Linux & Windows maintenance

Created; 14/12/2013, Changed; 17/05/2022 - 22/07/2022

There is a choice of Linux desktops that are smart or plain that is fairly straightforward to use;

Windows tries to be helpful so it is necessary to second-guess what the problem is, unfortunately, a drawback of Windows helpfulness. It is obstructive to find that the computer wants to do something else by comparison XP is comparatively predictable. Still, icon-based Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) don't have a good equivalent to DOSKEY for Microsoft DOS this feature kept a record of your previous actions by scrolling back through text strings of commands using up/down keys. If you like DOS-style, Linux Terminal which is a text command-driven interface behaves in a similar way as DOS including the ability to go back over what you have done before and if you wish to change or just repeat a previous command line. You don't have to use the Linux GUI, even so, GUI's are good. You may have to use a Linux terminal though where there is no GUI interface. Some GUI's advise what commands to use in the terminal where the GUI does not support that feature.

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Installation of a Linux desktop

  1. Download choice;

    • Full DVD installation for your computer - very little will need to be downloaded during installation.

    • The Live DVD installation - You can try Linux running on a DVD or USB before installation.

    • Net install version CD. - Everything is downloaded during installation.

  2. Flash your chosen .iso download using Refus

    • Other CD burners or Flash utilises can be used. Some of those create persistence on the USB stick so that you can save work try installation a little on a live USB.

    • I found Refus to be reliable but if there is a problem it is worth trying another .iso to CD, DVD or USB creator tool.

  3. Plug the USB, CD or DVD into the target PC. How the installation is set up depends on the Bios settings;

    • BIOS/MBR PC installation is straightforward. Suitable for Windows prior to 7.

    • UEFI/GPT PC will require Boot security to be turned off. This can be difficult depending on the PC.

    • BIOS/GPT Depends on the Bios if this combination of old no security makes boot and installation easy and new GPT allows many partitions can be created and removed easily.

  4. Follow the instructions.

    • Start enjoying Linux.

    • Start adding or removing programmes. You also may need to add non-free and back-ports repositories and drivers (depending on the Linux you are using).

      • You will almost certainly need to turn off reference to the CDROM repositories and you don't need the source code so untick that as well those just use up disk space.

      • First see if the required program is in the Linux repositories, Backports which work a bit differently or download the program if more features, that you would like are offered by doing that.

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Ubuntu is one of the easiest and safest Operating Systems to install;

  • Be careful with any operating system partition part of installation or tool - Ubuntu and variant distributions advanced option; Do something else option when changing partitions

    • Partition management and creation is the riskiest part of any installation or maintenance.

    • The meaning of the wording is strange. If you don't tick format then it may not proceed to installation and if it does the installation may be untidy. You need to set the mount partition to EXT? (but other Linux partition types are offered) and mount; "/"

    • You can go back or cancel before proceeding so do that if you are not sure about it.

    • Warning Windows installation - Windows is not so forgiving and can easily destroy a Linux or another Windows installation even if you answer the questions properly. This is not usually the case if you take care but can happen regardless of the care you have taken though. If you have a choice install Windows first leaving 25GB for the Linux distribution at the far end of the hard disk (or let Linux installation take care of this later).

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Windows installation leaves a small amount of unused space at the top of a hard disk but Linux Distributions fill the whole hard disk. I don't know why they behave differently but Linux S.M.A.R.T hard disk management help says the space is required so that the hard disk management can relocate bad sectors. When this happens the hard disk appears to have no errors but what the hard disk management does is replace the bad sectors with other reserved sectors.

RECOMMENDATION TO GET THE BEST FROM YOUR HARD DISK; - S.M.A.R.T settings;

  • TURN OFF SLEEP, for better reliability.

  • SET THE HARD DISK TO ITS FASTEST (Loudest setting).

  • TURN ON CACHE, for better speed.

Linux Distributions and LiveCDs may have partition and SMART tools;

Disks and Gparted provided on Ubuntu Live CD for example and other tools provided on a MX Live CD.

If you need to use the installation advanced configuration;

Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions including Mageia 5 default to use two partitions; (like most Linux distributions)

Mounting point /

+ Swap

There are options on how many partitions with some Linux's. Mageia 4 default to use 3 partitions;

Mounting point; /

Mounting point; /home

+ Swap

Lubuntu by default uses one partition and you can add a swap partition subsequently.

There are options at installation time to break the distribution up into many partitions. I have not chosen to do that!

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Subsequent modifications can be made to use swap spaces but on other hard disks in order to make operation a little faster. After installing multiple Linux's it is useful to review the swap partitions used in any case, for example, some of the faster Linux's do not set up any swap partitions but on a slow PC, it is very worthwhile to set them up. Debian recreates swap partitions it finds and thereby makes them unavailable to other Linux's installed.

Comparison between Windows and Linux distributions

Windows

Linux

Check Disk required periodically May require run command; chkdsk ?: /f In Windows right-click disk properties check disk is also required for Windows below 8 or 10, once a week.

Boot repair disk, is a Linux set of tools that includes GParted to resize and set the boot flag useful with Windows. It will also restore a Windows boot. You can then use a Windows repair disk if necessary.

Windows repair disk. Often a Windows 7 repair or installation disk will repair Windows start up when a Windows 10 install disk may not.

Windows 7 - Control panel - BackUp - Create system repair disk.

The Linux equivalent to "ChkDsk" is "fsck" but you don't need to use it. Built into Linux filing systems is a lot of automatic maintenance but also at startup, some checking and repair is carried out which is much quicker than Windows!

Boot repair disk, LiveCDs or another Linux installed that includes GParted also gives you a check disk function, but if this arises with Linux partition then the hard disk is probably failing severely.

Windows fix - turn it off and on again and hope it's okay when you turn it.

All desktop operating systems freeze periodically it is the nature of the quickly developed software and many varied uses used on them that users like it that way (annoyingly). Consequently all desktop type operating systems, at least, recover quite well from being switched off and on again to fix them in the hope they will be okay.

Try to quit the slow or frozen task or simply close the task from the toolbar. Usually right click and select close.

If necessary in Windows pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete works well.

If necessary in Linux pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace or Ctrl-Alt-Delete might work.

If as a last resort a computer is turned off rather than shut down then run ChkDsk if it is Windows below 10, next time you startup with both options ticked. Linux will do its own startup checks and repairs automatically. Also, Windows 10 will take care of many issues that arise and warn you to run ChkDsk. Expect the worst, your computer to fail more permanently though if it has been switched off rather than shut down and in any case, may lose work.

Defragment is required once a week.

Built into the filing systems so that files do not become fragmented and such a utility is not required!

Updates may delay shut-down and start-up occasionally up to two hours. Windows continues configuring updates for a long time after it has startup. That is Windows runs slowly for a long time after startup

A PC that will not turn off promptly is of cause going to be switched off regardless of any message on the screen. This seems to work out but if the laptop battery is okay then closing the lid to cause the laptop to sleep or hibernate may work out.

There is no satisfactory solution with Windows other than to leave the PC running continually and restart it as required.

Updating does not delay startup and shut down. But some quick configuration to complete an update is starting to be introduced but at the present time, this change does not significantly slow or delay the computer.

Debian - LxQt, LXDE, XFCE, Cinnamon at least - All carried out whilst logged in and when the user chooses. This is true of many distributions.

Ubuntu has introduced this - newer versions update at shutdown. It only briefly lengthens the shutdown time?

I don't recommend using any speeding up tools the ones I have tried break things in Windows.

Many updates can be completed whilst the user is logged in. But they take a long time and slow the computer.

Updates are large and may repeatedly fail and those downloads taking many gigabytes of data over a month.

Use disk clean up and other Windows tools in Windows explorer right click on the drive and select properties.

All server Kernel and security updates can be carried without powering down. Some servers have been running for over two decades but a decade is not uncommon but 90 days seems common.

Linux desktops do vary but updates tend to occur slowly without affecting the performance of the PC in the case of Debian. But Ubuntu updates to the kernel do inconvenience the user a little.

Update take up to 10 minutes a week and are usually less than 100MB.

Do use the tools provided by the PC manufacturer in order to apply drivers and utilities that turn on or set up the PC. These tools do useful things.

On the other hand, the utilities provided for a Lenovo, cause the brightness to increase to the maximum so they are best uninstalled.

Registry clean up - Windows appears to have a mechanism that by accident or design makes the OS age. That is Windows accumulates registry faults over time.

Apparently, more recent Windows such as 10 should not and do not suffer ageing in that it has more registry maintenance built-in.

CCleaner is an excellent tool for keeping a Windows registry in order safely. The free version of CClearer works well. Others that I have tried in the past have done harm by comparison; https://www.ccleaner.com/

There are many tools included or can be added but MX Linux has a large range of tools included, Debian has the least and Ubuntu variants have a few more. Mageia also has a different range of tools including a good Boot configuration GUI, sharing and network tools.

No such problem was observed but in any case, installing another style of Linux is popular. I am advised that the Enterprise (pay for) distros are designed to run for 13 years. They work in a different way and can be run for years without such problems. In any case, Linux is very serviceable but is not so easy.

But you need to ask for help from time to time and search on the web there are plenty of forums groups Facebook or Linux distro communities that will answer questions.

GPart & GParted are particularly useful and good tools to add. That is true even if other partition managing tools are available.

Windows 10 updates to a point where the computer it is installed on does not supported any higher updates. Manually downloading and updating or clean re-installation may work but a point is reached that Windows 10 will not update any further.

  • As of March 2019 Windows 10 does not update to the highest version supported on that PC (eg 15xx to 16xx) but tries to update to 18xx failing repeatedly.

  • On another PC the same occurred in 2021.

The problem is that the PC then become slow because it continually cycles, download, update, fail and retry.

You can download and install many versions of a Linux Distribution. As far as I can tell, old versions should install although not be in support -- Some users keep old PCs running by using out of support distros and downloading the current version of Firefox, Thunderbird also Dropbox updates within Dropbox-Nautilus for some years.

Some distributions are withdrawn after a time or installation can not be completed because the repositories are withdrawn. Ubuntu and Mint do this.

Debian and Mageia at least keep available old versions but you have to re-name the repositories to access the archive software.

An Operating System in "end of life support" - means it is complete and so receives security updates only. Updates, software and drivers be kept available and the operting system can be activated.

Running Windows XP, 7 and 10 on the same hard disk is difficult to set up. It can be done to some degree with care by setting the boot flag.

  • Otherwise, you can't put one Windows into hibernation then use the other. Having one instance of hibernation and running another does not in any case seem to be a safe thing to do.

  • I observe that with two hard disks, Windows 10 in hibernation and starting Windows 7 that a ChkDsk is triggered. I, therefore, do not recommend putting one instance of Windows into hibernation then running another Windows on the same computer.

  • Don't run XP's ChkDsk on a Windows 7 or 10 partition, it does not check compatibility but can break files.

Don't multi-boot Windows 8 together with XP. Windows 8 will change all the file attributes and so prevent XP from running.

  • There are a number of partition managing tools that are safer than using the Windows utility, they don't need two installations of Windows one to work on the other and some recognise Linux partitions. Paragon and EaseUS for example.

Do not copy a Cloud Drive to another installation of Windows then also run that cloud drive on the other Windows. Google Drive may use the wrong directory, that is partly update the directory in another installation of Windows. Google Drive then starts losing files or duplicating files and directories. This occurred with an older version of Google Drive probably as a consequence of copying the Google Drive contents to the other installation of Windows on the same PC.

Linux you can have as many on the hard disk as you wish.

  • If they all share one swap partition, which is the default, then obviously you can not put one into hibernation then start using another.

  • The only occasion when I put an OS into hibernation is when I am using my laptop and usually only Windows because it is slower. But doing that and then using Linux I need to take care not to use locked files or work on the Windows partition.

Putting Windows into hibernation and running Linux or vice versa is practical.

  • 32 bit Linux's are faster on lower spec. small DRAM PCs but 64 bit Linux's are required to run more programs because they are only available in 64-bit versions which are usually otherwise faster.

  • Partition maintenance can be done on one Linux by the other Linux as long as one of the Linux's is in a primary partition or another hard disk.

Having two or many Linux installations on the same computer seems safe. Many people do it. I may copy email .thunderbird profile and cloud to the other Linux to speed up synchronisation of data. This may not always speed up cloud file storage synchronisation though.

Although running ChkDsk from XP on a higher Windows installation may do harm by comparison Linux partition tools take more care to check compatibility so that an early version of a Linux tool won't harm a later but incompatible version of EXT4 partition.

It is also true of XP that some drivers were deleted subsequently from updates and some manufactures websites. XP is not just in End-of-life support but that support is being cut down. There is no upgrade option.

You can install Windows into an installed Windows partition deleting the Windows directory but keeping other directory's this is messy though and leaves previously installed program directories but they are not installed. Similarly some Linux installations have the option of reinstalling Linux retaining the home directory.

Driver Boost the free version finds missing drivers on Windows XP or higher; https://www.iobit.com/en/driver-booster.php Take care with this tool, it will update drivers to higher versions than that provided by Windows update and presumably tested with the operating system.

This type of tool can not update drivers if there is not internet connection such as no network port driver. I have used a USB wireless dongle to get a connection then Windows update probably will take care of getting the missing drivers.

You can update some Linux's from one version to the next without turning the computer off but carry on using it. Every task and the kernel is switched over or a warning dialogue appears.

  • Debian 8 to 9 worked fine but on the old computer I was using would only start with the old alternative kernel 3.16... rather than 4.9... The update is impressive you can hibernate - run programmes - I got one notification that the WiFi needed to be restarted although it carried on running but without the icon in the tray. The computer did not need to be restarted though. That was a Sony Vaio and the new kernel needed "noapic" to be added to the GRUB configuration file.

  • Mint cinnamon 18.2 to 18.3 update was quick and easy but do read up how first.

  • MX Linux does not support updating whilst running from MX 16.1 to MX 17. This is a desktop not a server Linux but there is no issue you can update and preserve your home folder.

    • This method tidies up lots of things but you have to reinstall software. But leaves clutter in the home directory.

    • Linux Home folder - contains email, web-browser settings, dropbox folder, downloads etc.

Windows runs much slower after installation and update. This varies with computers.

Windows takes a week to install then update. This varies with computers and is not entirely down to its spec.

Interesting to see a Windows 7 to 10 on a very low spec. PC runs a bit, misleadingly because you probably won't be able to increase memory or switch to an SSD instead of a hard disk to improve the performance a worthwhile amount.

Live CD Linux evaluation runs the same speed as a fully installed version. (but for whatever else has been installed and is running)

Linux only takes an hour then a few minutes to update.

Predictably a high-end Linux Distribution with one of the slower desktops on a very low spec. PC probably won't run.

Generally adding memory speeds up an operating system a lot particularly increasing from 1GB to 2GB to 4GB (64bit OS) of DDR.

Laptops overheat running Windows such as XP.

Eventually also occurs with Windows. It is difficult to disassemble most Laptops and in any case, I am advised that it may be necessary to separate the processor from its heat sink and apply more thermal grease. Thermal grease does not dry-out or age so be careful with this advice.

Also blowing into and using a vacuum cleaner the exit and other vents do work. This is effective but not always a longer-term solution.

Laptops overheat running Linux.

The cause is that the airflow has become blocked with dust. The solution is to disassemble the laptop and clean the air path using a vacuum cleaner where you can not reach.

Linux distributions vary the clock speed according to the processing power required. I have partly worked around the problem by not loading an accelerator driver in one case. But this is the wrong thing to do the laptop airways need cleaning.

Access to the fan and exit vent HP 6125 at first seemed impossible. But YouTube and an HP manual helped.

Turn the laptop over,

Unscrew the small screws under the battery enclosure, Unscrew two screws either side (there are many more screws it does no harm removing those),

Turn the laptop back with the screen laid flat open, Prize the panel up below the lid, Unscrew the screws holding the keypad.

You can now access enough to remove and clean with a vacuum cleaner. Note the heat pipe from the processor to the heat-exchanger.

This get to the inlet vent, was not enough and did not resolve the issue. A poor connection is may now be the significant issue.

Some laptops have a easy to clean filters.

A file that can't be deleted in Windows might be deletable from Linux. This can come about from copying Windows XP files to Windows 7 or higher for example. Once copied to the USB stick the file could not be deleted. Also uninstalling Mega-sync leaves an undeletable directory in Windows.

Linux sucks says Linus Torvalds in 2014

The comments Linus made would be relevant at the time not now necessarily!

Desktops - the user interface style.

These vary between distributions as well the version used varies between distributions.

