the same way that I do.


All in all this has been a fairly easy project. Compared with the job of recovering MS Windows XP from a virus infection it has been a breeze. And the end result is very much more pleasing as the system is just so responsive now it is a pleasure to use. Under XP is was so sluggish as to be almost unusable.


Oh, I've just remembered, I have to install TeamViewer now so that I can continue to support this machine once it returns home to its owner and smooth the transition from XP to Mint if there are any teething problems.




Linux Mint 13 Maya Xfce on Toshiba Satellite A100

Monday 26th August 2013





Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.