Escape From Spyware

Pepper

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I've set a goal of escaping the big spyware companies - Microsoft, Apple, Google... My search has led to Linux. I've done some reading online and I'm leaning toward Mint. I have an old Windows system on which I'd like to install Mint but I'm not sure how to proceed.

Will Mint run on this system?

Motherboard - EVGA X58 FTW3
CPU - Intel Core i7 920 @ 267 GHZ
12 GB Ram
Nvidia GTX560
64 Bit OS
2 - 500 GB SSD

Windows Vista installed on one drive, the other is blank. (Stop laughing - I told you it was old!)

I was able to run a virtual system from a CD but it was exceedingly slow. Will an actual install run better?

I'd like to create a dual boot system with Mint installed on the blank SSD but I'm not opposed to removing the Windows drive.

I'm not a tech person but I can follow instructions. It's working around the glitches not covered by instructions that will give me problems.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 


wizardfromoz

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Well I reckon you've come to the right place, Mate, there are more of us 60-plussers joining every other day, than you could shake a stick at :)

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, bearing good tidings)

G'day @Pepper and welcome to linux.org .

That configuration will or should run any Linux known to Man.

Will an actual install run better?
Much, much better. VM is good for testing and blowing away ease, but not indicative of performance with a full install.

I have to run for a bit but I will be back.

Hey Brian (@Condobloke ) can you read Pepper your Mint Guide monologue?

Brian is a temporarily expatriate Aussie about 2 hours behind me, he should be eating his cornflakes soon.

On your Vista you can run command (likely from Start Menu)

Code:
msinfo32
You can read about that here

https://support.microsoft.com/en-au...formation-msinfo32-command-line-tool-switches

and see what I said here a few minutes ago

https://www.linux.org/threads/want-to-use-linux-but-dont-want-to-remove-windows.20197/#post-59947

Also, does the CD reference mean DVDs as well (burns them)? And how many USB ports and 2.0 or 3.0?

Cheers back soon

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

Pepper

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Thanks Wizard...
CD is a misstatement... I have a DVD burner and plenty of blank DVD's.

There are 14 USB ports on my system - four on the case, ten on the mother board - two of which are USB 3.
 

atanere

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Hi @Pepper, and welcome! As Wizard has already told you, there are a number of "old timers" on here, myself included. We'll be glad, of course, to help get you started on your journey to make the switch... but installing is the easy part (or so it seems to me sometimes).

But apart from simply helping you install Linux, I'm also quite interested in your thread title, Escape From Spyware. This has actually been on my mind a lot lately, and I've got some ideas about it and begun some plans to lessen my "digital footprint".... but I'm also thinking that there is no real escape. It seems more to me to be somewhat of a balancing act, at best.

All of us here trust Linux far more than we would Microsoft or Apple, but Linux isn't perfect either. Have you heard about the Linux distro called Tails, which uses the Tor web browser? If not, I'll just let you Google for more about that... but it is a system designed to help actually preserve anonymity when you are online. Yet it also is not perfect. It masks much of your activity, but in the end (at the "exit nodes") you are still exposed. I've looked briefly at Tails/Tor but I don't think that's the answer for me, though you may be interested in it.

I recently deleted 2 Gmail accounts, and I'm currently working on eliminating a 3rd account after notifying a large group who use that one. But as an Android phone user, I have to keep at least one account.... there's no escape from that. As long as you're going to use a phone, especially a smartphone, and as long as you're going to use the Internet, you have to find the balance that you will accept.

Okay, enough of that for now, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on what your plans are as you move forward for more privacy and/or security online.

You've got what is still a pretty awesome system... probably top of the line for Vista back in the day. Linux Mint is an excellent choice for beginners, but a lot of people (like me) stick with it. It's very solid and functional. It comes in 3 different editions: Cinnamon, Mate, and XFCE, but you can run any of them easily. Cinnamon uses the most resources, but it's also probably the most appealing visually. Your Nvidia video card may give you some trouble, but you can get past that. One of the common Nvidia problems is that after installing Linux, you boot up and get a totally black screen. The system is still running (you may can even see it if you shine a flashlight on the monitor) but it's a nuisance and freaks people out sometimes. There's usually an easy fix for that one.