  • Cinnamon If your PC's Graphics handles this desktop it can be fast and also full feature. Otherwise, it is very very slow if it needs to use software rendering (it calls it). I run Mate or Debian Cinnamon on a Samsung R50 and a slightly newer Toshiba of about 2006 with 2GB of DRAM - it runs video full screen smoothly. My much newer Windows 10 Toshiba is much faster but does not have the necessary graphics hardware but will perform comparably in this respect.

  • GNOME Is not like Windows but seems plain, simple, and different but it is a full feature. Click the application and you will see all your applications running as small windows press one of them to select it. This desktop requires a higher-performance PC.

  • KDE Is like Windows but also like all the other Linux's put together. This requires the highest-performance PC but the newer Plasma KDE does not require such a high-performance PC. Is good-looking with fading effects, a preview of tasks running. I found it to be too much a bit of everything so it can be a good start to see a bit of many desktops. I do not use this for long. This is a bit like Windows 10 can be all things to everyone but not a focussed single style. A newer version is Plasma and it maybe Mageia 6's fastest desktop (December 2017)

  • XFCE is like LXDE but looks a little different. A good basic established Desktop.

  • LXDE Is good for a lower specification PC or you want to run demanding applications or are just happy with a Windows 9x, 2000, XP-like style. It is fairly plain. LXDE is being replaced by LxQt which is lighter, faster, and plainer.

  • Mate Requires a moderate performance PC, Mint's implementation of Mate is popular. It is not so plain, but it is nice to use and it is straightforward with in addition to Xfce like application search has a comprehensive application search that will suggest applications you may wish to install or look up information about.

  • Unity This is a very plain straightforward and smart desktop and it is not like Windows. The 64-bit version requires a surprisingly lot of processing power but the 32-bit version is not so slow on a PC without a lot of memory is as Ubuntu says on its website. This is Ubuntu's own Desktop. It has the latest fastest Firefox making the web-browsing not so slow as otherwise would be expected. Ubuntu has returned to Gnome, but looks like Unity, as its main desktop distribution (April 2018) - Ubuntu and Unity have been a great flagship for Linux for not very technical people - I think Windows 10 has many GNOME/Unity features but in a cluttered way.

  • The relative speed and functionality also depend on the distribution. In addition, the stated minimum and desirable PC specifications may be overstated or understated depending on the Desktop and distribution chosen.

Linux Distributions and more detail

These are a few variants of Linux, called distributions, that I have evaluated in more detail;


  • Debian It was not so easy to install but it is much easier now and all variants are light plain and only loaded with good, complete and most useful features. This installer is not a live CD type and it may run on PCs that other installers can not run on. Since then (1/2017) I have installed Debian 7, Gnome which is a straightforward light, fast and different to Windows. I have also installed and like Cinnamon this has many features but maintains a nice plainness and probably is the most developed of Debian 8.7.x. KDE is probably well developed but I have not used this and Mate, XFCE and LDRE are very fast, well presented. (9.7 was the current version of Jan 2019).

    • Firefox ESR version is a more stable release a few websites do not support it (2020).

    • Full 4-5GB "1" USB/DVD installer has many more required dependencies included and works best I have found. This has a graphical (uses a mouse) or a non-graphical (does not require a mouse) installer they are similar but the latter is for lower spec. or older machines.

    • The net installer is useful for old PC's that can not boot large memory sticks. In one case installing the utility Plop on the hard disk was necessary in order to give the USB port a boot option that the bios did not have. The net installer will use a lot of bandwidth.

    • Most distributions that I discuss use the .deb (Debian) format for installable programs. That does not mean that all ??????.deb programs will install on Debian or another of those distributions. But I believe that if all the dependencies are satisfied a .deb can be installed on any distribution that has the gdebi installer installed on it. Note that with other installers on other distributions such as ?ubuntu you might find that a more limited repository version is installed instead.

    • Updating is not automatic and checking for updates is not automatic and there is no utility to find and get missing drivers. I have found an answer by asking on a Facebook group. The Debian website had .deb files to install the drivers I found were missing easily. You need to install gdebi if it is not installed see below on synaptic to do that.

    • Also, watch the messages that scroll up the screen as Linux starts up there may be more things that should be updated - in this case, these are part of the Linux Kernel. Note any missing drivers and use Synaptic to install those drivers.

      • For example on a few old PCs "r100_cp_init" or something like that message scrolled up the screen quickly. By searching in synaptic for "r100_cp" the display software/whatever was found in one of the non-free repositories.

    • To see a list of drivers you need to look up advice but for Wi-Fi, this is what to type at Terminal;

      • lspci

      • lspci | grep -i "wifi\|wireless" will tell you your Wi-Fi chip type.

    • To install a .deb driver or program on some desktops you may need to first install 'gdedi' which is the .deb installer. It is better to search synaptic repositories for those drivers but you need to include non-free repositories.

    • On one laptop LXDE WiCD Wi-Fi did not work but on another it did. In any case, other desktops XFCE is also fast and I found the Wireless worked easily after installing the recommended drivers. Similarly, GNOME was fine as well.

    • Then with Synaptic un-tick the install from CD then reload the repository and then mark packages to update you will probably find a lot that needs updating. These are to the desktop and applications loaded not drivers as I said. Also to repeat my point elsewhere check the Debian Wiki and if necessary add all the repositories if they are not already added for the release you are using. You can also include non-free repositories and exclude src (source files).


    • A new user is guided to the stable version. This is very stable although a little incomplete but will become the Long Term Stable version that will receive security updates for a few more years. There is a Testing version that will have many updates but I am told (I have not used it) is well tested and fairly stable and suits desktop users rather than server applications.

      • Debian can be upgraded to the next version. The user needs to follow the instructions which include whether an update can be done,

        • To update the installation and carry out any tests recommended, (recommended not essential)

        • Change the repositories to those for the next version and Apply.

        • The update will then occur at a slow enough rate that the PC's performance is not compromised. Everything will update and switch over to the new utilities, kernel, and drivers with virtually no user interventions. Debian 8 to 9 update the only issue was that although the wireless carried on working the icon disappeared and the message advises me to restart the wireless.

        • A user can walk their way through the lowest version to the current version of Debian 9 but you can go up to version 10.3 (April 2020) but it is a bit early for that yet you wait until the end of Debian 9 or 9 LTS. Debian can be walked through update one at a time 1 to 2 then 2 to 3, and so on, I understand.


    • All distribution grows in size There may be a GUI that deletes things say every 30 days but in Debian, these root terminal commands work well;

    • These tell you some information;

      • du -sh /var/log

      • du -sh /var/cache/

    • These commands give you back hard-disk space (I recovered about 200M and 1G respectively)

      • sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y && sudo apt autoremove -y

      • apt clean.

Easy way to install missing drivers in Debian;

  1. Note the missing drivers during installation or start-up.

  2. In synaptic package manager ensure that all non-free repositories are included.

  3. Type search each missing driver's name until synaptic finds it then mark and install it.

  4. For each driver restart the machine and note whether the warning message does not appear during startup.

An alternative better way to install missing drivers with Debian;

Instead of (3) above - Read the Debian Wiki but use Synaptic package manager search to find and mark then install the driver.

Not all start-up warnings or errors require software;

IBM 206M Server used as a desktop;

- BIOS gives a warning when a sound card is fitted but the Soundblaster card works fine. This error comes from the bios before the operating system has started.

- Linux Kernel gives a warning at startup about no ACIP with newer Linux Kernels this can be resolved by adding an option in the Grub configuration file. This occurs during the operating system boot but Linux runs okay despite the warning.

In the case of an old Sony Vaio Laptop;

- Linux Kernel gives an error at startup about no APIC with newer Linux Kernels this can be resolved by adding an option in the Grub configuration file "NOAPIC". This occurs during the operating system boot to Linux then the computer crashes.


  • Fedora (19 & 20) Free of charge version of Redhat a US company. It did not share with any other operating system when installing it and will damage any OS found. RedHat ceased making the distribution in its own name a number of years ago. I tried this in 2013 and tried again in October 2016 both XFCE and Gnome but had issues that I chose not to pursue further but they are fast.


  • Linux Lite The core is; Ubuntu. (Possibly New Zealand based). This did not recognise a SATA drive at the time I tried it but is fine, as of December 2017. This is not a particularity fast XFCE distro but it does support Dropbox.

  • Mageia XFCE - Is more technically orientated and also runs Dropbox properly. It is not particularly fast now but is well finished off compared to Fedora. Mageia uses the .rpm (Red Hat) format for installable programs.

      • Mageia is Paris, Europe-based. Shares particularly well with other operating systems. The best combination of the speed, quality of presentation, and functional. The installation is quite flexible but can also fail. The installation may also fix things without resorting to a re-installation.

      • The issue I mentioned was with changing partitions on a computer such as deleting them or removing a hard disk that in turn prevented the desktop starting. This happened during the life of version 4 but was resolved eventually in version 5 by that I had stopped using Mageia. Like all Linux's I found it shares particularly well with other operating systems.

      • Those earlier versions had been the best combination of speed, quality of presentation, and functionality. I briefly tried Mageia 6 (Dec 2017) and did not find it to be a fast OS compared to others anymore but Plasma may be the fastest offered. As before the classical installation is good and previously was best?

      • More recently the full installer does not install on a few of my computers as discussed before (Feb 2019).


Mageia 4 or higher

  • Unlike other Linux distributions, this distribution does not tolerate a partition of any sort being removed.

  • I do not know how Mageia 6 behaves but I think it may be better. Mageia 7 and 8 are fine, as of Jan 2022.

  • Manjaro (Xfce 0.8.9 & KDE 0.8.9) Based in Austria, France and Germany. (Its Kernel is; Arch Linux seems to be based in German, Canada and USA?). New and is not up to version 1 yet though the variant Xfce I tried briefly seems stable. Arch Linux claim almost absolute security. Does not share with any other operating system on the computer when installing it.

    • Uses the .arch (Arch) format for installable programs.

    • I looked at this again at Manjaro version 08.09.13-rc2 in June 2015 but found it to be less user friendly than others listed here and not faster than any. The advanced option does allow you to share multi-boot with other operating systems at installation.


  • openSUSE (13.1) (June 2015) - I have not run this distribution for a number of years it now is a pay-for enterprise version. It has been a subsidiary SUSE is based in Germany and Novel/Microsoft USA company. This is fast professional looking and a better implementation than most. SUSE recommend ImageUSB (June 2015) which is a good basic tool for creating an installer USB. At the time I evaluated it did not run that well other Linux's were better.

    • Uses the .rpm (Red Hat) format for installable programs.

    • I looked at the website there appears to be an open version again. A stepped releases or a rolling release version (4/2020). I did not get far into installation due to requirement issues but the installation is very attractive but many things are not conventional. The partition system could be converted to GPT which I have only seen Windows 10 installation offer.

  • Xubuntu 12.04, 13.10 and 14.04 is Ubuntu but with an Xfce desktop. The menu structure is uncluttered and well organised. Although some of the older versions work on older computers for example 12.04 is now out of support but still can be downloaded and installed and for example, Lubuntu 16.xx will run on a 15 year Compaq N1020V but the highest version will run on an older model N1015V is 14.xx.

    • Xubuntu - [and most likely any XFCE desktop] be careful with the save session option when turning the computer off. If you leave something running that needs authentication eg Gparted the desktop will not open after logging on next time. I repeatedly tried to turn on the PC and the desktop eventually started after a wait but without the last working session - in other words, it sorted itself. Here follows another suggestion;

      • Close all the applications you have running except the ones you would like to start up next time with such as email only.

      • Close the computer down with the save session option ticked.

      • Next time you close the computer down ensure that the save session option is not ticked.


  • Lubuntu there is an alternative installer that may run on older PC's. There is no such alternative for the other ?ubuntu's. Lubuntu 16.? (LXDE desktop) is not much different to Xubuntu in speed and is very much slower than Lubuntu 18.? (LxQt desktop). Neither version found a wireless driver automatically although it is in the non-free repositories.

    • I used the warning messages from Debian because Lubuntu gave no warnings about missing drivers. Consequently, I would not have easily known what was missing otherwise.

    • After updating from 16 to 18 many things stopped working during the process including the wireless so by comparison with Debian you could not carry on using the computer. The installation needed restarting at completion many things did not work or only worked when called from Terminal or required installation again. In conclusion, it is better to make a clean installation.

    • The LxQt version is now one of the fastest full feature desktops I've evaluated here.


    • The newer 20.? version of ?Ubuntu have fewer features to make the desktop look plain. Those features can be found or installed. Adding Gdebi and Synaptic are two useful additions that help you install and remove programs that are not in Snap.

      • Ctrl-H shows or hides hidden files and directories.

      • Creating a symbolic link requires looking up how on the internet. You find complicated answers or just right-click on the file or directory whilst holding SHIFT+CTRL and a menu will give create a symbolic link.

------------- Linux Distributions that are fast or will run on old computers -----------

Debian all the desktops but LXDE is the fastest I have evaluated. Lubuntu Alternative but this is one is competitively slow.

  • Puppy Linux - Legacy OS Is a very lightweight fast Linux that may run on a PC built-in 1990 or later. Tried Feb 2019 on a Sony Vaio PCG-GRT996ZP Laptop.

    • The Sony Vaio Laptop has an out of date bios but the computer. The PC does not appear to run any Linux Kernel high than 3.xx.xx although 4.xx.xx can function in some cases. That includes puppy Linux.

    • Xenial Pup - The wireless did not work because no wireless device was found.

    • Slacko Pup - wireless did work.

      • Although there is no login I could not access my work from another Linux because the likely directory was locked. So if the installation fails then your work might be locked to you compared to other distributions.

    • Tahr pup - I looked briefly but it did not get far starting.

There are other Linux's for very old PC's which are low spec. here is a link with some reviews and mentions; https://hubpages.com/technology/Best-Linux-For-Old-Computer


These seem to operate at a lower level and you do most things by text command with some a minimal GUI called open box with little more than a web browser and file manager. I have only looked at;

  • Bunsen Labs - I tried this in VirtualBox and scripts run through that installs things including XFCE and many common programmes but I could not find out how to run XFCE or anything after that. It may be okay installed on a PC rather than in a virtual machine but I did not pursue that further. (Dec 2017).

    • Version 5, 64 bit HP Laptop (April 2020). This Linux distribution is slower than MX but smaller. The desktop is plainer than XFCE or any other.

    • Took much longer than any other Linux to install and run a welcome script that installs many extras and some optional extras (all day). It would not install from a USB failing to find the USB stick during installation (this usually also occurs with Mageia) - I installed it from a DVD.

    • When installed there was notably no warning messages during start-up. The desktop is very minimal with very few GUI's and very minimal menu options found by pressing the Windows key. Most programs are found by pressing ALT-F3 and typing into the command search line.


  • Lubuntu 18.x is a fast LxQt desktop but Lubuntu 16.x is one of the slower implementations of LXDE desktop. Described above.


  • MX Linux - Is fast, light and full feature (Jan 2018). Slower than Debian but is more complete and works in Virtual Box. This distribution will update to the next version when that version becomes stable but some aspects will need to be updated manually such as the kernel.

    • MX has many utilities to change boot GRUB, GPARTED pre-installed. It does find hardware and deal with loading all the drivers automatically.

    • MX has boot repair and configuring tools be careful of them I found they are not as good as Ubuntu repair USB although the MX live CD may run on some computers that the Ubuntu boot repair USB won't run on.

    • MX also has comprehensive clean up tools that delete old files for example. Other distributions have similar tools or scheduled clean up options.

    • Compared to AntiX this distribution is more finished off but if installed in Virtual Box does seem to fail at startup so I reinstalled it a few times. The laptop pointing device is over sensitive and is set to single click making it over sensitive so untended things happen but using a mouse is better.


  • AntiX Linux - similar to MX Linux but with LXDE, has very lightweight features, very fast and application FireFox-ESR (Jan 2018). This can be difficult to install on some computers. It is untidy and unfinished by comparison with its sister MX.

The Feature of Metamorphosis and Anti Linux above is that they don't use SystemD - because, they say, it is controversial. All three above Distro's use Open Box window manager - I did not know what this is but it is fast. Open Box is said to be very fast and seems to be like a very minimal themed screen (a picture and a toolbar) but you mostly drive it with text terminal commands, scripts plus File and Firefox mouse-driven GUI.

  • By comparison, Debian and specifically LXDE are about the fastest and most well finished off of these but I have categorised it not as a lightweight. See above.


  • Peppermint Linux (I was recommended this in Feb 2017 - it is exceptionally slow for LDRE but is good in many other ways) - This is a full feature LDRE all things work well (including Dropbox which had been difficult 2016 to March 2017) But the cost is that it is very slow. Personally, I find the colour themes harsh - too intense.

