install Linux alongside XP

User avatar
stuck
UraniumLounger
Posts: 6316
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 09:09
Location: up North (but it's not that grim)

install Linux alongside XP

Post by stuck »

I have a old XP laptop (HP 510: Celeron M 1.5 GHz, 1GB RAM, 50GB HDD) and although I'm unlikely to ever use the XP installation again I'm reluctant to blow it away completely by overwriting the disk with a Linux installation because I know nothing at all about Linux so if (when) things go wrong it might be handy to be able to get things back to how they were before I started.

So, any suggestions for a Linux distro suitable for such an experiment? Ubuntu, Mint & Zorin are names I keep coming across as I Google, along with many others :hairout: but which one?

Ken

User avatar
John Gray
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 4787
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 08:33
Location: A cathedral city in England

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by John Gray »

You'd need to image the XP disk first if you want to replace it by a Linux installation - unless you want to run the Linux installation as a "Live CD" under XP. But that's agonisingly slow and any changes/configuration/updates you tried to make to the Linux CD obviously wouldn't 'stick'!

Maybe take the XP disk out and put in a fresh one, and install Linux onto that? There's not really enough space on 50 GB to shrink down the XP partition and create a new Linux partition plus probably a page file partition, and dual-boot.

Mint seems to be regarded as the best general-purpose Linux version, but there are a huge number of special-purpose ones.
One snag is that there is no update-in-place, so if you go for each six-monthly new version, you have to start from scratch, and do all the installations/configurations from scratch, just like reinstalling Windows every six months. Super. :hairout:
John Gray

However far you try to push the envelope it'll always be stationery.

User avatar
stuck
UraniumLounger
Posts: 6316
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 09:09
Location: up North (but it's not that grim)

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by stuck »

John Gray wrote:...There's not really enough space on 50 GB to shrink down the XP partition and create a new Linux partition plus probably a page file partition, and dual-boot...
That's not what this page implies:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... nt-install
Or is that another example of the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true..."

NB I wouldn't need anything more than a minimalist XP partition. I'm going to off-load any data and probably then do a factory reset to wash the XP side clean.

Ken

User avatar
John Gray
PlatinumLounger
Posts: 4787
Joined: 24 Jan 2010, 08:33
Location: A cathedral city in England

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by John Gray »

Perhaps I should have said that it might be a bit tight! Also it depends somewhat on whether you meant 50 Gigabytes or 50 Gibibytes.
John Gray

However far you try to push the envelope it'll always be stationery.

User avatar
jonwallace
5StarLounger
Posts: 1042
Joined: 26 Jan 2010, 11:32
Location: "What a mighty long bridge to such a mighty little old town"

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by jonwallace »

Given the size of the hard disc and the age of the machine, perhaps a lightweight distro like one of these.

Points to bear in mind :
What John said, some distros need to be reinstalled to upgrade, and while the Linux install process is a bit less onerous that Windows, it does mean re-installing printers and anything else you might have added.
Lightweight distros tend to be a bit more "just open a terminal window and type..." than heavyweights (although, you will find yourself in a terminal window fairly often...) but we're techy, we're not afraid of any scary old commandline, are we?

Disclaimer: I've tried a number of distros over the years, but settled on LXLE for my Acer C710 Chromebook, mainly because that was the one where everything just worked out of the box (USB stick...). When I built a PC a couple of years ago, I installed Linux Mint and used that happily until the number of Windows programs that I (thought) I needed became large enough that I justified a Windows 7 licence.

PS (and completely off topic) blowing away and reflashing the BIOS of the Chromebook was an adventure in dismantling a laptop and stuffing tinfoil into bits -- highly recommended. :grin:
John

“Always trust a microbiologist because they have the best chance of predicting when the world will end”
― Teddie O. Rahube

User avatar
StuartR
Administrator
Posts: 11129
Joined: 16 Jan 2010, 15:49
Location: London, Europe

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by StuartR »

You could try one of the linux distributions that boots from a CD. See http://www.livecdlist.com/ for a list of these.
StuartR


User avatar
stuck
UraniumLounger
Posts: 6316
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 09:09
Location: up North (but it's not that grim)

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by stuck »

StuartR wrote:You could try one of the linux distributions that boots from a CD...
Yes, I've considered that but everything I've read about that option warns about slow performance. That's OK for a quick test but not for real world use and the ultimate plan is for this old machine to get real world use.

If stuckling1 would chip in to this thread (I have told him about it) then we'd get a better idea of what it will be required to do. Recycling this machine as a Linux system was his idea, something to do with his fourth year uni. project. However, it was my idea to try to retain the XP side in the event the Linux experiment fails completely.

Based on what people here (and what I've read) so far I'm thinking:
1) Off load all data.
2) Do a factory reset to clean up XP.
3) Apply all know important XP updates from MS.
4) Install Firefox.
5) Install a partition manager and resize the XP partition to the absolute minimum (on the grounds that a genuine XP part. manager is likely to be more gentle on XP than a Linux installer doing the same job).
6) Install Linux Mint alongside XP / into the empty space on the HDD, as outlined in the link I posted earlier.
7) Suck it and see, aka hand the machine over to stuckling1 and leave him to try it out.
8) If it grinds too much, tell stuckling1 to replace Mint with the LXLE, 'lite' distro suggest by Jon and see how that goes.

