Windows to Linux - switch operating system

Created; December 2013, Changed; 31/01/2024 – 04/06/2024

An evaluation of Desktop Computer Operating Systems

I looked at Linux occasionally, but then started using a Linux desktop in 2013 when using a Linux distribution became easy.

Windows XP was in full support 2001 - 2014 then it entered end-of-life support that was reduced progressively to just security updates then no updates, eventually fewer optional features and drivers and by November 2021 no support and unable to authenticate an installation or new installation.  Drivers had been withdrawn by some computer manufactures websites such as Sony and therefore Windows update, consequently whilst those versions of Windows were in support or End-Of-Life support.  This is not the case for US companies such as HP, XP 64 drivers and optional features are still available on HP's website.  Lenovo computer's latest BIOS update of 2012 leaves the PC unable to power off (As of January/February 2019 and March 2020);

Windows 7 is in end-of-life support and receives security updates only (December 2021 until about June 2023?).  And also earlier versions of Windows 10 on some PCs can not be updated (2020 and 2021).  

So-called end of life support or Long-term support is a sweet period where the operating system user is not bugged with changes, and it is now developed to its best that it is going to be, and the security is still maintained.  The next period, you can either find a security solution and also take care more using the internet. 

Try Linux without installing it on your PC.

You can download a Live Linux distribution for a 32 bit or a 64-bit PC to create a DVD or USB stick, then try it on your PC. 

There is an installation button if you do want to put it on your computer.  The information you need is provided by the Linux Distribution provider. 

Lubuntu 18 is similar to Windows 7 but plainer.  The desktop shortcuts to partitions are generated automatically and change if the partitions change.

Some highest high-end Computer Aided Design Tools were only available for Linux or Unix have been ported to Windows.

Compared to most things you can do with a computer, mechanical CAD places a big demand on a PC.  Many companies run Windows on high spec PCs, through a proxy server, and block all updates in order to keep the computer running fast.  Kent libraries also do this running Windows 10 19.xx currently, though Windows is now at update 22H2. 

PCB CAD is not demanding programmes, it is now not necessary to buy a better graphics card and screen.

CAD tools and support are comprehensive, and training manuals are large compared to many things.   Cadence Allegro (OrCAD), Zuken Cardstar PCB design CAD.  

 Allegro for printed circuit board design was ported from Unix/Linux to Windows.  

Linux and Windows programs and operating systems have become more similar looking and feel.

Cadence Allegro - version OrCAD PCB Designer Lite

Very Unix/Linux like Windows program with a command window bottom left as an alternative to the GUI.  

The auto-router operates differently from how probably all that went before in that it takes many passes rather than working in a single pass.  The auto-router does a little with each pass, putting more effort into completing copper track routes with each pass.  This strategy of only planning or working as far as can be seen has transferred to many things, including Windows Defragment and engineering management.  Auto-routers have become very good, many engineers use them for low speed digital design, but they have become used less.  I never used the auto router, but semi-automatic track routing is very useful, making tracks, data pairs and buses tidy to become orthogonal with radius and 45' corners as you draw them.

Cadence Allegro is so different to OrCAD Layout that many designers switched to another CAD when Layout moved to its end of life.  I find CADSTAR to be a better tool for PCB layout, though OrCAD Capture remains the best tool for circuit or system diagram drawing.

A PCB designer who uses his own macros in a much more manual way finds Allegro to be the best tool.  It is not a general tool used by an electronics designer who prefer pre-defined set features which can be like macros. 

The Allegro auto router, is similar to Windows 7 or more recent defragmenters, but by comparison Linux filing systems do not fragment files even when the partition is very full.

Software update back compatibility is often poor

Cadence circuit CAD (Capture) file format remained unchanged between about 1995 and 2006 (when the Layout tool was changed to the Allegro version, the old tools continued to be supported for a number of years), so circuit design work can be shared on different versions of the Capture.  Capture the circuit design CAD used to only be available for Windows.  It has many output formats and can be used with many makes of PCB CAD tools.

Word processor documents such as Word .doc, LibreOffice and OpenOffice files are similarly fairly compatible with older versions, but much CAD does not easily allow you to save work in a newer version then open it in an older version of the CAD.  Many programs when installed or updated convert an older profile and configuration found, but this is not necessarily the case with Thunderbird email client.

Thunderbird, for email, must go up by each significant version at a time; 

If you have Linux that has not been run for a while, it is likely to update in too big a jump past many versions of Thunderbird and corrupt the old email profile.   A way around this is to not use the Linux repository version but use an old downloaded version and in that way, Thunderbird will manage its own updates step by step converting your profile with each update to that version's format.  Alternatively, hold the thunderbird updating until the particular Linux repository version reaches the same version.  Otherwise, the Linux repository version is a fine and safe option.  See Thunderbird Email

Ubuntu 22 - Gnome desktop is like Unity desktop that preceded it.  The icons with dots indicate those applications are running in this case minimized, there is one dot for each instance.  [Right click and open in a new tab to see any picture in full screen to see detail]

Picture above is the task window of the installer, which is also running whilst I am using the Live desktop.  That is, I saved these print screens to my whilst the installation was being carried out.  

Picture below is the application screen also showing the current task in use.

