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  • FIRST POST
    • Skymist
    • By Skymist 23rd Aug 17, 3:55 PM
    • 403Posts
    • 1,512Thanks
    Skymist
    Need to find a new laptop to install Linux Mint on
    • #1
    • 23rd Aug 17, 3:55 PM
    Need to find a new laptop to install Linux Mint on 23rd Aug 17 at 3:55 PM
    Hi Techies...I’m in need of some help.


    My Windows 7 Acer Aspire 5741-A, has just died! It’s overheating, and on looking at some Youtube videos on how to clean it….well, it’s just too much for me! I’m a 67 year old OAP, and
    taught myself how to use a laptop back in 2005.


    I managed to avoid the...for me ...dreaded Windows 10, and have over the years flirted with Linux Mint! I can use it, but mostly it’s just through sheer luck, not any IT knowledge!


    Anyway, I have an even older Acer Aspire (5535), which came with Vista installed, but the backlight kept going, hence my Windows 7 machine!


    Anyway, after Windows 7 EOL….. and I haven’t been updating either-just been careful….I was planing to install Linux Mint Mate 18.1 on the 5535, and had made a CD of it. Fortunate that I did,’cos the 5741 stoped last night, but also fortunately, the backlight is working at the moment on the 5535, so I installed th Linux Mint OS!


    But...I’m aware that this could go at any minute….a shop quoted me £140 to fix the backlight, so that’s why I bought the Windows 7 machine.


    Right...I need some help with finding/buying a new...and cheap...laptop with the sole purpose of installing Linux on, but have read in several places that a lot of the cheaper laptops are now blocking this, so any ideas please?


    Sorry for the long waffling post, but trying to put in all info! I use my laptop for general browsing, email Skype and watching stuff...if that’s a consideration!


    Many thanks in advance, S
Page 2
    • forgotmyname
    • By forgotmyname 25th Aug 17, 8:49 AM
    • 26,047 Posts
    • 10,383 Thanks
    forgotmyname
    I have windows 10 and you would be easily mistake it for windows 7.

    It looks just like windows in fact.

    Start button bottom left, then my quick launch icons (not pinned icons) then the space where my open programs/browsers are listed (not grouped) and then over to the clock and a MUCH larger show desktop button.

    Just need to resize my START button it looks a little odd with the taskbar taking up 2 rows.


    This, cropped the width down to make it easier to view for those with smaller monitors.


    Punctuation, Spelling and Grammar will be used sparingly. Due to rising costs of inflation.

    My contribution to MSE. Other contributions will only be used if they cost me nothing.

    Due to me being a tight git.
    • psychic teabag
    • By psychic teabag 25th Aug 17, 10:47 AM
    • 2,628 Posts
    • 1,546 Thanks
    psychic teabag
    when I'm sat at home using my laptop I don't want to be trying to remember Linux commands so I use an OS that makes things simple for the user, in my case Windows, and I use W10 because in my experience it is quicker and more capable than previous versions.
    Originally posted by agrinnall
    In linux these days, it's very rare to have to remember "Linux commands". Everything is available via a GUI.

    (But commandline is still available if you choose to use it, which is very useful for remote admin, without requiring lots of bandwidth to remote-view an entire desktop.)
    • fenlander_uk
    • By fenlander_uk 25th Aug 17, 11:57 AM
    • 505 Posts
    • 279 Thanks
    fenlander_uk
    There are two sorts of Linux home user: those who just want a stable OS to run their programs and do their everyday computing (and who probably run Mint or Ubuntu) and the hobbyists/tinkerers who like to try out every new distro and desktop as soon as it appears and who need to be command line savvy as getting these systems to work is seldom straightforward.

    The hobbyists have a significant presence on forums and create an image for Linux as being geeky and difficult to use. It's a false image: stick with one of the mainstream distros and you'll find that Linux is well supported and no more difficult to work with than Windows. In many ways it's easier, and it does have a lot of advantages.

