Linux in Between

Hi Everyone,
I will confess at the start – I am a somewhat (very) ancient user of Windows and know only how to spell Linux - not how to use it.

I am one of the many who refuse to use Windows 8 -10 or above. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult acquiring Anti-virus and/or Firewall software without jeopardising security/configuration by adding dubious updates.

I wondered if it were possible for a small Linux based Server to sit between Internet connection and desktop, using Linux AV/Firewall, and allowing safe use of the Windows desktop/Laptop?

All suggestions gratefully received, and those I can understand – even more so.



Hello Ian - and welcome to the Forum.

My only suggestion is that you change to Linux.

Your proposed solution for using old Windows safely (which I can’t help you with) seems inordinately complicated and not worth the hassle. If you need to use dedicated Windows applications you can usually do so in a Linux environment using a Windows Emulator, although there is a huge number of (free) Linux applications to satisfy most users.

Linux is so safe that most users don’t even bother with a firewall and anti-virus s/w is not necessary. In addition all s/w is free unless you wish to make a donation. I hope you will join the Linux fraternity.


HI Keith,
Thanks for your welcome and advice.

I had (almost) convinced myself the way to go is Linux but, as an aged soul, wonder if I would be biting off more than I could chew.

Anyway, I have a redundant Toshiba laptop available, so might just take the plunge this weekend and see where it takes me.

Thanks again,


And a welcome from me too!

As a (very) silver surfer myself… I took the plunge years ago and have never looked back! In all that time, only on a couple of occasions have I ‘needed’ Windows, and that because of the device criteria involved, not the shortcomings of Linux! :wink: If it’s any help, my other half, who is as technophobe as you will ever find, uses Linux every day without a worry as to what is going on underneath. She asks me constantly how to do things, of course, but she did that with Windows so no change there! The point being, the result is the same as makes no difference between the two systems, it’s the way Linux is constructed and works ‘under the hood’ that is different, and is much more secure and stable than Windows.

With your spare Toshiba, you are in the fortunate position to be able to try out Linux without affecting your main computer. There, you can learn Linux at your own pace, make mistakes, (as you certainly will), but will be able to (with help) redress any errors you might make - what’s not to like? And for free too… :wink:

If you can post your Toshiba specs and general computing requirements it will give responders a chance to advise on which distro would likely suit you best and how to install and run it successfully.

Hope this helps,


If I may just add to what Rich J said, I started looking at Linux couple of years ago, and I’ve never looked back either. End of support for Windows 7 was on the horizon, and there were hundreds of articles regarding what to do. One specific article I read just basically said “If you’re rich, buy a Mac, but if you’re not, give Linux a go”. I don’t know now who wrote that, but whoever it was I owe them a great debt of gratitude.

Fair enough, I was fumbling a bit to start with, but soon got the hang of things after trying a variety of distros. Some distros are very user friendly for beginners, and some less so.

If your Toshiba is redundant, what have you got to lose? And do let us know the spec of the Toshiba and what your computing needs are. I’ve seen so many similar requests on various forums, but they don’t even tell us the basics.

Let us know how you get on. By the way, I don’t think I’m quite in the “silver surfer” category just yet, although I’m only a couple of years away from retirement, and I’ve always said that if I can cope with Linux, anybody can.

Hi Rich J and Steve57,

The words of encouragement and welcome from you both are appreciated greatly and, as they both reflect the logic of a move to Linux — who could refuse?

Sorry Rich J, but before I read your post asking for the laptop spec, I had somehow decided to give Ubuntu a go - rightly or wrongly, only time will tell.

For what do I require a computer — I spend hours on the Internet (Firefox), more time using email (Thunderbird), too much time managing pictures (IMatch by Photools) and creating illustrations and pictorial documentation (Corel Draw X4) the two previous often requiring help from screengrabbing software (ScreenHunterPro) and invariably end up being processed as videos (Power Director15) and viewed in VLan/VLCMedia.

