Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-18-2019, 12:28 AM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 7,041

Putting Linux on a laptop


I have a laptop that has a weird problem. It has Ubuntu Linux on it. For several days it's been really flakey about accessing the web. Many times it wouldn't load a page and I had to try more than once. Today, it totally flaked out and wouldn't load anything. However, it still works for email and Usenet, so I finally came to the conclusion that it's probably some kind of virus.

So I decided to just buy a new laptop and put Linux on it. However, I'm less than thrilled with Ubuntu and would like to try a different version. I've used Centos in the past, so I figured I'd try that again but I'd be open to others. But I can't find a page that gives the step-by-step instructions for doing it from a Windows 10 box. The ones I find all assume you're already on a Linux box. They give instructions to execute a command line, for example.

So anyone know where there is such a set of instructions?

One other thing. It's an HP box. The last time (also an HP box), I first tried to put Centos on it, but couldn't create the proper boot disk. There was something different about HP computers and even though I followed certain instructions correctly (I thought), it wouldn't work. I finally gave up and did Ubuntu. The previous time I did Centos, I found a book in the bookstore that had a bootable disk with it. You can't find those any more.
__________________
This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.
-- Albert Einstein, 12 September 1920
  #2  
Old 08-18-2019, 02:23 AM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,668
Download an ISO image of CentOS from here. Then burn it to a DVD, or to a USB flash drive using win32 disk imager. Then you can boot from that media and run the installer.

NB, if the virus affects only the web browser, then not much may be gained by running that same browser under a different flavor of Linux. You should update to the latest version of the browser in any case; they are always patching security holes.

Last edited by DPRK; 08-18-2019 at 02:28 AM.
  #3  
Old 08-18-2019, 10:49 AM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 7,041
OK, I guess I better explain a bit.

I haven't used Windows extensively in something around 20 years. But I'm now forced to use it. I did use it some (in basically the same circumstances) about 3 years ago, but that was a very different looking Windows. And I kept having problems with the burns. I wasted several DVD blanks until I gave up.

So just saying "burn to a DVD" is way too high a level instruction. Hell, I haven't even found the file manager or whatever it's called on this system. I do have a USB drive, but I can't remember how big it is. The Centos iso file is over 4 Gig and I think the drive I have is 4 Gig, so that may not work.

So could you please break down the "burn a DVD" a bit.
  #4  
Old 08-18-2019, 11:17 AM
markn+ is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: unknown; Speed: exactly 0
Posts: 2,578
You can get a 16 GB USB drive for $4.
  #5  
Old 08-18-2019, 11:20 AM
Ruken is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: DC
Posts: 7,532
Buying a bigger flash drive is probably going to be more practical than dealing with a DVD. They're like $5.

You can access the file system by holding the windows key and tapping E.
  #6  
Old 08-18-2019, 11:20 AM
Triskadecamus is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: I'm coming back, now.
Posts: 7,595
Your 4 gig usb drive has potential antique value. There are retail stores with 16 gig drives in a bowl like a have a penny take a penny ones at 7-11. The guy who did my taxes last year gave me one of those with my copy of my return on it! Loosen up and buy one for a couple of bucks.

Tris
  #7  
Old 08-18-2019, 11:25 AM
Ruken is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: DC
Posts: 7,532
I'm polling the peanut gallery here and I'm told that something called UEFI Secure Boot may make booting off of a flash drive difficult. But otherwise, when you restart, there should be some "press [key] for setup" to access the BIOS settings, which should allow you the option to boot off of the drive with the image on it.
  #8  
Old 08-18-2019, 12:30 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,668
OK, the CentOS DVD ISO is more than 4 GB. But you may also download the "Minimal ISO", which is under 1 GB, and download some of the packages over the network after everything is installed.

[If you insist on burning a DVD, under Windows you can use ImgBurn. But why not invest $5 in a 16 GB flash drive you may use multiple times?]

Once you download the ISO image (DVD or Minumal), either 1) Run Win32 Disk Imager. Click on the little folder icon, browse to the downloaded ISO image and select it, and select your USB drive under the "Device" menu. Then click on "Write".

