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Old Dec 24, 2013, 9:20 PM   #21
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One of the main reasons you want to use a "Live DVD" (or USB flash drive) is so you can make sure a given linux distribution works OK on your hardware, and has all of the needed device drivers included for your PC's chipsets (USB, SATA, Sound, Video, Ethernet, Wireless, etc.).

Chances are, you'll be fine with your PC model using a newer Linux distribution. But in some cases, a distribution may not support a specific hardware device. So, being able to "test drive" a Linux distribution without installing it first is a good way to make sure it's fully compatible with your hardware, as well as giving you a chance to make sure you like it and are comfortable with it's design.

Keep in mind that drivers are specific to a given operating system. So, you can't use Windows drivers with Linux (and vice-versa). For that matter, you can't even use hardware drivers for XP in newer versions of Windows. For example, it's quite common to find printers, scanners, etc. that have drivers for XP, but don't have device drivers for Vista or Windows 7. Some devices are also more limited (32 Win 7 or Vista; but not 64 Bit Win 7 or Vista).

Device drivers are designed for a very specific operating system kernel; so you need to make sure your specific hardware's chipsets are supported by the Operating System you want to use (and most drivers for Linux are Open Source versus manufacturer supplied). That's one reason you want to test drive any linux distro you want to install, just to make sure your hardware works OK with it.

I can remember when searching for a Linux distro years back after buying a cheap laptop from Ebay without Windows installed. I have "stacks" of CDs with lots of different Linux distros on them that I tried before making a decision on one of them (even installing dozens of them to hard drive and trying them that way, too).

When running Linux from a DVD (and most modern distros won't fit on a CD anymore and require a larger DVD to hold them), they're also going to run slower than they will from a hard drive installation. For one thing, they're being compressed to a smaller size, and when you run them, the Operating System, Programs, etc. are being decompressed, which slows down performance compared to a hard drive installation. IOW, a distribution that only takes 1GB of space on a DVD make take up 5 or 6GB of hard drive space when decompressed so it runs faster.

So, running a distro full time from a DVD (or USB Flash drive or Memory Card in a Card Reader) is not the optimum way to approach it. A hard drive install is faster with far more flexibility.

Now, most Ubuntu based distributions (including Linux Mint) do allow you to setup what's known as "Persistence" if you use a USB Flash Drive (or memory card in a card reader) to run it without an actual installation. That allows you to install new software, save documents, photos, etc. IOW, you can have a full blown Operating System you can carry with you in a pocket on a small USB Flash Drive, including customized program installs, documents you've saved, etc.

I have multiple USB Flash Drives setup that way now that I bring with me when helping to fix friend's computers that are messed up due to malware, etc.. I have linux distros with anti-virus software installed, disk image backup utilities and more installed that can come in handy for that purpose. That also gives me a way to boot into a known "clean" Operating System that I can use for things like accessing the forums here (since I would not trust using a Windows install on a PC that was not under my control, as there is just too much malware around and I'd be concerned it would be compromised). So, having an Operating System I can boot into carried in my pocket is a convenient way to avoid potential security risks.

But, for your purposes, you'll want to setup your PC in a dual boot configuration with something like Linux Mint and Windows. Basically, you will want to "shrink" the NTFS partition you have XP installed on (resize it so that it's smaller) so you can create new partitions in the space that would then be unallocated. You'll want around 2GB for what is known as a Linux Swap partition (that the OS can use as Virtual Memory when RAM is full), and you'll also want at least one more partition for root (/), where the Operating System and Programs are installed. Some users also like to have a separate "home" partition for personal data (versus keeping it in the same partition the Operating System and Programs are located). Pros and Cons, as I do it both ways.

I tend to keep my Linux partitions fairly small (usually around 20GB for each distro), since I use a shared NTFS partition for both Windows and Linux distros for data files (docs, spreadsheets, photos, music, videos, etc.) IOW, since LInux can read and write to the partitions that Windows is using, I only worry about the space needed for the Operating System and Programs (and use existing space on the drive already setup for Windows use for all of my data, so I can access it from either Windows or Linux). But, you can get by with a smaller partition if you don't have the extra room.

With the installers in most modern Linux distros, they'll automatically suggest choices for doing that kind of thing for you when another Operating System is detected, resizing your existing partitions, creating new partitions for Linux, etc. If you try something like Linux Mint, look for that option (install side by side with another operating system that was detected), and avoid the choice to use the entire drive (unless you want to wipe it clean and get rid of Windows and everything else on it).

