Purchasing New 'Blank' PC


I’ve been hearing a lot of bad things lately regarding Windows and iOS, and am becoming less and less comfortable about having my main computer running Windows - particularly Win11. However, I am unable to locate a non-Windows and non-iOS computer that will allow me to install Linux. I don’t know very much about the ‘Secure Boot’ or ‘TPM’, but the impression I get is that, if I buy one with these set up, I will not be able to install another OS (or will need authorisation/something from MS??). I don’t have a massive amount of money, and I would rather get one from a reputable source. I also have little experience building computers with the more modern set up. (When I built them, there was no internet connectivity - 40MB HDD, etc. ::slight_smile: .)

Can anyone advise me on a sensible route, and also the compatibility (if that’s the right word) of the TPM?

Much appreciated,




Others may have different experience or thoughts… but my initial thoughts for hardware are below.

When you say “Main PC”. what are you using it for (that will greatly influence your requirements & costs).
For example, if you only really browse; then a RaspberryPi4 could do (4gb ~£55) but other routes for cheap hardware if secondhand. Many companies pay companies to recycle their computers - finding one of those may save you a lot compared with buying new. I’ve also had good use from both Amazon reconditioned and Desktop PCs | Cheap, Used, Refurbished

But if you stick to main hardware providers - HP have good linux support, and I’d expect others to too.

Unless you are doing things with graphics or especially modern games - you may be surprised how little spec you require for Linux… which may also help reduce your anticipated costs.


Hi Brian000
Your link looks to be broken, I think you were trying to get to here (useful site by the way)


[member=23440]Gaz511[/member], Thanks, now updated

I have had a few barebones; a Gigabyte Brix for a good 5 years, and before that a Zotac Zbox mini and currently use a HP EliteDesk – they vary in price and each gave me many years of trouble free Linux usage (although it’s true, I have swapped each time due to hardware failures. Something that (in my experience) seem to effect micro form factors more than others (considering my “always on” HP MicroServer (2011) has out lived all of those)… & is why I’ve bought HP this time around.

Regards safeboot and TPA (just read about) they sound to be MS “standards” - so as long as you can format the disk, you should be fine.

mores what I read:

hope this helps…

Thanks for your comments.

By ‘Main PC’, I mean that I will be using it for all of my normal stuff, such as normal office apps, watching DVDs, some video editing (although that has reduced somewhat lately), VMs (generally playing around with), and, yes, internet use.

I currently have a (relatively) old i7 running Win10, purchased to run video editing software that I specifically needed at the time. However, this need has been reduced lately. I do most of my work (at home) on this computer and have found it relatively responsive. (It does have a small SSD at the front end.) I would have no problem in continuing to use it for years to come, but that wont be possible with the soon to be stopped updates. (I’m also getting more nervous about the direction in which MS, Apple, Google, etc. are heading.)

What I though was that I should get a relatively up-to-date system and install, say, Ubuntu on it and go from there. But it needs to be a good system, and one that hasn’t been locked into another OS.

If I understand the idea of the TPM correctly, (thanks Brian for the link,) than this seems to make standard computing more secure, but worse when it comes to changing things like the OS, or data recovery with another computer. (Maybe I’m not getting it properly.) Do all up-to-date motherboards come with them?



ah… i see, for VMs you want something with RAM to spare (which I’ll guess you have); but I’ve run 3 or 4 VM on 8gb without too much issue.

I think you have a few options - but they largely depends on how much you want your windows 10 OS…

Either way - I think the start point is the same:

  1. find somewhere to backup everything from your old computer (a spare drive, USB, cloud - doesn’t matter; just to keep it safe…

1a) (at the same time, you can “play”) Download & try a few LiveCDs… most Linux distros will boot straight from CD/DVD/USB and run without altering your system at all.

  1. once your happy with the LiveCD, you can bite the bullet and install it onto your drive (removing windows)

  2. enjoy!

You’ll find other posts about which Linux distro is “better” but having an i7 I doubt you’ll have the hardware concerns of many others… And most seem to agree that it’s best to stick to well known distros like Ubuntu - although many (many) others exist - www.distrowatch.org - so it’s hard to say which is “better” or “best”.

Grap the LiveCD for Unbuntu and have a play… there are different “flavours” which you can think of as “desktop look and feel”, so have a read / but importantly have a play too…

keep an eye on the spec because each is different, but with an i7 (how much RAM?) you should be clear for any issues…


By the way; you’ll find other & quite different options for VMs under Linux.

hope this is helpful…


what is your current PC or was it a custom build?

you can of check for hardware compatibility before committing to the switch.

Hi Brian,

My current PC is a HP550; i7-6700; 3.4GHz; 16GB RAM; 120GB SSD; 3TB HDD. I would like a new PC with a similar or greater spec.

I don’t really want to use this one to install the new OS on as, when I upgrade to a new PC, I always have the two running side by side for a while, until the new one is bedded in and I’ve found no significant problems. Jumping straight to a new OS/computer with no (or significant difficulty in) turning back, is too much of a leap of faith for me. Which is why I’d prefer having a new ‘clean’ PC that I can install my own OS choice.


I can fully understand your line of thinking Matt, if I only had one PC I would be wary about risking wrecking it. Your current HP550 looks pretty high spec to me (or am I completely behind the times?) so buying something similar isn’t going to be “dead cheap”, but I would certainly explore the refurbished/second hand market.

As for which Linux distro, Ubuntu and Linux Mint are both popular, and I think Mint is a bit lighter weight and uses less resources, although Ubuntu wouldn’t have a problem on a machine with that spec. Somebody once wrote an article listing a number of reasons why Mint was better than Ubuntu for complete beginners, but unfortunately I can’t remember where it was. If you do a search on something like “Ubuntu vs Mint” you may find it.

Per what Brian has said, download a few distros, burn them to USB sticks and try them out. This way you’re not committing to anything. On Windows I personally use Rufus for creating the USB’s, but there are other options.

I’m currently running MX Linux on one machine and Manjaro on another, and I haven’t had any significant problems with either. I always say that if I can figure them out then anyone can.

The other thing to remember is don’t give up at the first hurdle. If you come across a problem then ask either here or on the forum for the particular distro in question, there’s always somebody willing to help. Some people have issues just creating the USB in the first place, so don’t worry about it.

Please let us know how you get on.

Thanks Steve, thanks everyone. Your comments are much appreciated.