All of the above are, at some stage, incorporated into “Doogie_PIM”, a serious Personal Information Management tool. Unfortunately, at this time, it will not function on Linux, although is being trialled on Mint.

My external disk assembly, currently totalling 72TB, requires a piece of software called “KeepAlive” to send a small text file to each drive (every 7 minutes) to prevent a power-down. (The Chinese manufacturer of the drive housings didn’t quite get things right)

I’ll have to post the laptop hardware info at a later date as I am unable to find its spec at present. It certainly isn’t a spec about which to get over-excited, that’s for certain.

Thank you both for your help on this.

PS - Am I missing something, as I thought the forum emailed when replies were received?

PS - Am I missing something, as I thought the forum emailed when replies were received?
In the menu list at the top of this page, click on "Profile" then in the page that comes up click on Notifications in the left-hand column then ensure that "Enable notification when I post or reply to a topic." is ticked. (tick all three, actually) That should work.
I'll have to post the laptop hardware info at a later date as I am unable to find its spec at present.
You can find this info most easily by installing [b]inxi[/b]. In a terminal window enter ``` sudo apt install inxi ``` then ``` inxi -Fx ``` and all will be revealed.

Hope that helps.

Hi Keith,

I found it under


Thanks for that.

I assume your recommendation of “inxi” will be helpful once I have a Linux setup - so my thanks for that too.

The Ubuntu disk is whirring away in my laptop at this very moment.

Thanks again,


Jolly good, Ian - and welcome to the Ubuntu fraternity.
I ought to mention that when you enter your password in a terminal window, absolutely nothing appears on the screen, so you need to type carefully.

If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to read this page for new members: which provides some guidance that will save everyone time later.


Hi Keith,

Apologies for the lengthy response time - partly due to Linux unfamiliarity, with the rest due to other matters.

I installed Ubuntu on the laptop and, having read some comments on lengthy installation times - left it for several HOURS before quitting and calling it a(n) (unsuccessful) day.

I went through the same procedure with Mint, again leaving it for several hours before quitting.

I then installed Zorin, as I was becoming convinced my hardware was not good enough. Zorin installed quite quickly but, whether due to my lack of Linux experience, or a somewhat dodgy install, I’m not sufficiently convinced this is an O/S to go ahead with.

The laptop spec I’m using is –

Toshiba Satellite P100-160
Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T5200 1.6GHz
2nd level cache 2MB

and would appreciate your advice as to whether I am kidding myself, due to its age/spec, and should really be looking for a “proper machine”.



Hi Ian.

The Ubuntu/Mint installation asks the user several questions during the installation process - did these question occur?
Did the installation appear to be happening or did it just hang? (might be difficult to tell).
From memory, Ubuntu installation did take an hour or so on my 2GB Thinkpad laptop (also 1.6GHz) and works very well, so I would have expected your installation to be similar.
Did you check that the MD5SUM on your downloaded ISO file agreed with the published value?

Zorin is based on Ubuntu - just smaller - so one would expect a faster installation. You mention the possibility of a “dodgy installation”; why? Is it not working as you expect? If it is working, then I suggest that since it is Ubuntu-based you persevere until you are familiar with it and report your experience.

Overall; I can’t think why your installation might be so slow. Are you installing alongside an existing OS or did you opt to overwrite it?
Might be worth checking your HDD.
Sorry I can’t be more helpful, but more info might help people to suggest things to try.


Toshiba Satellite P100-160 specs: Intel Core Duo specs: Zorin info:

Hi Ian, I’m afraid I’m just as baffled as Keith. I know that Ubuntu and Mint can take a bit of time to install, but not several hours as you experienced. As for Zorin, are you using the Lite version? The Core version may be a bit heavy for your machine, but I’ve ran Zorin Lite on a little netbook with a significantly lower spec than your Toshiba without problem.

You say “I’m not sufficiently convinced this is an O/S to go ahead with”. Could you elaborate on that? Why not, what is it doing or not doing that brings you to that conclusion?

As Keith said, any further info you can provide will be helpful.