I’ve always thought that I knew what I was doing with my computer. Apparently NOT! :-\ I have an old Dell Dimension 8200. It’s a Pentium 4 running at 2.25GHz with 2 GB of Ram. It has an 80 Gig hard drive that’s almost full, so I installed a 250 Gig hard drive that’s pretty much empty. It runs on Windows XP, and as everybody knows, that’s just about done. Being on Social Security Disability, I’m broker than broke. I’m so broke I can’t pay attention! Anyway, since I can’t afford ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING, I figured that the best alternative would be Linux. I’ve read about SO many distro’s, my head is spinning. To me, it looks like it’s come down to either Zorin or Mint. I should point out that I have a wife who doesn’t adapt well to change, so I need something that’s super simple to use. Now comes the REAL problem. This P.O.S. has a DVD+R writer in it. I bought some +R blanks and it won’t recognize them. I burned an ISO onto a USB stick but it won’t boot from USB. I tried PLOP, no luck. If I could burn an ISO to a CD, it would work, but they all use DVD’s. I figured I could install Mint on my hard drive along with XP, but I can’t seem to be able to figure out how. I feel like a total idiot. I’m sure there has to be some way.

The Peppermint ISO should still fit on a CDROM if that helps:

The general layout is very similar to Windows … it’s super quick on olde3r hardware … and it has easy access to all the latest software.

Hi BuckWoody

Welcome to the forum

I know there are many distros out there and it can be a somewhat beguiling at first but it’s really not that bad, I would suggest an Ubuntu based distro (which probably covers around 70% of the distros out there) including Zorin & Mint but as you’re further limited to a CD then Peppermint would be a good choice, it’s lightweight and very fast with a traditional desktop layout that’s not all that different from Windows (just easier), the benefit of a lightweight distro such as Peppermint other than being fast and sleek is that you don’t install a lot of unnecessary bloat that you don’t need or will ever use and anything you do need can be very easily added after installation.

Linux is not Windows and there is a learning curve but that doesn’t mean it’s more difficult to use but it’s well worth the effort in the long run you’ll be virus free malware free spyware free you’ll have a faster, more stable and secure system, Linux is community driven and you’ll find no shortage of willing help with any problems you come across in this community and many others online

With Windows XP coming to end of life in a few weeks there’s never been a better time to switch over to lInux especially for those with older hardware who don’t want to spend £££ on upgrading their systems to run the latest version of Windows, once you’re able to boot with a CD/USB you can try Linux in a live environment to try it out and see how it works with your hardware before you take the plunge and install without making any changes to your PC,

If you feel apprehensive and not sure if you’re ready to completely move over to Linux the Linux installer makes it very easy to install alongside your current Windows installation so you can have both systems on your PC as a dual boot configuration, Linux is completely free there is nothing to lose and everything to gain

Some of the software you presently use with Windows may not not be available in Linux but there are many equally good alternatives for almost everything although it is possible to run some Windows programs in an application called WINE but that’s something I would suggest you avoid if possible

If you want to give us a list of the programs you currently use we can help you find suitable alternatives

Regarding the boot options on your PC have you tried pressing F12 during boot to see if it brings up the Boot Menu and if so does it list the USB drive ?

Good luck


If you’ve bought some DVD+R blanks, and the DVD+R writer won’t recognise them, I’d be a bit worried that the DVD drive is knackered :frowning:
Try burning a CD-R instead - as Mark has suggested, Peppermint will fit on a CD so give that a go (it could be that the CD laser is still good, but the DVD laser is kaput).

Worth pointing out that Peppermint is different from Mint (!), they are two seperate projects/distributions. Also worth pointing out that towards the end of May, both Peppermint and Mint will be putting out their “long-term support” or “LTS” versions, which are supported for 5 years. The current releases both have very short life left in them (the summer, basically). The older versions (i.e. Peppermint 3, and Mint 13) were the old LTS, and they are supported until 2017. But they are older tech - you probably wouldn’t notice it, but worth pointing out anyway.

If I were in your position, I’d burn a “liveCD” of the current release, don’t install it but get comfortable with it, then when the new versions come out, burn it on a new CD, and after testing it as a “liveCD”, then go to install it. Installing alongside XP isn’t a problem…worry about that at the time, hey? :slight_smile:

Thank you for the reply. I’ll give Peppermint a try. I checked out the info on it and it looks great! The one thing I’ve been wondering about is if my printer, mouse, and keyboard will work. I’ve also wondered about all my music and picture files.

Your mouse and keyboard will almost certainly work out of the box, the printer will probably be supported depending on the make/model but we could better assess that once you’re in a live environment. it would be a good idea to back up any important files for safekeeping first such as your music & picture files on to a spare usb drive before we start any installation, but meantime the thing is to get into a live session

Have you been able to burn an iso that you can boot into ?

Mouse and keyboard should be fine unless it’s some weird gaming thing that might require Windows drivers for the extra functionality.

If it’s just a normal mouse/keyboard (including wireless) you should be fine.