Distributions

Some if not all distributions do not install all drivers for the hardware and networking but invariably somewhere there is a way of scanning and adding those things or in some cases like Debian you need to read the support on the website. With Debian therefore more than other distributions you need to get then add drivers from the non-free repository usually. The drivers and setup are probably in the repository and using those usually turn out best.

I have been corrected; openSUSE and Mageia are not Redhat (Fedora) based. I should say that in all cases above these distributions don't behave as stand-alone or tangents of other things but are tightly controlled for compatibility and interchangeability. So that if you want an Epson driver for a scanner or printer you can get a generic one from the source of your distribution or you can get the driver directly from Epson but in that case fortunately you should find that if your distribution uses the .deb (Debian) or .rpm (Redhat) formats. There is also a raw .bin format in the same case (such as Dropbox) I have not used this. That does not mean the distribution will permit you to use that Epson driver but if it does I found the Epson driver worked well. (I am also told printer drivers can be very difficult and it suggest I write about that) Setting up printers seem to use an established UNIX configuration and drivers But there are not the one-step fix it things that Windows is often better at. Epson does not appear to have ArchLinux based drivers though, And I read of other Linux's such as o pen-PC that they were at one time a fork of another kernel such as Debian in this case but the Kernel is now open-PC so I don't know how easy they are to set up.

Legacy BIOS v UEFI

PC's BIOS;

  • MBR type hard disk partitions and "legacy" BIOS are straightforward to install to.

  • UEFI type partitions and Secure Boot should be straightforward - just turn off the security and run the installation. This should be fine - I have chosen to not turn the security on after completing the installation.

    • On a Toshiba laptop turning off the boot security was found in a setting in Windows 10, Update/Security - recover.

    • On a Lenovo M71e, this failed but in any case, this PC does not work well in UEFI secure boot. - The settings were found in the Boot configuration (ENTER or F1 at startup) and were all set turned off.

      • The security can't be turned off, so you can only install or repair Windows 10

      • With the most up-to-date bios flashed the power switch does not turn the power off if UEFI is configured.

      • This particular PC is said to and does work properly with MBR type partitions. That is the power switch works and Linux and should work with Windows or any OS that can be installed on the computer.

        • Set the bios SATA drive to IDE instead of ATA, Lubuntu 18.04, 64 bit could install and you can make MBR partitions for Windows using Gparted.

        • Windows 10, 19xx installation converts the filing system to GPT if there is space and will not install to an MBR partition on this computer. Windows 7 will install on BIOS 64 bit PCs and upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 to work in BIOS 64 bit PCs.

        • Work-around; Clone Windows 10 from another PC that does not support UEFI boot.

          • To multi-boot with Linux, Windows 7 and Windows 10; clone the Windows 10 boot loader and the operating systems then run Linux Boot repair USB. Finally, run Windows 10 or Windows 7 boot install or repair CD to restore all the boot options. Windows can be fixed to start from Windows 7 bootloader more easily but try Windows 10 boot loader fix first.

            • Placing the two boot-loaders Windows 7 and 10 on one hard disk and moving the boot flag, using GParted failed, Windows only works with one bootloader on a hard disk. Using either the Windows 7 or 10 boot repair disk to give you a choice of any of the Windows on that HDD.

            • The MBR partition table looks like; Primary [Windows 10 bootloader, Windows 10, Debian], Extended [Debian Swap, Windows 7 Bootloader (removed), Windows 7, Lubuntu, Lubuntu Swap].

            • Windows 7 or higher probably update, changes the bootloader in the lowest physical HDD number on the computer regardless of the number of the one booted from by the bios. If there is a disparity Windows will continually fail to complete updates.

            • Note that although you appear to have a Windows 7 boot system when Windows 10 carries out a major update the boot system will return to Windows 10 type. Unfortunately therefore if one of the operating systems is carrying out an update you can not put that aside by putting the PC into hibernation, re-boot and run the other Windows but you can run Linux. Fortunately, major updates do not attempt to reconfigure the bios settings and the partitions were not converted to GPT type either.

There are many reports and comments that modern PCs have flaws in the Secure Boot not being implemented properly. It is not a new thing for PCs to be flawed so they do not comply with the open architecture standard (any OS) set by IBM.

Windows Boot Repair

Having one Windows 7 or higher boot-loaders on each hard disk can work but is not as useful as it might seem. To implement two or more bootloaders first complete all updates in Windows 7 before connecting other hard disks seems to work though. Use Linux Boot repair to set the boot flag to the first and only boot-loader on the HDD, then use Windows boot repair. This can be set up with one HDD and the other HDD's disconnected but you may find this does or does not work out.

Windows 7 disk can repair a Windows 7 or 10 startup but a Windows 10 disk may not be able to repair anything. They can fail with little or no useful information. An older Windows 10 installation disk is more flexible and likely to fix an installation start-up than a newer version of Windows 10.

Windows repair or installation disk is required if the start of the Windows 7 or higher partition is moved. It is more difficult to move Windows XP or lower. But no such issues arise with Linux.

Restoring Windows only system

Removing Linux and the Grub bootloader

  • Remove all Linux partitions,

  • Restore the Windows bootloader.

Debian may have and Mageia installers have a tool for restoring the Windows-only Boot. Ubuntu Boot repair USB will also restore Windows boot automatically and you can use Gparted to remove Linux partitions and resize Windows partitions.

Note that Windows 7 or higher repair or install disk usually will not add XP to the boot list only Grub will do that if you wish to multi-boot including XP.

  • The boot partition must not be compressed in Windows 7 or higher because the computer will not boot. Otherwise, compression also speeds up disk operations.

  • The exception is if Windows XP is already installed then installing Windows 7 or other alongside may add both Windows to the Windows boot list but in that case Windows XP includes the bootloader and must not be a compressed drive.

-------------------------------------------

After Installation

Debian and Mageia Installations

Both Linux's are quite different but both can repair grub boot-loader without your need to re-install the Linux. They may do that repair when Boot-repair-disk fails to do that.

Mageia installer also has a tool for restoring the Windows only Boot. Boot repair USB can also restore Windows boot.

It is more convenient to Disable the install from CD-path from update libraries. With Mageia, you then need to press Add, which starts an automatic process that sets up update libraries for you.

Additionally, Debian look at the website at the repository's necessary and add those including the non-free repository. Look at an existing repository to see how the advice in the Debian Wiki is applied the single line URL is really entered as; URL space DISTRIBUTION space ALL-ELSE these are entered in the three boxes. After I did there was a duplication but I have left it that way it works and I will ask again about that in a Linux forum or Facebook group.

How to speed up Ubuntu and other Debian or Ubuntu-based distributions

I had noticed lots of disc activity which turned out to be because the swap partition had not been set up. The swap space makes the computer run faster. If you install more than one Linux you only need one swap partition so you can delete other swap partitions and re-size the remaining partitions. Doing this you will find that the swap partition needs to be enabled.

See Ubuntu help at;

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SwapFaq#How_do_I_add_more_swap.3F

You don't need to use Terminal to launch GParted. But you may need to install GParted and a few other things first then launch GParted. It is also useful to turn the swapon at this point to make the computer go faster whilst you follow the other steps that will permanently enable the swap partition.

You may find that your particular distribution does not have all the things and these needed to be installed which are in addition;

  • ?Ubuntu used to offer "gksu" or "sudo" are not required with Debian. The terminal command is;

    • In Debian "su" allows you to log into the route terminal instead. Alternatively, you can open the route terminal in Debian then you do not require a leading command. This is not permitted in any Ubuntu.

    • In ?Ubuntu "sudo" is put in front of the command required and the user enters his route password in order to proceed with the command. Apparently gksu configures the graphical interface before also logging into route for the following command.

  • gedit ---- This also needed to be installed. There was no warning but nothing happened when I entered the command line. Use the Ubuntu Software Centre and install gedit, ---- Alternatively use "nano" instead of "gedit".

Use the root terminal or type "su" and log in to the root from Terminal.

In addition, the recommended changes to swappiness value to 10 is beneficial.

When installing one of the Ubuntu's you don't need an internet connection but a wired connection even if you chose to not install the updates at the time of installation is a safer option.

By comparison, Mageia does not need an internet connection at the time of installation but you still need an internet connection and it needs to be a wire connection to allow updating.

Ubuntu community forum for help is particularly useful for Ubuntu-based distributions. You find some general help will be useful for any Debian based distribution. But don't count on finding help on any Linux distribution unless the question and answer are very general.

Surveillance and security;

We are, of course, not immune from government surveillance I red, possibly in the 1980s, about surveillance being required to be built into large digital Integrated Circuits. But it is said of Linux, "that it is not US-based but a community-driven project which has no base in a certain country". The Linux Kernel is governed by the Linux Foundation which is US-based but the key thing is that it is open source and that there is nothing hidden inside it, the tools that create it can also be Linux and open to scrutiny (that is if it is compiled from source code not linked from object code).

Installation options

Most Linux desktop providers provide Live CDs, these allow you to try that Linux without committing to installing it on your PC. Some also provide Persistence, if you use a memory stick. Persistence allows you to set up and retain a limited amount of things (settings Installations) after shutting down so that you can continue evaluating them another time. Another option is to run distribution in a virtual machine running on Windows or Linux but the PC needs to be fast to do this. I do not recommend these options, once you have tried a distribution with or without setting any persistence and it looks okay you may as well install it.

Here are some tools for creating a live CD USB memory stick with persistence;

http://www.linuxliveusb.com/

http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ (this has been superseded by http://www.pendrivelinux.com/) be careful with these universal tools they provide more features but do not work with all distributions. You may find that some distributions of Linux don't work for you in any case. Many distributions of Linux don't display properly during installation OpenSUSE, Linux Lite, Manjaro and Fedora notably did and they installed well.

The straight no features USB creation tools such as;

openSUSE ImageWriter is most likely to work. Many of these tools are unable or don't always prepare a previously used USB stick such as by erasing or format satisfactory first. When you have Linux running you can somewhat recover a memory stick with tools provided within Linux.

Rufus works in Windows and does restore a USB stick quite well, I do not use the persistence option with this tool. This seems to be the best Windows tool, is recommended by Mageia and it is particularly good at recovering a badly formatted memory stick that can make it DOS bootable or an iso image on the memory stick for you. Version 1.x.x can create DOS or DrDOS boot but this feature and other things have been dropped from version 2.x.x (June 2015). This does not create persistence but produces a standard form bootable USB (4/2020).

Linux Distributions usually can be run from a memory stick. Ubuntu and distributions based on it such as Mint work for example but they will all ware-out a memory stick particularity if a swap is configured. Another Debian based distro, Linux Lite, for example, works well on a memory stick and the file manager gives you root user access to a directory if you require that allowing copying and creating a backup another Linux for example.

Ubuntu and Mint installations are plain and straightforward you can then copy and past a partition so thereby clone a distribution. The cloned distribution will not boot though and the ways to make it boot is to also have Mageia installed and use the boot repair tool, to add another distribution or use the Boot repair disk.

USING CHEAP MEMORY STICKS;

  • Some need to be re-formatted exFAT in order to work to full capacity. This format is optimised for memory sticks.

  • Some are not fully USB compliant and do not work with USB 1.1.

  • Some are very slow and will freeze unless you limit it to writing to one file at a time. That is just run one instance of copy to the memory stick. That is with a number of 64GB memory sticks.

  • Limiting the operating system to just writing one file at a time seems to work with Linux but not Windows. I found Windows useful for checking the exFAT filing system but Linux for writing the data to be saved in the case of a 128GB Verbatim memory stick.

  • Many have short endurance, particularly to being reformatted when writing a .iso a number of times. The capacity does not reduce progressively as you might expect but it fails suddenly.

Windows 10 ChkDsk will often recover or repair a USB stick. Windows 7 is not so good and XP is poorer at repairing a USB stick.

Manjaro's Xfce desktop;- The Beta Graphical installation tool is smooth, easy and the one that works. Manjaro is well implemented but it is a bit more technical orientated OS I chose not to pursue this far other than to create a maintenance tool installed on a memory stick. It is not the fastest lightweight but it is fast. I preferred Linux Lite or Xubuntu (long term support version). Uniquely Manjaro displays the text prologue and epilogue scripts rather than a graphical picture so presumably it does not use the problematic Plymouth. Consequently, the display did not go bazerk but on the other hand setting up a printer did not work because it did not offer my computer's parallel port to me. I found the style plain and a bit harder to get around. KDE live USB did not work for me. This distribution gave me no hassle about looking at partitions including system partitions and was the best in that respect. Of all of those I tried was the one that installs and goes properly.

Some of these distributions somewhat recognised a new printer plugged in then searched for drivers though this feature was not anything like as good as Windows not surprisingly because other than for Epson most manufacturers only provide Windows drivers so the generic drivers you use you may have a choice of more than one so you may need to see which works best. Epson and some others provide Linux drivers for newer printers and scanners that use the .deb (Debian) or .rpm (Redhat) formats. The Printer has changed since I wrote this and these older drivers needed for older printers may not be so easily obtained (April 2020).

------------------------------------------------

Reinstalling an old version of Windows from any service pack CD version.

The reasons for running Windows, as well as Linux, is;

  • To continue using the utilities and programmes that you are used to that only run on Windows.

  • Take care it is possible to copy files with names that use characters that are illegal to the other operating system. It is also possible to strip permissions from files when copying files between say Linux and Windows filing systems.

  • Warning; It is best to not use old operating systems for web browsing you will be disappointed many websites will not work properly because the browser is out of date. Aside from that, there is an increased risk of the computer being infected by computer viruses. I discuss elsewhere how to extend the useful life of an out of support version of Linux.

  • Keep a compressed copy of your Linux .thunderbird folder (dot thunderbird), for example, on a Windows partition backup directory in case you have to reinstall Linux. Zipping a directory on one format partition to another say Windows formatted partitions is important because Windows format partitions do not support all Linux features. So that if you required the back up it may not work when copied back to where it is required. Microsoft FAT does not support all the permissions status that NTFS does and they are different again to the Linux EXT format which also supports Symbolic links. exFAT does not support run and many things but are efficient on a memory stick. Note newer versions of Windows higher than XP handle another form of symbolic link made using a command "mklink" these can be created in a Windows administrator command window. [cmd - click run command in administrator]

  • On the other hand, the virus that circulates the web does get removed from web servers. Web browsing with an old operating system is not a high risk provided you take care, as you should anyway.

Windows 2000 - I believe you need to do the following;

- The upgrade to the highest service patch (SP4 with all the patches) then apply it, full off-line update. Update Internet Explorer to the highest Win2000 permits which is; IE6 must be the full off-line installation (this does not seem to be possible now). Then allow Windows update to automatically apply security fixes and updates (this also does not seem to be possible now - although the Microsoft website says this is possible in July 2016). There may be other things such as installing DirectX 9 you need to add? You will find that the highest version of Firefox is 11 that will run on Windows 2000, this is not very suitable for web browsing.

  • Avast virus scanner may work on older versions of Windows But ensure that the virus scanner is still in support and provided with security updates.

  • Windows 2000 is faster than any of the other operating systems discussed here except for DOS. I have not compared it to puppy Linux though?

Windows XP - became end-of-life in 2014 but can not be activated as of autumn 2021 and will now only run for a month after installation. Prior to this time;

  • You needed to have download the off-line upgrade to service patch 3 (SP3 could not be updated automatically during the end-of-life period).

  • For the 64 bit version, the highest Service pack was 2 there a two to choose from and the slightly more recent larger one on the Microsoft website is the correct one, I found.

  • I also found that the minimum version is XP, SP 1a then it can be updated to XP, SP3.

  • You need to have completed Windows automatic updates before autumn 2021.

Microsoft Essentials (virus scanner - continued updating in June 2017. Microsoft malicious virus removal tool also stopped being updated. There may be others virus scanners that support XP that you pay or are free that still support XP. - alternatively don't web-browser or use a Linux or other Proxy-server with virus protection (I am advised and observe that companies have been doing this for years rather than patch XP and run virus protection on XP that would slow it down severely when running mechanical CAD particularly).

Install the highest version of Java 7.75, which needed to be done manually. Java 8.121 was the highest version that ran on XP up to the release of about January 2017 at least and continued to update till Jan 2019.

  • Updating will run for days requesting reset periodically. You can add them all but XP will grow to 15GB and many non-critical updates and additions are not helpful some add ons are very beneficial so add all the ones called; Windows XP Update. I would not bother with Bing or Windows Live Essentials add ons although some parts may be useful.

