Many new features now available including 2-Factor authentication


Show posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Show posts Menu

Topics - Rich J

Internet Connectivity / Broadband speed issue
November 16, 2019, 05:17:01 PM
Hi All

We recently had a Virgin Media broadband outage that lasted approx 36hrs - a local issue, not at our property. That has now been fixed but I find that my internet speed is very slow, compared to that before the outage.

I've twice contacted Virgin 150 (20mins waiting, 10mins with operator, then had the call cut off both times before the issue was dealt with!!) I've gone through all their instructions ie: speedtesting, re-booting, factory re-set etc. to no avail. 

My package gave me a stable 20Mbps download speed and about 2.7 upload speed and that is what I've had for about 2 years with no problems.  After the outage, I'm getting 2.27Mbps download and 1.97 upload.  Ping is @ 300 ms.  This is causing major issues with system updates, especially if there are larger files involved.  Before, the updates would download between 10 and 20 seconds, now it can be anything up to 20mins!

My rig has a wired ethernet connection (through D-Link homeplugs) and pinging my router returns -

[email protected]:~$ ping -c 5
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=3.83 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=3.33 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=64 time=3.39 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=64 time=3.39 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=64 time=3.35 ms

--- ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 4006ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 3.336/3.462/3.834/0.197 ms[code]

which suggests the internal wiring 'tween rig and router is ok.

From the computer, Speedtest.net to Virgin's server in Manchester returns Ping 10ms,  Download 2.89Mbps,  Upload 2.00Mbps
Yet from my smartphone, Speedtest returns (wirelessly)  Ping 24ms,  Download 21.01Mbps,  Upload 2.48mbps from the same server......!! 

I'd expect the ping to be slower as it's wireless but the other figures suggest that the internet speed is ok and the issue is with my computer.  I'm baffled, to be honest!

Any help would be good and thanks in advance.


Internet Connectivity / Toshiba Satellite Pro wifi
August 02, 2019, 11:10:08 PM
Hi All -
Ive been gifted a Toshiba Satellite Pro M70 laptop.  It's a bit old but in good nick overall.  Sadly, it will only run 32bit (not sure if there's a way to update it to 64bit?) so I've installed Linux Lite to get it up and running.  All seems ok at present except the dreaded wifi refuses to work!!  I was hoping it would be the old Broadcom solution but not this time - the wireless card is listed as PRO/Wireless 2200BG [Calexico2] Network Connection, vendor: Intel Corporation. 

A web search hasn't provided much - I assume it's missing drivers but I've not found anything that helps.  Any advice would be welcome and thanks in advance!

Linux Support / Partitioning SSD
April 24, 2019, 07:36:05 PM
Hi All - I've got my new build up and running and I'm ready to install a new version of Mint.  But before I do, I could do with some advice re partitioning the SSD, both for optimum speed and wear.

Specs are Crucial MX500 500GB SSD, 8GB (2x4) RAM.  I don't envisage having a separate HDD for storage as I'll never fill up this one with the type of computing I do.

I want to keep it simple - my thoughts are say, 80GB for / and the rest for /home.  I've read that SSD's don't get on with swap so would I need a swap partition at all with 8GB RAM?

Thanks in advance


Linux Support / PC Self-build v Custom Build
April 09, 2019, 07:16:03 PM
I've started a new thread as I realised I'd strayed off topic in the last one!


I visited here this morning - https://www.scan.co.uk/ - and this is the list of components I used merely as a starting point.

Case - CIT 1016 Micro ATX with 500W PSU
Mobo - Gigabyte H310M
CPU - Intel i3 8100 Quad core Coffee Lake
RAM - 8GB (2x4) Corsair DDR4 Vengeance LPX Black PC4-17000 (2133)
Storage - Gigabyte 480GB 2.5" SSD SATA 111 66Gbs/s
DVD RW - Asus DRW-24D5MT
Keyboard - Logitech K120 USB

I asked the desk guy if there was much difference in price between self-build and custom-build and he said 'not really these days' and with custom-build you do get a fully tested system and a 3-year warranty ......  And he confirmed that all of these as listed are compatible.

To purchase for self-build quoted at £336.  To purchase for custom build quoted at £500+.  Obviously they're charging the extra for the 3yr warranty......!

If you could run your eye over this list and give an opinion, I'd be grateful.  Is it 'overkill' for what I'm going to use the computer for?  Are there cheaper options and specs out there that would do as good a job?  There's lots of suppliers in the components market - do you have personal experience of any and standards of parts/service etc? 

