So my wife has an old laptop that she was given that was running like old balls… even with a clean install of windows XP. Now she primarily only uses the laptop for checking her gmail account as well as scouring the internet for various recipes and shopping sites, but the little POS could not even handle that. So I decided to install ubuntu for the first time ever and give it a try.
read about what it is and my experience with it after the break
For those of you that do not know what Ubuntu is… you might have heard the term thrown around with all these new netbook laptops or sometimes called ultra-portable laptops. Netbooks are designed to be cheap (you can pick one up for as little as $200) because of their less powerful hardware, and way smaller size (>13″ screens are the norm) than their larger laptop cousins that you are probably more familiar with. Anywho… because some of these smaller netbooks don’t have the resources to run a windows operating system they are installed with Ubuntu, which is a form linux that takes up less computer resources, enabling it to run faster.
So the best part about Ubuntu is that it is LEGALLY FREE. You can go to their site and download it…. which is what I did… to see if it would speed up my wife’s internet surfing. It is also very secure compared to windows, where you will not pick up any weird spywarz, malwarz, or virus, because they are all designed for windows operating systems… they are not able to work on linux like Ubuntu is.
It was pretty painless to me… everything loaded up fine with the exception of my wireless card… and to fix it all I had to do was plug my laptop in with a wired network chord…eventually I was prompted to update Ubuntu, and then I was prompted to that I had drivers I could install (a green flashing icon at the top next to the mail and wireless buttons)… i clicked thant and then enabled the two drivers for my wireless card and I was able to rock out with Ubuntu wirelessly.
Keep in mind that this is not windows, things are different, but not necessary in a bad way… explore around the applications and what not… This is great our of the box if you just plan to be using the internet and checking mail with your laptop….
So how doI install Ubuntu … easy…
1. Go to the Ubuntu site and click the big green download button. It will start a download for the 32bit version (not the 64bit version). This is fine because the 32bit is the safest to try out (64bit is faster yet), but if your putting this on an older machine that your not aware if it has 64bit hardware, than stick with the default 32bit… so go ahead and just click the green button…. save it to your hard drive somewhere… remember where… you’ll need to know for the next step.
2. This starts a download of the and iso image. Iso images are used to make direct copies onto cd’s. Once downloaded you can burn the iso image onto a blank cd-rom with special software. There are a bunch out there that you can download. I recommend getting the “free easy cd burner” (that’s the program name). Click on that link to start the download… once finished, install it and open up the program. Stick in a blank cd-rom in your drive, then click the “copy cd/dvd” button at the top, then click “burn and image file” on the left menu bar. If its not letting you click it, that is because you do not have a blank cd-rom in your drive yet. If it does let you click it, then it will prompt you to navigate to the Ubuntu iso file you downloaded in step 1. Do that, click ok, and then wait for your install cd to finsh being created.
3. Once the CD is done (usually it will eject itself when it is)… simply push it back closed and restart your computer with the cd in the drive to start he install of Ubuntu. While it is booting up, it should start the install process of ubuntu… if it does skip to step 4. if it doesn’t and you see the windows logo as it boots up continue to step 3b.
3b. Your not booting from the CD because you need to change the boot order of your computer so the cd drive is before your hard drive… to do this restart again and look for something that says “hit this key to enter setup or boot order”… usually its F2 or one of those keys, but sometimes it is Cntrl-D or something… so just keep your eyes peeled right when the bios screen pops up after hitting the power button. If you do this successfully you should be in the BIOS setup where you can navigate to something that says boot order… your bios should have instructions somewhere on the side stating how to change the order… move the CD-rom so its above the hard drive (also called HDD or similar in bios)… you can always go back to bios if you mess up the boot order so don’t be afraid your going to ruin your computer. Once the order is changes exit and save changes.
4. After restarting it should load the Ubuntu setup… it is pretty self explanatory… just follow the instructions
if you select the option to install a clean install of Ubuntu make sure you don’t have anything on this computer that you want to keep, as it will get deleted.
If you choose the option to install beside windows, you’ll be able to choose either Ubuntu or windows to load up when you first turn on your computer, an any existing stuff on that machine should still be there. (I still recomend backing up any info you want to keep just incase before installing Ubuntu)
5. Continue thru the install steps selecting your location and entering your name as the setup screen prompts… in no time it should be installed you will boot up into Ubunutu. Navigating is pretty easy if your familiar with any operating system weather its Mac OS or Windows…. a Fire fox button should be right at the top where you can surf the web as normal, and there are similar buttons on the top to connecting to a wireless network, or setting up your mail account to work with the built in mail program.
if you used to doing adding a lot of various software I would caution that installing on linux/ Ubuntu is not as click orientated as windows. You’ll need to read up a little on unix commands using the terminal window (found in the applications menu at the top)… google will be your friend if you start looking for various programs to run on Ubuntu… .but its really not as intimidating once you read up on it.