    I know that there are none so tedious as an evangelical ex-smoker, but being an ex-Windows user probably runs it close. Still, I'd ask one question of those who think that using Windows is for 'normal' people and anything else is somehow deviant. Have you actually tried it? Really committed to it, not just slipped a live distro in the machine and then given up after 10 minutes because it's slow, it doesn't look like Windows, and you can't work out what to do next. If possible, try removing your hard disk and put in a spare - it doesn't need to be large or anything special. Do a full install of Mint or Ubuntu and set yourself the task of sticking with it for a week and making it do what you want it to do, installing additional software you might need and solving any problems as they appear. After a week, if you hate it, put your Windows disk back in and resume your 'normal' existence. At least you'll be able to back up your opinions from experience.

    [/sermon]
    Last edited by fenlander_uk; 25-08-2017 at 12:09 PM.
    • Jivesinger
    • By Jivesinger 25th Aug 17, 12:45 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 736 Thanks
    Jivesinger
    There are two sorts of Linux home user: those who just want a stable OS to run their programs and do their everyday computing (and who probably run Mint or Ubuntu) and the hobbyists/tinkerers who like to try out every new distro and desktop as soon as it appears and who need to be command line savvy as getting these systems to work is seldom straightforward.

    The hobbyists have a significant presence on forums and create an image for Linux as being geeky and difficult to use. It's a false image: stick with one of the mainstream distros and you'll find that Linux is well supported and no more difficult to work with than Windows. In many ways it's easier, and it does have a lot of advantages.
    Originally posted by fenlander_uk
    How many 'non-hobbyists' would know how to do this on their laptop?:
    If possible, try removing your hard disk and put in a spare - it doesn't need to be large or anything special.
    Originally posted by fenlander_uk
    I did try Linux a couple of times over the years, but it was completely hopeless at WiFi at that point, presumably due to lack of drivers, so I gave up on it as being too much like hard work.
    • LeeUK
    • By LeeUK 25th Aug 17, 1:04 PM
    • 5,607 Posts
    • 2,584 Thanks
    LeeUK
    I never have problem with drivers on Linux, not recently anyway. These days all the modern and common drivers are already shipped into the distro just like how Windows already contains them.

    On the popular distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Fedora, etc. Probably plenty of specialist distros you will probbaly still have to find/install them yourself.
    • parcival
    • By parcival 25th Aug 17, 5:02 PM
    • 432 Posts
    • 262 Thanks
    parcival
    I have been using Linux Mint for years. I have no complex requirements just Internet, email and various Office functions.


    I have never had to use the command line, everything is GUI and put simply it just works and is fast.
    • poppellerant
    • By poppellerant 25th Aug 17, 7:08 PM
    • 1,003 Posts
    • 520 Thanks
    poppellerant
    You could probably repair the 5741 if you took your time. The first video I found on Youtube was somebody use a pound shop screwdriver, which will come with many bits. If you look around the pound shops, you can find a screwdriver with even more bits but it has a rubber handle.

    I'd even go as far as saying that fixing the backlight on the 5535 will probably be easier than fixing the 5741. Obviously the 5741 is probably the faster machine, so it's up to you. But for about £35.00 on eBay, the screen is certainly worth a go. It's normally a case of removing 4 screw covers, unscrewing the plastic surround, unscrewing the panel - then install the panel and reverse the removal procedure.
    • epninety
    • By epninety 25th Aug 17, 11:51 PM
    • 548 Posts
    • 311 Thanks
    epninety
    OP - if you've already decided the laptop is broken, you really don't have much to lose by trying to fix it. If you can find some suitably sized tools, clear a table, set up a bright desk light, get yourself a big mug of tea and have at it!