My own opinion is that since Vista is so far out of date... I would let Linux erase it and take the whole hard drive (or remove the Vista drive to preserve it and just use the other until you get comfortable). It's much easier than setting up a dual-boot. The msinfo32 command that Wizard mentioned may help, but I'm afraid it may not tell the whole story from Vista. One of the things we look for there is whether your motherboard is the older BIOS (Legacy) type, or whether it is the newer UEFI type.... but I don't think Vista will report this because UEFI was not commonly used back then. Your motherboard User's Guide seems to indicate that yours is the older BIOS type. Not to worry... Mint can install either way.

Okay, time for me to run. @Condobloke should be by here soon to offer you some more advice. And we have a bunch of other nice folks who may jump in as well. :D

Cheers
 

Condobloke

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G'day pepper and Wiz......i will just drop this blurb here for Pepper to read

More later....busy now...



**How to install/try Linux Mint on your Windows PC**

First, you can -- __and should__ -- try Linux Mint before switching to it. Fortunately, unlike other operating systems, Linux distros like Mint make it easy to give them a test run before installing it.

First you'll need to download a copy of Linux Mint, which comes with three different desktops: MATE, Xfce, and its default desktop, Cinnamon. If you have a 2012-or-newer PC, I recommend you download the 64-bit version of Mint with Cinnamon and multi-media support.

If you don't have an __ISO burner program__, download one. I recommend freeware programs ImgBurn for optical drives and Yumi for Windows for USB sticks. Other good choices are LinuxLive USB Creator and UNetbootin. These are also free programs.

((( I use unetbootin. I download the iso file separately....I don't use unetbootin to download it for me. I then use the are at the bottom of the unetbootin window to locate the iso on my pc, select the USB stick to write it to....select 4gb of persistence (so that after a reboot most/all the changes i have made will still be there)....and away we go !)))


**Giving Mint a try**

Once you've installed the burner program and have the latest Linux Mint ISO file in hand, use the burner to put the ISO image to your disc or USB stick. If you're using a DVD -- __Mint is too big to fit on a CD__ -- check your newly burned disc for errors. Over the years, I've had more __problems with running Linux and installing Linux from DVDs__ from bad discs than all other causes combined.

You can set it up a USB stick with persistent storage. With this, you can store your programs and files on the stick. This way you can carry Linux and use it as a walk-around operating system for hotel, conference, and library PCs. I've found this to be very handy and there's always at least one Linux stick in my laptop bag.

**Next, you place your disc or USB stick into your PC and reboot**. During the reboot, stop the boot-up process and get to your PC's UEFI or BIOS settings. How you do this varies according to the system.

Look for a message as the machine starts up that tells which key or keys you'll need to press in order to get to the BIOS or UEFI. Likely candidates are a function key or the "esc" or "delete" keys. __If you don't spot it the first time, don't worry about it. Just reboot and try again.__


Once you get to the BIOS or UEFI, look for a menu choice labeled "Boot," "Boot Options," or "Boot Order." If you don't see anything with the word "boot" in it, check other menu options such as "Advanced Options," "Advanced BIOS Features," or "Other Options." Once you find it, set the boot order so that instead of booting from the hard drive first, you boot from either the CD/DVD drive or from a USB drive.

Once your PC is set to try to boot first from the alternative drive, insert your DVD or USB stick and reboot. __Then, select "Start Linux Mint" from the first menu. And, from there, you'll be running Linux Mint.__

Some Nvidia graphics cards don't work well with Mint's open-source driver. If Linux Mint freezes during boot, use the "nomodeset" boot option. You set this to the Start Linux Mint option and press __'e'__ to modify the boot options. Then, replace "quiet splash" with "nomodeset" and press F10 to boot. On older PCs using BIOS, press 'tab' instead of 'e.'