Chances are, something like Mint will install in around 6GB or 7GB of space. But, I'd probably try to allow around 15GB if you have the room on your 40GB Drive. If not, no big deal, as it already has most everything you'd need preinstalled (so it's not like you're need a lot more room for extra programs you install later)

Anyway, I'd test drive it from a DVD or USB Flash drive for starters. BTW, you can use something like Unetbootin for that purpose (install the .iso file for a distro like Linux Mint to a Flash Drive or Memory Card so you can boot into it). But, it doesn't look like it's been updated since July, and I only see Mint 15 listed as supported

But, chances are it would also work OK with Linux Mint 16 (you'd have to try it to find out for sure). Get it here:


Here's another similar tool:


Basically, you can use a FAT32 formatted USB Flash Drive (or memory card in a card reader), and those tools can burn most popular Linux distros to them so that you can boot into them and run them (without the need to use a DVD for that purpose).

Most PCs have a key you can press during startup for boot options (hard drive, optical drive, USB drive) that will let you select USB to boot into a USB Flash drive or Memory Card in a reader. If not, just go into your BIOS setup and set USB as the first choice in the boot order list. That way, if you have a bootable USB attached drive (including USB Flash drive or memory cards), it will boot to them first; and if it doesn't find any bootable USB attached media, it will just go to the next option in the boot order list (Optical Drive, Hard Drive).

I leave my PCs setup for USB first, then the Optical Drive, then the Hard Drive. So, if any bootable media is installed in a USB port, it will boot from it, or if I have a bootable CD or DVD inserted, it will boot from it. But, if it doesn't see one of those, it just boots from the hard drive.

Then, after the desktop is loaded and you make sure everything works as desired, just click on the install icon you'll find in most Linux distros to see how their installer works (making sure you have the ability to setup the partitions as desired while still keeping your existing Windows installation).

If you can't boot from USB, just use something like the free isorecorder to burn a downloaded iso file to a DVD so that it's bootable. Get it here:


Basically, once isorecorder is installed, you can browse for any iso file you've downloaded using Windows Explorer (your "My Computer" icon that lets you browse files), then if you "right click" on any iso file, you'll find a new menu choice to "copy image to cd/dvd" that will burn the .iso file to a DVD for you so that's it's bootable (not the same thing as a data disk). Just get the 32 bit iso file for something like LInux Mint 16 from here (pick a mirror location and it will start the download for you):


Then, after you download it, use isorecorder to burn it to a DVD; or use one of the other tools I mentioned to burn it to a USB Flash Drive or Memory Card. Then, boot into it and test drive it before deciding if you want to install it or not.

You'll find many articles on the subject (as well as lots of youtube ideos) showing you how to setup a PC in a dual boot config with both Linux and Windows. Just make sure you're looking at tutorials specific to the linux distro you want to use (as different linux distros may have totally different installation utilities and options)

Personally, I usually partition my drives manually using something like Gparted (an open source disk drive utility that is also included on the Linux Mint Live distros). IOW, I just resize my Windows partitons smaller, then manually create a Linux Swap partition, as well as a partition setup as something like ext4 (as file system type most Linux distros can use now). Then, I use the manual options for a distro's installer and select those new parttitons.

But, I think that most modern Linux distros can automatically do that kind of thing for you anymore (resize your Windows partitions, make new Linux partitions) giving you suggestions that you can approve or not. Just be careful not to choose the option for letting Linux take the entire hard drive if you want to keep your existing Windows install (instead, use the install side by side with another Operating System choice and let it suggest and setup a dual boot configuration for you).

If you don't see that option (another Operating System detected with the ability to automatically setup a dual boot configuration), then you may need to use the manual partitioning option instead.

Basically, you'd just use Gparted (a partioning utility) to resize your Windows NTFS partition smaller to free up space. Then, create something like a 2GB Linux Swap partiton, then create something like an 8GB or 10GB ext4 partition. It's a really easy to use utility that shows you a graphical representation of your hard drive when making changes like that.