2) To burn a DVD, download and install ImgBurn; when you start it, click on the mode to Write an image file to disk. Pick the ISO file under Source, and the blank DVD which you inserted under Destination. Once it's ready, click on the icon to start the burn.

And, yes, in the BIOS settings turn off secure boot and enable booting from USB (or DVD, if you use that)

I would be happy to provide even lower-level, step-by-step instructions, just let me know if you go with option (1) or (2).

Last edited by DPRK; 08-18-2019 at 12:32 PM.
  #9  
Old 08-18-2019, 12:36 PM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 7,041
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triskadecamus View Post
Your 4 gig usb drive has potential antique value. There are retail stores with 16 gig drives in a bowl like a have a penny take a penny ones at 7-11. The guy who did my taxes last year gave me one of those with my copy of my return on it! Loosen up and buy one for a couple of bucks.
I just checked my drive with the file manager and it says it's only a 2 Gig. I have another around somewhere, but I just moved recently and can't find it. I'm sure that one is bigger since I bought it much more recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruken View Post
I'm polling the peanut gallery here and I'm told that something called UEFI Secure Boot may make booting off of a flash drive difficult.
That was the issue the last time I tried this. I don't recall how I resolved it to get Ubuntu on the other computer.

Last edited by dtilque; 08-18-2019 at 12:36 PM.
  #10  
Old 08-18-2019, 12:56 PM
Darren Garrison's Avatar
Darren Garrison is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 11,491
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triskadecamus View Post
There are retail stores with 16 gig drives in a bowl like a have a penny take a penny ones at 7-11.
Which ones?
  #11  
Old 08-18-2019, 01:04 PM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 7,041
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
I just checked my drive with the file manager and it says it's only a 2 Gig. I have another around somewhere, but I just moved recently and can't find it. I'm sure that one is bigger since I bought it much more recently.
OK, managed to hunt down the other USB drive and it's 16 Gig. So that saves me a trip to the store. I'm in a new location (something about moving recently) and am uncertain where the nearest store that would sell them is.

Thanks for all the help, everyone. I have something else to do right now, so I'll take this up later today. I may have more questions then.
  #12  
Old 08-18-2019, 01:44 PM
CoastalMaineiac is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Midcoast Maine, USA
Posts: 876
If the computer is only having trouble with web browsing, it could be a problem with the browser's configuration files.

I think Firefox stores its files in ~/.mozilla/firefox/, but if that has changed, or if Firefox isn't your browser of choice, just browse around your home directory and look for the name of your web browser. It will probably be a hidden directory, the name starting with a period. The command ls -a from the terminal should show you those files.

Try renaming that directory to something else, so you still have it as a backup, and then open the browser. It should create a brand-new set of config files, as if it would if it had been opened for the first time. Essentially, this resets its configuration to the default. Then try browsing the web and see if things get any better.
This command would rename the directory above to "firefox_backup": mv ~/.mozilla/firefox ~/.mozilla/firefox_backup
Another option would be to try installing another browser and see if the problem persists across browsers.

As for installing Linux onto a UEFI system, you may need to go into the UEFI setup and disable Secure Boot to be able to boot the installation medium. You might even need to enable an option called "Legacy Boot", or something similar to that. Admittedly, it has been a while since I last installed Linux; the community's support for UEFI may have improved substantially since then, so I'm not 100% sure.

Last edited by CoastalMaineiac; 08-18-2019 at 01:47 PM.
  #13  
Old 08-18-2019, 03:55 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,668
The latest version of CentOS works fine with UEFI and/or Secure Boot. Supposedly.
  #14  
Old 08-18-2019, 05:54 PM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 7,041
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoastalMaineiac View Post
Try renaming that directory to something else, so you still have it as a backup, and then open the browser. It should create a brand-new set of config files, as if it would if it had been opened for the first time.
Hey, that did it! Thank you very much. ::resists the impulse to jump around proclaiming "It's a miracle!"::

Now I just have to restore my bookmarks without restoring whatever caused the problem.

