Going over to Linux

Hi, :slight_smile:

I hope you can help me. I have been looking to dump Microsoft in favour of Linux for some time, but I don’t know how to; does that sound strange? It might be to seasoned users but to me it is a source of frustration; let me explain:

I’m a man of 70 who began using computers in the eighties with a PCW (Amstrad). After a while, as I got more experienced and wanted to have a spreadsheet and a word processor open at the same time and thought that colour and sound would be nice to have so I abandoned the PCW in favour of the IBM computer and chose the Microsoft Windows machine - Win95 as it was at the time. The move was seamless, turn off the WPC; turn on Microsoft Windows 95; download or install programmes from a disc and off we go - simples, as some friendly little animals would say - well at least initially, but then the fun and games began.

Microsoft brought out a new OS and my programmes would fail and cause the machine to crash - so I bought a new O/S and often new programmes and (in the case of my scanner that I was unable to get drivers for when MS brought out XP) a new scanner. And then we have the bugs and upgrades and fixes that always seem to cause my system to crash, entailing me spending hours, even days trying to get the thing working reliably again. New O/S, necessitating new programmes and sometimes new hardware and crashes after crashes after crashes. I have often said ENOUGH! I am finished with Microsoft, but always persevere (because the alternative: Linux seemed too complicated to attempt to understand - bear with me, I’m getting there), but every worm eventually turns and Win10 did it for me.

My son was banging on about the free upgrade, but my system was running fine and I refused, however, while I was out of the house he upgraded for me - no doubt thinking he was doing me a favour - but since then my computer has been unbelievably unreliable as programmes wouldn’t work or caused the system to crash or I could no longer get drivers for hardware and even when I reverted back to Win 7 it has continued to be unstable. So now I have had it up to the back teeth with MS and am determined to go for Linux; but this is where my frustration begins and where I would welcome all the help I can get as I don’t see how to go about the change:

I don’t see the change to Linux being the same as when I changed from a WPC to a PC, because there appears to be not one Linux O/S out there, but seems to be loads of them such as: Arch, Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE, Debian, Mint etc, and I don’t know the difference between them or which one to pick that will run on my machine. So please, can you experienced people help me to reach my goal to be a Linux user and for me to put two fingers up to Bill Gates once and for all?



Hi Mossy, and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

Can we start by you telling us what you use your PC for ? … we need to make sure there are Linux applications that will fulfill your requirements.

There’s not a lot of point in us carrying on if you’re goingto say something like I MUST have Adobe Photoshop, or I MUST have Sage Line 100 or simmilar Windows on software … sure there are Linux alternatives, but they may not suite your exact requirements.

I could simply rush into telling you how to install Linux, but I think people who do that do neither the user or Linux a service :wink:

Does your computer have a MAKE and MODEL?

One of the most important things is the amount of RAM (memory) you have. How much had you got?

Hi Ed - just to say you’re not alone in this. Win 10 was the last straw for me too. Like you I’d been toying with the transition to Linux for some time, but was confused as to how one actually accomplishes it. With help from this forum I’ve now got Peppermint 7 running fine . It’s not an entirely hassle-free process, but it can be done (even by us old geezers - I’m 60) and it’s well worth the effort.
Regards Rob

Well said Rob :slight_smile:

Hi Folks,
Please excuse the delay in responding, but I thought I would be informed by email when somebody replied. I’ve been waiting for the past few days for a reply to my question and thought that nobody had bothered. A thousand apologies. I can’t respond right now as we have family issues, but I’ll get right back to you; just needed to drop a line to say I’m not an ignorant b*****d and I do value your help.

No problem mate, whenever you’re ready :slight_smile:

You can turn on email notification if you want…

Got to

Profile > Summary > Notifications

and tick “Turn notification on when you post or reply to a topic.


Okay, I’m back and thanks for that Mark, I’ve turned on the email notification. Now to answer the questions I have been asked. To begin my machine is as follows:

AMD Phenom™ 11X6 Processor, 3.20GHz
64 Bit Win 10 Home edition O/S
X64 Based Processor
No Pen or touch on display.