Linux's desktops distributions provide all the common things' people generally use a PC running Windows for, games, office, camera tools, picture scanning, downloading, and web browsing.  Linux desktop's also have many of the specialized things e.g. picture editing tools and computer-aided design, embedded programming.  But if want you to use a Windows program, then have the system dual boot Linux or Windows is the usual option.  Many very expensive CAD tools that were once only available on Unix also run on Linux, FreeBSD, and Unix, with lighter versions also ported to Windows.  Windows Office, other programs, and moderately high-end CAD started for Windows but in the past decade have been made available for Linux.

Can't turn Windows off - Windows can take a long time to turn off or on, when waiting for updates to complete.  About once a month, it is necessary to leave a Windows PC switched on for a day to allow updates, as well as the usual Defragmentation and Check disk.

Companies that use Mechanical CAD run an early version of a supported Windows interconnected with a proxy server and use that server to prevent "updates" and block viruses.   This stops PCs from running progressively more slowly as update patches would have been installed

Kent Libraries also do this with their public computers and keep their chosen model of computers running longer.  This is probably a cost-saving exercise because the browsers are out of date and the language is set to the USA, although GB versions of web browsers and most software. 

Linux Distributions will do all or most updates whilst it is running.  Some distributions need to be turned off, others like Debian XFCE have been running continually for over 20 years and are kept up-to-date.

Although major updates of Linux are a little slower, they do not slow down as much as major versions of Windows do with time.  In other words, Linux is probably fixed rather than patched up as a software maintenance strategy.

Ubuntu and some of the smarter Linux's have become slower to turn off in recent years because they now carry out some updating at turn off.

Once every 1-2 to 5 years, it is useful or necessary to leave the PC running all day to carry out a major update.

In any case, do make a Windows 7, and 10 legacy boot start up disk (or keep the Windows installation disks) and in addition a Boot repair disk (very small Lubuntu based Linux) will fix things in both Windows and Linux.  For example, you might need to set the boot and ecp flags used by Windows using gparted provided on the boot repair disk.

Windows tools Defragment must be used weekly to keep the PC running at reasonable speed and reliably.  Check Disk be run weekly or when advised to in Windows 10.

There is no Defragmentation required on Linux, it is taken care of as part of the filing system and ChkDsk called fsck is carried out automatically.  fsck may be required exceptionally, such as if a hard disk is failing.

Memory sticks, use flash memory like SSD's, must not be defragmented either, but you do need to run Windows ChkDsk with them often if it is partition in a Windows format.  I found that they only save small files, not very large zipped (usually no more than 1-2 GB with the larger 128G) such as for back up.  exFAT filing system is designed for them, but others work.  Partition Encryption is available, search the web for information.

It is likely that the operating system's power settings section also configure these things?


Traditionally desk and home computers use local time but main frame and servers use UTC (GMT).  

Servers, mainframe and desktop computers are virtually interchangeable, but for the extra error detection and higher quality components used in servers.  The best quality components are now made for the automotive industry and the most robust and complex systems probably made by Google and other internet providers for their own servers, search engines, and software.  Major web service providers would use CAD tools (such as Allegro printed circuit board design tool pictured further above) developed for them, but with much lower cost versions sold to industry. 

I have worked for companies as a contracting electronics designer where the complaint about a previous engineer was that he used the CAD tools like pencil and paper drawing pictures using symbols and lines without using the part placing checking and netlist synchronisation between the circuit and PCB.  My complaint is that there are so many constraints to set that, I use some of them, then want to draw the PCB myself.  That means, unless I sit next to the PCB designer, things are done expediently, things I would have spotted are missed.  Still talking to the CAD Bureaus about the current loops, the short paths can work out.  Doing the PCB myself I spot all the mistakes which on this website I have not done so well because they are both abstract and I have not made a PCB for them and therefore not considered proximity of parts and that part of circuit function these affects the stability. 

There are a number of witty phrases about contract work, one is Leave Before Manufacture LBM, but the way Contractors are employed a manger will often end the contract before you have handed over and seen through to the end of the job.  So the full time staff have to pick up the pieces subsequently.  The best employer I worked for was a German-owned company which made allowances and got things done well for high volume, low cost manufacture.

Windows sets the PC's clock to local time.  More recent versions of Windows can be configured, so they set the PCs clock time to be Universal time.  

There are Windows command terminal commands to change the PCs RTC to be set to UTC. Windows still display in local time by adding summer and time zone corrections. 

Most distributions of Linux keep the PC's clock set to local time, and are therefore compatible when dual boot with Windows or other operating systems.  Some distributions require that you chose local or UTC at installation time.

Ubuntu and its variants set the PC's clock to Universal time, and so mess up any other operating system expecting the PC clock to be set to local time.  This is a nuisance because it causes time-wasting fault-finding this issue.  There is a temporary terminal command fix for Ubuntu which is removed by major software updates - Ubuntu do not intend to fix this, issue, and they do not see it as a problem.

Ubuntu Terminal command; "timedatectl set-local-rtc 1"  You need to do this again on every major update of Ubuntu.

If you need support, looking at either the Debian or the Ubuntu forums or Wiki's and may others will help you for any Linux Debian or Ubuntu based distribution.  Mageia or other Wiki forums for Redhat based (.rpm) distributions.  There are also groups on Facebook.  There are differences between the Linux Distributions, so advice from one may need adapting when applied to another or for a different version, often the security 'sudo', 'su' or the terminal used differs.

