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Messages - Rich J

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General Help & Advice / Re: Advice needed on new PC
« on: October 27, 2020, 08:07:33 am »
Thanks folks. I'll look into your suggestions.

Rich, can you please tell me which motherboard and processor you bought?

If I understand correctly, that combination dictates whether Linux will run or not...


Mobo - Gigabyte H310M S2V 2.0
RAM  - 8GiB (2x4) DIMM DDR4 64bits (from memory I think Crucial)
CPU  -  Intel Core i3-8100 (Coffee Lake?)
SSD   - Crucial MX500
and I put in the DVD writer from my old rig - not really necessary these days but I'm old school.....!

Running Linux Mint 19.1 Mate OS which has more stuff built-in than I will ever use but is stable and very fast - boots to login in 22 seconds.

IIRC, Scan's website will only show compatible components once you make your selection of motherboard.

Not the most exciting set-up but more than adequate for my needs, which are pretty basic, everyday computing and a good balance re: costs.   

I believe that most Linux OS's will run on pretty much any combination these days but it's always worth a 'net search beforehand, just to be sure.  ;)


General Help & Advice / Re: Advice needed on new PC
« on: October 26, 2020, 08:57:29 am »
Hello Folks,

My ancient self-build is on it's last legs so I need a new computer. I'm thinking of a small form factor. I don't mind whether I put it together myself or just buy it.

Obviously it needs to run Linux (Xubuntu).

I'm not a gamer, and I'd like to keep it to a reasonable price (£500 - £600 if possible, although I'm a bit out of touch with hardware prices these days. I can go higher if necessary).

Any suggestions please?

Hi Mike - I did the same thing last year and got my stuff from here -

They've a good reputation and don't, in my experience, try to push you into buying stuff you don't need while still giving advice on compatibility etc.  After a bit of research into the merits of various kit, I put together a wish list on their website and got a build quote for around £650.  I decided to build myself and got all the bits for about £350, so a significant saving.  Scan also do a nifty insurance - from memory is was £10 for 1 month and covered everything against failure - including anything you break yourself!  Well worth having in my case as this was my first self-build!  My rig runs a 500GB SSD with 8GB RAM with Mint Mate 19.1 O/S and is blisteringly fast - only 22 seconds from switch-on to login screen so there would be no worries about running Linux!  Obviously, costs would depend on what kit you choose........

NB:  I have no connection to Scan whatsoever other than a satisfied customer.

Hope this helps,


General Discussion / Re: Linux Mint, stuck in a guest account???
« on: October 14, 2020, 08:47:49 am »
I've installed Linux Mint 18.2 on an old laptop.  It automatically logs me in as a guest.
This means that I have no authority to do anything at all.  I've tried installing another OS in order to re-install LM 18.2, but my guest status means I can't do any of that.  Is there a terminal command I could use to start again please?
Grateful for any help and advice you can offer.

Hi David and welcome to the forums!

You might try this first -

When Mint boots successfully, click on Menu/Logout/Switch User.  Does this offer you the option to log in with your details?


EDIT:  I just spotted Keith's post - if my suggestion does or doesn't work, please post back and we can discuss the options available.  Keith is correct - v18.2 reaches end-of-life in 2021 and later versions would be a better bet.  Which one depends on your system specs, but there will be a good option available.  ;)

General Discussion / Re: Advice in getting a Linux system.
« on: September 29, 2020, 03:00:33 pm »
Hi Tony and welcome!

The reason there are so few choices of machine with Linux pre-installed is that Linux is relatively straightforward to install yourself, even for a complete beginner, plus the fact that the OS is free so no financial gain for the seller other than the value of the machine. 

If your device runs W10 then it is perfectly capable of running any of the latest Linux distributions (distro's).  There are many!  Echoing Keith's advice, I would recommend going for something more 'mainstream' Ubuntu, Mint, Peppermint, et al as they, generally, are more polished, have more software included as standard and have a greater user base, therefore more support available, should you need it.

You can easily download a distro of your choice and make a bootable medium to try out.  Go for a 64-bit version as many of the older 32-bit ones are now being discontinued.  32-bit OS's are still excellent, it's just that more up-to-date machines are all 64-bit capable nowadays so support for 32-bit is on the wane.  You can run the distro straight from the medium without having to install it first (a great advantage) to see if it meets your requirements but remember, any software run from a DVD or USB will always run slower than if it were installed to a HDD.  This is just the nature of the hardware and not a fault of Linux!  In fact, you'll be amazed at how fast Linux runs in comparison with what you are used to!

Personally I'm a fan of Mint, currently running v19.1 64-bit on my desktop and Mint Xfce 32-bit on 2 very old laptops - used as test mules and emergency back-up machines should the desktop play up, happily very rarely and usually from my own incompetence!

Also, no Windows software will run natively on Linux.  Some will run through the Wine emulator but with varying success.  If there are some Windows programmes that you just can't do without, better to keep Windows for them and do all your other stuff in Linux, whether in a dual-boot format or a stand-alone.  You will find that for most common requirements there will be a perfectly good Linux alternative anyway. 