But, see if you like it first (running it from USB or DVD) and if you decide to install it, look for an automatic way to do that kind of thing. If you don't see the choice that another Operating System was detected with recommendations on how it's going to reallocate space automatically, just let us know and we can give you more specific instructions on manually partitioning a drive, along with tutorials showing screen captures for a partitioning program like GParted.

With XP, that should be a *very* simple process. With Win 7, it can be a bit more involved (since you're limited to 4 primary partitions on a drive, and some Windows 7 installations are already using several, meaning you'll need to setup an extended partitioning scheme for more linux partitions). I can do that kind of thing "blindfolded" I've done it so many times. But, for someone brand new to Linux, I can understand if it sounds harder than it really is.

Anyway, again, many modern Linux distros can automatically handle that kind of thing for you when using their installers, detecting other operating systems on your drive, making suggestions where just accepting the defaults will work fine, then resizing your Windows partitions, creating new Linux partitions for Swap, root (and sometimes a separate partition for home), then installing Linux and setting up a dual boot config for you (writing a boot loader to the drive's Master Boot Record so you can pick the Operating System you want to use from a menu each time you restart your PC)

But, if you need to manually partition a drive for any reason, it's really much easier than it sounds.
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Old Dec 27, 2013, 7:57 PM   #22
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Hi Jim,
I'm going to try this, with the distro you suggest ..... Linux mint. I think I'll put it on a DVD to start with. There is only 16 gigs of used space on my HDD (I'm somewhat anal about keeping my system lean and fast), so space shouldn't be a problem when I finally install it. In any event, I will let you know how it goes.
Thanks again for your invaluable help.
..... john
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Old Dec 28, 2013, 10:01 AM   #23
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I'm getting ready to install LInux Mint 16 on a PC with similar specs that has XP on it. It's a Compaq with an Athlon 64 3200+ and 1.5GB of memory installed.

My niece brought it to me and asked if I could "fix it" since it was running very slow and locking up, etc.

Well, it's malware infested, causing it's issues, with processes starting that are eating up all of the CPU resources and continuously reading the drive.

I've tried using sysinternals process explorer (in addition to other similar tools from Comodo, etc.), and when I kill one process and get rid of the associated excutables, another just starts with a different names with the same symptoms (eating up CPU resources with continuous disk i/o). I'm still finding new malware.

I setup a USB Flash drive using YUMI with multiple linux based scanners (Bitdefender, Kaspersky, G-DATA, Comodo, Dr. Web, Avira, Panda, AVG and others, and decided to keep trying to find the culprits before wiping the drive, as there is an awful lot of software installed that I'd hate for them to lose and need to reinstall if I can find all of the issues another way.

More about YUMI here:

See the "Supported Distros" tab for a number of Antivirus Products you can setup with Linux based live media available (and you can install multiple iso files on the same USB Flash drive using YUMI)

I've been running Dr. Web's linux based scanner for hours and it's already identified additional spyware (backdoor trojans and more installed) that other scanners have missed so far). In fact, I'm using Firefox from the Dr. Web Linux install now while typing this post.

One benefit of using Linux based scanners is that you're not booting into the already compromised operating system (you're booting into Linux from other media, versus booting into a compromised Windows isntall). So, because the malware isn't loading, it's not able to "fool" the scanners you're running from Windows (since deeply embedded malware may return false results to scanners as far as file info, cheksums, what's running in memory, etc.)

Unfortunately, malware is getting to be *very* sophisticated anymore. Fun.

I've already identifed and removed more than a dozen "high risk" malware installations on this PC (mostly spyware and keyloggers), not even counting the minor stuff, and I'm now finding more malware by booting into Linux based AV Products and scanning that way.

This PC is mess.

Anyway, it's got 1.5GB of memory, using a Radeon Xpress 200 (a.k.a., Crossfire Xpress 1600) graphics chipset, which sounds similar to your setup.

It's using two partitions on the hard drive now (a smaller recovery partition formatted as FAT32, with the main Windows partition with XP on it formatted as NTFS).

So, after I'm finished cleaning up all of the *MANY* malware issues, I'll see how the installer built into Linux Mint 16 works with it. Chances are, it will make suggestions for an Auto Install so it will resize the second (NTFS) partition smaller to make room for Linux partitions, then add a Linux Swap partition, along with an ext4 partition for both root and home use that it will install Mint 16 to. If not, I'll just use GParted to manually do that kind of thing (resize the NTFS partition smaller to make room for Linux partitions, then create a Linux Swap Partion an a new ext4 partition and use it for both home and root for Mint.