    And when it's running again, remind yourself that your hard work just got you a 'free' laptop, and have fun installing Mint on it :-)
    • Norman Castle
    • By Norman Castle 26th Aug 17, 7:43 AM
    • 6,321 Posts
    • 5,081 Thanks
    Norman Castle
    I did try Linux a couple of times over the years, but it was completely hopeless at WiFi at that point, presumably due to lack of drivers, so I gave up on it as being too much like hard work.
    Originally posted by Jivesinger
    I moved to linux mint about a year ago. I've got no sound on anything, WiFi that almost works but 50% of pages fail to load, one printer that almost works but fails for a variety of reasons plus other problems that I cannot remember. Its installed as a dual boot with XP which has none of these problems so its the OS not the pc at fault.
    The biggest problem for me is getting online help as its always from techno geeks who expect you to rewrite the os in some, trial and error way rather than use the os and adjust setting within it. When the geeks rejoin the human race and understand most people want a working printer and not a time consuming hobby and they then start communicating in a way normal people can understand linux will be much more usable.

    The parts of linux that work, work well but when there's a problem Windows is easier to work with for the average user mainly due to the mindset of those offering help.
    Don't harass a hippie. You'll get bad karma.
    • Skymist
    • By Skymist 26th Aug 17, 10:40 AM
    • 403 Posts
    • 1,512 Thanks
    Skymist
    As I’ve said, I have Linux Mint Mate 18.1 up and running, and all is good...so far.


    I’ve downloaded and installed the “Skype for Linux DEB” version, but have yet to test it! The built in microphone doesn’t appear to be functioning, in the sound preferences page….no lighting up when I talk! This is the only program that I REALLY need to work that might not, as I use it to keep in touch with my son who is in New Zealand, and he uses Macs. I’ve hunted around but can’t find another free VoiP program that we can both use! Also, my Thunderbird ..52.2.1...dosen’t notify me when new mail arrives...like it did on Windows….even though I have set the appropriate alerts in the sound preferences page, and keep resetting it up,‘cos it keeps switching off! And no, I can’t update it, as no updates are being offered, and there is no calendar either!


    My final niggle with LM18.1 is that I can’t find a theme which gives the scrollbar arrows, which I would really like to have especially for Firefox! Any suggestions?


    As for fixing the 5741, I’m going to ask one of my young neighbours if they know of anyone who fixes PC hardware, as the last time I tried local shops, the first, quite a few years back, wanted £60 to reinstall Windows XP! (that prompted me to learn how to do that!), and the second, £140 for a new backlight! And NO, poppellerant and epninety, I just don’t have the confidence to repair it, even though I’ve done plenty of home DIY….painting, decorating, laying carpets, some woodwork, and I went to Art school years ago… I still don’t feel capable of fixing this!!


    TIA S
    • poppellerant
    • By poppellerant 26th Aug 17, 12:00 PM
    • 1,003 Posts
    • 520 Thanks
    poppellerant
    As for fixing the 5741, I’m going to ask one of my young neighbours if they know of anyone who fixes PC hardware, as the last time I tried local shops, the first, quite a few years back, wanted £60 to reinstall Windows XP! (that prompted me to learn how to do that!), and the second, £140 for a new backlight! And NO, poppellerant and epninety, I just don’t have the confidence to repair it, even though I’ve done plenty of home DIY….painting, decorating, laying carpets, some woodwork, and I went to Art school years ago… I still don’t feel capable of fixing this!!
    Originally posted by Skymist
    To be quite honest, after watching the video I had I can see why maybe you're not exactly instilled with confidence, especially as somebody who hasn't done this before.

    I prefer to watch a video and/or consult a service manual before attempting such jobs. That's why I've taken a little time to find a service manual for you, here. As daunting as all those pages might seem at first, they are really detailed and virtually foolproof. Get a friend to print out the disassembly part, read it and look over the laptop as you read it - things will start to click and you'll realise you don't need to do everything the manual says (ie: remove optical drive bezel).
    • WAYT
    • By WAYT 26th Aug 17, 12:42 PM
    • 711 Posts
    • 315 Thanks
    WAYT
    As Iíve said, I have Linux Mint Mate 18.1 up and running, and all is good...so far.


