Question about netbooks - no disc drive

Because netbooks lack a disc drive, what do you do if it crashes? What if you have to re-install the OS?



Some netbooks have disk drives. Others have solid state drives (SSD). While an SSD doesn’t have a physical disk in it, the computer thinks it’s a real disk drive and treats it as such.

Exactly how you re-install the OS depends on the model of netbook. Some of them have recovery partitions built onto the drive, which doesn’t really help you if the drive dies and has to be replaced. With others, you can plug in an external CD or DVD drive to re-install the OS.

a large enough USB flash drive can sometimes work if you need an external device and don’t have an external CD or DVD or HDD.

I suspect the OP was talking about optical drives (CD or DVD), while you’re talking about hard disk drives.

Other than that, I agree with you and johnpost. (But I wonder how often such a crash occurs, and why. It’s never happened to me (knock wood).)

On a Macbook Air, there’s a restore thumb drive or boot from an external drive. You can also use Remote Drive, which means any other mac.

On a Windows computer, you’d just boot from a USB drive of some sort, no need for internal CD drive, unless you can’t use your USB ports, then yer fucked.

External USB dvd drives are relatively inexpensive.

I’ve been experimenting with various flavors of netbook Linux, and have been either running these live off the SD card in the card slot or installing them to the SSD the same way.

I know how a flash drive can quit suddenly so having a SSD as a HD would give me pause. While I was paused, I would obtain a USB drive and clone the whole netbook over to it occasionally.

Nearly all netbooks and laptops today have hidden recovery sectors that can do a full crash recovery. The ones I have seen so far are activated through BIOS.

I haven’t seen what they do with SSD drives though.

HDD’s can suddenly quit too. They’re mechanical devices and mechanical devices to have failure rates.

If my cheap Netbook dies, I toss it and get a new one. Not worth the time to reinstall something that is obsolete by then, anyway.

Wow, really?

A decent netbook is still generally well over $200, and while the whole process of installing Windows or Linux might take up to a couple of hours, it generally only requires ten or fifteen minutes of the operator’s actual attention.

I’d like to be paid enough that 15 minutes of my time were worth more than $200, but i’m not.

But you’d be installing an obsolete version, at least if the machine was a year or two old. And if it crashed, there might be other problems that will require additional action or cause it to crash again.

I’m trying to work out what you mean by obsolete.

My two-year-old netbook runs Windows XP. While not exactly the latest and greatest version of Windows, it runs every program that i need and allows me to do everything that i need to do on my netbook. I literally cannot think of a single way in which a Windows 7 installation would make my netbook more useful to me (and i have a quad-core desktop running Win7 at home). Security updates and hotfixes for XP will be issued for another 3 years. The fact that it does everything i need, and is still supported, means that Windows XP on my netbook does not fit any reasonable definition of obsolete, as far as i am concerned.

I also dual-boot my netbook with Ubuntu, and it is currently running version 10.04, which is the current Long Term Service release, and will be supported until April 2013. This operating system is, by definition, not obsolete. If i wanted, i could easily upgrade the installation to the current version, 10.10, which is also not obsolete.

I don’t know what the hell you’re on about.

I think you just answered your question.

I run XP on some machines, too, but it’s a 10yo opsys. That’s ancient history. MS has ceased supporting it. I wouldn’t want to struggle to install it on questionable hardware (it crashed, remember? That’s why you’re reinstalling), because then I’d only have an obsolete system. Buy a new machine and get a later version of everything.

It might make sense on a big, expensive, elaborate machine, but not on an el-cheapo one.

You can get external USB CD/DVD drives for $ 50 or so. Boot and install from that. Many people have geek friends with one of these they can borrow for a few hours.

If you have the means using a PC with a built in CD to copy a windows CD onto a $ 20.00 4 gig thumb drive or portable USB hard drive you can boot from the thumb drive or external drive and install it that way as long as you have the windows install key.

If the netbook hard drive is not physically damaged you can hold down one of the function keys during boot and force the unit to reinstall the OS from a hidden partition.

And therein lies the problem in your whole argument. You can’t seem to differentiate between hardware and software.

If the hardware itself is questionable, or has broken in some way, that’s a completely different issue. Netbooks (and laptops in general, for that matter) are much harder to fix if something goes wrong with the hardware. They’re not modular in quite the same way that a desktop is, and often messing around in the innards of a laptop is more trouble than it’s worth. If i thought that some problem with my motherboard or processor had caused my netbook to malfunction, i’d probably consider trashing it too, because it would probably not be worth the effort to fix it.

But that’s a separate issue to the question of whether an operating system is obsolete. If it’s merely a case of something fucking up in the operating system (and this can happen to Windows and to other operating systems), and if there’s actually nothing wrong with the hardware, then i simply don’t see the problem.

You still haven’t offered a definition of obsolete that conforms to a reasonable expectation of what a netbook’s function is. If XP works, and allows the netbook to do everything that the user requires of it, then it’s not obsolete, by definition.

bolding mine

This is GQ, get your facts straight. XP sp3 will be supported until 2013.

And MS ceased supporting it once, they extended it at least once, they may extend it again due to complaints. But it is pretty long in the tooth. That doesn’t change that fact (note that it’s a fact) that it was released in 2001. Count the years. XP has been around longer than almost anything else.

I don’t have time to waste reinstalling obsolete opsys-es except as a hobby. $200 for a new netbook ready-to-go is cheaper than a few hours of my time. You like to mess with it for fun, go nuts.

Just because I care,

This is your grandad’s Opsys.

If it takes a few hours of your time to install WinXP (or Ubuntu, for that matter) on a netbook, i can understand why you might throw it away.

Last time i installed Windows XP or Ubuntu on anything, it took about 5-10 minutes of my time to click through the initial installation options, then i just left the installation to do its thing. It then required another few minutes at the end to click through a few more options, and it was done. Total time expended: about 15 minutes, at the most.

Here’s a tip to make your life easier: when installing an operating system, you don’t have to sit in from of the computer staring at the progress screen while the OS is installed. I usually take this time to make a cup of tea or watch a TV show. Happy to help.