I'll let you know how the installer handles it when I get to that part (which may not be until tomorrow, since the malware scans and malware removal are going to take a lot of time)

Dr. Web (a Russian based firm making AV products) has already identified *ANOTHER* 14 threats so far (using it's linux based scan utitlities), including 7 infected files, with another 5 "malicous" infections and 2 suspicious (probably infected files).

It's only finished 42 Percent of the drive so far.


This PC was running a fully updated Windows (automatic updates turned on), plus AVG (including the AVG toolbar for web page scanning), and it had Malwarebytes Pro installed on it. Browsers were also setup to automatically update, and Adobe Flash Player, Acrobat Reader and more were also looking for updates every reboot. Yet, it sill managed to have tons of malare on it.

I've already removed so much malware it's hard to keep count of it, including a dozen "high risk" infections removed by Emsisoft AntiMalware alone (which uses dual scanning engines, including Bit Defender's). I've also scanned it with Comodo products including Cleaning Essentials, etc.

So, that I'm still finding more and more malware after those scanners supposedly found everything is amazing.

It's going to take a while for Dr. Web to finish it's scans (and with 14 threats so far, I hope there are not a lot more problems I'lll need to try and get rid of).

But, I intend to scan it with mulitple other LInux based AV products (Bitdefender, Kaspersky, G-DATA, Comodo, Avira, Panda) after Dr. Web has tried to find what it knows about.

I'm going to give the entire family (my niece, her husband, their kids) a lecture on security for sure, as this is absurd (that much malware on one PC).

I'll set it up in a dual boot config with LInux on it (I'm going to install Linux Mint 16, which should be easy enough for them to use), and suggest they just *DO NOT* use Windows for anything unless absolutely necessary and make darn sure not to click on any attachments in e-mails, etc.

If they don't take my advise, I'm not going through this again for them. So, if they find their bank accounts empty because criminals took advantage of the info sent back from keyloggers (multiple keyloggers found so far), so be it. IOW, this will be a "one time" cleanup, just because my niece is "family" (she's my younger sister's daughter).
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Old Dec 28, 2013, 2:06 PM   #24
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IRT my last. I just finished installing LInux Mint on my niece's PC. I just used a USB Flash Drive for that purpose (as I don't like wasting DVDs anymore).

I'll clean off the rest of the malware from it's XP install later (most of it is probably there because of their teenage kids downloading games, screen savers, etc. that were malware infested).

The defaults were fine with the Linux Mint installer. Basically, when I ran the installer, it automatically detected the XP install on it and the default choice said that other Operating Systems were detected and let me "Install Linux Mint Along with Other Operating Systems. Just using the default choice worked just fine.

It then brought up a screen with how it planned to allocate space between Windows XP and Linux, showing a graphical representation of the disk allocation where you could simply move the sliders to give more or less disk space to one versus the other.

I just used the defaults.

After that, it automatically created an extended partition structure and used an ext4 partition for LInux Mint, creating a swap partition equal to the memory installed. I was impressed, as it was not obvious it was going to do that from the install screens (at it only showed that it was going to create a partition for Mint, without showing any further details). But, when I looked at the drive partitions later, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it actually created an extended (not just using primary) partition structure, with a very reasonable partition layout for the Linux Swap Partition size and ext4 partition it created for LInux Mint root and home use.

It didn't have any progress bars while resizing the NTFS partition (only a spinning cursor that let you know it was busy). So, be patient, as it may take 5 or 10 minutes to complete that part -- which is the longest part of the install.

Bottom line, I'd just use the defaults (let it do what it wants to, using the default selection for "Install Linux Mint Along with Other Operating Systems), as you could always resize your partitions and move them around to taste later.

Also note: The first time you start XP, it will need to run chkdsk (it will do that by itself since it thinks something is wrong because you resized the NTFS Partition). Just let it run (which may take around 20 minutes or so on an older system, and don't worry if the index check appears to be "stuck" at something like 3%, as once it gets past that part, the rest finishes fairly fast.

That works great (at least on this older PC). I'm using Firefox under the new Linux Mint installation now on my niece's old computer.

Note that after I installed it (and it will automatically give you a boot menu so you can select either Linux Mint or Windows XP each time your restart your PC if you use the installer's defaults), I did tweak the font settings.

