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HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. #146897 01/18/20 07:01 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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Looking at the increasing number who've read our posts about Windows 7 no longer being supported and the options Win 7 users have available, it seems a 'HOW TO' detailing the installation of Linux Mint 19.3 may be in order for those who are interested.

We highly recommend the MATE desktop version of Mint. If you've been a Windows user for a long time you'll find the MATE user interface (UI) almost immediately comfortable and familiar. If you liked how Windows 7 looked and worked, Linux Mint 19.3 MATE will feel right at home.

Keep in mind there are three official Mint desktop UI options to select from, Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce, with MATE being our recommendation to start with.

**************************

1. Download the Linux Mint 19.3 MATE ISO file. It's about 2GB. Depending on your internet speed this may take a while.

2. Burn the Mint ISO file to a USB stick. You can install it on older systems with optical drives from a DVD if you wish, but a USB stick makes it easy to give Mint a trial run, plus a DVD is considerably slower than a USB stick.

If you don't have an ISO burner program, download one. In Windows 'ImgBurn' for optical drives and 'Yumi' for USB sticks are great free options.

Once you've installed the burner program and have the latest Linux Mint 19.3 ISO file downloaded, burn that ISO to your DVD or USB stick. If you're using a DVD, check your newly burned disc for errors before using it. Burn a new one if errors are found.

A USB stick is your best bet. With it in place you can quickly give Mint a trial run on your PC without installing a thing. If for some weird reason you really don't like Mint, simply reboot to Windows then decide what you'll do from there.
 
A handy thing about using a USB stick with 'persistent storage' set is that you can store personal programs, files, and desktop settings on that stick. Then you can carry your personal Mint OS in your pocket and use it wherever you happen to be that has a PC available for you to use.

3. Next, reboot your system, stopping the boot process before Windows comes up so you can access your PC's UEFI or BIOS settings. How you do this varies depending on your PC. Look for a message as the machine starts up telling you which key or key combination to press to get to the system BIOS or UEFI. With Dell PCs, which I see a lot of, press the F2 key to enter system setup. With HP PCs, tap on the escape key once every second as you start the system. On Lenovo PCs tap (Fn+) F2 or (Fn+) F1 key 5 to 10 times or more after the power button is pressed to access system setup.

Once you're in your PCs setup screen, look for a menu choice labeled "Boot," "Boot Options," or "Boot Order." If the word "Boot" isn't immediately apparent, check other menu choices like "Advanced Options," "Advanced BIOS Features," or "Other Options."

Once you've located the 'Boot' menu, set your PCs boot order so that, instead of booting from the hard drive first, you boot from either the DVD drive or your USB drive first.

After your PC is set to boot from your DVD or USB drive, reboot with your newly burned Mint 19.3 media in place and select "Start Linux Mint" from the first menu. In a minute or so you'll be running Linux Mint in 'Live' mode.

4. Play with Mint as long as you like in 'Live' mode, directly from the DVD or USB stick you've burned it to. Don't worry. Windows is still there. Reboot without the DVD or USB stick in place and your PC will go right back to it.

Like what you see in Mint 19.3 and want to install it on your PC? Start by making a complete backup of your Windows system, just in case. Why take chances when you don't have to?

Linux Mint makes booting and installing Mint 19.3 with 'Secure Boot' enabled in 'System Setup' really easy. If for some reason you find you can't install Mint with Secure Boot enabled on your PC, simply turn 'Secure Boot' off in your PCs 'System Setup' menu. Depending on your PC there are a number of ways to switch Secure Boot off. Do a Google search for your specific PC for precise instructions.

Installing Mint 19.3. 

1. Make sure your PC is running with its power supply plugged in so you don't run out of battery power during installation. Also make sure your internet connection is alive and well, plus your system has a 'bare minimum of 8GB' of free drive space available for Mint - a lot more being a lot better.

2. Reboot to Linux Mint 19.3. With Mint running in 'Live' mode one of the icon choices at the left side of its main screen will be 'Install Mint'. Double-click that icon and you'll be on your way. 

3. Now, follow the on-screen prompts and you'll walk your way through several menu choices. Most are easy choices to make. One last option will be how to partition your hard drive.

Note: For your purposes you may want to set your PC up so you can dual-boot Windows and Mint, selecting the OS you want to run as your PC boots up. To do this pick the first option in the 'Installation Type' menu that reads: "Install Linux Mint alongside them (in your case, Windows)." This will install Linux Mint 19.3 alongside your existing Windows setup leaving Windows untouched. Typically when doing this I give half the PC's free drive space to Mint.

If you simply want to install Mint in place of Windows (my personal choice) skip the previous dual boot instructions and proceed from here.

4. Give your new Mint 19.3 system a name, pick a username for yourself and provide a password. At this point you can choose to encrypt your home directory to keep its files safe if you wish. An encrypted home directory may slow your system down, so keep that in mind. It's faster to encrypt the entire drive after Mint is fully installed if you need that added level of security.

5. Mint 19.3 prompts you to set up a system snapshot schedule using 'Timeshift'. This way, if something goes wrong, you can quickly and easily restore system files, reverting back to a fully working system.