Ken
Last edited by stuck on 23 Oct 2014, 15:14, edited 3 times in total.

Pjotr
NewLounger
Posts: 2
Joined: 16 Oct 2014, 09:10

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by Pjotr »

I just stumbled upon this topic while searching for recent references to my website Easylinuxtipsproject.... :-)

My advice: for this particular machine, pick the lightweight Xfce edition of Mint 17 (32-bit) and not the main editions Cinnamon or Mate. Get it here: http://mirror.jmu.edu/pub/linuxmint/ima ... -32bit.iso" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Burn the iso file to a DVD like this:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... /burn-mint" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Note: there's no need to resize your XP partition beforehand! Because the installation application takes care of that for you, "automagically".

Resizing manually before, is an unnecessary complication. Not advisable for beginners with Linux, because it makes the installation procedure more difficult.

After the installation, I advise to "polish" your new Mint 17 Xfce like this:
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/8" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Good luck! I'm sure you'll love Linux Mint 17 Xfce. It's complete, elegant and easy.

User avatar
Rudi
gamma jay
Posts: 25191
Joined: 17 Mar 2010, 17:33
Location: Cape Town

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by Rudi »

Hi Pjotr,

Welcome to Eileen's Lounge.
I have been looking at your website and compliment you on the info it provides.

In a previous thread some weeks back I was reading about converting a PC to Linux and Zorin OS was mentioned? I browsed the Zorin site and it looks like a really great OS with a good clean interface. Is Zonin a watered down version of Linux Mint (and other versions) or is it a fully featured version of Linux. I don't see you mention anything about Zorin on your site. Please pardon my ignorance. I have been a Windows user for as long as I can remember and very delved into any other OS's. Cheers.
Regards,
Rudi

If your absence does not affect them, your presence didn't matter.

User avatar
stuck
UraniumLounger
Posts: 6316
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 09:09
Location: up North (but it's not that grim)

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by stuck »

Pjotr wrote:..My advice: for this particular machine, pick the lightweight Xfce edition of Mint 17 (32-bit)...
OK, given the extensive guidance on Pjotr's site I'll try Mint Xfce in the first instance.

In other words my plan now goes as follows:
1)-4) as previously.
5) Install a partition manager but not use it, i.e. just have it in place so I can blow away the Linux side from the comfort of XP if I ever have to resort to such a drastic option.
6) Install Mint Xfce as per Pjotr's guidance, including allowing the installer to do the partition resizing (even though the idea of doing it first in XP doesn't bother me, done that sort of thing many times before).
7) Round off the installation as per Pjotr's guidance.
8) See how it goes.

I'll report back in due course...

Thanks everyone.

Ken

Pjotr
NewLounger
Posts: 2
Joined: 16 Oct 2014, 09:10

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by Pjotr »

@Rudi: thanks for the compliment. :-)

About Zorin: it's probably OK as well, but there are certain things I don't like about it.

For instance the fact that by default, a lot of Windows software will run in Zorin (by means of Wine and PlayOnLinux, primarily). That's a feature that shouldn't be turned on by default, in my opinion. Because it also opens a loophole for Windows malware. For Windows applications I advise.... Windows. After all, that's what a dual boot was invented for... Linux Mint and Ubuntu don't have Wine and PlayOnLinux by default, although you can install it easily if you want to.

Securitywise, it's best to search for good Linux alternatives for the Windows applications that you're used to. There's a lot to be found, thankfully. Or you can maybe utilize cloud alternatives for those rare Windows applications that have no good Linux alternative.

Linux Mint and Ubuntu have better security by default, I think. Linux Mint is also built on Ubuntu, but has a somewhat easier user interface. That's why Linux Mint is probably even more suited for Linux beginners than Ubuntu.

User avatar
stuck
UraniumLounger
Posts: 6316
Joined: 25 Jan 2010, 09:09
Location: up North (but it's not that grim)

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by stuck »

stuck wrote:I'll report back in due course...
So the story went like this:
1) Used the nuclear/Factory reset option on XP to wash it all clean.
2) Used Revo to get rid of ancient AV and Java installations
3) Went to Windows update and couldn't get any updates.
3) Found the workaround, see the thread starting at this post
4) Looped through checking for updates until no more were on offer
5) Inserted a Linux Mint xfce disk and rebooted
6) Clicked though a painless install routine

Things still to do:
a) The suggested Linux 'first run' tweaks
b) Unplug the Ethernet cable and turn on the wireless to see if that works out of the box or if finding a driver will be 'interesting'
c) Choose the XP option from the boot menu and see if it copes with the resized partition it finds itself on

I'll update you again later...

Thanks for listening,

Ken

User avatar
Rudi
gamma jay
Posts: 25191
Joined: 17 Mar 2010, 17:33
Location: Cape Town

Re: install Linux alongside XP

Post by Rudi »

Pjotr; tx for the feedback. I'm not a Linux user (at least not yet :grin: ), but Mint looks mint...if you know what I mean :)
Ken...easy read...and TX for the update!
Regards,
Rudi

If your absence does not affect them, your presence didn't matter.