About the SSD - would it need some sort of extra chassis/bracket to fit it into the drive bay?  It's not clear on any website I've visited.  And would the mobo stand-offs and screws come as supplied, or are these purchased separately?

I'm quite confident about self-build as I've taken apart and re-fitted most things in a computer except the motherboard but online videos seem to show that this job isn't too much of a problem.  I'm looking for a comprehensive guide at the moment if you know of one?

Thanks again for your time and interest.


Linux Support / Mint 19.1 install issues
April 04, 2019, 02:47:52 PM
Hi All - I've just completed a fresh install of the above and, as in the past, have run into a few problems..........

Initially, the install went perfectly and booted as expected.  Grub menu showed the correct version.  I then did the usual updating etc etc and within that was an updated kernel.  Then the problems started. 

First it wouldn't boot at all with the new kernel; I got it to boot in recovery mode with the original kernel and removed the new one but Grub menu then showed 'Ubuntu' and not Mint 19.1...... ???   Next, boot failed into kernel panic (AGAIN).  I referred back to this excellent reply from Mark -


and fortunately it was the instructions in post #19 that got me up and running - many thanks again to Mark!!   ;) 

Original kernel (as shipped) is - 4.15.0-20 - boots ok,  updated (recommended kernel) 4.15.0-47.49   which doesn't boot.

So, I need assistance please for the following - 

I now have only 1 kernel in the grub menu and wish to add a 2nd one as a back up.  A net search hasn't brought up any method I can understand.  (And how can I determine which is the best kernel to add, keeping in mind patched versions etc?)

Is it possible (or even advisable) to 'anchor' the kernel to the system?  (Also with ref: to the above)

I'm baffled as to why official updates constantly cause these kernel panics and non-boots and this happens whether I let the installer 'do it's own thing' or use a dedicated partitioning scheme.  (I currently use /boot, / and /home + swap as this seems to fit my hardware, though I've no idea why.....)  Can anyone shed any light please?

Mint runs beautifully (normally  ::)) even on my old rig but having to go through this rigmarole every so often is becoming a real pain!

As ever, thanks in advance


Linux Support / Huawei Y360-U31
January 21, 2019, 05:02:18 PM
Hi All - I'm looking for some advice re: the above phone.

This device was purchased originally on a Vodafone deal, now unlocked and on 3 network.  It came with a load of pre-installed apps (bloatware) which I'm trying to get rid of - unsuccessfully so far!  I've added a 16GiB micro SD card which works ok but none of the embedded apps will transfer to it and - surprisingly - very few of the apps I install will transfer either..... I can save photos and other data files however.  This means that whenever I run updates, the phone complains there is little storage left - no wonder as the 'bloatware' takes up most of the space!

Scanning the 'net has brought up tons of how to's and the like, none of which have been any use - usually you end up in a advertising loop or the software doesn't download at all.  Reading up, I realise that any embedded apps are there to stay so, realistically, it means flashing a new ROM is the only way to clean things up.

What I'm looking for is an 'idiot's guide' that can point me in the right direction.  Or, if any of you good folks have experience of flashing ROMs, could you give me some pointers?  There appears to be no official custom ROMs available for this device but there are some unofficial upgrades that are supposed to work.  Also there are official stock ROMS available.  Would a stock ROM do the job?  Insofar as it would be a basic set of apps (before the retailer's developer got hold of it) that I could add to myself?

I really have no experience whatsoever with Android so any advice would be most welcome!  It does seem (to a beginner) that smartphones are a minefield to work with and I don't want to screw things up if I can help it!

Thanks in advance

Linux Support / Upgrading to new kit
May 21, 2018, 07:47:50 AM
Hi All - I'm thinking of replacing my aged desktop for something more current and would appreciate advice?

It will be for basic 'home computing' - no gaming or heavy streaming/video editing use etc etc.  Something like a 500GiB SSD, minimum 4GiB Ram, SATA, DVD writer, Wireless and so on.  No O/S required - it will be a pure Linux box. 

I'm ok for the monitor and have a DVD writer in the current rig that I could swap out but writers are cheap these days anyway if needs be.  A new (wired) keyboard and mouse would be handy too.

Any preferences between Intel or AMD processors?  Any preferences regarding makes of motherboard - particularly in terms of Linux installation?

I'm currently drawn towards stuff from Scan and/or Novatech which seem cheap enough but I'm also happy to get the parts and do a self build.

If any of you have already gone down this route, any advice re: building snags or stuff to watch out for or to avoid would be welcome!