  • Live Essentials has failed to install for the past year as of Jan 2019. Recently hardware driver updates appear to have stopped. (A wireless hardware update for Samsung R50 has been removed so that does not occur).

NOTE; Licensing and Activation - XP will be running easily within a day or you mix installing trying and updating for up to 30 days but the sweet period where a user can use XP without being bothered by changes ended during 2021. that was 7 years of end-of-life support. By comparison, Windows 7 is now in that sweet period where a user is not bothered by changes that may continue indefinitely although there will be a point where you will cease to get security updates and also cease to be able fresh install and expect the updates to be carried out.

Windows 7, SP1 or higher - Does not stop working but may start nagging for authentication or activation. Windows 7 or higher may therefore continue to run without a periodic authentication to arise even beyond its end-of-life period? In a similar way as Windows NT or earlier continues to run perhaps?

Repair and Tools

Open source revolution (new name for a very old idea) - has spread out of software, perhaps since the fall of the former Soviet Union the idea that mutual benefit rather than self-interest brutal in tooth and claw (Victorian values or Neo-Darwinism) works better. See; The Guardian Open-source-revolution-conquer-one-percent-cia-spy

Optional Tools that I have ready in order to prepare for trying Linux with least risk;

    • A tool for removing grub is not necessary but leaves the PC tidy if you completely remove Linux. Boot repair tool can do all these things.

    • http://www.plop.at/en/bootmanagers.html - Invaluable tool put it on a floppy disk (using; Raw-Write-Win) to boot a USB stick it may also let you Boot from any partition found. I found it necessary to eject the floppy disk soon after the Linux booted with Mageia (and Xubuntu) because installation would fowl up just after the installation created partitions but in any case ejecting the floppy disk is a good strategy.

    • Seagate (Maxtor, Weston Digital etc) Hard disk maintenance software - I did not need this. I found these tools invaluable if a hard disk boot file (MBR) becomes corrupted which happened when I had a bad motherboard. The disk appeared to become faulty and an internal flag (SMART) became set to warn that it was failing. This flag cleared automatically after the bad sectors began to be marked so that bad sector arose less and less often, then not at all automatically by Linux. These tools don't seem to be available now though but PartedMagic (mentioned above) does have a disk erase utility that will erase the MBR it has Gparted (with the Gpart add on) can then be used to restore the MBR and data that a new clean MBR is created.

Partition changing; (April 2017)

  • You can clone Linux's quite easily (but it is better to move it so that the one you do not want is deleted - they can conflict but I think such issues have been overcome now and I have not observed the issue for many years [4/2020])

  • Windows does not tolerate cloning by comparison well. But may work if the Windows XP or lower is cloned is put on the same computer and the same partition place on the disk.

    • That is if Windows XP was installed as the first partition then the copy must be placed in the first partition. Then use Linux to sort the boot.

    • Windows 7 or higher will need to run a repair disk in advanced mode you may also need to read what to do from the web.

    • Windows 10, 1607 or lower does not tolerate the partition cloned from a primary to an extended partition but the more recent updates of Windows 10 does.

  • Windows XP or high (but probably not lower, eg Windows 98) can be moved to a different drive number. You will observe that the drive letter of the Windows that is not running will change (A, B, C etc are logic names not the physical names. The physical names are 0, 1, 2 etc depending on the cable and jumper connection of the drive).

  • I think, from my memory, the Windows version of 98/2000 or lower can be moved to another machine quite easily but they need to load the drivers they need from the installation CD. Quite often people used to copy the installation CD onto the Hard disk so that drivers for new hardware/printers etc could be handled more easily.

I trialled Windows 8 in April 2017 but found that inserting Windows XP drive then using Linux tools use GRUB to multi-OS boot worked okay. BUT Windows 8 disk maintenance tools have corrupted Windows XP and itself Windows 8. I tested this again and the corruption which I think my be to change the permissions of very many files happened again. The corruption of Windows has not occurred with Windows 7 (May - September 2017)

Multi-boot with Windows XP and Windows 7 + Linux Distribution on the same hard disk;

  • The two Windows XP installations must be installed on different partition numbers so if Windows was installed on the first partition it must remain on the first partition and the required other Windows be installed to another partition say the second and third partitions.

  • After first installing or deciding to use an existing Windows installation, then use Boot repair USB, live CD's etc Gparted tool to turn off the Boot flag on the existing/first Windows installation. You can use Gparted to reduce the Windows partition size but restart Windows and run ChKDsk after doing and manipulating a Windows partition.

  • Install the second Windows, check that it runs and run ChkDsk.

  • Install the Linux Distro of your choice. You will end up with your multi-boot computer once the Linux Distro is installed.

  • With Windows keep running ChkDsk periodically particularly after any major file additions and updates. (Windows 10 partly takes care of this for you)

  • Also, you can compress the drive for more speed and space - do this early in the installation stage before you have a lot of data on the drive.

    • Additionally, run the Windows defragmenter periodically.

If you install the two Windows but without turning off the boot flag before installing the second Windows then;

- if they are the same (say XP) only one of the installations will have the key system files (COMMAND.COM, AUTOEXECUTE, BOOT.INI etc) so it will run but if you deleted this Windows partition the one left won't boot.

- If they are different versions of only one will boot. Windows Repair disk can only make it only the other booted OS instead. The Windows repair disk for Win 7 or higher make fix the problem but you probably will need to look up the web to fix it?

Where Windows 10 was updated from an installation of Windows 7 and both were installed on different hard disks on the same PC; Take don't copy a Cloud drive to another installation of Windows this will not synchronise more quickly with Dropbox or Google Drive. In one case Google Drive used the wrong directory, that is it partly updates the directory in another installation of Windows instead. Google Drive then starts losing files or duplicating files and directories. Otherwise, I have not observed this problem with Google-drive or any other program but it could happen with any profile copied?

Multiboot;- example grub menu (Grand Unified Linux Bootloader).

Windows 10 and Debian on the first disk.

Windows 7 and Lubuntu on the second disk.

  • Install and update all operating systems with the second hard-disk fitted.

  • Disconnect the second hard disk, Connect the first disk and install and update Windows.

  • Connect both hard disks, install and update Linux to the first disk.

The boot menu should list at least all the possible operating systems whether one or both hard disks are fitted;

Note; cable swap if you launch the wrong Windows loader from the grub menu don't let it repair.

You should not need to use Linux boot repair USB.

Is your hard-disk as full to bursting as this old tinned fruit. The can from the back of a cupboard's content is old bad and under pressure.

Corrupt disk partition

I have a laptop with problems so that the power fails very often.

  • In general, Linux just sorts the disk errors on the next start-up in 30 seconds or so.

  • Any Windows including 10 can be busy for an hour when the PC is next turned on.

Eventually, this will require the OS to be re-installed. This might be after a daily failure for a month or two with Debian or Xubuntu. In this case, the hard disk is past any usefulness.

In conclusion Windows NTFS, Linux EXT4 and other formats are all quite robust. In addition, hard disks are also robust. With S.M.A.R.T enabled you can see the condition of a hard disk.

When a hard disk is failing usually the error and repair rates are too high for the normal correction systems to take care of the data reliably. I have observed a hard disk take care of itself and become very reliable once the hard disk's firmware has dealt with the bad areas of the HDD. This is unusual most HDD's just get worse and might be due to bearing wear but I guess if it is bad areas of the disk platter are being avoided then the HDD will surely become better than it was new? I have resolved issues by creating new partitions then seen the HDD work reliably for years but to repeat the point this is uncommon.

Windows and the partition boot flag (Jan2019)

To emphasise the point; If you are installing or using a repair disk ensure that the boot flag is set on the Windows start-up partition for the Windows you are repairing or installing.

By comparison, Linux does not fuss about if or where partition boot flags are set.

Grub to select and boot the selected OS exist partly in the MBR and does not use the partition boot flags.

Startup and Hard-disk partition tools - Linux mostly but many are generally useful

  • Parted-Magic This is one of a number of maintenance tools that are complete and use a very lightweight desktop. Parted-Magic has many backup and repair tools although this distribution does not have a boot sector repair tool. I also did not find out how CloneZiller works the wording of instructions is unclear although the tool is well regarded and looks robust. [There is a paid-for version which I have not tried] - I did not find this tool more useful than using say a Xubuntu USB trial and install which has Gparted included.

If you are going to resize a Windows partition use the Microsoft disk management tools if your version of Windows has them. Microsoft apparently does not publish all the details on NTFS so you would expect Microsoft tools will be faster and safer but the Linux tools are very safe and also a lot more careful about what they do. Linux Gpart and Gparted is a very plain straightforward GUI to use and the user is very unlikely to make a mistake defining what they want to change, copy or create in their cue of partition jobs you want doing and the tool will just get on with it - it will stop gracefully on an error or by command. But if you want to work on the Linux and Windows partition Paragon 14 or 16 for Windows is also good and there is a free version. A good additional step is to set Windows to check and repair the partitions on the next startup - then use Linux Gparted - finally when Windows is next booted the partition will be fixed and Windows should start without issue. All partition managing tools carry risks with them.

  • Disks (GUI for Linux) - also does partition editing is safe and quick but frightening leaves you with what appears to be the whole extended partitions deleted but they are fine. Restart Linux and run Disks and you will see that only what you intend occurred nothing bad has happened.

    • This tool is best used to set the HDD such as speed, sleep modes and examine S.M.A.R.T.

  • Gpart & Gparted - is slower than Disks but you can be confident about what it is going to do. I found that the Gpart added to the tool does not recover partitions discarded by Windows tools inadvertently.

  • Paragon and EaseUS Partition tool for Windows; These are useful tools that run on Windows and allow you to resize delete, copy Windows and Linux partitions. Linux tool Gparted is also very good and importantly clear.

    • Gparted comes with many Live CD installations, Partition Magic and usefully Boot Repair USB.


  • Ubuntu Boot Repair disk - This is a very useful tool that does restore boot well. The tool fixes GRUB boot so that the disk can be booted and it also has GParted and some other utilities. It is best installed on a USB stick and fits comfortably on a 1GB stick. As long as you have not encrypted your profile you may be able to read your home directory but not recover files depending on how permissions are set. Therefore file browser is possible. You do need the 64-bit version for a 64-bit machine and the 32-bit version for a 32-bit machine

Quick Grub repair using Grub commands

If Boot Repair USB does not sort the boot loading, which it usually does sort, then there may be a utility on your Linux installation USB to fix it? Selecting a variant of Linux the computer Desktop (Graphical User Interface) you select;

      • Note that some PC's won't start up with some installer or utility USB sticks in that case try;

      • Ubuntu other ?ubuntu's distributions also have advanced options at boot time one of those will update the bootloader with other operating systems such as if you were to fit another hard disk and then, therefore, add another operating system to the GRUB boot list.

      • MX Linux distribution installer has boot repair and partition editing tools.

      • Debian Linux distribution installer has some boot repair and partition editing tools.

I got very stuck with restoring Windows 7 boot. XP can be fiddly but I have always sorted it in the end if it is possible. So here are some tips (I have not tried them) https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/grub If you ask on a Windows discussion group you may be recommended to EasyBCD (BCD is not a format GRUB or Linux recognises, as of Jan 2018) it is different not better than GRUB and I would not recommend that tool. If you are having problems with Boot Repair or the Linux installation USB probably will fix it - if one does not the other may.

It is better to install Windows carry out update to a "higher" Windows before installing any Linux;

  • Often there will be no problem with installing Windows second or last as long as you have space available for Windows to make partitions or you can make a Windows partition and select that for installation. I have only ever done this with Linux installed as it would be normally at the far end of the hard disk. Therefore because I wanted to re-install Windows.

  • But Windows 10 creates a new partition boot allocation system called BCD. This can make the Linux partition disappear or be deleted (amounts to the same) from GRUB and Linux. This problem may not happen but I have seen occur.

  • EasyBCD and booting from the Windows Boot loader probably won't help as it requires a part of GRUB within the Linux to be configured. I am advised that EasyBCD will work though, such is the nature of advice on various forums the people advising may not have tried what they recommend in your situation or they managed eventually but not easily.

Gparted for Linux

  • This is a very good partitioning tool but can mess up Windows partitions. You may be able to fix this situation by running Windows check disk with the fix and thorough options set. You may need to do this a few times. Then Gparted checks this may sort it. The common problem is the reported size is smaller than the partition size.

  • Unlike Linux which is open, Microsoft doesn't let anyone know how Windows works but they provide tools like ChkDsk, Malicious virus removal tool, and many special wizards at no cost that can be run in order to fix or change things. Consequently, Linux Gparted or Paragon for Windows can not carry out a repair fully but must use the Microsoft tool.

  • Gparted works more reliably if auto mounting and auto file exploring options are turned off in the desktop. This is because whilst Gparted is working on a partition towards the completion of the operation Linux may mount the partition before Gparted is ready.

  • Power interruption is particularly unlikely to be recoverable if Gparted is working on a Windows partition. But this is also true of Paragon a very good and similar Windows tool - this may be partly because these tools can't repair a Windows partition such as NTFS because Microsoft does not share the technical detail of much of the operating system; You have to have a running Windows to run ChkDsk for example (this is a sort of catch 22 if Windows will not start - but a Windows installation disk may sort such cases - I observed in June 2015 using an XP installation CD.

  • Gparted is well-reviewed with good reason it is particularly clear what it is going to do and then what the outcome was. It does what it does well.

GPART - For finding deleted partitions and restoring them (add-on for Gparted) - I have not seen this tool work. I have tried restoring a partition (Gpart add on to GPARTED) after the Windows Installation disk has deleted a partition unsuccessfully.

Operating systems improve;

Linux improves so that warnings I have made may not apply now.

Windows versions tend to cycle from bad to good to bad again. Some parts improve though the operating system always gets slower and cluttered with incovenient features.

Normal conversation, people share false as well as truths and in turn, the false is naturally corrected by experience and trusted friends. On the other hand, people often say the NHS and Social Services don't take back disability equipment lent but they do, clean, check it and re-lend it out again. It is a complicated task which mind is well developed to sort out or to deceive. The nature of society means that lies are known but the likely explanation is kept clouded, words chosen to mislead and avoid giving straight answers. The use of phrases such as "fake news" to discourage theorising and prevent discussion.

A style of people to say maybe or may not be or is or is not does not mean one is more true than the other, you need to judge the statement against real things. Surveillance which there is a lot of capacity for is not necessarily carried out but it can be used as means of control or cause scepticism about the costs spent on it. Caring ways need to be cultivated for things to become improve universally.

The drawback with listening only, such as that occurs watching TV and receiving training is that you are not using your mind to discriminate and learning how to do that well. That is the problem with TV and radio, they tell you what people think you don't learn how to judge for yourself, or hear it first-hand. This surely makes people very manipulatable and annoyed. Company control of what people do seems to be more the modern way this can be heavy handed but seem lite and transparent when people become used too it. Such as the shock of the Vietnam war when TV showed film that people had not seen before have now become used to and accepting. Social media can be good at enabling discussion although it is managed but the management is usually criticised depending on the groups effected, Adverts on FaceBook of people in church spontaneously getting up and dancing joyfully, promoting a product suddenly blocked whilst watching them at the time of a Royal wedding in early 2010's, was apprent but such cause sensorship has not been apparent since?

They watch and can control your computer; I am told that Microsoft can lock out a Windows computer with NTFS format disks, remotely. I expect that their would be a way of locking a Linux user out of a Linux computer it is surely only necessary for an insider to have something update from within the Linux organisation and that update ripple through to all users unknowingly, I think there is little or none of this. Whistle blowers usually disappear without trace unless they are supporting something that a significant established interest want changed. You will come across conflicting commercial licensing with Linux so I remain sceptical but I like Linux all the same. DropBox which is a good cloud file sharing tool can be found within many Linux safe repository's but that is only the installer and run environment called nautilus so Linux developers do not see Dropbox and with care Dropbox probably does not and can not interfere with Linux. Nautilus Dropbox when started then gets the Dropbox application if necessary directly by secure connection from the manufacturer.

The system vulnerability is mostly down to what the user does.

There has been a surveillance processor placed in large digital integrated circuits by US law since the mid 1980s but I do not know how useful this is because enough information passes about most people via electronic interconnection. In any case IC's are mostly not made in the USA or its close partners so much now. A big part of the control of people is that such so called secrets are not really hidden and you can find out the version of the section silicon currently used. That is you are meant to know you are being watched and so that more people conform.

Reliability and support;

There is no need to explicitly pay even a peppercorn for Linux so there is no beneficial contract between the user and supplier or a duty of care that comes with a contract. Conversely, there is a good degree of protection due to the Linux approximate philanthropic culture and open-source philosophy. You can buy support though and you are asked to donate to the projects you chose - this is different and still not a contract.