Generally the help explains the solution using the terminal and typing text, but very often there is an easier GUI solution.  You need to look at the keywords and consider those when using a GUI.

The chosen desktop runs on a choice of Window Manager's - which also affects things such as speed and appearance.  See

Debian 11, which is the current version being rolled out over the next year or so, LXQt desktop installation option gives you a choice of two window managers.  When installed, the login options at the top of the screen include Lxqt or Gnome (November 2021).  Some Linux distributions offer a choice of window manager's also in a pull-down, usually at the top of the screen at login.

GNOME - other screens.  Some variants of Gnome, such as Unity, place a dot next to the favourite for each instance of that favourite running. Debian Gnome screens pictured above;

Debian LXDE 32 and 64-bit update from 8.x to 9.x to 10.x and 11.x ran amazingly smoothly and without fuss, no need to restart or discernibly slowing an already slow computer on the times I carried the update out.   I continued to use the computer without interruption in both cases.

Power settings;

That is, if you leave a Linux PC running unattended but doing some work for you won't return to find the work abandoned, and the PC has restarted unlike Windows having completed a Windows update.  You can configure Windows to not do that in the power settings.  But you will probably find a Linux desktop PC has stopped processing your tasks and gone to sleep, so the power settings will need to be altered from their default state, usually.

I set the power settings for any operating system to dim the display after a few minutes then turn the display off after say 5 minutes, or I may set a screen saver and also turn off subsequently.  The important power setting is to ensure that the computer does not sleep or turn-off, but continues to run the task you have left the computer on to carry out.  For laptops, put the computer in to hibernation when closing the lid, but sleep may be the only option.  The power button to power off the computer. 

----- Linux Distributions ----

Linux's distributions are generally not based in one country, but are part of many worldwide projects and individual involvement.  Improvements pass freely between all who take part in those Linux projects.  There is a lot of good checking before and after a part of Linux is shared.  There are rules on sharing and use that insist on openness, sharing, including source code.  There is a provision for commercial licensing parts, but in a not restrictive way.

I am not considering forks from the Linux Kernel, such as Android or Apple.  Or how well Windows 10 implements Linux type Bash terminal, which I don't know in any case.

Easy to install, but if not, there may be an alternative full installer;

Mint Mate

Is a very safe choice.  So is Mint XFCE.  Mint Mate was the first one I used in 2013.  Mint is Ubuntu-based, which in turn is Debian based.

Mint Cinnamon (includes WINE) - Cinnamon looks similar but has nice expanding and closing windows.  Suits a PC with suitable graphics hardware, otherwise it is slow.

Mint XFCE - also looks similar but is slightly plainer and is the fastest desktop that Mint offer. 

Mint also have their LDME version that uses Debian instead of Ubuntu packages.  It is not so well-developed.

Despite some weaknesses, Mint Mate is one of the most recommended Linux's to start with ;   (March 2020) 

Mint uses old software, which is not generally a problem, except when EXT4 partitions stated to be used.  There was an update to EXT4 that Mint did not implement for a long time.

Mint Cinnamon 18.2 to Mint 18.3 and to Mint 19 update works but unlike Debian update, the PC will be impractically slow whilst this is occurring to do anything else with it.   It recommends, like most linuxes do, to not do other things whilst the operating system is updating in any case.


The long-term stable version is also a safe choice, very different slick comparable in speed to a well-running current Windows 7 but faster than Windows 10 (April 2020).  I have used this for many years, it is the flagship Linux desktop.  Ubuntu' was a branch off from GNOME and was called Unity, but now Canonical has sold Unity to Microsoft and has returned to being part of improving GNOME, as of April 2018.  Some of the Ubuntu versions did not support Dropbox properly for some years, but that is fixed now (April 2020). 

Minimal; This desktop is minimal, and you will find it difficult or complicated to do anything but the simplest file managing things with Ubuntu.  For example, you need to use the terminal to create a symbolic link, whereas on many Linux desktops you either drag a file and choose symbolic-link or right-click send-to-shortcut.  This has become more so in recent years, but it is very uncluttered consequently and opposite to the strategy Windows and many of the tablet operating systems have gone. (December 2021). 

Canonical Ltd of London funds Ubuntu set of desktops and the development is based in South Africa.  Ubuntu is an African word for Human.  These are the easiest to use, and most features are very well-developed, but they do not run so fast on a PC as other Linux distributions, but they are faster than the current Windows.

Software Update - can be slow and may need to occur at shutting down, meaning you have to wait to turn the computer off, though usually not for long.   Updates of user interface programmes can not be carried out whilst they are used, by comparison to other distributions and earlier versions of Ubuntu in which they can be updated whilst in use, and they can be switched over easily to the new version. 

Weaknesses are that it is the flagship, therefore, leading Linux and so seems a little less stable than others.  Conversely, many issues will also be fixed sooner. 

Note on speed comparison, Windows 10 is improved greatly running on a fast Hard Disk or Solid State Drive than Linux is, so the comparison of the two is not clear-cut.  On the other hand, Ubuntu takes care of the HD or SSD automatically and continually, whereas with Windows you must carry out the weekly maintenance.  That is, Linux does not have any long downtimes, and even a version update is much quicker. 


