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Hard wear guy needs help choosing which linux to use.

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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November 17, 2010 4:59:14 AM

Hi: I have re build my old windows machine with a AMD Gigabyte mobo AM2/3+ capable socket, with 4 gig of medium speed RAM , and one of the newer AMD AM2 Athlon tri-core 2.8 Ghz chips. quad core with one shut off. was running on XP PRO X32 SP2 and the hard drive crashed.

I tried and tried to re load the XP with no luck. I even went out and got a XP PRO X64 SP2 still no go. then i put in a new HHD WD 500 gig pata replacement and tried to load win 7 still no go. keep getting the blue screen of death.

one of my friends said dump windows and go with Linux. My question is will files made on a linux machine be compatible with a win 7 OS machine and vice versa. and if so

which version of linux should i use mint, ubunto or straight linux ?

would one be easier for me to learn to use compared to the others and will it be compatible if i move files such as movies and mp2s between the two machines, ??? as i said the other machine is win 7 with the same hardware as i rebuilt the old one except it has 6gig memory

any and all incites and suggestions are welcome. I am a hardware guy so i know very little about OS except ive used XP forever....

I am tired of all the problems win 7 has and lack of support for XP now Micky Mouse Microsoft has moved on to a new toy and dosen't have any loyalty to us poor smucks that loved 'xp even with its failures they just got if fixed fairly stable and then moved on.

thanks for your time..
a b 5 Linux
November 17, 2010 1:01:03 PM

knightrider56 said:
Hi: I have re build my old windows machine with a AMD Gigabyte mobo AM2/3+ capable socket, with 4 gig of medium speed RAM , and one of the newer AMD AM2 Athlon tri-core 2.8 Ghz chips. quad core with one shut off. was running on XP PRO X32 SP2 and the hard drive crashed.

I tried and tried to re load the XP with no luck. I even went out and got a XP PRO X64 SP2 still no go. then i put in a new HHD WD 500 gig pata replacement and tried to load win 7 still no go. keep getting the blue screen of death.


Blue screens usually point towards instability of some sort, generally either your memory or your powersupply. I'd run MEMTest to make sure your memory is still all good.

knightrider56 said:
one of my friends said dump windows and go with Linux. My question is will files made on a linux machine be compatible with a win 7 OS machine and vice versa. and if so


It depends on what you're doing. Most of the time you will have the option to save files in numerous different formats other than the program defaults. For example, in Open Office you can save as *.odt by default, but you have the option to save as *.doc or *.docx, among other formats, which will work with Microsoft Word. So to recap, most of the files you work with will work in Windows or Linux.

knightrider56 said:
which version of linux should i use mint, ubunto or straight linux ?


There's no such thing as just straight Linux :)  Linux is just the kernel the operating systems are built off of. Ubuntu/Mint are great for starting out (and even for use by more experienced folk). Fedora, Mandriva, and PCLinuxOS are also worth checking out, imo. openSUSE is popular, but I don't like it personally.

knightrider56 said:
would one be easier for me to learn to use compared to the others and will it be compatible if i move files such as movies and mp2s between the two machines, ??? as i said the other machine is win 7 with the same hardware as i rebuilt the old one except it has 6gig memory


Any of the OS's I listed above will be quite easy to use, Ubuntu/Mint being the easiest out of the group probably. The one thing you have to realize is that Linux is not Windows, so you shouldn't expect it to be anything like Windows. It will take some learning, but I think you will be happy with the switch.

File sharing between Windows and Linux generally requires Samba or some alternative, but we can discuss setting this up once you're all up and running. There's also plenty of online resources on setting up Samba.


Good luck, I hope I answered most of your questions.


- Jesse
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a b 5 Linux
November 17, 2010 2:14:21 PM

Just be aware that if your hardware is flaky (as it seems to be) installing Linux won't solve the problem. It's not magic. I'd sort out the harware problem first.
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November 17, 2010 8:31:40 PM

Pyroflea said:
There's no such thing as just straight Linux :)  Linux is just the kernel the operating systems are built off of.


Well there is Linux From Scratch for example. It will work if you have professional level skills with Linux ;) 

What people think of as an OS is a huge system of various pieces of software - big and small. There is the kernel (Windows has a kernel too) that basically sits between the hardware and the rest of the OS and applications and makes it (almost) all work. If you choose a kernel from Microsoft or Apple, then your options are already pretty limited but if you go with the Linux kernel, then your options are practically limitless, because the system has an open architecture.

There are just gazillions of people and organizations developing software on top of the Linux kernel, so one can collect bits and pieces all around the place to build a full, usable OS. This is what is called a distribution - a nice, coherent collection of all stuff OS, which can typically be delivered on a DVD so it's easy for the user to just install and take into use. So in other words you're asking which distribution you should begin with...

Otherwise what you people said - it sounds a bit like a hardware problem, make sure your h/w is OK before you try and learn a new OS. (Unless you can find somebody who's skilled in Linux, you could then use Linux for troubleshooting too.)

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November 18, 2010 4:10:20 PM

It really depends what your want to do with linux. Graphical? e.g Photo editing or video editing? what? for them its best to go with Ubuntu studio or if your feeling really smart you can go with Yellow dog Linux. Very powerful stuff out there :) 
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a b 5 Linux
November 18, 2010 7:12:55 PM

Any distribution can be made to work with any programs or software. It's just a matter of how much work you want to put into it. A Debian based distro tends to have the most native packages, but anything else will work just fine. It's really just down to preference.
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a b 5 Linux
November 21, 2010 6:24:12 AM

If your HDD had (as it appears it did) the ntfs file system on it, and you wish to use it for a clean install of linux (to save multimedia and other hassles, I recommend SuperOS -- http://hacktolive.org/wiki/Super_OS#DVD-ISO_download), then I would do the following:

Go to
http://sourceforge.net/projects/systemrescuecd/files/
Choose 1.3.5. Burn it to CD at no more than 8X. Boot to it.
Hit defaults a couple times and at the green & white colored prompt on the page that asks you to choose either "wizard" or "startx" to type in, type in < dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4096 conv=notrunc,sync > instead and wait for it to wipe your hard drive clean, writing zeros. When it's done, type in startx at the prompt, then gparted at the yellow-colored terminal to partition.

One may use the installation CD to partition,but after wiping with zeros why change CDs? The partitions will be recognized by the installation to come. The most to be done is to choose "Change" or "Edit" after Manual Install, then keep the partitions as you created them with sysresccd and gparted (Hint: write the partitions down). {I find this a surer, easier and more consistent way of preparing a hard disk for a truly clean install, especially after any ntfs has been on it, than simply using the install CD/DVD} When partitioning is done, just type < init 6 > at the prompt in the terminal, and a reboot follows.


You have received good advice and I agree with Pyroflea in that mint or ubuntu are good newbie distros, BTW SuperOS is just a refined ubuntu -- I further recommend 10.04 LTS.

I'm new here, but been around. Really like tomshardware and have been reading the reviews here for years, including all those put in using NT4 and W2K in a GIS shop.

Enjoy Linux!
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