Have a read through the links that Keith has provided and come back when you are ready to give it a go.  ;)

Hope this helps,


General Discussion / Re: Yet another newbie!
« on: September 05, 2020, 09:02:47 am »
Hi Barry - looks like it's best if you start again from scratch!

Good news - it's easier than it first appears! 

Your lappy is 64-bit capable so that gives you way more choice of distribution.  When you have decided on which one to go for, (and I would recommend Mint as I use it myself exclusively - others are available - but at least choose a more 'mainstream' one as the support for those is much broader).  And should a particular 'distro' be not to your liking, you can replace it with another with no problem or cost and add to or delete from it to suit your own particular requirements.  Bit different to other systems, eh?  ;)

For example, let's say Mint is the target, copy and paste the link directly into your browser bar -

This will take you directly to the official site.  Follow the instructions from there.  This link will not show you the latest version of Mint (that's v20) but one that is well established and has a long support life so should give you a stable and polished OS to begin with  ;) and version Mate rather than Cinnamon as it is more 'user friendly' for Windows converts.  You can easily upgrade later once you are comfortable in Linux.  Also, check out the forum boards.  Under 'Installation and Boot' you'll find plenty of 'how-to's' on setting it up.

Oh, and regarding problems in typing in instructions.....  I assume you mean into the Terminal?  You can simply copy/paste those straight in to avoid errors but be sure to copy all of the string as they can be quite long occasionally!

Hope this helps but if you get stuck, repost on here and we'll walk you through it as best we can.

Welcome to Linux!


General Help & Advice / Re: Wobbly and exploding windows!!!!
« on: August 10, 2020, 08:28:30 pm »
I've just installed Mint 17 Cinnamon on a mates laptop.
He now wants wobbly windows!
I've downloaded the compiz stuff but ... no wobbly or exploding/falling apart windows.
Any help appreciated.

Support for Mint 17 ceased in April 2019 - it may be possible to activate this feature but the OS will not receive further updates.  Do you wish to continue with it, or change to a newer version?  Currently, Mint is v20.


Hardware Compatibility / Re: KVM switch and mouse
« on: August 07, 2020, 11:14:34 am »
I have recently connected  a kvm switch so I can switch between cctv and pc and everything works ok in Windozzze 8 but when I switch to Mint 19.3 the keyboard works but the mouse doesn't,can anybody help?

Have you checked your mouse preferences?  Menu/Preferences/Mouse to see if anything is amiss there?  Did the mouse work ok in Mint before you fitted the kvm switch?

General Discussion / Re: 4 yr old Lenovo laptop
« on: August 05, 2020, 08:52:03 am »
Thanks Keith..And is security just as good when you shop online?.

Security at your (Linux) end is tip-top - at the other end (ie: everywhere else on the internet) is another matter.  This has always been and always will be the case.  The Linux user comes to understand that security rests entirely with them so with that in mind.....

As has already been stated, Linux is built from the word go with security in mind.  There are no native viruses for Linux and those which infest the Windows world will not work in Linux.  (There is a ton of stuff out there to read on the subject if you Google it).  There is no need for antivirus in Linux - in fact, to use it can be positively harmful!  (I know - counter-intuitive isn't it - but true!)  Again, Google the question.  There is no need for malware scanners or 'cleaners' or for defragmentation of the HDD - all totally unnecessary.  If you buy or bank via the internet always be sure that the site you use is the correct one - if you do not take the necessary precautions, no operating system in the universe can prevent you losing your money  ;) 

Linux is free.  There are support companies who charge but they can not 'sell' the operating system - only for their services in support - should you choose to use them.  There are ready-made, bootable DVD's and USB's available to buy with various Linux distro's on them but the fee is for the work involved, not the OS, but it is relatively straightforward to make your own - for free.  Post back here for more advice on that.

So why is Linux not blowing Windows out of the park when it comes to personal computing?  Easy!  Money!!  Linux is community driven and has no massive corporation behind it, therefore no massive advertising budget to tempt you into using it.  Why do you think Microsoft brings out an upgraded OS every so often?  They need you to keep spending to fill their pockets!  Consumerism at it's finest, and truth be told, it works a treat!  Linux is developed by small groups or individuals all over the world, not for personal gain but for the principle that computing should be freely available to all and that you, the user, should be fully in control of it.  Linux is yours to use as you wish and to add or delete items as you like in order to suit your personal requirements and to freely share your ideas with others.  What could be better than that?

And lastly - the vast majority of servers around the world are Unix based (Linux's father, if you like) as are 99% of the smartphones we all love!  Why?  Security, front and centre.

Hope this helps give you an idea what Linux is all about and you will be welcomed into our world, should you choose to join.  Please feel free to ask anything Linux-related you like, we'd be glad to help.