All operating systems rely on advertising, donations and payment.  Ubuntu now requires a user to register for updates, which are free for a home user for up to five copies.  Windows runs with minor restrictions and advertising until it is licenced.  But with Windows, you now always get loaded with so-called Free but is clutter and the task search now has irrelevant clutter.

Disk care;

All the same, if you install an operating system to a new or second-hand hard disk or SSD, then you need to repeatedly check the disk for a week or two so that the HD can clear the surface errors that will otherwise would have made the OS run slowly for a long time. 

A PC will run slowly if one hard disk has errors, that is even though the disk may not be in use, until they are dealt with by. 

Once the errors are dealt with, normal checking will keep the hard disk running reliably for a decade or so.  I have only come across a problem with FAT filing systems which are less robust and a hard disk where the errors seem to be in the MBR area of the disk. 

I set the hard disk for loudest fast operation, no power down, and turn the cache on (Disable Cache displayed confusingly).  Linux, Disks allows you to do this and also check the S.M.A.R.T status of the hard disk.


Stable version is fast and is a safe choice and is very like Windows 7.  The XFCE desktop is one of the oldest current desktops.  KDE then XFCE, GNOME were all launched in about 1996-1999.  That is before Windows introduced some of the same features such as typing the program name in the search window that Windows 7 Introduced a decade later.

Lubuntu 19.04 (LXQt)- This is less complete, so issues will arise.  It is preloaded with Thunderbird, LibreOffice etc.  Odd numbered versions have a shorter life and are more leading edge.

Alternatively; Lubuntu 18.04 (LXQt) -  Is a more complete and is the Long term stable release version and is preloaded with lightweight email and office programmes.  I switched them to Thunderbird, LibreOffice etc.


was LXDE is now LXQt 18.04,  is the fastest and lightest of the Ubuntu set of distributions and runs well on a low spec. PC even so just 1.5 GB DRAM 64Bit PC but will run faster with the 32 version installed.  It is not restrictively cut down but is something like a Windows XP or 7.  I've used this on a lower spec. Old computer.  Dropbox may work, and other applications run with little issue.

The desktops Linux's above have uniquely a very user-friendly application store where you can purchase or add for free many things.  You can review them as well, and it is set out in a neat and ordered way.  Everything about Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distributions, including installation and support, is plain and straightforward (04-2020).

Lubuntu is now one of the fastest full feature, supported Linux's using Kernel 4.x.x that I've evaluated.

XFCE, LXDE and LXQt are fast and light and the Debian and probably the server versions do not need to be restarted ever.  Some distributions do not offer, LXDE, although it is well refined desktop. 

Lubuntu is one of the largest distributions, similarly to all Ubuntu and variants. 

The Alternative installer will install on older computers that the regular installer may not run on.  This fairly easy installer is text based, similar to the Debian full installer.

Prestigio Tablet running Android 4.2  Purchased in about 2014.  I stopped using it in 2023.

Tablet computers have a short support life, but the programmes continue to run and be updated for many years.   It appears that Tablet computers are sold new despite being out of support, such as with Android 8 loaded, though the current version is 13.  Once out of support, can not be updated if that has not been done during the support period.

PC's by comparison with Windows, when a Windows PC is sold new the version is featured at the time of selling, support maintained for a long time there would be an easy or an automatic fix for most issues.  By comparison, there will usually be a fix for Linux Desktop, but it will need more technically deeper help to resolve those things.  Linux tends to continue to be supported on new and older PCs.  Also, various manufactures keep the drivers available indefinably or in the case of Sony withdraw them everywhere after 10 years.

There are Linux versions for some tablets and smartphones - I am advised that it is better to keep the old tablet going with its most update original OS as long as possible.  I have not managed to swap the operating system myself.  They can sit on top of the old OS or replace it.

MX Linux 

This Linux is very light, fast and installation is straightforward.  The user interface is plain, and I find its single click configuration makes it difficult to avoid clicking the wrong thing.   Functional and will run on most PCs that are now too slow to run anything else.  It will also automatically find all the drivers, better than many Operating Systems.

The XFCE desktop has a command search line like Windows 7.

MX has many maintenance tools included.  So it is quite a good OS to have alongside your favourite operating system(s).

MX 17 32 bit installed fine on another computer, then updated to MX21 and allowed me to install Megasync for Debian 9.  MX may let you update a version or two, but will come to a point where you need to install a fresh copy. 


AntiX - This is a lighter, faster, small but much more fiddly to use as a desktop.  Is also offered by MX.


Fairly easy to install;  The installation media has some repair tools

Debian 10.3 LxQt - Dropbox first time launched.

After Dropbox is installed and launched it will download and update itself periodically.  With many installations on Linux, Dropbox will download and update daily.

Debian promises to be excellent when Debian version 10 is developed further and things like the icon tray and the country setting are resolved (April 2020).


Has become easier to install (02/2017) and usually installs and runs very well.  GNOME and CINNAMON are very nice uncluttered fast desktops and Debian is easier to install than it had been.   XFCE, LXDE, LXQt are fast and LXDE is the fastest and Is the nicest fastest plain smart I've come across, but there can be a little work to add some things to Debian after it is installed. Download the *-1.iso full download version.

Plasma-KDE I found cluttered, like all the graphical interfaces combined. 