I looked up the number of users on some of the Linux Forums; Ubuntu over 150,000 users, Mint over 100,000 users and Mageia over 4,500 users. Although a different statistic the percentage of all Desktop computers are; Windows about 90%, and XP is the second most popular. Linux accounts for 1.5% of the total and it is growing fast I suspect (no figures found), whereas 98% of all the supercomputers run Linux, Linux having displaced Unix over the past decade. {Update in 2021 there were 450 million Ubuntu and all Linux users 3 - 3.5 billion or nearly 2% of computers}.

Large servers for the past decade generally run Linux so they will have had all the computer virus in the world that have ever been created during that time, pass through them without any reported infection but of cause web pages and email does pass on computer viruses that harm Windows PCs. That is what I understand Linux community keep saying, not just spreading a myth but repeatedly testing and confirming the claim.

Technical Forums - Sometimes people do comment adversely about some other users and say they don't like using forums. I have contributed to forums for a few decades, they are good. Use the Linux support forums and indulge the request for all the relevant technical detail required and the helpers' quirkiness. Do appreciate that it is very hard to analyse and fault find remotely. Understand conversely that it is usually not possible to describe clearly something until you understand what went wrong. The aha moment helps you see after the event what you could have described better initially - this can not be helped much, other than to be aware of it.

Linux is different to DOS and Windows but not too different;

Office tools such as Libre Office for Windows or Linux is a good alternative to Microsoft Office there are alternatives to many popular programs but there are fewer alternatives to many specialist CAD tools. Firefox also works fine running on many operating systems and has set standards for web browsers so that being faster as well as the better one to use. In conclusion, the basic office things are covered by Linux.

Linux behaves as if the file extension defines the file type for example ".html", ".jpeg" that is often shorted to ".htm", ".jpg" for DOS in the same way as DOS/Windows consequently the user does not need to worry about file name differences generally. Where a difference is apparent is that a Linux symbolic link looks as if it is the file that it is referencing. This is very useful but you can not copy a Linux symbolic link to Windows or a mklink symbolic link (which there are different types of but you can not tell from the Windows properties) to Linux it won't work. There are also a few file naming differences but mostly with Unix like operating systems but Linux has been made to work with Windows almost seamlessly. The point is that Windows is much more primitive in the way it works even for the time when it was developed and Linux works with that. But do take care capitalisation and duplicate files with the same name and some characters with other operating systems that share with Windows operating systems.

I change DOS/Windows file extensions ".htm", ".jpg" to ".html", ".jpeg" I have found in these cases that usually the file format is close enough to be compatible and usually works without issue.

Neither Windows nor Linux hard disk can be taken out of one PC and put on another and expect it to run but they often do. But I found that Ubuntu moved between two or three computers and started up successfully this is because Linux uses more generic drivers. Windows uses proprietary drivers mostly and replaces the drivers on detecting differences. But there are differences between Linux Distributions Mageia was less tolerant for example and MX Linux is very tolerant.

In conclusion though with Windows or Linux you might be able to move a hard disk to another PC and it works but with Windows now it might not find and replace with the correct drivers. The Windows installation onto that PC would be fine though by comparison - as is true of any installation. Some old computers give you few options other than to move the hard and there is a way to get them to work in Linux if you can ask for advice and have the interest and patents to do it.

File copy to Windows - Linux security does make things inconvenient occasionally

Copying files belonging to you from Linux to Windows; you may find when they are copied they are unreadable and undeletable by Windows depending on the device or application they came from. The only way to do anything with those files is to use them with the installation of Linux that you copied from. But you may or may not able to change the file permission using the properties option on file then right-click?

These sorts of problems have become less common since writing this (March 2017) - To revise that last point 1/2019 I have not observed any problem in any currently supported Linux Distribution.

Thunderbird email client;

This is the application is usually preloaded or well supported in most Linux Distributions, it is very good. The ability to manage and display many email accounts conveniently was added instead of multiple profiles in the early 2000s in the SeaMonkey version. You can conveniently send or reply with a different signature and email account address.


Thunderbird + add-ons discussed and support; -

https://addons.thunderbird.net/en-US/thunderbird/addon/tbsync/?src=ss

https://addons.thunderbird.net/en-US/thunderbird/addon/dav-4-tbsync/?src=ss

https://addons.thunderbird.net/en-US/thunderbird/addon/google-4-tbsync/?src=ss

https://addons.thunderbird.net/en-US/thunderbird/addon/cardbook/?src=search

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1362021

https://support.google.com/mail/thread/142772003?hl=en&msgid=150037602

https://github.com/zanonmark/Google-4-TbSync

https://github.com/zanonmark/Google-4-TbSync/wiki/Why-another-Google-synchronization-add-on

Thunderbird address book has limited functions that is notchy seeming to work differently when you want to do similar things. Thunderbird address book works in a less notchy way with local contacts only.

  • Deleting a contact from a list does not delete but removes the contact from that list.

  • Deleting a contact from the root Personal Address-book also deletes the contact in the address book's lists.

  • Delete a contact from All Contacts may work depending on the address-book Read/write status Move or copy - is best avoided. But you can not tell which address book you are deleting the contact from?

  • Editing a contact to make the name or identification or add an alternative email address works easily and well.

  • Select and drag between lists of the same address book seems to work fine but between address-books is untidily creating duplicates - Evidently, mark and drag should be avoided (the way this works is changing at the present time to move instead of copy).

  • Adding contacts to a list, start typing and the tool will find and suggest a contact in any address-book to complete or create a new contact and that contact is now copied into that address-book. Selecting and dragging contacts from the Collected address-book to a list in the Personal address-book normally works fine because those contacts do not already exist and in any case, this function now moves rather than copies contacts.

Currently, synchronised address books systems are under a lot of changes and it is probably best to set those to read-only in Thunderbird and use export and import to the web email provider (February 2022). Consequently, there is no satisfactory solution for synchronising address books at the present time so I am running a number of possible solutions using different email account address books. For example, Google contacts collects new contacts from sent email in "other contacts" these can be labelled and managed on the web. They can then be synchronised back to Thunderbird or an add-on? Contacts within Thunderbird "collected contacts" can be moved to a personal address book list at one local instance of Thunderbird.

My Thunderbird address book had become corrupted and there were duplicate and unwanted contacts in the root Personal Address Book. As I have been working with it removing duplicates and unwanted contacts mark and drag has become more often move than copy. That is Thunderbird address-book behaves differently as I have been working on it removing old contacts, editing contact details it is becoming less corrupt. In older versions of Thunderbird prior to 91.x, it was better to avoid using mark and drag as this caused untidy duplication of contacts and the potential corruption of the address-books. This is because mark and drag used to copy contacts between address-books but now the contacts are moved between and within or address-books. If you edit a visitor card in the local address-book then touch the same contact in a synchronised Address-book that is set read/write then that visitor card may be replaced with the one just edited.

Add synchronised Address-books;

The first thing export each of your local Thunderbird lists, these can be imported into Google Contacts as labels but edit each label name so it is slightly different to the local list name ("For example" to "For example G"). You need these as a backup anyway it will leave behind any contacts that are not in the lists which in my case were contacts I did not want any more. You can have contacts in lists that are not anywhere else (evidently this was wrong), you can have contacts deleted from lists that are in the root Personal Address book and old contacts anywhere that have been amended - in other words very messed up and the tools I am evaluating do not necessarily import Thunderbird address-books well. Mark and drag between Thunderbird lists to copy was bad but opening a list and start typing a new entry and it will complete with the contact from that personal directory or a synchronised directory, is good, duplicating or preventing unnecessary duplication of contacts.

I am evaluating synchronising Google and Yahoo email provider's contacts with Thunderbird;

Thunderbird is changing the way Address-book works with TB 91.x so what I have said is changing. But at the present time also email provider's contacts CARD DAV is implemented is also changing. In addition, contact visitor cards differ. Consequently, there are a lot of changes and the thunderbird add-ons give us a little more but some are now alpha or beta software so take care the behaviour is not consistent.

When used with TbSync, Thunderbird or other synchronised Address-Books ensure that the labels are not the same as those used locally such as in the Personal Address Book. For example "Friends and Acquaintances" locally and "Friends and Acquaintances G" for Google and for Yahoo, perhaps "Friends and Acquaintances Y" do this for every list or label. It is not necessary with CardBook but it is useful to differentiate categories, labels or names.

I use the Thunderbird visitor cards and enter information in to the categories available which are fewer categories than either Yahoo or Google offer. I found at first with Thunderbird or TbSync "Provider Card DAV & Cal DAV" that just the email address is uploaded but you can then synchronise and then drag and so update the contact with the version with the full details. At the present time (April 2022) may or may not upload the contact.


Gmail contacts is a better tool https://contacts.google.com that offers to merge duplicate contacts semi-automatically but asks before proceeding or asks about anything conflicting. If there are still duplicate contacts they can be seen easily and dealt with. Contacts that are in "Contacts", "Other Contacts" or "Frequently used" can be labelled they then become synchronised to Thunderbird or can be deleted.

All the same, using google contacts is fiddly and I found I needed to go back to it repeatedly to get things right such as alternative email addresses and also take care not to merge contacts that I don't want to be merged. I also found contacts got lost or hidden but turned up again as duplicates to ones I remade, contacts.google.com. It does seem Google contacts handle a little work at a time better?

Whatever method of synchronising is chosen, or not, you can not upload the whole Thunderbird Address-book so you need to export each list. Google handles importing each list into Google contacts well. Using Google contacts merge contacts as recommendation pops up works well without losing details.

You can export the whole Google address-book complete with labels as a .csv file. Use this as a backup - it probably will only import to Google Contacts though?

Gmail contacts can have many email addresses but Thunderbird contacts can only have two email addresses. So be careful not to merge the same contact only an email address and one alternative email address will be synchronised to Thunderbird. If you give some of those contacts a slightly different contact name for example brackets (alternative) you are less likely to inadvertently allow them to be merged.


Yahoo Web contacts; The synchronised address-book seems to have different contacts than the web version. This discrepancy was partly resolved by deleting duplicate empty lists on the web version and re-labelling contacts. I did not do much of this as it was a lot of work that was not beneficial.

I found that web contacts accumulates lists and duplicate lists - I do not know if this is a conflict between the address-book sync tool I am evaluating possibly? After leaving web Yahoo contacts I went back and found that all list names had been removed (April 2022).

Synchronisation worked better once the duplicate lists were deleted but I had to do this repeatedly in yahoo webmail contacts.

Yahoo contacts does not have an export option.


Currently, synchronised address books systems are under a lot of changes and it may be best to set or treat them as read-only in Thunderbird and use import and export to the web email provider (February 2022). I have one email account with my contacts and a similar personal contacts on my PCs, the latter of cause all differ slightly on each PC. Other email addresses do not have any or many contacts but I have chosen to synchronise those to Thunderbird address-books naming them each based on the email address they are associated with. I have not attempted, and I do not think it is possible to synchronise all address-books to each other, there are too many differences between them other than basic visitor card data.

Thunderbird CARD DAV;

Open Address-book - File - New - CARD DAV Address-book. Then Enter the email address of the account you wish to use and follow the simple instructions.

Label/list synchronisation is not supported at least in the cases of Google nor Yahoo so you see just contacts only.

Yahoo and Google contacts are synchronised may be read-write or read-only (as of April-2022).

You need to create a list to add the contact to but this list won't be synchronised and may promptly disappear.

When you create another address-book it is called "Address book" - right-click properties and change the name to say "Google my.name Thunderbird" or "Yahoo my.name Thunderbird".


TbSync add-on for Thunderbird;

TbSync creates synchronised address-books alongside the Thunderbird Personal Address-Book and any synchronised address-books. These must each have unique list/label names.

TbSync causes Thunderbird to freeze when it is synchronising. You can minimise the effect by leaving the synchronise at 0 and do it manually alternatively set it to say 120 seconds or longer. At the present time (Feb 2022) the best way to properly read you current web contacts is to disable then re-enable synchronisation and leave synchronisation set to 0 (none). As of April 2022, the synchronisation button also works well.

Another add-on is then required for the specific email provider;

An additional add-on is required;

"Google-4-TbSync" Works better than other ways which is as well as can be expected with the limitations Google probably impose.

The Google-people-API is a little complicated to set up for Google-4-TbSync. There is a good explanation with Google-4-TbSync on how to do this.

Synchronisation is not complete but only partial so use disable then enable to ensure that everything is the same as the web. The synchronisation button may work but periodic synchronisation does not appear to do anything at the present time and it is can be left set to 0 (none).

Not all information is transferred between the Thunderbird Visitor Cards and Google contacts information stored on the web.

As of March 2022 contacts may or may not be passed to google contacts from Thunderbird but without lists/labels (with option Read-only disabled). But once the contact is uploaded it can be replaced using drag in Thunderbird with a version with all the other details in the visitor card included.


"Provider Card DAV & Cal DAV" works with Google, Yahoo and others.

Yahoo password is not your email address password but a password created for the application at Yahoo mail - account security page.

Google did not work with the automatic configuration setting using my name@gmail.com. But using the manual server setting see answers; https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1321916 and https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1097284 did work although no labels/lists were brought in. These are the server settings;

https://www.googleapis.com/carddav/v1/principals/name@gmail.com/lists/default/

https://apidata.googleusercontent.com/caldav/v2/name@gmail.com/events/ - I do not think this is necessary and the address book works without this setting added.

Read works but write may cause errors if a list and contacts are added on Thunderbird.

The add-on "Provider Card DAV & Cal DAV" works much the same as Thunderbirds own address-book synchronisation. Both CARD DAV and CAL DAV are entered but the latter does not seem to be necessary?

Yahoo contacts synchronise read or write. You need to create a list to add the contact to but this list won't be synchronised. On the other hand, because lists created are not removed they can be different to those lists on the webmail and must be unique locally anyway. Recently has also become possible with Google synchronisation (late Feb 2022).


These add-ons have some similar options; Allow fake email addresses - seems to make no difference but it is probably best to ensure it is ticked.


TbSync and CardBook create new separate address books so they should not conflict with each other if you chose to try both? In any case, I am not running synchronisation of same email address contacts at the same time, but I am running this evaluating those by running different add-ons or the Thunderbird CARD DAV on different instances of computer operating systems.


Other Thunderbird Address book maintenance and synchronisers;

SyncKolab did not filter or merge when I tried it years ago it is not supported now. Like the other synchronisers did not finish synchronise or completing it entirely tend to make the address book get bigger and lost Contact Lists. [This addon has not been compatible with Thunderbird for a number of years].

Addressbooks Synchroniser - WebDAV/LDAP/IMAP folder - does not handle lists but lost them, some years ago but it is different now. It uses a shared folder over a network or one of the email IMAP folders. [This addon is compatible with the current Thunderbird but I have not evaluated it recently 1-2022]

GcontactSync - This add-on is not supported in newer versions of Thunderbird or by google (2021). On the other hand, Google has tidied up gContactSync a lot since I last looked at it years ago and contacts.google.com is now not full of unwanted contacts.

Duplicate Contact Manager - Resolved general issues with the Address-book and worked well when I tried it some years ago. This add-on is not supported on the current Thunderbird at the present time.

LDAP method is a built-in option in Thunderbird email contacts server - is generally pay for service, or run by companies and may not allow users to add contacts?

CardBook; Replaces or works alongside Thunderbird address-book. When it is more refined it looks like it is going to be good, in some ways it already is better than Thunderbird address book. This is fairly new and not fully developed at the present time.

If you also use TbSync, Thunderbird synchronised address-books or any other then take care that those synchronised address books are not included and that only the local address-books are included when configuring Cardbook. That is those address-books if inadvertently included will be in contention trying to synchronised with two programs.

At the present time, (Feb 2022) this add-on does the best job of synchronising address-books with lists/labels read and write.

But with local address-books but without lists/labels are not synchronised but read in once. That is the contacts read in are uncharacterised (no labels or lists).

The local Collected Addresses are read in once then new contacts are added to Collected when sending an email with a new email address.

Find duplicates tool works on individual address books in a fairly sensible way but do I did not use it with "all contacts" because that seems ambiguous what I would be doing?

Go through line by line;

If the contact is a duplicate select merge and tick the best or all names and email addresses.

If the contacts are different e.g. sales@ and different company domains then click forget (that row).

If you don't want the contact anymore just click delete - I think, but this feature did not work.