Hi - After the kernel panic problems I had with Mint 18.3, I've done a fresh OS install of Mint 18.1 in the hope it will be more stable. 

Originally (M18.3 install), I made a separate /home partition in order to protect my data and decided to keep the same configuration for the re-install.  M18.1 installed no problem to it's dedicated partition and my original /home partition remains intact and accessible.  However, the new install has it's own /home directory, which is of course, empty.  The original /home partition is now seen as a separate device and to work with it, I have to mount it manually.  I've searched the 'net and found several ways to auto mount a partition but the instructions aren't clear and are way above my skill-set!

There are 2 users on this machine - self and wife.  What I need is to be able to log in directly to 'my' part of 'original /home/username' and to replicate that on my wife's log in.

Is there a straightforward way to do this?  (Hand-holding a necessity, I'm afraid!)

This is the partition set up -

Disk /dev/sda: 149.1 GiB, 160041885696 bytes, 312581808 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x0001ba51

Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *         2048   3905535   3903488   1.9G 83 Linux
/dev/sda2         3907582 312580095 308672514 147.2G  5 Extended
/dev/sda5         3907584  42966177  39058594  18.6G 83 Linux
/dev/sda6       304769024 312580095   7811072   3.7G 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda7        42969088 304752639 261783552 124.8G 83 Linux

- where /dev/sda5 is the 18.1 system files
and       /devsda7 is the dedicated /home partition

thanks in advance


Linux Support / Kernel Panic - Part 2 (ABANDONED)
April 05, 2018, 10:30:40 AM
Hi Mark - kernel panic has raised it's ugly head again after updating Mint 18.3  >:(

I ran through your instructions from here -


twice, but to no avail this time - yet they have worked flawlessly in the past.

For the life of me I can't figure out why this keeps happening?  It seems that the bootloader files 'may' be the culprit as they seem to be getting overwritten on updates but why, I haven't a clue.  This has never happened before on any distro I've used in the past.  :o  I'm wondering if the Update Manager itself may be at fault but truthfully, I'm clutching at straws!

After the Meltdown/Spectre fiasco and the faff I had to get the patched kernel installed, I've deliberately unchecked updated kernels from the Update Manager list but something else must have slipped through this time.  I'm currently booted from the M18.3 install disk and have disconnected my 2nd (slave) drive as in the past so as to work only with my main HDD.

Any guidance would be welcome!



EDIT:  I also ran an integrity check from the install disk but no errors were reported.
Internet Connectivity / 2nd Router not connecting SOLVED
February 27, 2018, 03:41:41 PM
Hi All - I am now the proud owner of 2 VM Superhubs (lucky me!! LOL) and need some set-up advice please.

I've just had an upgrade to a TV6 box from Virgin media (replacing an ageing TiVo) and have re-arranged my home network accordingly. 

My Superhub 2 (which was connected to my desktop computer in the office via ethernet) has been moved to the lounge adjacent to the TV6 box and connected to it via ethernet.  I have VM co-ax cabling to both locations - this was done when the original TiVo was fitted.  My desktop is now wifi connected to SH2 via a dongle.  All is ok with my TV and other devices around the house for connectivity as the new position gives better wifi coverage.  However, though the desktop has connected wirelessly, the signal in the office is around 50-60% strength and gives intermittent problems with speed and refusing to connect through - mostly timeout issues, I think.

I still have my original Superhub (SH1) (for some reason it was never returned to VM) so  I would like to connect it to my desktop via ethernet if possible and just use it for the desktop - ie: switch off SH1 wireless broadcasting. 

I connected SH1 up to the desktop (running Mint 18.3, btw) and the network manager found it ok but I can't connect through to the internet.  Nor can I access the SH1 config to change anything there.  Any ideas what I might try please?  (I'm actually wondering if VM somehow disable old equipment but can't find anything regarding that on the 'net).  If I can get SH1 working, I'd prefer to have it connected to the TV6 and return SH2 to the office - SH1 has the cables connected in the back (SH2 in the end) and it would sit better behind the TV.   ;)

If my proposal is a non-starter, I could just put SH2 back in the office and have the TV6 connect wirelessly to it but I'm not sure how that would work, given the signal strength.

Thanks in advance


EDIT:  I have now managed to load the config page (hadn't realised there is a different address for it when in modem mode - doh!!) and returned the settings to default.  However, it still won't connect to the internet when on ethernet.
General Discussion / Home Security and Linux
February 07, 2018, 11:09:57 AM
Hi All!  There has been a spate of daytime and night-time break-ins lately around our way and my other half is getting a bit twitchy (as am I, TBH!). 