Debian 10 is the stable version and now includes the LXQt desktop option (November 2021).  Therefore, version 11 is recommended for download if you are happy to use a desktop operating system that is not so finished off, yet you will be part of its final testing and finishing off.

The installation usually goes through easily, but you may then need to add missing non-free drivers subsequently this is not done automatically or semi-automatically unlike other distributions, for you.  This is why I have recommended MX Linux above or both if Debian does not work out for you.

The second two have all the main graphical interfaces as options during installation. 

These simpler Debian desktops run an older, more stable update and software managing tool called synaptic package manager.  If you want to add software not in the repositories, then install gdebi, and then you can download and install a *.deb file if all requirements are met.

Debian 10 LXQt 64 bit is about the same speed as Lubuntu 18.04, but is preloaded with the regular rather than lighter programmes.  This distribution is faster than Lubuntu 19.04 though.  

Debian needed three non-free drivers to be installed, on an HP nx6125 Laptop.  The Non-free drivers were; r300_cp Video, Broadcom tg3_tso5 and particularly required was the Broadcom b43 wireless driver.  Other linuxes usually deal with getting these drivers automatically, though I have found situations where they have not.  When ever a driver is installed, the Linux must be restarted except when it was an update during a version update and then Debian swaps over to the new driver and keeps running.

Other drivers may be missing, you notice at turn on a message in some of the lines of text that go up the screen - note them, then search and install them from the Synaptic Package Manager. [they are in the non-free repositories]  

Some can be difficult to find, and you need to look on the Distro's Wiki or ask a question on their support group.

Debian 10s LXQt was still a newer desktop and was not as fully developed as others.

The other Debian Desktops are all faster than other distributions' implementation of them, and are they are nicely finished off. 


It is more technically orientated but plain and very attractive looking.  I used it from time to time since 2013 version 3.  Sometimes it is too difficult to install or will only install from a DVD, but not a USB stick.  Version 7 updates from 7 to 8, but it cleans up, so it is necessary to reinstall everything you need again.  There seems to be more issues unresolved with this distribution. The update version 8 to 9 kept things installed.

Mageia uses the RPM package manager.  Rather than the Deb package manager, that most of the distributions I have evaluated use.  Red Hat and Debian are two of the oldest Linux distribution developers, their distributions were first launched in 1993. 

Faults - Earlier version 4 and others did not recognize changes in petitions and some did not start up, consequently if a partition had been removed these issues were resolved during Version 7.  


If an update fails such as due to a data connection interruption Windows and many Linuxes now fix the broken libraries or whatever automatically but Mageia still requires manual intervention such as run in terminal;


urpmi --clean


Harder to install and or use

I had put Fedora in this category, but all Linux's have got easier, and the very good ones have stayed very good.  Fedora looks very good but turns out harder to complete setting after basic the installation was completed even so.  It seems crippled, and you are probably better off paying for Redhat or SUSE distribution?

Arch Linux - is reckoned to be one of the hardest to install, but with the strongest security.  There is an easier Arch-based Manjaro - this is easy enough to use, but there are fewer (.arc) applications than there are for Debian/Ubuntu (.deb) or Redhat (.rpm) for it.

Puppy Linux - These are a collection of the fastest, smallest operating systems that are very plain.  If you need that also look at AntiX it is fully of manual settings, but installation is very easy and everything is set up ready for you when it is completed.

By comparison, many operating systems' installation has become easily since Windows XP.  A lot of improvements to Windows have crossed from Linux distributions, such as the easier installation.   


Safe Web-browsing

Look at the URL to see if it looks correct or plausible.  For example, if you wish to download Firefox the domain is; is highlighted and you will see something like;

Thunderbird is now not part of  Mozilla and the URL is;

 Once again the registered domain is highlighted do not download it from anywhere else.  But you should use the Linux repository version they are the safest and best version unless it is for Windows or you are running an out of support version of Linux distribution.  Conversely, some programmes such as Chrome are best downloaded and installed from its website in order to accept conditions, pay or donate and so get all its features.

You can do some degree of checking a domain with; then search "" for example.


Linux with older versions of Windows on a slower PC;  

Just when the operating system is complete and running well, you have some years of smooth running until software loaded on it needs to be updated.  Windows 7 is now only receiving security updates but AVAST, AVG, Panda, Thunderbird, Firefox and others should continue to be updated or supported or running.  Windows 7 is in the early part of end of support life, but unlike XP probably will continue running beyond Microsoft's authorisation server is turned off. 

Windows XP full support ended in April 2014. 

NOTE; three laptops, and a desktop PC, each over 10 years old;


 The first web browser;

But for name changes Netscape was the first commercial Web Browser it became free to individual users (Microsoft did not charge extra for IE 3.x for Windows 3.1), installing Internet Explorer made it easy to get a dial-up connection if you did not have a paid-for ISP such as CompuServe.  Open Source caught on subsequently, and perhaps that marks the end of using patent and copyright to take things created for the good of all away from all of us?  Microsoft copied Sun Micro-Systems' Java, calling it a Virtual Machine, but had to stop doing that and supply Java on subsequent editions of Windows 98. 

Some internet banking for example did not work with the legal version of Java for example.