Basically, I found the default font size a bit small. But, you can just click on the Menu Icon (bottom left hand corner), then select "Preferences>System Settings", and then select the "Fonts" choice under Appearance to change the "Text Scaling" to make everything larger. It defaults to 1.0. I changed it to 1.3 for this system (although you'll probably be fine with either the defaults or 1.2, depending on your monitor resolution and size), and now all of the text for menus, web sites, etc. are larger and easier to read for my old eyes, without trying to adjust font size for every web site using the control key+mouse wheel to do it.

Just reboot after making any change to the Text Scaling settings to make sure all apps are updated to use them.

I also went into the Appearance>Effects settings and unchecked the "Screen Effects" box (so that things like tranparency, etc. when moving Windows are not eating any CPU resources, as I don't care about those kinds of "bells and whistles" But, if you like that kind of thing, just leave the screen effects turned on (as they are by default).

Anyway, the installer for Linux Mint 16 works great, just sticking with it's defaults (without you needing to worry about any manual partitioning of the drive, since it handles all of that kind of thing for you -- resizing your NTFS partition that Windows is installed on, creating new LInux partitions, etc.). The entire installation probably took less than 20 minutes, just by using the defaults and letting the LInux Mint installer handle all of the resizing of existing partitions, creating new Linux partitions, installing MInt, etc..

As mentioned before, a hard drive install is *MUCH* faster than trying to run the Live version of it from DVD or USB Flash drive, too. You need to install it to a hard drive to see how well it works.

There are *much* faster linux distributions around though. So, I'd see how it runs on you on your hardware for starters, as it is a very easy to use distribution for someone new to linux. Linux Mint has an easy to use installer with most programs, drivers, codecs, etc. already installed that most users would need.

Then, if you decide you want something faster, we can suggest other choices.
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Old Dec 29, 2013, 10:29 AM   #25
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Hi Jim,
Yikes!! I suppose my system would be like that if I didn't stay on top of it. I hate to say this, because you'll think I'm an idiot, but the only thing I use, in the security sense, is Mawarebytes, occasionally stinger and Microsoft's malicious software tool (I can't remember it's name), and sometimes I target an identified culprit with one of the online fixes. .... all free. I never download the updates. Of course, I have several backup HDDs, something a friend drilled into me when I first started into computers, and the UBD (Ultimate boot disk), which has saved my bacon a few times. But then, I've NEVER had to clean up the mess you have. I don't envy you that job.
I have no illusion though that my drive is squeaky clean, and I imagine that there are spyware, etc. happily running on it right now. But there is nothing of a personal or financial nature to be had. And ....... I rarely use Internet Explorer.
You mention several spyware/malware software, and I'm always alert to keeping my system cleaner. Is there any (free ones) that you might particularly recommend?
And .... while were on the topic. Is cross contamination a problem, with Windows XP and Linux installed on the same drive? (I assume it is.)
..... john
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Old Dec 29, 2013, 1:46 PM   #26
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Yea, I'm still working on this PC for my niece. The easiest way when you have those kinds of issues is just to wipe the drive and reinstall XP from scratch. But, they had so many applications on it, that I'm trying to do them a favour by cleaning it up for them instead (which can be *VERY* time consuming on a PC with this many problems). Fun.

BTW, if you decide to install Linux Mint... one thing I didn't mention (now added to earlier post) is that XP will detect a drive issue the first time you run it (because it sees that the partitions were resized), and will automatically start chkdsk.

Just let it run chkdsk (which may take a while), and then it should work fine.

It's a good idea to de-fragment your drives, check them for errors, then make a full disk image backup before running something like the Mint Installer (that is going to do this like resize partitions, create new ones, etc.), to be on the safe side. But, I doubt you'll have any issues.

Another thing you may want to do is install an application called grub customizer to change the boot order, etc. in the menu you'll see each time you restart your PC.

You can install it like this from a terminal (and you'll find the Terminal Program under the Accessories menu choices):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

Basically (using a terminal), is the fastest way to add a third party software repository that includes it, update your computer's package lists, and install it. For most other software, there's a built in Software Manager with a nice Graphical User Interface with thousands of software programs you can search for and install with a mouse click or two. But, it's sometimes easier to install software from third parties using a terminal instead.

After it's installed, you'll find grub customizer listed under the Administration menu choices.