As for what I use it for? When I was working I used my computer for record keeping, writing schedules and reports and to write two novels. I still use it to write stories as well as keeping the household accounts, banking and writing letters; I use PaintShop Pro for designing or personalising the odd greeting card and I keep a website for swapping goods and services, and of course going on-line and using email.


Ed. :slight_smile:

Okay, you do realise you’re not going to be able to run your Windows software in Linux right ?

There are alternatives to Microsoft Office - LibreOffice (you can test this in Windows to see if it does what you need)

and the help files

There is an alternative to paintshop pro - GIMP (you can test this in Windows to see if it does what you need)
and the help files

Going online and email won’t be a problem, Linux has Google Chrome and Firefox … and a few email clients (if you use an email client)

Banking should be fine as that’s also an “online” activity

When I was working I used my computer for record keeping, writing schedules and reports

You’ll have to check out LibreOffice and see if that does what you need … if not, tell us which software you use in windows for these activities.

as well as keeping the household accounts

Do you use specific software for this, or just spreadsheets ? … if specific software, which ? and are you willing to change to something else ?
both of which also have Windows versions you can try.

Hi Mark,

I have used Firefox over Explorer for the last few years. I use MS Office for Word, Excel, Access and Publisher and sometimes Front Page.

I have LibreOffice, I have donated to it and have used it in place of Excel (which I use for the household accounts by the way) as I find the Pivot Tables easier to use. I am aware of Gimp and other SourceForge programmes available as I have been looking at Linux for some time and now I am ready to take instructions for the move from MS to Linux. 8)


Okay Ed, have you chosen a “distro” yet ? … if so which ?

Do you want to completely replace Windows, or dual boot Windows/Linux (where you decide which to boot at system startup) ?

Have you got a USB stick spare (preferably at least 2GB but 4 might be better) ?

And I take it we’ll be creating the Linux installation LiveUSB in Windows ?

Okay I know this can be a liitle confusing when you first arrive from Windows so a little explanation first

“distro” is short for “distribution” … there are MANY Linux distributions, but we’ll get to that in a bit…

“Linux” purely refers to the “kernel” (the part of the OS concerned with talking to the hardware), the ernel is pretty useless on it’s own, so pretty much all Linux “distros” also include the GNU toolchain, soa lot of people refer to Linux as GNU/Linux (I don’t).

But even with the toolchain it’d be a very rudimentary “OS” certainly with no graphical front end, so Linux “distros” add things like the Xorg graphical server, networking protocols, utilities including a graphical desktop environment, and finally applications such as your LibreOffice and such.

Add all those together and ship it out the door and you have a “distrubution” that includes a specific mix of components, a “Linux distro”.

So as there are multiple choices that can be made about what utilities / desktop environment / pre-installed applications you can imagine there are thousands of different possible combinations … and nearly a distro for each.

Consider this …
there are the heavyweight but easy to install/use distros such as Mint, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, etc.
there are the lightweight but easy to install/use distros such as Peppermint, LXLE, Linux Lite, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc.
there are distros aimed at the corporate networks such as Redhat and CentOS, etc.
there are ultra small lightweight distros that are that small they’ll run in RAM, but tend to be less user friendly (Puppy, DSL, tiny core, etc.)
there are “cloud” distros that mimic ChromeOS from a Chromebook where all apps are internet based (cub linux, etc.)
there are specialist distros such as Kali (for network penetration testing), and Clonezilla (for disk cloning)
there are “build your own” distros for the more advanced who like to fine tune things (Gentoo, Arch, Linux from scratch)
there are … well you get the picture, heck even your router probably runs a VERY trimmed down version of Linux.

Okay now that’s explained I’m going to suggest you try Peppermint 7, I must inform you I’m part of the team that produces it so I’m possibly a little biased but I think it has the right mix of lightness on system resources, speed, functionality, access to the Ubuntu repos (so TONS of available software), etc., etc.

You can see videos about Peppermint 7 on youtube … just search on youtube for “Peppermint OS 7”

Others you might want to look up youtube reviews for are
Mint 18
Ubuntu 16.04
Ubuntu MATE
and a thousand others, but I’d advise you stick to an Ubuntu based distro for now … all those mentioned above (and below) are Ubuntu based.