It is necessary for companies and countries to protect openness there is very strong evidence that Microsoft protect their own by making thing not work with competing products.  Conversely, IBM have always protected the openness of the PC specification, consequently any operating system that is PC compliant software should run on any PC, of the correct level of hardware.

Debian Linux uses a more stable version, Firefox-ESR. This is also the version of Firefox that supported end of life versions of Windows for a longer period than other web browsers do.


Getting the Best from Firefox 

The number of open tabs that this browser can cope with depends on the operating system and computer speed as well.  Firefox will markedly get faster than previous versions - like most things, periodically parts of this software are taken apart and put back together tidier. 

If you set Firefox to open old tabs [restore] and you have a lot of Tabs running, it will go progressively more slowly.  This is true of either Windows or Linux versions.  The remedy is to, close Firefox, when the disk activity is beginning to get busy then, open it again.  All the tabs will be there again, memory straightened out, and the tab you are viewing will be the only one running.  It will then go full-speed, you can also open a few more tabs if you chose to.

Firefox has always used lots of memory.  It also fragments or uses more memory the longer it runs.  So closing Firefox and re-opening it is a good strategy.  Do that before the computer freezes.  The issue is also apparent in other browsers, although it is less severe in Chrome now.

Other web-browsers also slow down when many tabs are open, and they have been running for a while. They also benefit from closing and re-opening periodically.  They probably use the same Firefox intellectual property.

The main point is an issue arises you can google and if that fails ask for help on a forum or Facebook group etc. for most things.


Some PCs are more difficult to install an operating system on -

Example; Sony Vaio PCG-GRT996ZP - Was a heavy Laptop that requires a high power 120W power supply, but was very well-made and particularly fast for its time.  It was taken out of support after only a decade of use.  Consequently, the BIOS can not be updated, and Windows drivers have been withdrawn from Windows update and the Sony website.

Linux Kernel's up to 3.x.x will run on this laptop, but Kernel 4.x.x causes a failure at startup and mentions APIC timer 8254?  There is a fix, that requires adding "noapic" to the Grub configuration file kernel line to work around the problem with APIC that the kernel reports.   I have carried out this fix, but it may be difficult if the configuration file is rewritten so that there could be virtually no way of starting Linux and editing the file again if it is not possible to use kernel 3.xx? If the boot screen offers Grub edit "E" you can change the configuration this one time then change the configuration file using Terminal when Linux is running to make the change more permanent.

This example might help where you don't have Mageia or other Linux with tools for configuring the Example of editing the Grub Configuration file

The commands in terminal, root terminal or other Linux terminal are similar to UNIX commands but less similar to DOS commands.  Commands must be in lower case with a space between the command the options, operators and names are case-sensitive;

cd \ -- To change the directory, go down a directory level.

dir -- Display directory.

su -- To enter root terminal in some cases.   To do root level things that could stop the Linux working.  Some desktop terminals do not allow the su command to be used.

sudo - command line with switches and operators - -- To operate in root (administrator) mode for one command is required instead in some cases.

Mageia distribution allows you to set "noapic" in the grub boot setup tool, but you have to be able to start the distribution running to use the tool, which should be easy enough if you install an old enough version of Mageia in the first place which is not necessarily so easy to upgrade from?

This laptop does not boot from a USB port and I used net install USB using a windows utility called Plop 5.15  which made it possible to boot and install from a small USB stick.  The add to Windows boot menu variant does not work well enough to run a USB Linux installer, so I believe, it was a number of years ago, I used to add to MBR variant.   I could have burnt a CD or DVD, perhaps with a net installer for one of the distributions.

If you make a Debian 8 or Mint Mate 14.1 USB installer, there is an Installation or Mint program in the root of the USB that may allow you to install that distribution from Windows.  A boot installs Linux option is added to a Windows startup menu.

The DVD drive will only boot from an original CD or DVD, but a burnt DVD will not boot, and I do not have a Vaio compatible spare DVD.  So the options are to create a netboot CD, install Plop and use a USB installer or install which creates a selection at hard boot, and it puts all the Linux Distribution files in the C: root along with windows then changes the boot.ini file so that an option start Windows or Start Unetbootin you can run the Linux desktop live installer.  I found only if you install to another disk say a USB stick but if you chose to ignore the working this broke the partitions partly with Mint Mate.  There is a warning that the tool may only work with one of the Ubuntu desktops. 

Also, another windows tool MiniTool Partition Wizard did not properly work, leaving the grub boot broken with a Grub rescue message and the hard disk not manageable with GParted. 

See Grub Rescue

Secure boot bios.  PCs all vary on how restrictive this added security is implemented;

In conclusion, if you are using a PC with secure boot even though the security is turned off, it will make maintaining a multi-boot computer more difficult.  Grub will list secure boot Windows and all Linuxes but will now exclude older Windows such as Windows 7.  Lubuntu update will switch to secure boot and in addition not list all the legacy boot Linuxes or Windows any more either. 

A legacy (BIOS) PC, Linux Boot repair or Linux installation will add all operating systems on the PC but probably will exclude any secure boot Windows.  But a Windows 7 boot repair disk will probably add Windows 10 to the list of operating systems. 

Secure Boot

Windows recovery disk and portioning tools;

Take care with Windows partitioning tools both those with Windows and third-party Windows tools may delete Linux or Windows partitions, but Linux GParted is much safer to use by comparison.  Just use the Windows tools to resize a partition but not create or delete partitions, particularly if you have any Linux partitions on your hard disk.  Some of the Windows third-party tools such as Paragon are more careful with Linux Partitions, can copy but not paste any partition type safely? 

