Three days away from WordPress (or is it four) has meant three (or four) days away from writing. Not that I’m happy about it, but that’s the way my mind works. ADD. I tend to hyper-focus, and this time it was something demanding my attention.
Microsoft is ending support for Windows 7, including security updates, on January 14th, and I’ve been working on setting up Linux on my laptop. My plan was to make the laptop a dual-boot terminal, allowing me to run Linux Mint as my primary OS and using Windows (while offline) when necessary. There’s a Windows emulator for Linux called Wine, but I’ve read that it’s not 100% reliable.
One specific use for Windows would be when using one of my scanners. It has the ability to scan slides and negatives – I have thousands of slides, my own and my father’s, and I may actually finish scanning them before I leave this earthly plane – and the software interface for the scanner definitely would not be accessible in Linux. Another use would be fine tuning printer settings through the printer interface.
I was able to transfer a large amount of files – mainly documents and photos – from the laptop to a new 4tb external hard drive – freeing nearly half of the laptop memory to create a separate partition for Mint. (Linux totally isolates itself from the Windows partition, meaning that nothing from the old partition can be accessed from the Linux partition, thus protecting Linux from any unforeseen damage that Windows may incur.) While I was at it, I gathered documents and folders from other, smaller, external drives I’ve acquired over the years. A future project will be to eliminate duplicates now that they’re all on one drive, but also within folders. I tend to take burst shots with my camera, often forgetting to delete the unneeded photos.
That being done, I created a Live USB of Linux Mint. This allowed me to boot Mint from a thumb drive. I found that I was very satisfied with it, but there’s a loss of speed and no ability to save changes from the USB. With a new partition in place on the laptop, I ran an app from the desktop of that thumb drive to complete the installation on the laptop… with repeated failures.
Everything I read said to partition from Windows. Doing so through the actual Mint installation can lead to big problems. Well, I decided to go back to Windows to remove the new partition, expand the original to its former size, and let Linux do the partition work. That seemed to be the answer.
Installation was completed, and I rebooted the laptop – only to have it start in Windows, again. (When Mint boots, it offers the option to boot with Linux or with Windows.)
During this whole process, I spent a lot of time getting advice from my son, who works in IT for a web hosting firm. Since one of the early error warnings was regarding a faulty drive he suggested it could be my USB or insufficient power to the USB port. Rather than making a new Live USB and possibly having it be the port, I burned it to a DVD. Bingo!
That was last evening, and I’ve spent today configuring Mint, including changing preferences and downloading and installing software, which is easily done through Mint. I rely on LibreOffice, GIMP, and Audacity, among other programs, and many are available to run with Linux. Mint finds the software through a Program Manager, and takes care of the download and installation.
Once I got this up and running, I decided to try it out on a laptop I stopped using two years ago. I never was happy with Windows 10, and when it started stalling and freezing I retired it to take on this laptop, which was like new and running Windows 7. Well, I pulled out the old Toshiba, wiped it and did an installation of straight Linux. It runs like a charm.
One other good thing came out of this. Last year, a 3tb external hard drive crashed – I was doing that document/photo file consolidation when Windows said it was inaccessible. Well, Linux has no problem reading it, so I have access to a terabyte of files I thought were lost to me.
This laptop with Mint works fine for me, so I look forward to using it for a few more years. With this incident behind me (hopefully), I can get back to reading and writing poetry.