Linux & Windows maintenance

Created; 14/12/2013, Changed; 05/09/2022 - 06/06/2023

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.


Installation of a Linux desktop


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


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.


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!


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



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.  Less often but still very necessary with Windows 10 despite being advised to the contrary.

Windows - Explore files, touch the hard disk and select properties - tools - check disk.

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 startup 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;

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.   

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. 

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

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. 

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

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;  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.

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. 

 Linux Distributions and more detail

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

Easy way to install missing drivers in Debian;  

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

Mageia 4 or higher

------------- 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.

There are other Linux's for very old PC's which are low spec. here is a link with some reviews and mentions;

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;

 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.


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


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

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.


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;

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;

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; (this has been superseded by 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 stickUbuntu 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.


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;

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.

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;

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.

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;

Partition changing; (April 2017)

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;

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.

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.

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

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.

 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;

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)  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;

 Gparted for Linux

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; - 

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.  

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 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, 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 Thunderbird" or "Yahoo 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   But using the manual server setting see answers;  and did work although no labels/lists were brought in.   These are the server settings; - 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 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 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 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;

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.  

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.

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.

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

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

* Installing a not-repository version of Thunderbird;

Is straight-forward in Windows but with Linux;

Here are some of the changes that could be missed;  Install, Migrate and Update | Thunderbird Help (  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

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.

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

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. 

An issue with files on a PC not updating to the Google Drive website (Aug 2022) - A solution is to click on the icon and change the properties to Streaming, then, delete the contents of Google Drive, and finally switch back to Mirrored - and change the path to Google Drive.  Google Drive will now run properly.  It is likely that you do not need to delete the files Google Drive will deal with that for you.  Where files are used on sites or blogger they will be updated.

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;

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.


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.   

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

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


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?


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.


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 (  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;

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.

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.   

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.

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.

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 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.

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)

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.


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;

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.