I'm considering installing some sort of basic CCTV system (maybe 3 cameras) which I would like to monitor via an old laptop I have, currently running Mint 17 XFCE.  Not sure yet whether to go for wired or wireless, but wireless would be easier.  Do any of you run a home security system with Linux?  Is there a need for any sort of specialised software and have you any particular recommendations as to brands etc?

Thanks in advance

Linux Support / Meltdown and Spectre (SOLVED)
January 23, 2018, 11:55:45 AM
Hi Mark - maybe this should be in the Security section (feel free to move it) but I didn't want it missed by the general reader.

I got on to Mint about my kernel panic woes after installing Mint 18.3 updated kernels (neither will boot) and the best they could come up with is this -

"Well, your options are limited. You might wait for the (hopefully) redeeming update in the 4.4 series.

Or, and that's what I would do: perform a clean installation of Mint 17.3 Xfce and downgrade its kernel to the latest of the 3.13 series (currently: 3.13.0-139). And buy a new machine when Mint 17.x reaches EOL in May, 2019.

The whole bloody Meltdown/Spectre mess is probably too dangerous for continuing without a patched kernel...."

Not exactly the answer I was hoping for.............. >:(

So a downgrade followed by a new purchase?  Rather spoils the notion of running Linux on older hardware, don't you think?  And aren't the latest chips affected also, so no way would I invest in a new machine until that point was cleared up?

What, in your opinion are the risks of running a "vulnerable" set up until a patch is available?

Linux Support / Fresh install Mint 18.3
January 12, 2018, 10:18:33 AM
Hi Mark and a belated Happy New year to you and all forumites!

I'm now good to go for a fresh install of Mint 18.3 64bit on my larger drive (150GiB) - currently with M17 installed.  My smaller (40GiB) drive has M18 on it which, if all goes well, I'll later change to a data only disk.  Given the boot issues that I've had with this machine in the past, I'll need to manually partition the drive. 

What is the best layout for partitioning please, given I'd like to create a separate home partition as well as boot, / and swap?

Currently, M17 has a small 1st partition (boot) of 500MiB where the boot files reside.  Strangely, M18 (on sdb) also has exactly the same partitioning arrangement, but the boot files aren't in the boot partition!  So, given that Mint does not delete old kernels automatically -

1,  would it be advantageous to make the 1st (boot) partition a bit larger than 500MiB to accommodate the increasing number of kernels?
2,  is it possible to force the boot files to actually land in that 1st partition?

Any advice would be good!

Linux Support / Re: Kernel panic (SOLVED)
December 08, 2017, 08:50:32 PM
Hi All

Mint 18.2 refuses to boot after a general update (via Update Manager).  After a similar issue a while ago I stopped adding new kernels but this time I recall a 'Linux Headers for development' being included and wonder if this has caused the problem?  The boot hangs with  ....Kernel panic - not syncing: unable to mount root fs on unknown-block (0,0).

I've tried other (older) kernels from the 'Advanced' list in Grub but get the same result.

Mint 17 works ok (it's on a separate drive) and this is where I'm typing this post from.  From 17, doing a 'sudo update-grub' has no effect.

From 17's menu (Computer) I can see all my data etc in M18 so it's all there, I just can't boot to it.

Any help greatly appreciated!


PS:  It was all working fine up to last evening which is when I did the update before closing down for the night, so it must be something in there that's caused the issue.  There's been no messing about inside the box or moving of the computer - just the software update.
Linux Support / Mdm and Lightdm (SOLVED)
October 31, 2017, 10:04:44 AM
Hi All
In my efforts to configure Mint 18.2 I've managed to break my display manager........... :-[

I changed from mdm to lightdm using a 'how to' from the official Mint site and all seemed to go well until it came to reboot.  The boot now just hangs at the splash screen.  I can see a screen full of output (by hitting 'enter') and that reports an error 'failure to start light display manager'.  It then runs on for a few more lines then halts, waiting for 'another process'.  Unfortunately, the 'how to' said to remove mdm as part of the changeover so there's no way to switch back to it.

I have the Mint 18.1 install disk (original install was 18.1 - upgraded to 18.2 via Update Manager) and also Mint 17.3 installed on a separate Hdd (sda) - M18 is on Hdd sdb.

Is it possible to re-install mdm on to M18 from either of these mediums?  I could just reinstall M18 afresh but have made a lot of changes that I would prefer to keep if possible.

