Had difficulties changing Operating System

Hi folks, first post, hope you’re all good.

Might be some different angled questions that I hope might even be interesting to solve.

A mate who’s a bit of computer whizz offered to put Ubunto on my HP over windows 8.1. I jumped at the opportunity to change OS for many reasons. Ended up with an unusable laptop that I had to pay to have windows 10 put on.

I use PCs differently to most people as I’m Electrosensitive so cant tolerate wifi/bluetooth etc. I’m off grid with no phone line so currently use a data sim in a dongle that’s on a 15 metre usb repeater cable to get online. It works very well. I also use the old mechanical ball mouse as cannot do an optical mouse.

I did say to my friend, prior to his installation, that connecting to the net via a dongle on the 15 metre usb cable was of primary importance. He didn’t think it would be a problem. Unfortunately, it was and so I had to get windows 10 put on which has now, just like previously, messed up my computer.

I’ve been using PCs for 15 years and have a level of understanding but would call myself a novice. As such, and with the difficulties faced the first time, do you think it’s be possible for me to connect to the internet, in the way I need to, and use an old mouse on a fresh Linux install?

The PC shop who put Win 10 on claimed that you needed a higher level of computer knowledge to use the alternative operating systems due to having to search out drivers etc rather than it being done automatically. Not sure I’d qualify even on that level.

Appreciate any input, thanks

Hi - and welcome to the forum!

Your pal who installed Ubuntu - is he well versed in Unix-type operating systems? Generally, Linux is reasonably easy to install, even for the novice, but, depending on the computer it’s going on may raise issues …

If you have been using Windows for this long, I doubt you would have too much trouble with Linux - once installed correctly - and that includes your specific circumstances.

Me being a cynic, I imagine your friendly computer shop has a vested interest in keeping you on Windows, after all they can charge for their services as well as any further support, can’t they? Why would they help you with a free operating system?

Modern Linux OS’s are very polished, user friendly and packed with software that is completely free for you to use, modify and distribute and would serve you well going forward. Windows software will not work on Linux but there are plenty of alternatives available which are as good, if not better, than MS products, especially with the more ‘mainstream’ distributions.

As a first step, can you post the make, model and specs of your laptop? Also, what you use your computer for? General internet surfing, documents, photos, video editing etc. etc?



Hi & welcome…

I’d like to pick up on your personal requirements for this, those due to your Electrosensitivity.

Are you using a 4g dongle or something similar, what is make and model of that? (we can check for compatibility)…

I try to avoid recommending the purchase of more hardware, and depending on the make/model of the dongle this may not be necessary anyway:
…But, is the 15m distance OK for your sensitivity? …and is this setup providing you the flexibility to move around your house as you wish? if not, and if that dongle doesn’t have an RJ45, you may wish to purchase a small router which would allow you to run an RJ45 rather than USB. Because that would remove you from any limitations or restrictions. A cheap 4g router would make you far more compatible, as you’d be able to connect using standard protocols which all computer and any devices already use. I understand you’d immediately turn off the WIFI and connect via RJ45. This investment would provide other options and flexibility, and allow you to move your 4gSIM to any part of your house which I assume would further reduce your sensitivity. (Last though on this - if we’re talking routers, it may be cheaper and almost certainly quicker to go fibre/cable, and you don’t need a landline with many modern contracts).

…anywho - Keep that thought, and let’s get your computer working first! :slight_smile:

Are you currently running Ubuntu or Windows? - If your still Windows, you can always try the LIVE-CD before you commit to the change… As RichJ says, modern Linux systems are at least equal to the ease of Windows; in fact, the degree of change I experience from one version of Windows to the next, makes them more of a learning curve between versions than Linux (which can be far more consistent between versions) I have&use an old trackball mouse, and have not had any problems with Linux and basic hardware - keyboards, mice, monitors etc (least not your years!)…

Let us know your plans, and we can see if we can help make this easy on you :slight_smile:

Hi Rich and Brian, thanks for your input. I’m totally down with supporting alternative OS and would dearly like to join that community.

My mate talks like he knows PCs and programming and no doubt he does a fair bit but I cant gauge his actual ability. Good man but must’ve gotten pretty cheesed off trying to connect the dongle as I ended up with a busted mouse pad- which I started to point the finger at the repair shop for! I think the install was straightforward enough, just the dongle connection was problematic.