It lets you do things like move a given boot option higher up on the menu (so that it starts first). By Default, Mint will be the first choice. But, if you'd rather have XP as the first (default) choice, you can just click on it in the grub customizer screens and use the up arrow to move it to the top of the menu list (so that it will boot automatically after 10 seconds instead of Mint if you don't select another boot menu choice at restart).

Make sure you do *not* remove the partitions Mint is installed on after you install it (unless you install a different Linux distro in those same partitions). That's because it's going to replace your boot loader and the grub boot loader will need to access configuration files within the Mint installation.

So, if you delete Mint, your system will no longer boot (without using an XP disk and reinstalling a Windows boot loader in the Master Boot Record using the fixmbr utility). If you install a different linux distro later, no problem (as any major linux distro is going to install a boot loader in the MBR by default, using configuration files for it in it's own installation). Just be careful not to just delete the Mint install without doing something like that (replacing it with a different linux distro, etc.) so that you don't delete the files that the boot loader needs to work.

Or, if you want to free up the space used by linux (by removing it's partitions and resizing your windows partitions to use that space) and reinstall the Windows Boot loader, boot into an XP CD, then after it's loaded, press R to get into a recovery console (command prompt) and select the partition (normally just select the c drive that Windows is installed on). Then, at that c: prompt, type the following to restore the Windows boot loader:


Personally, I always leave a Linux distribution installed along with Windows, so I never have to do that. Whenever I install a new distribution, I just let it install it's own boot loader in the MBR (GRUB is normally used and installed in the Master Boot Record by default with most Linux distro installers), to replace the boot loader a previous distribution installed. Anyway, just be aware that removing a linux distribution without replacing it with a different one will make your system unbootable (since the configuration files for the boot loader are in the linux distribution that installed that boot loader).
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Old Dec 30, 2013, 7:45 PM   #27
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I've got the old XP install pretty much fixed, which involved removing a *LOT* of malware using a variety of tools.

It also required me to remove *all* previous Microsoft .NET framework installs (1.0. 1.1. 2.0. 3.5. 4.0, etc.) and reinstall them from scratch again, including tons of updates (just the updates to .NET 4.0 took hours to install, not even counting the many dozens of updates to other apps I needed to reinstall).

IOW, I had to reinstall most updates that Microsoft released over a number of years, just to get this stupid XP install working again. That's one issue trying to get a very old operating system like XP reinstalled and updated (you may need to install *years and years* of updates, since Microsoft is not very smart about that kind of thing. Basically an XP Service Pack 4 or 5 is needed, given that you may have dozens of security patches you need to install in the correct order just for something like .NET if you start with XP SP3.

If it were not for family (my niece), there is no way I'd have gone through that much trouble to clean up a PC (I'd have just wiped the drive and installed Windows from scratch instead). But, because she's family, I didn't want her to lose all of the software already installed on it.

Anyway, I've been using Linux MInt on it since I finished with the XP cleanup (I've got MInt installed in a separate partition in a dual boot with XP), and I just don't like the default fonts. So, I'm in the progress of downloading LInux Mint 16 KDE instead to see if it works any better.

If not, I'll just install one of the other KDE based distros on it (Kubuntu, etc.). I'll let you know what I end up with. Personally, I tend to stick with a Debian based distro using KDE. But, because Mint already has most codecs and software most users need, with easy to use software update utilities, I'll try to get one of the MInt flavors working well on it instead (as distros like Mint using an Ubuntu "base" tend to be easier to use and update for LInux newbies, and I want something my niece and her family are comfortable with instead of using XP going forward).

I'm getting the Mint 16 KDE 32 bit release from the University of Oklahoma mirror here (*much* faster than other download links I've tried):


It should be finished downloading a few minutes. I'll burn it to a USB flash drive, boot into it, and replace the Mint 16 Cinnamon install with it I already installed to the hard drive and see how well it works. Since the KDE version is using a totally different desktop, hopefully, I won't see the "quirks" I saw with the font sizes the Mint Cinnamon release used (nothing you couldn't fix, but I found the defaults a bit irritating, hence why I'm going to try the KDE release instead)

Here's a recent review of Mint 16 KDE:

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Old Dec 31, 2013, 10:35 AM   #28
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I'm going to leave LInux Mint 16 KDE on it. It's faster than Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon anyway (the KDE version is *very* snappy, whereas the Cinnamon desktop tends to be slightly "sluggish" on this older PC. Frankly, I'm *very* impressed at how fast LInux Mint 16 KDE is on an older PC like this one.