If you don't like the name given enter the person's name such as when the sender has just used their email address as their name then edit that name.re meaning of the dialogue box conflict keep or delete local contact is unclear or what to do about it? It probably means that the action initiated when using merge has not been completed. In this case, the answer "delete local contact" seems to work. A similar Dialogue box that warns of duplicate contacts but not when merging contacts tool is in use - It asks to keep or delete local but either reply leads to the contact being lost.

Merge All does not seem to be useful. It leaves two strangely named lists.

CardBook is quite good with Yahoo contacts but Google contacts.google.com does a better job than Cardbook.

CardBook has been improving during my evaluation in January/February 2022 but I am not using it now.

Cardbook is able to synchronise and thereby upload to Yahoo and Google Contacts and lists/labels.

Although it is not necessary to have unique lists names between address-books when used solely with CardBook and Thunderbird local address-books it makes managing your contacts easier if the list names are unique.


Suggestion where an operating system is set up with multiple users;

Operating system with multiple users need only have one Thunderbird folder then share it with each user using symbolic links. In that way, Thunderbird updates should not leave a profile out of date.

This works with Windows, Thunderbird directory but I have not tried this with Linux. Using Windows Symbolic links to each user account works well.

See further below Symbolic links.

In Windows, I have created another directory in which I have placed the Thunderbird folder and other things that I do not want to be in one specific user profile. C:\+++Document+++\Thunderbird


Copying your thunderbird personal profile from another PC or using a PC after a long period of time.

Update an old version of Linux will not update to the next significant stage version of Thunderbird but jump to the current version missing out on steps on the way. The issue that arises is that your profiles in the .thunderbird folder have not gone through each of the required update steps.

Copied or an old version of the Thunderbird folder. Make at least a second copy of the Thunderbird (Windows) or .thunderbird (Linux) folder first. You need to keep to the release version or old release versions.

Note; Mageia Linux appears to offer an older final beta testing version and the current beta testing versions of Thunderbird. A copied thunderbird personal directory from or to Mageia Linux is likely to cause Thunderbird to detect the difference in the version channel and create an additional new profile. To resolve the issue;

  • Download the Linux release version of Thunderbird similar to the version that the profile was used with (unzip and run it, I describe how further below). Run this Thunderbird and turn off automatic updates. From now on use, this version while waiting for the Linux repository version to catch up to a similar version then switch to using that one instead. But if on starting up a new empty profile is created (this happens with Mageia but not other Linuxes necessarily), then;

    • Start terminal and enter "Thunderbird -p" once to open the profile manager subsequently you can open thunderbird from the normal Linux menu.

    • Select and start each profile, in turn, to discover which profile is the configured one you require. You can then delete profiles you do not need.

    • Finally, you can turn-off loading the profile manager from the profile manager.

    • This intervention for Mageia 8 seems to be an aberration, that is something that happened differently just once and might be best discounted, but it is not an aberration but is repeatable. This intervention did not arise with Windows, Debian, Ubuntu or Lubuntu Linuxes where the Thunderbird versions were similar.

  • If the repository version works you can delete the release version that you download, if you wish.

In Thunderbird - Help - About Thunderbird - tells you the version and tells you if it is on the release channel such as the Windows version or Linux non-repository downloaded version I recommend is. The Linux repository version does not say release channel though. I have not discovered what the difference is with the Mageia repository version that causes Thunderbird to open but with a new profile?

Your thunderbird profiles and other settings are stored in the folder "Thunderbird" {appdata\roaming\Thunderbird (Windows)} or ".thunderbird" (Linux). The folder can be copied to another computer and a different operating system there is a range of things that can arise. The "Thunderbird" for Windows or ".thunderbird" for Linux folder needs to be renamed if it is copied between those operating systems. the "." makes the Linux folder hidden so you need to make hidden folders visible.

To see or hide Linux hidden folders and files; Ubuntu Control-H, other Linux's, File manager - toolbar - view - view hidden. You will then see the .thunderbird profile folder in the route of your profile.

Any add-ons usually are okay but may need to be removed and added again or disabled then enabled again.

Note that Linux is case sensitive whereas Windows is not consequently "Thunderbird" or "thunderbird" is fine in Windows but in Linux, the capitalisation must be correct. Plus the preceding dot "." is important ".thunderbird"

Method 1; - easy

Thunderbird offers the import of address books or everything. Or you can set up accounts and signatures again and allow Thunderbird to synchronise.

  • In addition import address book but this won't look quite right because it is an additional address book;

If you start from a current version of thunderbird, rename the old .thunderbird folder then you can import an older abook.mab type address-book but you can not import a more recent type address-book. This then creates another local address-book in addition to Personal Address-book but you will need to carry out some tidying up and you can not delete the new empty personal Address-book and rename the imported address-book for example.

Method 2; - As 1 plus starting from an older type address book this looks better.

If you want to start fresh but with an older type abook.mab then select an older version of Thunderbird (68.12 or older) and create a new profile, close and copy the abook.mab replacing the existing version into that new profile. Run Thunderbird allowing it to update this will convert the address book and place it more tidily than importing it later. Use the -p or /p option in the command line and turn on select profile. Finally create email accounts, synchronised address books and calendars.

The profile is at something like; home/USER_NAME/.thunderbird/profile/??????.default for Linux

Method 3; - Keeping the thunderbird profile folder and updating it method would be tedious

keep trying with progressively older versions of Thunderbird. Each time a new profile will be created and you need to delete those empty profiles leaving the working one. It is useful to temporarily turn off automatic updates in Preferences- general.

    • Thunderbird still supports multi-profiles although you are mostly unaware of this feature. The multiple-profile feature can be inconvenient and is otherwise superseded, one drawback is that if an alternative profile is not used and Thunderbird has updated a number of times significantly changes to that older type alternative profile can be missed then the profile becomes unreadable.

Method 4; - This is a little easier than 3.

Start with an old version of thunderbird which is the same version as the profile, or it may need to be a little older version of thunderbird. It is useful to temporarily turn off automatic updates in Preferences- general.

  • Alternatively, the Thunderbird folder is likely to become untidy and maybe corrupted if it had been used with a much older version of Thunderbird than it was last used with the profile.

Tidy after method 3 or any method; (removing other profiles)

To start it up in the profile manager P switch then;

  • To manage Thunderbird profiles start up in Windows search or cmd "thunderbird /p" or Linux terminal "thunderbird -p". The profile manager is displayed, untick "use selected profile without asking" at some point, you can delete a profile you do not need and tick the option "use selected profile without asking" when it suits you.

* Installing a not-repository version of Thunderbird;

Is straight-forward in Windows but with Linux;

  • Download and unzip the version of Thunderbird into the Linux home user directory.

  • Create a symbolic link from the application thunderbird from the desktop.

  • Run this not repository version by clicking on the created desktop link. It will offer to execute which may fail if some of the libraries are missing and in that case, you need to execute thunderbird from Terminal to see what is missing and install that as well.

  • This version will update in stages that keep the .thunderbird profile in running order.

  • You can also avoid allowing Thunderbird to update to a higher version than the Linux repository standard release version. The minor subversion is like to differ but the major version number should be the same. It is best to turn off automatic updating. In that case, go to preferences - general and turn off auto-update. It is a good strategy to have on auto-update or keep Linux up to date.

Here are some of the changes that could be missed; Install, Migrate and Update | Thunderbird Help (mozilla.org) since this article Thunderbird 70-78 [~72?] address book has changed from abook.mab to abook.SQlite database managing system. I used to place the abook.mab on a cloud drive such as dropbox then place a symbolic link from the Thunderbird profile directory where it is normally to the dropbox original and thereby be able to use the same address book on whichever PC I was using at the time of cause I would have just one instance of Thunderbird running. This worked better than gContactSync many years ago (which is now not supported) So I am evaluating;

Thunderbird 52.2.1, Uses Abook.mab.

The next significant change is at 60.9.1 then 68.12.1 New Yahoo and Google authentication introduced.

gContacts used to work then but won't sign in to google anymore.

TbSync is available with; Provider CALDAV CARDDAV - for Yahoo for example.

abook.mab used still.

78.14.0, abook*.mab becomes *.*.bak is not used anymore but .sqlite is added and used instead.

TbSync now supports Google-4-people API.

gContacts disabled by ThunderBird.

Cardbook can be added.- this is in development which supports Yahoo and Google contacts.

91.5.1, This is the current version (January 2022) probably not a significant milestone now has limited support for synchronised address books and calendars.

If for example, last used before Thunderbird 60.9.1 will not set up Gmail or Yahoo. In addition, the address book will not convert and be readable.


Using Thunderbird on an old Linux desktop version

  • Debian 8 probably and MX 16 offer Thunderbird 52.x in their repositories does not support oAuth2 (preferred by Gmail) security properly.

  • The easy option is to set gmail security to allow less secure devices. Alternatively;

      • Tip keep a copy of .thunderbird so you can try again if it fails and remove the older repository version of Thunderbird.

      • Downloading, unzipping and running 68.x (March 2020) does not resolve the issue because that version of Thunderbird tries but fails to convert your .thunderbird directory where your email profiles are kept.

      • Solution download, unzipping and running 60.x this will do whatever conversions are necessary and will automatically update automatically to 68.x or whatever is the current version.

      • Tip create a shortcut on the desktop by right-clicking the executable in the new thunderbird directory. Alternatively adding an icon to the panel can be done in a few steps starting with a right-click on the panel; You chose or add a launcher then add thunderbird and an icon to that launcher.

  • A related issue occurred in one instance of Linux Debian 9 that had not been started up for a year after updating none of the email was visible and the email all needed to be set up again. I resolved the issue by re-installed Linux and copied a working .thunderbird directory into that distribution. Note; therefore I did not concern myself looking for and updating the old profile, which in any case looks as if it had been deleted or setting up the new profile created.

In order to run newer versions of Thunderbird and Firefox, it may be necessary to install other library programs. I found in 2021 that neither Thunderbird nor Firefox would run on Debian 8. A solution was to try to start them in terminal then read the warnings I then installed the most similar library and both programs then they ran - Recently new warning about insecure with the library when web browsing so this solution alone is not good anymore. A better solution is to update to Debian 9 or 10 that is still in long term support but start alternative Debian kernel 3.x.x

File and Folder Sharing

The short answer is I don't know but here are some things you can do. Some of the Linux's are more set up ready to go.

Linux may have a network browse button in the file manager. Click on this button and you can find Windows shared directory and printers usually in MHOME. You can find Linux shared directories in WINDOWs. You will also find network printers for which you need to install a driver. This is similar to Windows Networking.

You may need to add Samba if you are sharing from Debian and many other Linuxes? - I have not done this recently but when I have in the past, I found it difficult.

Mageia is different to the Debian based Linuxes and offers many utilises for sharing from Mageia, some are compatible with Windows. Click on the icon then you can install it if necessary.

To create a shared folder most Linuxes have one called public which is handy but you also need to then make that folder and any printer shared. Windows the shared folders need to be from within the user profile and can be any of those created by the system or others created.

Linux shared folders do not give anyone on another computer read/write/create rights in the same way that Windows shared folders do. When you put things into any folder you must then selectively or for the entire folder give those rights. You can find that files copied and shared can not be shared or deleted on the second computer.

Windows XP (32 bit) shares easiest by comparison with newer Windows but none that I have tried are straightforward. Windows 7 or higher you need to create a password.

I found that with network browsing you have to wait for the computer to find things but at first, it looks as if there is nothing on the network for a while.

The easiest way to share is to use one of the cloud services or a tethering utility. Once Windows or Linux share is set up it data transfer quickly with a not too long network cable. If you have a lot of data moving the hard disk to the other computer and doing a one-to-one copy or clone can be the fastest way.

But I observe that once all the settings ripple through the connections all become reliable without taking this step. Alternatively, the connection is never made but left me frustrated.

Cloud storage method.

There are many providers that once you download a program and install it it will run on Windows. DropBox has a Linux utility that is straightforward to install. DropBox started as a Linux program but was ported to Windows and other operating systems. But all of these cloud storage providers, including Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive do not support Linux, but they have good web-browser interfaces.

  • Dropbox allows up to 2GB plus an extra 500MB for each referral to both parties up to 16GB just for trying Dropbox. You can have three instances of the program installed plus many shared folders to different users - this program is the easiest and has many well thought out features that you can ignore without bother. Supported by a number of operating systems, including Linux, Windows, Andriod and Ipad.

    • Installation is easy with Windows and generally not difficult;

    • Linux usually; Install Nautilus-Dropbox from the repository then run the new Dropbox menu item created.

    • With Mageia 8 Linux install Dropbox command line then from the terminal run;

      • dropbox update

      • dropbox autostart

      • dropbox start

This link will give you a Dropbox free account and give you and me some more capacity for having recommended Dropbox

  • Google Drive give you a total of 15GB but that capacity is shared with email, blog, website and any other google web application. But is supported on Windows and Android but not Linux.

Google Drive used to be a bit strange to configure so that you could lose files but that has been made much better in the last few years in any case Google Drive changed a lot in autumn 2021 and the conversion to the new form was a bit concerning but turned out to be safe and robust even if you tick the wrong boxes at first.

  • MegaSync, be careful with this. There are bonuses for referring but these last just one year. If you do not use a computer for a period of time and it has old files in the Mega folder these will either be overwritten with newer (as you should expect) but if they had been deleted subsequently they will all turn up again synchronised from the computer that had not been turned on for some time. This is one of the few internet accessed programs that an older version of will run on Windows XP still. There are various Linux versions.

    • At the present time, an issue has arisen where the files are out of date but the icon reports updated - Settings - sync has a warning triangle. You need to delete and reconnect the sync but then old files can be uploaded to the cloud when MegaSync starts running again.

    • When you uninstall MegaSync or turn it off in Windows you can not delete the Mega folder only rename it but you can delete its contents.

    • If you update Linux (Debian 8 to 9, to 10 and higher) then run Linux using an old faster kernel Megasync does not run. I have found that other applications are fine though. A workaround might be to have not updated MegaSync (repository but that was somewhat automatic) so far and ignore any security warnings?

    • I found that if I start from MX 18 Linux 32 bit or lower then Megasync will install and run. MX will update to 21 and Megasync carry's on running fine. But you can not update to Debian 10 32 bit version.

There is a promotion if you use my referral and use the free version of MegaSync we both get a little more capacity;

Although Cloud storage can be accessed by a web browser but not all public networks (WiFi) allow access. So it is a good strategy to use more than one cloud storage provider. I have not tried to share any files and folders between them and I rather not try to do that! I used to use a memory stick with a string attached to my finger if I used a public library computer. Where cloud storage access is blocked even local offline storage of some files selected may not be accessible with the Android version of Mega in this case.

Symbolic link

Generally adding symbolic links from where the original file was located to a new location such as in a cloud storage folder is a useful way to share a file stored almost anywhere within that instance of an operating system. This does not work with Thunderbird Addressbook anymore though, abook.SQLite becomes corrupted if shared. A Linux symbolic link can be copied and is the same on files, folders or as a shortcut. A Windows symbolic link file can not be copied, easily, and with Windows, there are different types of symbolic links for files, folders or short-cuts but a short-cut is an exception that can be copied.

You can not place a symbolic link into a cloud storage folder, such as DropBox. It won't access an original file on another computer such function would cause contention and is blocked.

All the same sharing the one whole instance of Thunderbird profile is practical where you are using different users but on the same computer with the same version of an operating system. I have tried this successfully with Windows (Jan 2022).

Windows 7 or higher;

  • Type %appdata% in the Windows search window (top window picture below) and browse to directory "roaming". Note "Work" is the name of my user profile.

  • Type cmd in the Windows search window and select administrator command window (bottom window picture below)

Installations of Linux programs that are not in the main, contrib, non-free or back-ports repositories;

Chose the version for your Linux Distribution. Ensure that the installer is installed e.g. gdebi for Debian. Look at the Dropbox help as a general guide to customising a .bin generic binary type installation but for your particular distribution particularly if it is not one of the common distributions:- Ubuntu or RedHat/Fedora. {I have not done this}

I have mentioned above that Firefox and Thunderbird can be run on Linux but outside of the most secure repository sourced level. Dropbox runs outside of the Linux update system and similarly handles its own updating automatically.

MegaSync is not available for Debian 11, 32 bit at the present time. You can compile the source code available from Github and install that apparently? You can use Debian 10, 32 bit install Megasync then update to Debian 11.

Linux;

In most Linux desktops simply drag the file or directory to another file manager window or tab then select create a symbolic link but not copy or move.

  • Other Linux GUI methods -

    • Select the file or folder, use send to desktop then cut and paste the symbolic link created there to where you want it.

    • Select the file or folder, toolbar - Edit make link or send to desktop is also common such as Xubuntu.