Printer - What’s the make/model ? … most printers can be made to work, some involve more work on your part than others, but we’re here to help.

Pictures and music should be fine.

Hi Buckwoody and welcome!

Don’t worry too much about the change - the folks on here are very good and generous with their knowledge and time. I changed over about a year ago and haven’t looked back and I’m sure you will find the experience a good one!

Your rig is about the same spec as mine and it runs Mint 13KDE quite happily. I’m sure a way will be found to install a distro of your choice before long!


What did you use to burn the ISO image to a LiveUSB stick ?

If your system cannot boot a USB stick -

is the USB stick listed in the BIOS as a hard drive … or as removable media ?

Do you have a floppy drive (and spare floppy) ?

Apparently, this old P.O.S. Dell Dimension 8200 computer is not capable of booting from a USB stick. I am going to replace the DVD burner. This thing has a DVD +R burner in it. It seems that nobody uses +R. Everything is -R, so I’ll put a modern burner in it. Cheap on Ebay. Once I have the ability to burn a DVD, I’ll try out Mint, but in the mean time I burned Peppermint to a CD and I’ve been trying it out. It’s great! Not much different than XP and it seems pretty easy to use. I can’t install any apps on it, probably because I’m using the Live CD, but seeing how everything works, I don’t think I’d have a problem with it at all. I think that even my wife will be somewhat comfortable with it. Plus, when she finds out that it’s free, she’ll be fine. My mouse and keyboard work fine. The only thing I haven’t figured out is my printer. I have an HP Photosmart C3100. I hope there’s not an issue with that.

The one thing that I don’t understand is that I tried Plop and couldn’t get it to work. I burned it to a CD, waited for the Menu, clicked on USB and watched my USB Stick. The light flashed a couple of times, went out, and that was that. I used unebootin to load the USB stick. I don’t know if I installed the right Mint onto the USB, or if that even matters. I don’t know if I did something wrong or if it’s just this old P.O.S.

Hi BuckWoody

There’s no problem sticking with Peppermint meantime to see how you and the missus get on, Peppermint is a great distribution it’s designed to be lightweight and easy to use, Peppermint 5 is due to be released very soon and it would be a good idea to upgrade to that when it becomes available, but at least you will have till then to get to know and understand Linux and how it works a little better.

Your printer shouldn’t be a problem HP printers has the best support in Linux so there should be no complication there.

So if you have any problems or any questions let us know

I would suggest if you do have any further questions you ask questions we know the answer to this make answering them so much easier :slight_smile:

Good luck


I can guarantee the C3100 works in Peppermint (or any other Ubuntu derivative) … I have one :slight_smile:

When you get it installed you’d just need to do a full system update, and install hplip-gui

Being an HP it’s about the easist prineter to get working … even easier that in Windows :slight_smile: … but we’ll get to that once you have it installed on your hard drive.

Thank you very much for all the feedback and help. I’m sure that when the new updated Peppermint comes out and I finally install it, I’ll probably have a lot more questions. It’s great to see that there is such a great community out there. It’s practically impossible to get an answer about anything from either Dell or Microsoft. Of course if you do have a question and really need an answer, you have to pay for it, and it’s never cheap. I know I’m making the right move with Linux and I’m sure my wife will be fine. Once again, thank you so much! :wink:

No problem bud, we’re always here to help :slight_smile:

Glad to hear you’re going to join the community :slight_smile:

Just curious, here it is, April 8th, the end of time for Windows XP, and I’ve been getting used to Peppermint. I like it. It doesn’t seem that much different from XP and I can live it. It does everything I need it to do, so my question is, it’s the beginning of April and I’ve been told that the next distro of Peppermint is coming out at the end of May. That’s just about two months from now. Is there any harm in installing the version of Peppermint that I’m using, or should I just continue to use this one off a Live CD? Obviously, I can’t install any apps with the Live CD or any software. I’ve also been told that the system runs a lot slower with the Live CD. It would be nice to see how the system works when it’s installed, but I wonder if once it’s installed, how hard would it be to upgrade to the next version.

I thought that’s what you were going to do

There’s absolutely no harm installing Peppermint 4 now, it will give you an opportunity to try out some software and generally test things out more thoroughly until Peppermint 5 is released

Go for it :slight_smile:

Partitioning advice - make sure you put /home on a seperate partition, as it’ll make upgrading a lot easier (and the backups too)
There’s a post here with info -

Post back if that’s not clear! Bear in mind that will wipe your HDD - if that’s not what you want, then post back :slight_smile:

NO!!! I don’t want to wipe out the Hard drive! I just want to install Peppermint 4 next to Windows XP. I hope that’s possible?

NO!!! I don't want to wipe out the Hard drive! I just want to install Peppermint 4 next to Windows XP. I hope that's possible?

Yeah installing alongside Windows should be no problem but before you do anything carry out the following steps

(1) Backup any important files you have currently on your Windows system

(2) Defragment your Windows system

(3) Boot into your Live Linux CD/DVD and type in the terminal

fdisk -l 

and post the output here

Good luck