Well, I'll probably still complete the Centos install. I now have a smaller and lighter laptop to take places.
  #15  
Old 08-18-2019, 06:02 PM
DPRK is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,668
Consider installing some browser plugins like Ublock Origin, Ghostery, etc., to filter out some of the malicious scripts floating around.
  #16  
Old 08-18-2019, 07:39 PM
CoastalMaineiac is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Midcoast Maine, USA
Posts: 876
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
Hey, that did it! Thank you very much. ::resists the impulse to jump around proclaiming "It's a miracle!"::

Now I just have to restore my bookmarks without restoring whatever caused the problem.

Well, I'll probably still complete the Centos install. I now have a smaller and lighter laptop to take places.
You're welcome! I'm glad it worked. Now at least, you've got a system you're more familiar with to download and create the CentOS installation media.

As for recovering your bookmarks, Mozilla has an article about recovering files from an old profile that might be of help: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb...rofile-folders

Another option is to delete the newly created settings folder, rename the old one back, and open Firefox. Your bookmarks (along with the problem you were having) should return, and then you can then use CTRL+SHIFT+B to open the Library dialog, which will enable you to backup your bookmarks to a file. After you have that backup file, you can go back and rename the folder again (or delete it if you're sure that there's nothing else you want to recover), open Firefox with a brand-new profile, and use the same Library dialog to import the bookmarks you just backed up.
  #17  
Old 08-18-2019, 09:21 PM
PoppaSan's Avatar
PoppaSan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: West shore Lake Michigan
Posts: 2,366
You can also use the saved bookmarks file into an HTML file which you then set as your homepage. Everytime you open the browser or a new tab, your bookmarks are there waiting for you. Also you know if malware has reset your homepage immediately. Just redo the file save every once in a while to keep it up to date.
__________________
This place is beginning to feel like a tin foil hat convention.
  #18  
Old 08-19-2019, 01:10 PM
gnoitall is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 5,977
Quote:
Originally Posted by DPRK View Post
The latest version of CentOS works fine with UEFI and/or Secure Boot. Supposedly.
Yes. I did an upgrade on my household server to CentOS 7.6 on a system with UEFI boot. No Secure Boot, though; I disabled that because I don't need Microsoft's boot on my throat.

GRUB2 sets itself up during installation in a very specific partitioning scheme to support UEFI's needs, and you don't want to mess with that, but the default choices are just fine.
  #19  
Old 08-19-2019, 03:56 PM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 7,041
OK progress report, although I'm not sure it can be characterized as such.

I haven't done anything about installing CentOS on the new box, other than to download the iso files (did both minimal and regular). Instead I've been playing around with the old box, getting my bookmarks re-established and so forth. However, the same problems I had before started to reappear. And progress faster than before. Didn't take long to get to no web access.

So I tried again with uBlock Origin. Problems started again. So once again, this time I added the uBlock first thing, before doing anything else. That's the attempt I'm on right now. However, I have a feeling that that's not going to fix the problem. We'll see.
  #20  
Old 08-19-2019, 04:18 PM
dtilque is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: My own private Nogero
Posts: 7,041
Nope, problem is still coming back. Anyone else have a suggestion?
  #21  
Old 08-20-2019, 02:37 AM
Myglaren is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Loonyland
Posts: 1,675
Have you tried a different browser?
I am rather surprised that you have these problems with Firefox, I've used it since it came out with virtually no problems.
I do use Chromium alongside it, mainly to keep email accounts separate which may be worth a try.
Do install uBlock Origin though, saves lots of hassle with adverts.
Also install Clam TK (from the repositories) and run a malware check. Unlikely that there will be anything other than Windows viruses.
Install Bleachbit and configure it - it comes in two versions, one for normal use to ditch cookies, temp files etc. in your 'user' profile, and a second 'root' profile to remove unwanted files from the system.

As an alternative to Ubuntu, try Linux Mint, which has a look and feel similar to Windows 7. Very easy to install and use.
I have both Ubuntu and Mint, four examples of which have recently been installed with ease. I keep a few cheap 4Gig USB dongles for just this purpose.
__________________
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it's probably a politician
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:25 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017