Thanks in advance


Linux Support / Speed up Boot
October 28, 2017, 04:51:13 PM
Hi All
I'm currently running Mint 18.2 Sonya Mate on a separate 40GB hdd and I'm trying to speed up the boot process. 

At first it booted to the desktop at around 2m 30secs but after removing some startup items (and enabling auto login etc), I've got it down to 1m 25secs.  Using the systemd-analyze critical-chain utility, I see that it takes 25secs to begin booting from the hdd (dev sdb5-device).  Is there a way to get this time decreased safely?

Further info below -

The time after the unit is active or started is printed after the "@" character.
The time the unit takes to start is printed after the "+" character.

graphical.target @36.210s
??multi-user.target @36.210s
  ??getty.target @36.205s
    [email protected] @36.204s
      ??rc-local.service @35.659s +19ms
        ??network-online.target @35.623s
          ??network.target @35.620s
            ??NetworkManager.service @32.168s +3.450s
              ??dbus.service @31.788s
                ??basic.target @31.771s
                  ??paths.target @31.771s
                    ??cups.path @31.771s
                      ??sysinit.target @31.729s
                        ??systemd-update-utmp.service @31.397s +329ms
                          ??systemd-tmpfiles-setup.service @31.295s +47ms
                            ??local-fs.target @31.291s
                              ??run-cgmanager-fs.mount @32.185s
                                ??local-fs-pre.target @9.147s
                                  ??systemd-remount-fs.service @9.086s +58ms
                                    ??system.slice @4.141s

$ systemd-analyze blame
         24.325s dev-sdb5.device
          6.771s ufw.service
          3.929s preload.service
          3.450s NetworkManager.service
          2.797s keyboard-setup.service
          2.604s thermald.service
          2.367s systemd-tmpfiles-setup-dev.service
          2.083s iio-sensor-proxy.service
          1.749s systemd-udevd.service
          1.610s dev-hugepages.mount
          1.583s systemd-journald.service
          1.575s systemd-modules-load.service
          1.530s dev-mqueue.mount
          1.529s sys-kernel-debug.mount
          1.507s upower.service
          1.389s udisks2.service
          1.229s networking.service
          1.226s grub-common.service
          1.222s [email protected]\x2duuid-e5fdbb08\x2d9250\x2d489a\x2d9e
          1.117s loadcpufreq.service
          1.005s irqbalance.service
           904ms rsyslog.service
           888ms console-setup.service

Plot.svg shows the kernel loads in @ 7secs and systemd in @ a further 5secs so the delay seems to be in finding the boot files.

Any tips/info would be great!

TIA Rich
Linux Support / Upgrading to 64bit Mint
August 02, 2017, 04:01:40 PM
Hi All.  I've decided to have a go at upgrading my machine from 32bit to 64 bit (currently Mint 17 32bit, going to Mint 18 64bit). 

I currently have installed a 160Gb HDD with Mint 17 on it and a 40Gb slave HDD that is blank (i.e. unallocated space).  In preparation, I've downloaded the Mint 18 iso and burned it to disk.  This boots ok and works as expected so I expect the install to be the same.

My plan is to install Mint 18 on the 40Gb HDD, move everything over to it from the 160Gb HDD then, if all goes well, wipe the 160Gb HDD and do a fresh install of Mint 18 on that.  (The current data only takes up a fraction of the available space on the 160Gb HDD so I hope will not be an issue moving it to a smaller drive).  If all goes well I'll move everything back again.

Q  Is this method feasible or appropriate?  (My fear is losing the data and messing up the settings of 2 users (self and wife - and I really don't want to risk the wrath of Khan!!)  Or would it be better/easier to create a partition and move the data only over?  If I could preserve the settings also it would save a lot of work.

Q  Can the whole drive be cloned/copied and moved over?  I think there is scope to shrink the partition on the 160Gb drive to make it 'appear' smaller than 40Gb but I daren't try that without help!!

I'm not fussed about Mint 18 either - it's just the latest incarnation - if a straight change to Mint 17 64bit is better then that would be ok too.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts/advice/opinions etc ;)


Linux Support / Samsung Easy Printer Manager
December 17, 2016, 05:11:26 PM
Back again!

Samsung have the aforementioned available for Windows and MAC but not for Linux.  I've downloaded the .zip file (for MAC) in the hope there maybe a way to get it (or the Windows version) to work in Linux?  What do you think?

It's a useful utility as you can do cartridge and page count re-sets with the info in it - a real bone of contention with Samsung printers as they seem to produce error messages long before the life of the component (or the toner) has run out!

Thanks in advance,