6. Next you can check to see if your computer requires additional drivers. Also, if you haven't already, you can install proprietary multimedia codecs so you can watch online video and movies together with DVDs in Mint.

7. When you run 'Mint Update' you're updating not only your operating system but all the apps and programs that have updates available as well, programs like your web browser and office suite, along with games, apps and programs you install using Mint's Software Manager.

To update your system manually, click on the shield icon in the menu bar at the bottom right of the screen. It will prompt you for your password and ask if you really want to update your system. Answer 'yes', and in a short time your Mint 19.3 OS will be fully up to date.

Mint's setup procedure lets you look into system settings and find new programs you may need with the Software Manager if you wish to at that time. If you're new to Mint you can skip these options for now and revisit them later on.

8. That's about all there is to it. The job takes an hour or so, from downloading the Mint ISO to booting up and customizing your new Mint OS. If this is your first time installing Mint allow yourself an afternoon or evening to complete the job.

You'll soon become familiar with your new Mint operating system, appreciating everything it does for you without any of the expense and nonsense you'd find with Windows 10 or MacOS.


"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." Isaac Asimov
Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Az4x4] #146905 01/20/20 04:00 PM
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Thanks for the instructions. With some hours spent and Oracle's Virtual Machine Virtual Box one should be able to do a Windows replacement and preserve all applications.

I have also found not all hardware is comfortable with a Linux O/S. Dell PCs usually work pretty well.

I have two Windows XP workstations I build many years ago. The special CNC drivers require an older version of Windows. Both machines are still running fine. Neither are connected to the internet or need to be. Making security concerns a non issue. I believe one PC is running an Intel Pentium processor @ 2.5 GHz. Both have ASUS motherboards, Phoenix BIOS and SCSI RAID I.

My point is old Windows systems can still be functional. Best off if those workstations are less the internet. For some that might be a knockout punch. Security was, is and always will be a BIG hassle with Windows. Reason being is it makes a ton of money.

It would be good to hear from a few that have converted. Happy computing!


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Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Muniac] #146908 01/20/20 07:23 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Muniac
..Thanks for the instructions..... Dell PCs usually work pretty well. .....Security was, is and always will be a BIG hassle with Windows. ...It would be good to hear from a few that have converted...

We've had some here who've made the move to Mint and commented about it in the past, but it's been a while. With Windows 7 no longer supported, and numbers of forum members affected by its end-of-life event, it seems an ideal time to explore OS options other than Windows 10.

Making the move to Windows 10 isn't a popular option for many reasons, one being that Microsoft is transitioning Windows 10 to a "Windows as a Service" arrangement that users pay Microsoft a monthly fee to run on their PCs.

Windows 7 users who value their computing freedom have a unique opportunity to break away from the demands, constraints, security issues, built in spyware problems and expense involved with where Microsoft is taking Windows 10 now that Windows 7 has officially been cut out of the picture.

As savvy and adept as our rider community is, and as capable as they are of getting the most out of these 'old school' XT225s we love so much, they're equally capable of transitioning from the recently abandoned Windows 7 to today's cutting edge Linux Mint 19.3 MATE desktop, enjoying all the Minty goodness that comes with the wildly popular 'no strings attached' Mint operating system!


"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." Isaac Asimov
Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Az4x4] #146958 02/04/20 04:00 AM
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Looks like my dad is willing to give Linux a try after being informed that his crusty old laptop is a poor candidate for Win10. I've a laptop of similar vintage running LMDE3 so we'll likely try that first. Not sure how long LMDE3 will be supported; my scan of the Mint forums suggests until around around 2022 which would be long enough.


2007 Yamaha XT-225
Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Beaker] #146959 02/04/20 03:08 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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PCs incapable of running Win10 very well because of limited hardware resources can be returned to useful life simply by installing and running Linux Mint. LMDE3 is a good choice. Its only caveat is it installs with the Cinnamon desktop interface, a 'heavier' UI than either the MATE or Xfce interfaces available with the main Mint 19.3 release. You know this, so if you feel your dad's PC is up to the task of running LMDE3 Cinnamon then give it a go and let us know how it turns out. If it works OK your dad will be a happy camper. If Cinnamon turns out to be a bit heavy for it try Mint's main edition MATE version. One or the other will certainly do the job!..


"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." Isaac Asimov
Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Az4x4] #146978 02/06/20 05:17 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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Friend of mine in the Valley sent the following:

Finally I took your advice and installed Mint 19.3 Mate in place of Windows 7 on my 6 year old laptop (Intel i5x2, 4gb RAM, 120gb SSD). Just want you to know I'm really pleased with it. It runs smooth, it's easy to use and update, new programs are easy to install and maintain. The classic programs I use for text editing (LibreOffice), web browsing (Firefox) and emailing (Thunderbird) run even faster than they did in Windows. Mint has never frozen up on me like Windows used to. Seems rock solid stable, a huge plus. I've only used it 3 months now so lots still to learn. But so far I'm completely sold on what Linux Mint offers. Thanks again for pointing me to it. Talk with you later.
Rick




"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." Isaac Asimov
Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Az4x4] #147006 02/11/20 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Az4x4

.. if you feel your dad's PC is up to the task of running LMDE3 Cinnamon then give it a go and let us know how it turns out.... If Cinnamon turns out to be a bit heavy for it try Mint's main edition MATE version....


