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Best Windows-Like Distro for Dell Inspiron N5110 with Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics


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Jul 19, 2023
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I hope the title explains everything. So in the past I tried ZorinOS on a different computer and it was OK. For the laptop I first tried Linux Lite. I actually got it to run - sort of. It would not let me update the video card drivers at all, and was stuck with compatibility drivers. So I went to Mint, grumbling and complaining the whole way. I know Mint is awesome, but it is most definitely not the easiest thing to transition to from Windows. No Linux distro is really. No matter what you end up having to type in commands. What I want is what I get with Windows. I install it, I configure to taste, and its done. I never, ever, have to enter a command. But Linux doesn't work like that, I know.

Anyhow, I tried Mint, and I could get it to run in a basic mode, but again, I could not run it in a normal mode. I do not want a 1024x768 resolution! It has to do better than that. I thought with Mint being so much bigger a distro that they would include whatever drivers you need for whatever your system happens to be. Or that it would at least pull them off the internet. But no, I really couldn't even get Mint to run!

There is a possibility that something has gone wrong in the laptop. But it has integrated graphics, so how would that fail without failing the CPU? I want to try one last thing before I give up and toss the piece of crap out the window. Is there a windows-like, easy to transition, distro of Linux that you know and have tested works with old integrated graphics laptops? Yes, mine is a 64-bit, former Windows 7 machine, so all other specs are met.

OR, is there way to add the needed files and support to whatever distro I choose, and how do I do that, in plain English, Simply, and with Great Clarity?

Thank you for your time and help.

Most 'live' distros will let you install them, just pick one you like the look of. :)

If in doubt, I used to always suggest MX Linux - https://mxlinux.org/
G'day DreamBliss, Welcome to Linux.org

The one thing you are going to have to get a handle on are the Major differences between windows and Linux.

In short....Lose the windows mindset.
What I want is what I get with Windows
Which begs the question....why are you here ?

It would not let me update the video card drivers at all,
Why did they need 'updating' ?....in the ten years of using Linux, I have never felt the need to update drivers.

No matter what you end up having to type in commands.
In some instances, that may make the solution quicker. But....Linux can be run without using the command line....it is not easier not using it...it is certainly not as quick.....but is very much possible
eg if i wish to check for updates (which would be unusual, because all updates appear in the systray as soon as they are available).....I can enter :
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y && sudo apt autoremove -y && sudo apt clean -y
which checks for updates and upgrades, it removes any bits of crud left behind after installs etc, and perform a general clean of the system...all in one go......in less time than it takes for you to even think about having a sip of coffee from your cup
I do not remember stuff like that. I have a folder on my desktop which contains all that stuff. I run it when I am bored or approx once a week/fortnight. Unlike windows, Linux does not render a Hard drive subject to fragmentation. It pretty much cleans itself.

mine is a 64-bit, former Windows 7 machine, so all other specs are met.
Let us be the judge if the various specs are met....we do have loads of experience in that regard
In your reply...give us your specs.
If you still have Linux mint running, enter :
inxi -Fxzr
.....in the Terminal. (Copy and paste that in)...why?....because the presence of the spaces are important, plus its easier and quicker)

if you don't have Linux still installed, you will just have to do it manually.

I could go on....and on....but I wont

Subject to your specs, I must tell you that Linux Mint is one of the best examples of Linux you will ever find....bar none. Approx 10 years of using it qualifies me to make that statement.

Your specs will tell the rest of that story

ps...One of the windows 'habits' has been to be careful about which updates you actually install.....apparently there is a need to 'sort through the offerings' etc etc

This not the case with Linux ....ALL updates are installed.....every. single.one.of.them.
It DOES rather sound like what you're really after is a free version of Windows. Unfortunately, this is never quite the case.

Yes, there are a ton of suitable distros that will work with much older hardware. They can even be made to look like Windows. But, underneath, they are still Linux.......and Linux is fundamentally different to the Redmond juggernaut, both in philosophy AND operation.

As Condobloke says, when you transition to this side of the fence, you MUST lose the Windows 'mind-set'. It doesn't work to your advantage over here.....

Read @The Duck 's link above. It might be quite an old blog post now, but in terms of valid points, nothing has changed.

My own distro, 'Puppy' Linux, is perfectly capable of doing everything any other distro can do.....and indeed, much of what Windows is capable of.....but I don't recommend it to beginners, because 'our Pup' requires a rather special 'mind-set' all of its own! :p


As for video card drivers, I take the view that so long as it's working, and does everything that I want it to do, I'll leave it well alone. Why change for the sake of change? Linux doesn't possess a fraction of the vulnerabilities that Windows does; the robust 'permissions' system sees to that in day-to-day use. And I'm no 'gamer'; the hardest work my Nvidia GPU gets is when Openshot offloads video-rendering to it.

When all's said & done, apply the K.I.S.S principle. It works for me.

Best advice I can give is this; if you're going to run Linux, then learn how to use it effectively, to appreciate it for itself, and for what it IS capable of. DON'T keep comparing it to that other OS; the philosophy is different, the mind-set is different, the operation is different.

(I've run Puppy on an N5110. It ran very sweetly, though I preferred a mouse; that touchpad was WAY too jumpy for my liking!)

Mike. ;)
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OK so your Insperon is a few years younger than mine,
it will have an intel processor [probably an I7] it should have 4-8 gb of ram
it may have intel or AMD graphics [dell use both], it may have a Broadcom or RTL wi-fi [which you may need to install drivers for] or an Intel wireless, [drivers for all the other components I have listed are in the Linux kernel]
it is quite capable of running any Linux distribution you like, as it is over 5 yrs old.
Linux is not windows, you will need to go through a learning curve, how steep is up to you, Yes you will need to occasionally run some terminal codes [but not usually too many,]
Many Linux distributions can be used just as windows, point and click is available in most full desktops,

popular distributions for newbies to Linux are...
Mint [Ubuntu based] [@Condobloke uses this]
Mint LMDE [Debian based] [I use this]
Ubuntu with mate desktop
Linux Lite
Parrot home [but I think you will find the desktop a bit busy]
MX Linux [but avoid the KDE desktop, as again it can look busy to a Windows user]
ours had an i5, 6 GB RAM,
The specification depends on several things, the main two are exact age, and the part of the world it was supplied to [they even supplied some with early AMD Ryzen 3], but not withstanding his is at least 8 years old, so apart from the Broadcom/RTL [whichever it has] all the main components will be supported by the Kernel drivers OTB.
@Brickwizard :-

Digging out the old manual, I can further clarify ours was one of the very first 15R series. It had an i5-2410M, and the Intel HD 3000 graphics adapter. Very, very middle-of-the-road.....and came with Windows 7 pre-installed.

We got it around 2011, I believe.....so it's at least 12 years ago. It was Mama's attempt to bring herself into the modern world, but at nearly 80, having never attempted such stuff before, she soon gave up on it as a bad job.....and passed it on to my sister. Who is, I believe, still using it.....though now running Windows 10.

(She moaned like hell about my having put Puppy on it, and reckoned I'd ruined a perfectly good machine!)

Mike. :p

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