Linux Disks tools will tell you the S.M.A.R.T condition of a hard disk and allow you to change those settings.  It has a smaller range of disk resizing and flag managing tools than GParted, but they may operate faster.

If you do lose a Linux partition where Grub boots from and there is not another Linux to recover, see above, then there is nothing that Grub can boot.  So here is how to get back to Windows boot by restoring the MBR;,10036.html But do use gparted, such as from the boot repair, disk or Linux installation disk to ensure that the boot and other flags are marked on all partitions.

Using newer programs on older Linux distributions in order to maintain the PCs speed;

Add more DRAM used to be a good strategy to keep a PC running, but the older PCs now tend to have enough memory.  Either way, 2GB is probably the absolute minimum now.

Making Thunderbird email work again - see Thunderbird email client

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.  The solution was to try to start them in Terminal then read the warnings, I then installed the most similar library and both programs then ran.  

I also ran MX16 multi-boot as described here, in the Vaio laptop above and below - this distribution has taken care of finding and installing the correct drivers most likely from the Debian repositories.

Repositories may need to be changed when using unsupported old versions of Linux.


32 bit and older 64-bit computers use legacy BIOS and MBR partitioning, Newer 64 use UEFI boot system and GPT partitioning.  GPT partitions do not require the creation of extended partitions in order to have more than 4 of them on a media (hard disk).

Windows 7 has two partitions; Boot (100M) and the Windows partition (big),

Windows 10 has either two partitions, Boot (500M) and the Windows partition (big),

Or secure boot PC, Windows 10 has, four or five partitions, 

Recovery (500M), 

EFI System 100M, 

Unknown (16M), This partition may not be included where a user has chosen to run an older version of Windows 10?

Windows partition (big), 

??? 500M {may not include this last partition if it is a recent clean installation}.  

??? 1M partition might be created by a legacy boot Linux on a secure boot PC with GPT partitions. 

 Legacy BIOS v UEFI


Which version of Linux or any program to download and install

If you are up for testing a very new release, like all distributions, you will get new features, but issues will arise.  Long Term Stable versions are all more stable, and all of them are more stable than the current versions of Windows.  These current versions have been tested and are the downloads you are invited to take from the distribution's website and its Wiki pages, discuss.

All the variants of Ubuntu desktop have an LTS Long Term Stable version, so if you rather not have the most current but have a more stable reliable with fewer changes, this is a good choice.  A new LTS version is not the most stable at first but becomes so.  Debian has simply one variant, the current which is well tested and receives updates, the previous version which is stable that receives security updates only.  Along with those, all Linux distributions have versions that they are working on that you can use and end-of-life versions that get security updates for a short period.

The meaning of LTS version (look at the distribution's Wiki) but approximately; Ubuntu LTS version that is going to be supported for a longer period of time it does not start out stable, but it is well tested and tend to be even numbers 14. 16. 18.  Debian's meaning of LTS version is the previous version that is now stable.  Mint's meaning of the LTS version is a long period of support and stability, but not all versions of Mint become Long Term Stable.  

Debian is even more stable which you manually update, then everything will run okay.  That can be straightforward, or can take some rereading of the Debian website and talking to people on social networking or a Linux forum.  Some of the newer Debian high-end desktops have a more automatic update and may also be completed briefly at the shutting down of the computer.

Mint is also more stable, but you may find old drivers can be a limitation.  On the other hand, it has all the automatic updating and driver updating the Ubuntu's have.  Like many, some are based on Debian 8 which is not receiving updates now but Mint, MX and other supported versions are.  

Obviously, you can select the lowest version that is still in support for maximum stability.  But many people run Linux distributions that are out of date because they are faster and work fine on old computers.  These will be comparable to using Windows 7 which is getting security updates only (12/2021).

The thing that can arise if you install an old version OS is that the security certificates have become out of date, so then software update and install may not work.  I have seen this with Mageia 7 to 8 and with MX Linux.  You may also need to change the repositories.

Installation of Linux Desktop

Some disk maintenance tools run on XP, but there is a catch, Reconfigure or repair and also bios updating is more complicated and may not be possible in another OS other than what was originally loaded on that PC.  Unfortunately, in some laptops, the catch is that the BIOS cannot be updated (easily) without Windows XP running or what was originally installed and having a good battery.

Windows repair tools

Bexhill-on-Sea Old town

Bexhill-on-Sea Old Town May 2015 - nothing to do with computer operating systems but to break up the text a bit.  The bendy road leads your eye into the picture.

Why alternative operating systems should be considered now?

Many Linux distributions can be Installed on most computers in a straight forward way, It did not used to be like that.  There are also many Linux's which you do need to be a Linux Nerd to use.  In any case you need to be reasonably comfortable with technology.  Unlike Windows though, you don't need to worry about; virus updating and scanning, registry maintenance, disk de-fragmentation and ChkDsk to keep it running efficiently.  Also updates occur whilst you are logged in, so there are no delays whilst the operating system configures or updates when starting or closing down, they don't do those things that way.