    • Ubuntu - press CTRL-SHIFT and right mouse click to create a symbolic link.


There are differences between file managers and so here is how to do it the long way;

  • Terminal command line method for example;

"ln -s /home/andrew/Dropbox/Folder/FolderOrFilePath /home/andrew/FolderOrFilePath/"

Where;

ln Is approximately the Linux equivalent too DOS command copy.

-s Switch makes this command create a symbolic link. This is like a Windows shortcut and link. You will need to move or delete the original file or folder (rename it for example).

The source path Is to where the cloud copy of FolderOrFilePath is now stored on your Linux computer. andrew - is my personal Linux user profile.

The destination Is where FolderOrFilePath is the new symbolic link that has been created, it looks like the original file or folder but its properties are symbolic-link.

Mainframe computer

Traditionally mainframe computers run micro-instructions. An emulator or simulator is loaded to provide a nicer computer instruction set to program with. Each instruction is carried out using a number of micro-instructions.

Ferranti made one of the first electronic computers and also made mainframe computers. They also made 16-bit radiation-hardened and wide operating temperature range microprocessors for space and the military, the F100-L.

The most influential mini-computer was made by Digital the PDP-11 of 1970

EPROM HN482764G is generically known as 2708 to 27512 it only requires a 5V. 1K x 8 bits to 64K x 8 bits with a higher voltage (12V to 21V depending on the part) is required for Vpp when programming the device. 2708 was new in about 1977 and cost £70-£100 each when new but the price quickly dropped.

Alternatively, mask ROM could be custom made - I believe these became viable if production was greater than 2,000 in the 1970s.

EPROM type i1702 Intel to MM5204 National Semiconductors required -12V +5V power supplies plus Vpp -47V or -50V. MM5204 was new in about 1976.

Manufactures Fusible link Read Only Memory had circuit and constructional detail how to make a programmer using LEDS switches thumb-wheel switches TTL logic etc to built on veroboard. Be careful though one mistake and you have to discard a part that was expensive. At this time fusible-link ROM was small probably 32 bytes to 1K bytes and expensive in the later 1970s?

EPROM HN482764G

2764 8K byte EPROMs (pictured) were used in a considerable number of computers from the late 1970s.

Once this size EPROM became avaliable cheaply the home computer quickly became very popular.

By comparison, The Zilog and Intel microprocessors in the 1970-80s may have also run micro-instructions internally to provide the comprehensive instruction set a chip user programmer would use. Some alternatives to these microprocessors such as i8751/i8051 were made by other companies that ran comprehensive instructions directly without requiring many cycles but using hardware functions in the same way that the MC6800 Motorola and R6502 Rockwell did then and probably all microprocessors do now.

The MC6800 may have started as a hybrid IC containing a number of chips before it was released commercially. The two-phase clock input had to be correct and the MC6801 was much easier to use the embedded version. The HD6301 Hitachi was a very much lower power and faster CMOS version used in battery-operated computers and dot-matrix printers and sold in very high volumes for 1 to 2 decades.


Picture

Hitachi's HD6301 was faster than MC6801 generally, instruction took one clock cycle less to perform. These microcontrollers and other Hitachi microcontrollers in printers and consumer products during the 1980s and 90s. Whereas Motorola was used in the automotive industry mostly very prominently in the 1990s. The CMOS HD63701?? with EPROM integrated pictured was withdrawn because the product did not comply with a cross-license agreement between Motorola and Hitachi so Hitachi developed the H4, H8 and H16 products instead and the HD63000 also never became available.

It was much superior to the late1970s i8748, which had 1K byte EPROM, 64 bytes of RAM and 256 address range but could access up to 4K bytes of memory using paging. These embedded microcontrollers had mask ROM variants i8048. The MC6801 and HD6301 could alternatively run from external ROM. They all had ports and timmers and were suitable for high volume production. The EPROM variants were suitable for low volume manufacturers and prototype software development. Compared to modern embedded microcontrollers these older parts made the bus available for programming and development. Rare piggyback EPROM type microcontroller with the EPROM plugged into the top of the microcontroller Integrated Circuit.

Page 18, 6 and 8 pin embedded microcontroller SC9RS08KA2. Note; BKGD (Debug and programming pin) can be a port or function output and !RESET can be a port or function input.

The Motorola one wire background debug interface has not been used by any other manufacturer. Other manufacturers use interfaces that use more wires such as TI's JTAG which has 4 wires plus a reset wire and is used by other manufacturers. The debug interface used by ST in its ARM 32 embedded microcontroller is 2 wires plus reset.

I2C bus developed by Philips (NXP) is widely used but there are almost equivalent copies, by comparison, CAN bus is specified and controlled by the automotive industry and I do not think that there are near equivalent copies of it. These are not used for programming and development but for communication between ICs on the same circuit board or within a car respectively.

By the 1990s embedded microcontrollers such as MC68HC12 included on-chip Flash and one wire programming and debug interface. These microcontroller require compact therefore fast operating program. Now, 9HCS12 is made by NXP in Europe instead of Motorola in the USA and is very well optimised for 8 and 16-bit operations, these are flexible powerful microcontrollers. This has the one wire background debug plus a simple fast bootloader that monitors all serial communications ports then programs the flash if it has not already been programmed.

The low-cost 8-bit variant HC908 (HC08) has 8 pins or more and can be found in very cheap products such as a computer mouse. Software development Cosmic HC08 and HCS08 Products (cosmicsoftware.com). The cheapest most cut down variant that remains available RS08 datasheet page above is a subset of MC6800 core approximately but with the background debug interface and is available with as few as 6 pins note that even the control and debug/programming pins !RESET (or alternative input function) and BDGM (or alternative output function) can be used as ports in a limited way.

In traditional programming with few or no libraries and tools to help there is very little need for debugging, (setting breakpoints and monitoring variables) but just programming. The only time where these things are more important is initially before you have developed much code and therefore you can arrange hardware implementation to not use the two pins until late in development and for the simplest things so that you keep the option to debug for as long as practical. In any case, I have and would always avoid sharing debugging pins with other functions.

STM ARM based; STM32F072, Nucleo-64 | TI; MPS430, EXP430FR2433 | NXP ARM based; MKV11Z128VLF7, FRDM-KV11Z.

In each case, these evaluation boards include the debug and programming circuits at the top of the PCBs. They are connected and powered via a USB cable. The microcontrollers are 32 bit with FLASH ROM and RAM on-chip, ports, programming/debug interface but no bus I/O. Rarely does an application require a 32-bit microcontroller but these parts also have more sophisticated ports, timers etc. 8 or 16-bit microcontroller would be adequate and more efficient but there is a considerable range of variants without adding more.

Running Windows or a DOS program on Linux;

There are options for running Windows programs on Linux but running a dual boot system is the easiest and best. Alternatively;

  • Virtual Box, For Linux or Windows, will then run another operating system that you install in the virtual environment created and it runs as a window within the host but everything runs much more slowly and you must have at least 2GB of DRAM. There are others but this is the one I tried, it seems to be very well implemented and runs smoothly, which is what I would expect of Oracle being a Sun Microsystems company, but still, it can crash and sometimes badly. To get an OS running in a virtual machine is straightforward and reliable but after that, there is a number of advanced detail is provided. It runs Windows 2000 but does not install Linux well in one case the host would not log in subsequently and I reinstalled that host Xubuntu. BUT DON'T RUN THE LINUX VERSION ON A WINDOWS PARTITION LIKE NTFS IT WILL SCREW UP THE NTFS FILING SYSTEM VERY BADLY (XP with version 5.02).

  • I have one laptop in which a particular application (LTspice VIII) will not run, it is a known issue, the workaround I have found is to run Windows 7 on Virtual box 5.2.44 which fortunately does not support that machine hardware difference and thereby resolves the issue. Unfortunately Virtualbox 6.xx does support the hardware feature so is not useful.

  • Virtual Box 4.x, 5.x or the current 6.x versions now does not run on some slower computers Windows XP or higher or Linux 64 bit machine. (04/2020), misleadingly those install without warnings.

    • There maybe an option in the PC's BIOS settings to resolve this.

    • I have used VB on a IBM 208m server which is older than the HP desktop I am using now.

  • Virtual Box is difficult to install on Linux Debian and I have not achieved that but it installs on Ubuntu and Lubuntu.

    • You need to use the downloaded version not the repository version which is incomplete and does not have the guest additions. At the time of writing (August 2020) Ubuntu 20.4 does not install the downloaded version but appears to force you to use the incomplete repository version. The solution for Ubuntu suggested by VirtualBox forum is to install gdebi then install the downloaded version using gdebi but having uninstalled VB first this did not resolve the issue.

  • The user manual - is very big but there a few things you need to do ;

    • Once you create a new machine but before install that machine - go through SETTINGS;

      • If there is a warning triangle at the bottom of the window click on it and see recommended actions.

      • Set the display type such as enable 2D or 3D acceleration - but you can leave the default setting.

      • Storage - add the optical drive.

    • After installation of the guest OS; (if these additions have not been installed by the guest OS)

      • Storage - add Optical drive; VirtualBoxGuestAdditions.iso (this is part of VirtualBox installation)

        • Virtual Box Guest Additions provide display, sound, mouse divers for the your chosen guest operation system. Some Linux's find and load the drivers without requiring this step.

        • AT THE TIME OF WRITING I HAVE COMPLETED THIS STEP FOR LINUX GUEST BUT UNSUCCESSFULLY VirtualBox 6.1.x;

          • AntiX 18 Linux (drivers are pre-installed). Windows 7 and 10 work.

        • Some Linux distributions work with the final Virtual Box 5.2.42 but don't work with 6.1.x

          • Lubuntu 18-4 may require the additional drivers, but Mageia 7.1 and Debian 10.4 the drivers are pre-installed.

        • Open file manager VirtualBoxGuestAdditions

          • Windows click on the appropriate command file.

          • Linux

            • Open Linux terminal that has the toolbar.

            • copy the linux run file line, paste and edit it to add "sudo" and remove "file://" to look something like this;

            • andrew@debian:~$ sudo /media/andrew/VBox_GAs_6.1.10/VBoxLinuxAdditions.run

            • press enter - this logged into administrator and installed the additions but in all cases this did not work.

  • Wine (WINdows Emulator), There website says it is not an emulator but a compatibility layer. It does not run in its own window. CADSTAR Express 14, National Instruments Labview 2013 (which there may also be Linux binary's for), 32 or 64-bit versions did not work. It does seem to support all of OrCAD 16.6 (which there may also be Linux binary's for) although I did not try to do anything, all the programmes started up. I found that I can not access a Windows Partition it is like a virtual machine in that respect as it evidently has boundaries set and compromises. After installing Wine it is possible that its configuration could be screwed up in that case un-installing and also delete the .wine directory, although this method leaves things behind in Linux. I also found that if an application hooked up, the computer would never close down but switching the computer on and off again stopped that application.

  • Installation information is good at; https://www.winehq.org/ Then go to Download [April 2018]

  • The paid-for/trial version is good or go to the free version pick your distribution.

  • There is a list of root terminal commands to run. Make sure you have 2-3G free space in your Linux bearing in mind you are going to install things. I ran this in Debian and used the development version.

  • Clue the line "deb ............. DISTRO main" is a line you need to paste in to the page opened with gedit

  • You therefore may need to install gedit first. The word "DISTRO" in this case needs to be replaced with the word "debian"

  • I first impression of a circuit modelling tool LTspice XVII is that runs better in Linux WINE than it runs in Windows 7 or 10. Other attempts to install run and uninstall programmes did not work out.

  • CodeWeavers, Seems to just support 32 bit Windows applications is the paid for version of Wine and a bit different. Two of the examples that I tried on Wine that did not work did not on CodeWeavers either. Similarly CADSTAR only seemed to worked until I first restarted the computer in both cases. Labview did not complete installation properly with numerous warning and flagged during the process. I did find parts of OrCAD 16.6 started up and I am told that some Windows picture editing tools work well. Microsoft operating system attract periodically legal challenge for protective practice it is therefore probably that key knowledge about the OS are not shared making the job of creating WINE difficult, I speculate?


  • If you have shared work, say on a dual boot computer, between Linux and Windows keep that work on a Windows formatted partition (FAT or NTFS) and then you can access it by both operating systems. In any case virus pass though Linux so you need virus scanners for Windows. Anything you put on a Windows partition via Linux should be virus-scanned before it is used.

Joking about Windows but even so it is used because their are many applications for it and they are cheap popular but consequently well developed. Microsoft have become more secretive about what is in the operating system, by comparison. Conversely there is a Microsoft tool or wizard to fix anything freely available presumably to discourage people from exploring how it works. DOS and Windows 3.1 and 95 for example were much more open, I observe.

UNIX is the basis of a lot of not DOS or Windows operating systems;

IBMDOS (IBM DOS) or MSDOS (Microsoft DOS) and the older CP/M (Digital) distinctively used 8.3 format file names this is not true of other operating systems. I used another OS in the 1970's and 80's at college called Flex which did not use that format. Significantly Linux has been made somewhat Windows tolerant. Linux uses the .xxx extension to identify a file type whereas OS 9 does not you are in control of the name which can be mixed case and long. UNIX has another file permission flag called executable which I am told Universities and Colleges like in order to limit what their students are permitted to do.

The Dog and the Dingo a Dog like Wallaby - which came first, patent and copyright - lawyers would probably make evolution not possible if a fee could be charged.

People have always made or written things and then given them away freely, even if to do so is not macho. Companies may do that for a commercial benefit they may do it for no commercial or tax benefit but just philanthropically. Companies of cause are about making money all the same before you think I am romanticising open sources software and there are big financial interest in and a lot of products sold using Linux.

Linux or other open-source software in which the source code and/or the object code is free but the product may or may not have a cost to individual users

If you use DOS then the penultimate version 6.21 is about the best the disc compression was the most robust in its time.

TIP; If you are using DOS and FAT partition you may be able to add the line "verify on" in the config.sys. Microsoft does not publicly document how the NTFS filing system works so Linux can not fully respect privacy and other features. By comparison, a PC is made to IBM PC open facto standard.

There were big court battles where Netscape lost the argument that Windows 95 was crippled so that Netscape Browser did not run efficiently. If you run a Microsoft Windows Visual Basic program transferring data on a PC serial port (7 bit + parity or 8 bit) you will find bursts of data errors for a few minutes every half an hour this is not the case running a DOS program such as Quick Basic. It was also not the case with VB on Windows 3.1, 98 or higher either. In another court case, Microsoft was fined for applying the use of two File Allocation Tables (FAT) for robustness to disk compression in the same way that Stacker was already doing for disk compression even though using two FATs was the established way of making a disk filing system robust. Double Space was replaced by Drive Space in the last version of DOS 6.22 so the very robust Double Space last appeared in DOS 6.21.

DOS 4.x was the most unreliable version of any major disk operating system whereas DOS 6.x was the first professional and robust Microsoft product in many people's opinions. Although supporters of Linux seem very confident about the robustness of Linux I am inclined to be careful I know I make mistakes then compound them with other mistakes and also find that the machine did not do what I expected resulting in things being deleted but knowing that I have lost very little. The losses have been due to the filing system with old pictures that when found there was no backup of now.

Microsoft had a financial interest in Novell which is part of one of the best and long-established Linux distributions openSUSE. The point I make is that selecting Linux is not a way of putting Microsoft out of business but it may be a way of avoiding virtual monopoly for a while. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novell

  • Many Linux distributions can also be installed on a memory stick but they will, of cause, run more slowly and wear out your memory stick so just use that sort of installation for maintenance such as the recovery of data? When using a memory stick or flash disk for Linux do not install a swap partition on the USB or flash drive in order to improve endurance. You should disconnect all your hard disks or else you may find it not possible to boot anything without having all the hard disks and the memory stick plugged in as it was when you did the installation. NOTE; older Windows only supports one partition on a USB stick and that has to be the first partition and must be No. 1. This will be the only partition you will see in Windows Explorer but you can not run Windows from a memory stick. You can see all partitions with Linux. Special Windows tools such as Paragon can see and work on all partitions found on a USB memory stick. Newer Windows are less restrictive.

Up to about Windows 98 with drive letters being changed would stop the OS from running consequently. I found problems do not arise if partition letters are changed such as moving a hard disk with Windows XP. Windows 7 is even more tolerant of partitions being moved and numbers changed. Cloning Linux may or may not work but Linux Gparted and Boot Repair USB are good tools but there are no issues with the partition being moved and renumber consequently by comparison.

  • I also have a Windows XP SP3 installation disk. This was invaluable for putting things back as they were. The installation disks are not always available but one that you have no license number for works well enough and gives you a 30-day trial.