    Iíve downloaded and installed the ďSkype for Linux DEBĒ version, but have yet to test it! The built in microphone doesnít appear to be functioning, in the sound preferences pageÖ.no lighting up when I talk! This is the only program that I REALLY need to work that might not, as I use it to keep in touch with my son who is in New Zealand, and he uses Macs. Iíve hunted around but canít find another free VoiP program that we can both use! Also, my Thunderbird ..52.2.1...dosenít notify me when new mail arrives...like it did on WindowsÖ.even though I have set the appropriate alerts in the sound preferences page, and keep resetting it up,Ďcos it keeps switching off! And no, I canít update it, as no updates are being offered, and there is no calendar either!


    My final niggle with LM18.1 is that I canít find a theme which gives the scrollbar arrows, which I would really like to have especially for Firefox! Any suggestions?


    As for fixing the 5741, Iím going to ask one of my young neighbours if they know of anyone who fixes PC hardware, as the last time I tried local shops, the first, quite a few years back, wanted £60 to reinstall Windows XP! (that prompted me to learn how to do that!), and the second, £140 for a new backlight! And NO, poppellerant and epninety, I just donít have the confidence to repair it, even though Iíve done plenty of home DIYÖ.painting, decorating, laying carpets, some woodwork, and I went to Art school years agoÖ I still donít feel capable of fixing this!!


    TIA S
    Originally posted by Skymist
    Why not install Windows 7 to the Aspire 5535? Then you can continue to use the programs to which you have become accustomed
    It is simply a matter of updating the firmware.
    I've put a package together for you. You'll need an empty USB Flash drive. The smaller the better.

    Choose to download and save the updated firmware from this link
    Plug the USB drive into the laptop and once it is recognised by the laptop, take note of the drive letter produced. Then run the newly downloaded application as Administrator by right clicking on the application and choosing Run As Administrator.

    Make sure that the drive letter in the GUI corresponds with the letter produced when you plugged the USB Flash drive in originally and choose Write.

    Once that has been completed, I'll run through the updating instructions.


    Changing the inverter or checking the wiring on the 5535 is not as daunting as the disassembling of the 5741.
    • were
    • By were 26th Aug 17, 1:08 PM
    • 520 Posts
    • 311 Thanks
    were
    Trambor suggested used Lenovo T430, but do not forget the Dell E6410, E6420 and E6430, ones with an i5 are not bad, but an i7 is better, and go for around £110 to £190. Lnovos are possibly more robust, but the Dells tend to have a higher spec

    I would rather buy and old business class laptop, than a new nasty plastic consumer one.

    I have to admit I have installed Mint on about 4 different PCs, (they were Intel based) and sound always worked first time. but I have never checked to see if the mic, or camera work.

    I would recommend looking on youtube and there are searchable by typing 'Mint to do'. These are vids on the Top 100 things to do after you installed Mint, or Top 7..., Top 8..., Top 10... too, just pick the bits you like from those vids.

    Also Mint 18.2 has been released some weeks ago. Here is the vid on how to install skype on it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKTmXq_j8vc (I have not done this, not a skype user)
    • Skymist
    • By Skymist 2nd Sep 17, 3:52 PM
    • 403 Posts
    • 1,512 Thanks
    Skymist
    Hi guys....sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. My lovely neighbour has cleaned my laptop, but then the cable wouldn't work, so he bought a new one, and now all is good with my 5741, which he has just returned to me!

    And GunJack, I seem to have found myself an independent computer bod in my neighbour,...and he'd only take money for the new cable, and something to help with keeping the lappy cool (can't remember what he said that was....maybe some heatsink compound ), but wouldn't take anything for his time/labour. I gave him £20 and he seemed fine with that!

    I have everything working well on the Linux Mint Mate 18.1,bar Skype, which for me is a necessity, to keep in touch with my son and granddaughters in NZ, so I'm delighted to have my Windows 7 back and functioning, if only for Skype! And I didn't need to run any "Linux commands", except when installing f.lux...which works, and Skype, which doesn't!

    Thank you all for all your help, it was/is very much appreciated!