Again, as mentioned in my last post, I'd just get the 32 bit .iso from this link:


Then, burn the image to DVD, boot into it, and use the defaults to install it along side another Operating System, so it will automatically resize your Windows partitions, create new Linux partitions, and install a boot loader menu that lets you choose the Operating System you want to boot into each time your restart your PC.

I wasn't fond of the default theme. So, I changed the desktop theme to Elegance (you can download more themes)

Just click on the menu icon bottom left hand corner of panel), and go to System>System Settings>Workspace Appearance and you'll find the settings for Desktop Theme. I just used the "Get new Themes" choice, searched for Elegance and installed it. Then, I selected it as the default under the Desktop Themes menu. Under the "Details Tab", I just used Elegance for everything there, too.

The only issue I had with that theme is that the clock in the panel was set to a custom color (black), that made it very hard to read with a theme like Elegance using a darker panel color. Just "right click" on the time in the panel and go to "Digital Clock Settings" and uncheck the box for custom color and then it's readable again.

I also added an Analog Clock to the desktop (right click on the desktop and select "Add Widgets", then find the Analog Clock widget and click on it; and I also added YAWP (Yet Another Weather Plasmoid") by using this link to install it (selecting the 32 bit .deb package for it). Then, it was available in the choices for Widgets. YAWP is my favorite Weather Widget.


I also installed Chrome (directly from Google), by clicking on the Download button from this page and selecting the default 32 bit deb choice (that download page will automatically recognize your Operating System and give you the appropriate download choices for it).


I also installed the HPLIP GUI (just using the built in software manager in Mint, which you'll find in the menus under System>Software Manager, search for HPLIP and you'll find the HPLIP GUI choice available). That's HP's GUI (graphics user interface) Toolbox linux utility for adding and managing printers, checking ink levels, etc. If you install the HPLIP GUI Package, you'll see an HP icon in your system tray you can click on to add HP printers, etc. once you reboot after adding it. I stick to HP printers (and I see that my niece was using an HP given the drivers I see installed in XP), the the HP GUI utility for Linux is very nice.

I also installed Skype (again, just using the built in Software Manager you'll find under the menus in System>Software Manager) since they use Skype. I also went into LibreOffice Options and set the default file types it's saving to as Microsoft Office 2003 for docs, spreadsheets, etc. That way, their existing Office 2003 in the XP install should be able to use them OK.

That should be "good enough" for my niece and her family (as they use Skype, Firefox and Chrome already, and most other apps they need should be already preinstalled, or available with a mouse click or two using the Mint Software Manager), as it comes with plenty of software for instant messaging, media playback, image viewing, music collections, etc. etc. etc. For now, I just set it up with an Auto Login for user name billy (my niece's husband). But, I will probably set up separate user names for my niece, her husband and each of the kids; so they all have their own unique desktop environment, documents, photos, videos, apps, etc. That way, they won't be "stepping on each other".

The menus are simple enough to use (with separate categories for Office Apps, Internet Apps, Graphics, Multimedia, etc.), where you can just "right click" on a menu choice and add it the menu's favourites list. or add an app to the panel or desktop if desired, with many thousands of other apps easily installable with a mouse click or two using the Mint Software Manager. Downsized screen capture showing the desktop setup for them using the Elegance Theme, Yawp Weather Widget, etc., with the menu categories shown (and there are *many* applications pre-installed under each menu category).
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JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Nov 16, 2015, 10:03 AM   #29
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 237

Hi all,
You'll be interested in knowing that I finally decided to take the plunge, and have installed Linux Mint to a DVD. I am flabbergasted at how easy it was .......... download and burn!! I booted my computer from the DVD player and am writing this message to you from it. I'm not sure where I'm going to go from here with it. Am I right in assuming that using it from the DVD pretty much eliminates any security risks? It is slow, as I'm sure you know; and I can't use my regular programs, i.e. photo editors, nor can I save anything, including settings, so it's pretty much a tabula rasa each time I use it. But it is functional. And if I only wanted to do the occasional web search and answer email, forums, etc., it would be quite acceptable. Amazing!!!
....... john
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