Repairs & fixes

AntiX Linux is very fast, light and full of manual controls.  To get to all my programs and all the settings plus update I first click on the pull-up then click on Applications and all I would have on another desktop is there.  This is not really a regular desktop, for example I have to manually start up everything.

Dual boot windows and Linux.

Ubuntu and some distributions based on Ubuntu the clock may be wrong in the UK in the summer.  Debian is fine though if Windows is present it sets it time to local time if not it asks at installation time if you want to use Coordinated Universal Time (UTC or GMT) instead.

The fix for Ubuntu is straightforward, to set Linux to use local time in the same way that all PC's running Windows have always worked.  This command-line may need to be carried out again after applying a major update of Ubuntu (update from 18.? To 20.? For example).

Execute the terminal command line in the case of Ubuntu 16 and 18:

timedatectl set-local-rtc 1

Or (for Lubuntu 18.4)

sudo timedatectl set-local-rtc 1


MX or AntiX Linux - set the clock to local time (not UTC) during installation.

--- Partition numbering; Windows XP, 7 or 10 seems to matter, so Windows can delete the highest number partition if the partitions are numbered out of order 1-2-3-4-5... etc.  By comparison, Linux does not care about the partition numbering other than to obey the rule that primary partitions are numbered 1 to 4 for MBR type and will renumber primary partitions rather than delete other partitions by comparison with the Windows partition tool ---

The problem arises if you move a Windows partition to another disk, then repair the installation in order to make it startup.  Installing Windows 7 does re-order partitions so that they are numbered consecutively, including any Linux partitions.  

Windows 10 can add or change partitions during the regular update process, breaking other windows or Linux distributions existing on the hard disk.  I have seen this with GPT partitioned and MBR partitioned hard disks.  

I have found that GParted Linux partition tool is very clear so and is as safe as is possible for a tool that manipulates partitions.  Some of the propriety add on tools for Windows are also safer as possible and are much safer than using the tools integrated with Windows.   The tools integrated with Windows are quick and work on a system with just one instance of Windows installed but do not show the extended partition, so it is not apparent why a partition can not be resized making the graphical representation looks like GPT partitions but not working properly. 

It is usually the case that Windows tools provided are minimal and work safely but some of those tools can be poor and that is the rare case where another tool eg Paragon is a safer tool.


What an awful work cell he is working in?

The guy in the picture picks the computer up and chucks it, then smashes it.  The World is full of demanding expectation, intolerance, discrimination and good legislation that is not enforceable.

Personal comfort with a Computer

Change things and move before your physical aches set in. 

The Borg

The Borg cube (from Star Trek); "Resistance is futile"

Alternatively, be patient, do something else, come back and try again you will find a solution.


DISTRIBUTION can be the Linux Kernel, the desktop {the main Graphical User Interface (GUI)}  and a collection of other applications web-browser, office and GUI's for configuration.  There are other Distros or Distributions that instead of the Linux kernel may use a variant of the same desktop but with UNIX or FreeBSD kernel.  Other tools with GUI's rather than using the text terminal are; installers, configuration and also be complied for a specific set of electronic devices, in this case I am considering a PC (@IBM).  PC although originally was supplied with IBM DOS or CP/M 86 but is an open specification to allow a range of operating systems.  PCs are not made specifically for Linux, Windows or other Operating Systems - the operating systems are made for the PC or other. 

 More installation details;


The best home computer

The best-performing home computers of the 1970s-1980s were the Acorn Atom, BBC micro and this latter computer displaced the Commodore PET as the desirable home computer.  The microprocessor used in these and also the Commodore 16 and 64 was a Rockwell R6502.  The R6502 microprocessor was not pin interchangeable unlike the R6501 with the by then quite old MC6800 (the MC6800 was used by the military, I understand, for quite a long time before its commercial launch in 1976 hence it has a very well refined architecture). The two-phase clock input of an MC6800 had to be carefully designed, whereas all other microprocessors were handled internally. MOS Technology 6502 - Wikipedia 

These home computers generally consumed 5W plus 100W for the monitor. Compared with 250W power supply that a modern PC is fitted with.  Notebook PC's power consumption is more modest but still, they consume much more power than an Acorn Atom.   A laptop's power supply is 60W or less eg 25W. 

The value of second-hand computers like most things used to be high and the value of a computer remained high for many years, say 80% of its new cost.  The term dumping for selling new products cheap went out of fashion in the 1980s, banks were deregulated, and much more money was created.  Buying from abroad was the thing to do instead, and much higher levels of wastage became fashionable. 


Keeping a Back-up.

Memory sticks and large serial flash used to only tolerate being formatted FAT and the sector size should not be changed.  I have found though that USB sticks usually can be formatted to other Windows or Linux formats reliably.

USB memory sticks should be formatted; FAT, FAT16 or exFAT impose less wear on the memory stick which in any case the memory stick takes care of data reliability.  

Make sure that there is a DOS partition zero, the first partition, so that that one partition can be used on a Windows computer.  This is a Microsoft limitation.

Cheap (discounted) things found in supermarkets and discount shops; May not be set up properly or customers returned product but not fixed properly.

Using a cloud drive and back-up to the PC 


Conclusion - What you get with Linux is not better, but it is different.

Linux is better all the same.

 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 Manual Basic Linux Commands YouTube (These have been recommended, I have not used them much)

To discussion this, go to;

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