    S
    • psychic teabag
    • By psychic teabag 3rd Sep 17, 11:46 AM
    • 2,628 Posts
    • 1,546 Thanks
    psychic teabag
    skype is currently being revamped - there is a beta available for linux, but 64-bit only (so doesn't work on my 32-bit linux). There may or may not be a 32-bit version when they come to do the full release. The old app still works for me in chat (typing) mode, and voice calls might work to other old clients.

    You can use the web-based interface - for me, it only seems to work using chromium, not firefox, but at least it works. (Well, voice works, at least - haven't tried with video.)
    • HonourlessWeasel
    • By HonourlessWeasel 3rd Sep 17, 1:33 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    HonourlessWeasel
    My final niggle with LM18.1 is that I can’t find a theme which gives the scrollbar arrows, which I would really like to have especially for Firefox! Any suggestions?
    Originally posted by Skymist
    That's just a Firefox thing. I have it on Ubuntu, annoys the hell out of me but there's nothing you can do about it. Use Chromium instead.

    Skype for Linux is terrible, it just constantly tells me I'm offline when I'm not. You might find that http://web.skype.com works for you if you haven't tried it already? I've also logged into to outlook.com or maybe account.live.com to use Skype in the past when the application hasn't worked.

    I have Ubuntu 16.04 LTS running on a 7+ year old Dell XPS, it has great support for my Wifi, microphone, speakers, webcam.
    • Skymist
    • By Skymist 5th Sep 17, 11:07 AM
    • 403 Posts
    • 1,512 Thanks
    Skymist
    psychic teabag, I'm not sure which bit the 5535 is...the system info on linux says:

    Processor: AMD Turion X2 Dual Core Mobile RM - 72 x 2

    Linux Mint: 64 bit

    Kernal: 4.4.0_92

    Memory: 2.7 GiB

    It came with Vista installed. but at that time "bits" were not on my mind as the Windows system info. would have told me.So, I installed the 64bit version!

    I installed the Skype for Linux Beta 5.4.0.1, presuming that the laptop was a 64bit one, and downloaded the Linux DEB download from https://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-linux/
    So this version may not work on the 5535 that I have, if it's the wrong "bit" version; and yes, I also tried the web-based interface, which said that at present, the video-calling wasn't functioning! So, no use to me!

    Thanks for the info. about the scroll bar arrows HonourlessWeasel .....that's a real b**mer.

    Hopefully by the time my 5741 Windows 7 machine passes away, some-one will have either massively improved Skype for Linux users, or another bright spark will have developed an alternative video-calling enabled, free VoIP for Linux users. I live in hope!

    S
    Last edited by Skymist; 05-09-2017 at 11:10 AM.
    • HonourlessWeasel
    • By HonourlessWeasel 5th Sep 17, 11:47 AM
    • 54 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    HonourlessWeasel
    You might want to look into Viber: https://www.viber.com/products/linux/

    It appears that the calls to other Viber users are free.
    • psychic teabag
    • By psychic teabag 6th Sep 17, 10:34 AM
    • 2,628 Posts
    • 1,546 Thanks
    psychic teabag
    psychic teabag, I'm not sure which bit the 5535 is...the system info on linux says:

    Processor: AMD Turion X2 Dual Core Mobile RM - 72 x 2

    Linux Mint: 64 bit

    ...

    So, I installed the 64bit version!
    Originally posted by Skymist
    Yeah, you have a 64-bit machine (and OS). The 64-bit Mint would not install on a 32-bit machine.
    • Skymist
    • By Skymist 6th Sep 17, 4:36 PM
    • 403 Posts
    • 1,512 Thanks
    Skymist
    Thanks for that HonourlessWeasel . My son has iEverything and MacEverything, so when I have to permanently move to Linux, this should serve us both....might even try it on my Win 7!

    Many thanks psychic teabag....I'm not a techie at all, just self taught over the years with the help of Google ( well only DuckDuckGo now) and Youtube, and of course wonderful helpful sites like this one!

    And to toshi, who sent me a PM, which I've tried to reply to 2 times now....thanks for your offer of help, but I live in Edinburgh! I fortunately found out that a new neighbour is into computers and he has cleaned and fixed it for me so it's functioning now.

    S
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