Processor: INTEL CELERON CPU N2840 @ 2.16 GHz
Installed Ram: 2GB (1.89 GB usable)
Device ID: 164A516E-0A11-47C7-AD31-F626329E1B52
Product ID: 00325-80000-00000-AAOEM
System type: 64 bit
No pen & tough input available for this display.

Windows 10 Home, 2004, installed on 7/8/2021, OS build 19041.1348, Windows feature experience pack 120.2212.3920.0

HP RTL8723BE (3.23 GB free of 28.5GB) (15GB spare on SD card)

I think that’s the info required? Oddly, since visiting Windows 10 Forum, I have 3.23 GB of free disc space??? PC is working better but cant work out why. It’s been on red since ever it seems but now it’s not… Still, it’ll come back etc.

This is the dongle I was using when my mate installed Ubunto https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/154721003505?hash=item24061727f1:g:nWIAAOSwOWlhoTKj

This is the one I am now using https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/294170761372

15 metres is as much USB as I can get with a repeater on. Adding 5m on top stopped working so well. 20m would be better for my sensitivity though 15m will do. I’m a van lifer so totally off grid, no phone lines etc. I did look into a mifi router but it would not facilitate a cable only connection on airplane mode. My laptop is on airplane mode all the time. If there is a mobile router that enables cable only, that’d be fine, I think?

The Live CD sounds interesting, I’ll look into it.

Thanks for your time :slight_smile:


I have had a quick look around, and can see that some people are using Huawei dongles without problems, while other experience difficulties. There are a few suggestions that imply that there may be slightly different versions on the same model dongle - which muddies the water.

If you still have the Ubuntu installation media - just boot from it and it should display a menu with “Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer.” this option will load Ubuntu into memory rather than onto your hard-drive. It will likely be slower, but will be a good test for whatever your want to confirm… but a dual-core with 2gb RAM, seems to be what many of us on this forum have (including the laptop I’m using now - although if you look around, you’ll see several posts recommending distros for lower-spec/older machine like these - Ubuntu may not be the best choice (for example: I’m using Lubuntu - Light-Ubuntu).

One significant difference between Windows and Linux; is having to find a distribution which best suites your needs and hardware - and there are lots to choose from… https://distrowatch.com/ is a site I use, but read other parts of this forum, where people are asking that very question. In my experience Ubuntu makes a well supported desktop, which also comes in various “Flavours”, so if you do like Ubuntu - perhaps start here: https://ubuntu.com/download/flavours

Looking at the requirements for Ubuntu (Installation/SystemRequirements - Community Help Wiki) a desktop installation is between 8.6gb and 25gb - for comparison, Kubuntu (https://techspirited.com/kubuntu-system-requirements) recommends only 8gb.

If you want your 4gSIM further way, the maximum length of an single RJ45 cable is 100m. You’ll likely find many “4gLTE” routes (I think that’s what you’ll want) on the market, but ensure it has an RJ45 to connect your computer to (and that you can turn off the WIFI :)). I’ve never used these, so will refrain from recommending any. However, while it’s working for you and if you want to save a few pounds, I’d continue with your current setup, being aware that another option is available.

I hope that that’s more “help” than “information overload”, but try the LIVE-CDs they’ll give a great “Try-before-you-buy” experience of what you should expect and allow you to test your Dongles too.

My laptop doesn’t have a cd player. It was bought with battery life in mind so is stripped down in some respects. It does have 14gb free of sd card space if an OS can be downloaded to that? If not, would a usb drive be better?

I forgot to mention what it’s used for. General computing like social media, eBay, youtube and movies. No gaming or similar. I avoid typing etc so I use them as minimally as possible.

Thanks again, have checked links, lots of choices!


Yeah, sorry - While I still call it a LIVE-CD, it comes part of the installation media (for most/many Linux distributions). You’ll need to download the disk image (likely an ISO file), and write that to something you can boot from (which sounds like USB for you) and boot it…

You’ll find lot’s of instructions of how to create a bootable USB - eg. ubuntu boot usb at DuckDuckGo.

You may need to alter your BIOS and set the boot priority to ensure the USB is “higher” than your Hard-Drive… and if you get a message suggesting “Boot Device Not Found.” or similar, then you may not have created a booted USB correctly (so try again - it’s not a case of simply copying the file onto the USB).

But I’d consider looking at some of the other posts on this forum about distros which better suit your older/lower-spec’ed hardware.

Good hunting…