  • If you are also running Windows here are some registry clean up tools, you can use in addition to Clean-up, Defragment and Check Disk; http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner it is free and reliable.

  • Microsoft has tools, at no cost, for fixing a specific problem such as with the Windows registry. I used one of these to fix the inability to uninstall Java 7 update 9 on XP. Some people, like myself, have had this problem and I found the solution using a web search. In that respect, Windows can be better than Linux. For example, if you turn off or close Mageia (3 or 4) for example during updating there is no tool, you have to run some commands which have no meaning in plain English on the root terminal and it will all be sorted. On the other hand, running the installation USB selecting update or install but without formatting a partition will straighten out the boot-loader more easily than trying anything like that on Windows with its Install CD.

The Implication of using an Old PC

The item that can appear to wear though not be broken is the hard disk. When hard disks are made they have surface errors but these are marked bad, are not used and are hidden. During the life of the hard disk more bad sectors are identified and marked bad these can be retested but are eventually hidden so they become removed. The full format or DOS ChkDsk (fsck is the Linux equivalent of ChkDsk) with options set keeps the hard disk in order. Eventually, sectors become marked bad and removed then the hard disk speeds up again.

I am told and observed that Windows 7 or higher looks after the hard disk quite well Windows 8 and 10 advise there is no need to run chkdisk unless advised to but defragment is still necessary.

Linux Distros will check and fix things the next time the computer is turned on adding perhaps another 30 seconds to the start-up time and another minute to the closing down time. That is Linux looks after the hard disk without slowing the computer as much as Windows disk maintance does.

Modern filing sytems are much more robust but files do get destroyed and disk drives fail after a very high usage some sooner.

How much memory does a Operating System with GUI and all the office tools included;

Lots is the answer. In about 1980 when (Digital and IBM were similar size companies) CPM (the commonly used general business office operating system prior to DOS) would fit on a 80K single sided single density 8" or 5.25" floppy disk. Wordstar office suit would fit on one 300-400K double sided double density floppy disk or many lower capacity floppy disks and you had to swap them depending on the feature of Wordstar you were using eg for running spell check.

Home computers had between 8K to 12K of firmware The Acorn BBC computer had 20K + up to 8x 8K sideways ROMs and 8 to 32K of RAM. Unix was a then staggering then 50MB which is very small by modern standards compared with Windows 3.1, office, CAD and other software with 10M of workspace all fitted on a 40MB hard disk. Now computers have 10,000 that data and program space.

So a PC now has high-speed SRAM, moderate speed DRAM, hard disk or Flash plus the use of parallel processing of two instructions and piping which allows instructions to be processed simultaneously with instruction completing although some of those instructions processed may be abandoned depending on the outcome of earlier instructions.

Short cut keys universally used Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-F, Ctrl-R etc. are called as Wordstar Short-cut keys.

To create arrow keys four keys formed the Wordstar diamond of short-cuts.

The shortcut for print Ctrl-P came from CPM but is universally recognised as well.

These shortcut keys don't work properly on Windows 7 or "higher" sadly.

Be careful the outcome of using Ctrl-C varies with operating context and seems a bit inexplicable.

Ctrl-C stops a running program in DOS but Ctrl-break can mean terminating a running program in any OS.

The best home computer

Reduced Instruction Set Microprocessors (RISC) are very common and a lot is claimed but they may be, in some cases, just old intellectual property dressed up. The ARM 7 instruction set runs at half the speed of a Motorola M-core for the same clock speed but can be switched to run as fast but with more memory use than the M-core. ARM is sold as a very cheap commodity piece of intellectual property whereas Motorola was the most leading edge parts. The last version of the BBC micro had an ARM microprocessor which was impressively fast. The ARM microprocessor is now used very widely even Motorola (now NXP) make microprocessors using the ARM core under license. But like Motorola make PowerPC under licence from IBM (R6000 core) I would say it is better to use one of the companies own propriety processors Motorola very understate what they do and they have very satisfied users consequently.

The MOSTEC or Rockwell R6502 processor-based BBC micro was faster than the first IBM PC's that despite on paper seeming to be slow. Both were Comprehensive Instruction Set Microprocessors (CISC) performance. Many electronic designers got caught out by spec. points v reality. The problem is that you never really know until you have invested heavily in a chosen microprocessor development then you are stuck with it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOS_Technology

Speed and size of the program being run if it is in assembler (machine code) or optimized complied high level language can be very small and fast this is how the Acorn Atom with it's built-in assembler and highly efficient BBC Basic programming language got it's justly deserved excellent reputation for. But Basic is an interpreted language meaning it is written in text interpreted character by character at a time of running that program. The trick with the Acorn Atom and BBC was to convert the textual words to short tokens two bytes in size that are therefore much quicker to interpret than longer full English language spelt out words. The BBC micro was faster still and this was achieved by placing line length code at the beginning of each program line so that the interpreter can calculate line lengths and skip along quickly to the required line. There are a lot of scripting languages that work by interpreting text such as; Submit, Batch, Perl, Java, HTML. The program running may not be aware of the precise detail of the computer it is running on but instead it could be running on a standard virtual machine environment is created for it such as; Pascal and p-code, Java to run Java script or basic interpreter. The implication of this is that program does not need to be rewritten for every possibility but on the other hand the machine is running a program that is in turn running on another program and perhaps to run a third program that interprets text list of based tasks this of cause slows the computer and makes the code very large. It is therefore possible to create a vastly powerful and wide range of applications with a vast number of software writers each adhering a set of rules, way beyond the capability of one person but the coding is necessarily not so efficient.

This animation explaining a computer, joke is good unfortunately the host, Google Sites, don't support some animation graphics.

After an installation;

In the main you can use a different web browser and email client programs to the ones integrated into the Desktop. Firefox and Thunderbird are generally very highly regarded, work very well and have always been my preferred such as when they were Netscape. By comparison for email I found Empathy and Kmail did not perform well the former Expunge Waste-basket did not work but the latter may be fine I was mislead by a problem with my Talk-Talk ISP. The names of the drafts, waste-basket and the Spam folders etc. could be changed to tally with the names given by the email service providers which is important when using IMAP. Importing from Windows or another OS did not work. You can either export and import your address book then set up all the other things or in the case of Thunderbird (Seamonkey, Netscape are somewhat interchangeable) you can find the dot Thunderbird folder hidden somewhere and copy it to somewhere else possibly to; home\you-profile-name.

I changed all my email collection to IMAP method then moved all my local sub-directories to Archives on one of the providers. That meant that after setting up my new email client all the archives were loaded from the ISP's copy, slowly. This method you also need to export the address book from one email program then import address books to the other.

  • I have tried out Mageia 3 KDE, Gnome and LDRE for at least a month early in 2014. Mageia installs with updates completed was the fastest KDE distribution Gnome was also fast. You can install custom and select GNOME, KDE and LDRE so you can try them all but do not click restart when the installation is complete wait there may be some more software updates then do the restart as offered. Mageia has a very professional feel characteristically French fast, functional and works well from installation. Usefully you don't necessarily need to delete and recreate hard disk partitions during installation. LDRE needs a little more refining but is good I like it but I have settled on XFCE on Mageia 4. I recommend the current version 4 it was released well tested and debugged.

When trying another desktop in Mageia install the noarch, logout, login then in the new desktop you can then remove the noarch of the desktop of the one you are not going to use. After that search for more things with the desktop name say "Mate" and add or remove them appropriately to make you desktop purely the one you desire plus anything you particularly want.

  • I ran openSUSE 13.1, KDE (the default one) for 3 weeks it is good. A fast implementation but I caught it at a point where the permissions and passwords are not running smoothly. It was not an entirely stable release then. A professional feel characteristically German and correct. I would have liked to have bought this distribution along with the book but that is only available in German. The disk access permission issue is also apparent to varying extent in other Redhat distributions such as Mageia as well.

I also recommend any of the Linux Mint such as Mate which aim to be stable and straightforward which they are. XFCE though a fast desktop is a slower than most but has a very good application search just type in what you are looking for and it will suggest an application. Mate version of application search is similar but in addition search suggestions will include things you may wish to install or look up. These are very good for beginners as well as anyone who is unlikely to be impressed by sparkle, fading effects and appearance. This OS appears to work faster than a good fast minimal installation of Windows XP. Installation seems not to be possible on a RAID SATA drives on my PC but is fine with an IDE drive. I ran both versions of Mint for about a few weeks.

    • Also consider Ubuntu or Xubuntu they are well supported but differently to Mint so you can use the long term stable version or the one that has new features but is less stable. Another is Linux Lite is a faster alternative to Xubuntu but still Debian based.

Printer and other external devices; My very old Epson Dot matrix print works fine on Mint though cancelling a print job and then switching the printer off and on does not stop that print job only shutting my PC down stops the print job in some cases does. By comparison with Windows which you can cancel a print job then switch the printer off and on to flush the print buffer completely. It seems that with open SUSE the only way to completely flush a print job was to delete or replace openSUSE Linux. With Mageia I was not able to get my old Epson dot matrix printer to work consistently without reinstalling the driver this issue was fixed partly when I reported it but there is no problem with Mageia 4. The printer itself is a LX800 and I purchased a can of spray ink which I re-Ink the ribbon periodically and people have given me surplus fanfold paper. So in itself the printer which I operate in Near Letter Quality is low maintenance and trouble free. Manjaro I set up a printer some how inadvertently but there was no print job shown I did not pursue this as the driver was not going to support near letter quality printing.

Re-Ink - Non-aerosol dot-matrix printer re-inking spray. Purchased in the 1990's.


The Linux partition managing tools don't necessarily completely restore a USB stick to as it was with a Windows DOS compatible FAT32 or exFAT filing system. See my discussion above on tools I used. Linux and particularly the Redhat like distributions tends to secure things so that if you revert to Windows you may find you can't delete a Linux created directory even if you have administrator rights on your Windows. This problem may or has been resolved since writing - it has been resolved for Mageia 4.

This free software is not entirely stable and depends on which you use but usually an earlier version that is still in support can be used. Do use the discussion forums and feedback problems and solutions that are part of how you can pay back. Of cause who would touch a point zero release of any software and Linux is released after through testing so you would not be using a .0 normally anyway. For example the tested version of Mageia 4 was launched on 4 February 2014 but version 3 will remained in support until November.

Don't discount sticking with Microsoft Windows it is good even so. An older stable Windows OS is generally a good desktop. Many things including installation and update are more robust for example if the PC freezes and you switched it off and on the computer tends to recover themselves some of the Linux recover well but others just open next time with a text screen. I am told that Windows 8 is more robust than any other Windows operating system - As a company Microsoft pull the operating system up and make a very good one occasionally.

Windows 7, 8 and 10 Things that arise with multiboot (December 2017)

  • Multi-boot with Linux and XP - no issues should arise and you can have a few copies of each.

  • Multiboot with Windows 7 or 10 and XP - set Windows 7 or 10 Power fastboot option OFF or you won't be able to read the Windows partition from Linux.

  • Windows 7 and Windows 10 - for one to see the other then you need to set a drive letter for the other. Also if you are running Google Drive you may need to disconnect and reconnect to the Windows it is installed on or it will start working in the other Windows if they are a duplicate of each other (but for specific OS).

  • Windows 8 and XP - Windows 8 will screw itself and XP up if XP is present. I tried this twice and it occurred both times.

  • Where Windows 10 was update from an installation of Windows 7 and both were installed on different hard disks on the same PC; Then Google Drive may use the wrong directory, that is partly update the directory in another installation of Windows. Google Drive then starts loosing files or duplicating files and directory's (5/2020).

Surveillance and viruses - I tried a virus scanner for Windows 98 called Panda in about 2000 the virus scanner was not important at that time, security updates and careful practices were adequate then but I kept the firewall when the trial period expired. Unusually you could turn off all the holes in the Firewall so I stopped the Windows Kernel from communicating with the Internet but doing that did not adversely affect anything and Microsoft updates worked fine. It appears that the communication from the Windows Kernel had no functional purpose of benefit to me or the good functioning of the operating system.

  • Taking care don't even trust things posted on Facebook into your feed they are not solely friends and groups you chose to follow some are adverts loaded with viruses looking like a regular post. Such precautions are better than hoping a tool will protect you. Fools and there money are easily separated and in computing we can all be caught and nothing can protect us from our foolishness or the acts of deceitfulness by others. {As of June 2015 Facebook seems to suffer much less of this so people can make a fuss and a difference}

  • It has been said to me that Microsoft FAT is not a robust filing system. Though I agree exFAT is not very robust so be careful with large memory sticks always use the eject or safe removal feature. Microsoft NTFS may be stronger and Linux users will advocate Linux formats. If you really want fast and robust using RAID server for example with 4 SATA drives can be configured so that they mirror each other or they improve the access time - I have not tried this. When using RAID to mirror or parity check and correcting across more than one drive you can unplug a drive and keep it somewhere else for safety (these may use multidimensional parity checking which does not help if all your data is on one disk and your computer is in an office fire). Otherwise for less private information consider using cloud computing such as; Ubuntu One drive, SkyDrive (Windows/Microsoft/Bing), Google Drive is promised to be Linux compatible in future.

Conclusion;

Linux Distributions share well with with Windows. Windows can be a problem though its sharing policies and work around are strange and don't work consistently. That is also between Windows and another version of Windows and Linux on multi-boot PC.

At first I found Linux security not ideal, in that it crops up unnecessarily inviting a casual password entry to just get on with what you are doing, but this aspect has improved during the time I have been composing this study. Password request occur when you need to update or do other system level things. The user could be blocked from backing up and restoring things by the security but as I say these things are being refined in all distributions. Linux Lite, allowed me to login as an administrator to resolve this. By comparison using Windows without administrator rights is difficult and Linux security is much better integrated. Conversely Windows with administrator rights has the gates wide open but that makes Windows very usable and very insecure.

If you do just pull the plug or hold in the power switch to turn off the computer at next switch on the machine starts without fuss and I understand straightens things out again. Best not done though and I have done that when occasionally the PC has locked up but Windows is much more tolerant of this behaviour. I found if updating Linux freezes and all else fails you remove the power then there are things you have to do in the terminal command mode to straighten update system out again but this sort of issue has not occurred recently as of July 2015 to December 2017. By comparison Windows 7 or higher you live with failed updates and re-tries, I think it occurs much more often than it ever did with XP. The priority of user tasks over background tasks is no better in that respect than Windows if you are copying a large file on your hard disk it will copy faster but you will have to wait in practice just like is the case with Windows. Update of Linux all occurs whilst the user is logged in a discrete way there is no delay for configuring or installing at closing down or starting up time.

On the computer history that I have interspersed I had not mentioned Sinclair. Sinclair had very exciting products that always turned out to be a big disappointment. Scientific calculator that gave the wrong answer if it had taken too long to compute a trig function and that was documented in the manual. A watch made with special black plastic called Black Watch. A matchbox size radio. An advanced computer with a MC68008 processor and solid state Micro-drives turned out to be a tape loop. Portable flat screen TV may have been okay. Still the audacity of this company deserved an award which the Queen duly gave it.

Good stuff still comes from the United states and open source is quite refreshing mutual beneficial adaptation to commercial protection in a way that avoids everyone being stitched up by US style litigation culture. But it is not the same as Oriental pure natural unprotected, fast moving, copy improve and copy again ways. Linux is not typically bodged up quick sold then patched later but then not all American stuff is like the stereotype either.

The risk of continuing to use Windows XP without further updates may be negligible. Many companies avoid updating Windows preferring to run a notchy but faster machine. This is particularly so with companies using Mechanical CAD tools with 3D modelling. So there would not be any difference for them anyway. Dual boot Linux and Windows is a good option using Linux for email, web and office type things but retaining Windows for specific application programmes.

note - the animations and cartoons do not belong to me if they belong to you and you would like to be acknowledged please tell me.

Unfortunately this Google hosted website does not allow the animations to run.

One page Linux guide Basic Linux Commands youtube (These have been recommended I have not use them much)

To discussion this go to; blog.andrew-lohmann.me.uk


National Semiconductors used to make a microprocessor that appeared to run very primitive microinstructions in the 1970s and early 1980s. One variant included a BASIC interpreter and was very slow but quite flexible DMA. INS8060 and INS8070 SC/MP, I do not know but this may still continue to be modified made but now know as PIC? SC/MP (scamp) was one of the first microcontrollers to come into the country from the USA in 1976 and the evaluation kit was built into a good size suitcase.

Now, Computers are considerably faster but the software is much slowed by being written in scripting languages, run time systems and elaborate graphics plus some of the operating systems such as Windows grow in an untidy way with patches added.