Linux Mint


Ubuntu MATE

Once you’ve chose a distro, or if you’re happy to continue with Peppermint 7, let me know and we’ll move on to creating a LiveUSB and installation.

Or if you have any questions, fire away :slight_smile:

Once more, thank you Mark,

I appreciate you taking the time to produce a comprehensive explanation, even though I have needed to read it twice to begin to get the picture - but that’s my failing. :-[ And as such I have copied and pasted it to a text document for future reference.

I’ll watch the Youtube videos as you suggest, especially Peppermint7.

You state: “Consider this …
there are the heavyweight but easy to install/use distros such as Mint, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, etc.
there are the heavyweight but easy to install/use distros such as Peppermint, LXLE, Linux Lite, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc.”

In the mention of heavyweight, above, might one of those descriptions be ‘lightweight’? I don’t wish to be pedantic, just certain.


Hi Ed,
You are correct, that is a typo error in Mark’s explanation, Peppermint is a lightweight distro.
Good luck and for what it’s worth, Peppermint would be a good choice.


  • 1 for Peppermint ;D

Excuse me butting in… I think the second reference should be “lightweight” and is a typo.

As Mark states, at first things can be a bit confusing but try to see this as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.

With Windows, you ‘get what you are given’, decided upon by others, which may, or may not, suit your needs. Microsoft is a commercial company that relies on it’s customers to periodically renew their purchasing in order to remain in business - after all, if MS made a ‘perfect’ system, we wouldn’t need to renew it again, ever. You never ‘own’ Windows. Linux is very different, in that regard. Once you have decided on which distribution you want, you are then completely free to do whatever you want with it. You can add or remove any programs, develop your own (if you have the skills) and pass it on to others to share. All without fear of being hauled into court! Linux is ‘yours’.

Linux, in all it’s forms is very secure. There is no need for anti-virus (though it is available for those who really don’t ‘believe’ ::)) There is no need for constant ‘housekeeping’, as the way Linux writes to disk is very efficient in the use of space. There are, literally, thousands of programs to choose from that you can add (for free) and thus have a system ‘tailor-made’ to suit your own, specific requirements.

The price you pay is not monetary (though contributions, at your discretion, are always welcome), it is in needing to learn a new way of doing things but this is nowhere as difficult as some might claim. Once you have got your head around it, (and it won’t take long) you begin to realise what a fantastic system Linux is. :wink:

Welcome to Linux and good luck!


Yeah sorry Ed, second one should read:-

there are the lightweight but easy to install/use distros such as Peppermint, LXLE, Linux Lite, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc.

I’ve fixed the original post :-[

That flamin’ Win 10 is making it near impossible to get on line. I keep getting messages like: DRIVER-POWER-STATE-FAILURE and UNEXPECTED-KERNEL-MODE-TRAP and then it closes the machine down and I have a hell of a job to get it back with the keyboard and mouse being detected (this is obviously one of the rare occasions when it’s let me in).

On top of this we are having a shower installed and the supplier keeps sending the wrong parts and so I have a plumber and mate standing around while I try to get things sorted and I do not do well at multi-tasking.

Normal service will be resumed - well ASAP.


I apologise for the delay in getting on with things, but I have been held hostage by Win 10 and a shower. Thankfully the shower has been completed and obediently responds to all demands, sadly however, the same cannot be said of Win 10 so I am resorting to the grandson’s laptop running that best of all incarnations from Microsoft (in my view anyhow) XP.

I have looked at Peppermint7, Linux Mint, Ubuntu and Ubuntu MATE. And although I’m beginning to understand the differences between Linux systems and MS, references to things like: SSB?s, gedit, pluma and Vbox tend to muddy the waters a bit for me, but I’m sure I’ll get to grips with them in time.

I have downloaded Peppermint 7 and showed my appreciation in coins of the realm and I am now ready to progress and am wondering would it be better to fit a new hard drive to my desktop computer or even buy a new PC for the new installation?

Meanwhile I have the URL of the Peppermint forum, which should stop me bending everybody’s ears on here and let you all get on with helping others.

Thanks as always,