Hardware Compatibility / Re: trouble with USB 3 port
« on: July 31, 2020, 08:10:14 am »
I have a problem with a USB 3 port on a desktop running Debian Linux. The problem started when a system backup was attempted to a portable hard drive plugged into the USB 3 port. The backup operation had previously been done many times with no problems.

This time the mount operation failed with a message of the type 'can't find UUID=....'

Various commands such as fdisk -l showed that the kernel was not detecting the drive.

The drive was unplugged, then replug with a dmesg command issued straight after the replug.
The dmesg output seemed to indicate the portable hard drive itself had some problem.

A new portable hard drive was plugged into the port, but the kernel could not see the new drive, although a slowly flashing light on the drive indicated some power was reaching the hard drive.

I thought that perhaps the port was not supplying enough power to the drive, so I then plugged a new USB flash drive into the port. However the kernel would not recognise the flash drive.

Someone subsequently suggested that perhaps the power pins of the port were working but not the data pins.
This could perhaps be due to a problem with the port's USB header or associated cabling or possibly due to damage to
the host controller or associated wiring.

Any thoughts on this, please.

Have you been inside the case recently?  If not, something may still have become dislodged through general use - dusting, moving around etc - causing the issue.  Also, over time, electrical connections can suffer from 'contact resistance' problems (depends on ambient humidity and so on) that can often be cured by simply unplugging and re-plugging the offending connector.  Worth opening the case and checking?  Don't forget to use an earth strap or at least earth yourself on the bare case before delving!

General Help & Advice / Re: Laptop Webcams work on Linux?
« on: July 31, 2020, 07:38:28 am »
Do built-in-webcams on laptops work out of the box with debian based distros? im about to install mint on my college laptop but i wanna make sure i can still do video calls with the built in webcam. All the resources i have found just say that USB webcams work.
If it doesn't work right away, do you know of what drivers to install to make it work?

Hi johnwalker1 and welcome to the forums!

Webcams 'normally' work out of the box in Linux.  If yours doesn't, please post your system specs on here for others to take a look.  ;)

General Discussion / Re: Installation of Linux on imacG5
« on: July 28, 2020, 07:54:04 am »
Hi Rebecca - a Google search re: upgrading your model suggests it's possible to increase RAM to 2.5GB if you have the know-how.  See here -

and here -

Though lightweight Linux OS's will run successfully on little RAM, it's never a bad idea to have more RAM if you can.  This will benefit you if you decide in future to go for a more 'heavyweight' (ie: more features) distro or if you install additional software to the basic set up.  ;)

If you need help in installing your distro of choice, please post again.


Running mint 19.3 cinnamon (this is an upgrade from 18.3).

As I was having issues launching a game I thought I would try a different graphics driver (340) as listed in the driver manager.

The change was not allowed and when I tried to return to the recommended 390 driver I was told that the following dependences were not on the system.

Depends: libnvidia-gl-390 but it is not installed
 nvidia-driver-390 : Depends: libnvidia-gl-390 (= 390.138-0ubuntu0.18.04.1)

I have tried repairing them through the "Package manager" I am told they can not be installed.
I tried installing them through apt and I am told there is a conflict with the 340 driver.
Also tried install the 390 driver package from Nvidia.

Any clues please how I can restore the dependencies.

Thank you.

Hi Tramlink  - take a look here -


General Help & Advice / Re: Identifying an Asus board
« on: July 13, 2020, 08:54:38 am »
An elderly friend has an old Asus that I gave her ages ago.  It's a P6 P5G41 E with the PN5-E mother-board.  Can anyone tell me if it's 32 or 64 bit?  I have the manual but, bizarrely, it doesn't tell me! 
As she lives 120 miles away I don't want to pick it up for repair if it's only 32-bit - I'll give her another. 


Hi Keith - have a look at this -

which suggests it is 64-bit capable but with issues (with Windows, in this instance.)  It's a bit unclear but possibly have to flash the BIOS and/or replace the RAM if that's only 32-bit?  Can you send her a USB stick with a 64-bit distro on it and see if it will boot from that?  Or would that be beyond her capabilities?


How much RAM is XFCE running on your old laptops?


Dell Latitude D520 - 1Gb Ram,  Toshiba Satellite Pro - 1.5Gb Ram.  Both on Linux Lite 3.8.  Main issue is both have u/s batteries so run direct from mains power (which defeats the object of a laptop!) but as they are basically test/emergency rigs it's no biggie!  They are both freebies and so old not worth the expense of new batteries.  I tend to get given redundant kit from the family from time to time and have great joy in converting them to Linux!  The kids are amazed at how fast they run compared to the original Windows system but I still can't wean them off Windows, despite the fact they all use Android phones.... ::)  C'est la vie!

Just adding my two penn'orth -

I'm a big fan of Mint, having tried several other distros over the years, which is a good all-round package.  I have Mint 19.1 Mate on my main computer and Mint XFCE on two very old laptops which both run very well.  Mint has good support worldwide.  ;)

See here -


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