His old Toshiba (Satellite C655) seems to run LMDE3 quite well. From login screen to the DE coming up there is an approx. 10 second wait but onwards it's fine. One thing I was concerned about was screen flicker when watching video fullscreen. My similarly old Compaq is bad about this --none of the Compositor>>Vsync options seem to completely elliminate it-- but the Toshiba is fine. But my estimate of EOL for LMDE3 was too optimistic; the Mint folks recently announced LMDE4 will happen sometime this year which likely means LMDE3 EOL 6 months later, so maybe early 2021.

Regarding Mate and other lighter DEs, I did some comparing of Gnome, Mate, LxQt, and Cinnamon using stock Debian on a low memory I386 system. LxQt was the solid winner at 5% less RAM than Mate, 15% less than Gnome/Cinnamon (they all used about the same percent of CPU resources). And, to my eye, LxQt looks like a fancier DE, using a dark default theme. Some things are missing in LxQt, like a printer manager, but those can be added easilly enough.


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Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Beaker] #147014 02/12/20 11:00 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Beaker
.....His old Toshiba (Satellite C655) seems to run LMDE3 quite well. From login screen to the DE coming up there is an approx. 10 second wait but onwards it's fine. One thing I was concerned about was screen flicker when watching video fullscreen. My similarly old Compaq is bad about this --none of the Compositor>>Vsync options seem to completely elliminate it-- but the Toshiba is fine. But my estimate of EOL for LMDE3 was too optimistic; the Mint folks recently announced LMDE4 will happen sometime this year which likely means LMDE3 EOL 6 months later, so maybe early 2021...

LMDE4, from what I've read, should be a nice upgrade to what LMDE3 already brings to the table. We'll see..

I picked up a 15.5" Toshiba Satellite S55-C in Snowflake a year ago for literally pennies on the dollar. There was some screen tearing when watching movies when I first got it - which may have been the reason the guy sold it to me for so little money.

Initially I installed Mint 19.2 Mate' in place of Windows, but the occasional screen tearing issue remained. After I upgraded to Mint 19.3, which provides HiDPI video playback capabilities that 19.2 doesn't have, the screen tearing disappeared. Then I replaced the original 1TB 5400rpm mechanical hard drive with a 500GB SSD I had available. Now the Toshiba Satellite performs superbly.

Originally Posted by Beaker
..Regarding Mate and other lighter DEs, I did some comparing of Gnome, Mate, LxQt, and Cinnamon using stock Debian on a low memory I386 system. LxQt was the solid winner at 5% less RAM than Mate, 15% less than Gnome/Cinnamon (they all used about the same percent of CPU resources). And, to my eye, LxQt looks like a fancier DE, using a dark default theme. Some things are missing in LxQt, like a printer manager, but those can be added easilly enough..

A low memory i386 system benefits greatly from a micro light DE like LxQt. Haven't found a use for it so far, at least not on my own machines which do really well with Mate'. Nevertheless it's good to hear your thoughts on LxQT. In case someone shows up with an old i386 PC and wants to run Mint on it I'd definitely give a light DE a go. I'd start with Mint Xfce to see how it performed, then try a distro running LxQt, Enlightenment, or possible iceWM - or install one of those DEs on Mint itself - depending on the machine.


"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." Isaac Asimov
Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Az4x4] #147150 02/27/20 02:20 AM
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Heh, LMDE4 Beta got announced yesterday[1] ; looks like that old Toshiba will get updated a lot sooner than expected. Tested the beta on a couple of machines; very, very similar to LMDE3. Guess they figured Debian was already out with Buster+Cinnamon so just do a quick update to a Buster-based LMDE.

[1] https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3860


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Re: HOW TO: Replace Win 7 with Linux Mint 19.3.. [Re: Beaker] #147154 02/27/20 04:16 PM
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Az4x4 Offline OP
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LMDE4 Beta is now running in a virtual machine on my PC. Additions to the full release will be incorporated into the Beta via Mint's regular updates, so it's ready right now. Updating your old Toshiba with LMDE4 sounds like a great move. Let us know how it goes.

My wife's daughter brought her three year old HP Pavilion running Windows 10 to me complaining she couldn't use it any longer as bogged down performance wise and filled with pop up junk ads as it was. She was so 'tired of messing with Windows' that she asked me to back up her personal data and put Linux Mint in it's place. Her mom and I run Mint on all our computers, so she knew how pleased we were with it and decided to give it a shot herself.

I backed up all her personal data, reformatted the drive, and put a fresh installation of Linux MInt 19.3 Mate' on her machine. Copied her data back to the new Mint installation, added a few programs she needed, and everything works great. She couldn't be happier, saying she should have made this move much earlier than she did. She never realized how much better her computer was capable of serving her until Windows simply couldn't do what she needed it to do anymore and made the move to Mint.


"Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." Isaac Asimov

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