__MINT WILL RUN SLOWER THIS WAY, BUT IT WILL BOOT AND RUN__. If you decide to install Mint, you can permanently fix the problem with the following steps:

Run the Driver Manager
Choose the NVIDIA drivers and wait for them to be installed
Reboot the computer

SO **FAR YOU HAVEN'T INSTALLED ANYTHING ON YOUR PC, BUT YOU WILL BE RUNNING LINUX MINT. USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY WITH IT TO SEE IF YOU LIKE IT..**

Using a DVD drive Mint will run slowly, but it will run quickly enough to give you an idea of what it's like to use Mint. With a USB stick, it runs fast enough to give you a good notion of what working with Mint is like.

P__LEASE...play with it...explore everywhere....you CANNOT break it...remember it is on a thumb drive....if it goes up in smoke, just reboot and away you go again. No harm done.__

Advice : Have a look at **'Timeshift'** it is similar to windows system restore.....just MUCH better. It actually works.

A good tutorial can be found : https://www.linuxliteos.com/manual/tutorials.html#timeshift

While you are //playing with Linux// on a thumb drive //you will not need Timeshift//.....but after you have **actually INSTALLED Linux...then i HIGHLY recommend you give Timeshift a run**. If you have an __external hard drive as well, this is the ideal set up.__ You are able to send a 'snapshot' of your system to the external hard drive via Timeshift' ....it serves as a 'safe spot' which you can restore from with one click.
In the case of a (HIGHLY unlikely) bad update, where your normal __Linux__ would not boot.....simply boot the pc to the external hard drive...select the 'snapshot' you wish to run (usually the one made before the bad update)....click on 'restore'....go make coffee.
It will be done by the time you have made it. __Simple.__


=+==================================================================================================

https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-install-linux-mint-on-your-windows-pc/

==================================================================================================

Read the rest of this article online.

**PLEASE NOTE...THE MOST CRITICAL CHOICE IN ACTUALLY INSTALLING WILL BE :....HOW TO PARTITION YOUR HARD DRIVE !!!!!!.....GO ONE WAY AND LINUX WILL INSTALL ALONGSIDE YOUR WINDOWS INSTALL......GO THE OTHER WAY AND YOUR WINDOWS INSTALL WILL BE WIPED OUT. GONE. FOREVER. CHOOSE CAREFULLY !!!!!!!!**

I have always installed Linux in such a way that wipes out windows/whatever else is on the Hard drive/ssd

**You may wish to dual boot**. The instructions for that are at that link, where it tells you to __"install linux mint alongside..__"...

This procedure will install Linux Mint next to your existing Windows system and leave it totally untouched. When I do this, I usually give half my PC's remaining drive space to Mint. You'll be asked to choose which operating system you want to boot by default. No matter which one you pick, you'll get a few seconds to switch to the other operating system.

You'll also be required to give your system a name; __pick out a username for yourself, and come up with a PASSWORD. WRITE THE BLOODY THING DOWN__. You WILL need it....many times over. On many occasions when you type the password into linux.....it will NOT show on screen...not even asterisks etc etc......so have a record of it..... somewhere.

Set up a regular Timeshift schedule. Easy to do. Peace of mind assured.

Unless you work for the nsa, don't encrypt your drive. For normal day to day use , you do not need it.

Drivers : Next, you can have it check to see if your computer needs any additional drivers. I highly recommend you run this. After this, you can choose to install proprietary multimedia codecs such as drivers to watch DVDs. I think you should do this, as well.


You should also set it to __update your system to the latest software.__

Unlike Windows, when you update Mint, you're updating not just your operating system but all the other programs such as the default web browser, Firefox; office-suite, LibreOffice; and any other programs you've installed from Mint's Software Manager.
(software manager :....click on menu...then on software manager (hover over icons, you will find it)...)



__To update manually, click on the shield icon in the menu bar__. By default in the Cinnamon desktop, the bar will be on the bottom part of the screen and the icon will be on the right. It will then prompt you for your password and ask if you really want to update your system. Say yes, and you'll be ready to give your new Mint system a real try out.

**PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE READ. Your updates will be automatically set to ""JUST KEEP MY COMPUTER SAFE""**......DO NOT stop/delay/fiddle with updates. __THIS IS NOT WINDOWS__. Just let the update manager do its thing. It will not destroy your pc and have you spend countless hours trying to resurrect it from the ashes....This NOT windows. Have Faith.

At some later time after you have become REALLY familiar with Linux, you may progress to the update setting..::Let me Review Sensitive Updates""....That is for **LATER.**
__(and just in case you select that update policy, and something goes sideways....thats what Timeshift is for !!!)__


The setup routine also offers to let you look at system settings and find new programs with the Software Manager, but since you're probably a new user, you can skip those for now. Please...__.. skip this FOR NOW.__

Set up Firefox (if you use that) If you have used F'Fox in windows you may have used the "Sync Settings" in Firefox account. Use that to 'sync' your settings, add ons, history,bookmarks,preferences,logins etc

Email : You can use Thunderbird to display your email. It seamlessly displays email from Gmail, Yahoo...etc etc
Thunderbird is included with Linux by default.
Click on menu...type in Thunderbird....right click to put the icon on the desktop, or to put the icon in the panel.
 

wizardfromoz

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Sweet, you are in a great position to try before you buy (so to speak, Linux is free) as much as you like.

You mentioned earlier about VM'ing was that using VirtualBox or VMWare? Or were you referring to running Linux from a DVD but not installing it, we call that Linux Live?

In the first scenario
, you would typically have a Virtual Machine (VBox or VMWare) installed on your Vista, you would download a Linux image file ending with .iso, then launch your VM and choose the .iso in Downloads to run the machine. You would have apportioned a space of maybe 20GB or more on your hard drive/SSD, a certain amount of your 12GB of RAM to run with, &c, and have choices for the Linux of running a windowed environment or a fullscreen environment.

In the second scenario, you would typically have a blank DVD (or a USB stick), and use special burning software to burn the .iso image to disk. You would then boot from the disk, perhaps having to modify your BIOS setup at startup to recognise the optical media ahead of your main drive in the startup. The Live environment would allow you the option of exploring some of the apps and functions and settings and have an icon to install the Distro (distribution) to your drive. When you were finished you could just reboot and remove the medium and you would be back in your Vista.

Can you tells us which of those applies in your circumstances?

Wizard
 

wizardfromoz

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Must be my deodorant ... Hi Stan, 'bye Stan. Hi Brian, 'bye Brian :D:D:rolleyes:
 

Condobloke

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No rest for the wicked, eh Stan ?!

Pepper, I liked one of your ideas. Install Linux Mint on the 'blank' ssd. You have nothing to lose. If you dont like it or it doesnt work ...or whatever.....just wipe it. Simple.

Nothing lost. Gained a little bit of experience.

deodorant?...mines ok......am not about to sniff yours !! ..
 

Bayou Bengal

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I've set a goal of escaping the big spyware companies - Microsoft, Apple, Google... My search has led to Linux. I've done some reading online and I'm leaning toward Mint. I have an old Windows system on which I'd like to install Mint but I'm not sure how to proceed.

Will Mint run on this system?

Motherboard - EVGA X58 FTW3
CPU - Intel Core i7 920 @ 267 GHZ
12 GB Ram
Nvidia GTX560
64 Bit OS
2 - 500 GB SSD

Windows Vista installed on one drive, the other is blank. (Stop laughing - I told you it was old!)

I was able to run a virtual system from a CD but it was exceedingly slow. Will an actual install run better?

I'd like to create a dual boot system with Mint installed on the blank SSD but I'm not opposed to removing the Windows drive.

I'm not a tech person but I can follow instructions. It's working around the glitches not covered by instructions that will give me problems.

Thanks in advance for your help.
Hello Pepper, and welcome to Linux.org! My wife has a computer very similar to yours. She has the i7 920 processor but not as much RAM as you and she has a Radeon vid card. It runs Linux Mint Cinnamon 19 64K just fine, along with Windows 7 64K. If you chose to go the dual boot route with windows I would leave your Windows drive in the computer, this will insure that Linux adds your windows to Grub, install the Linux of your choice to the blank SSD (make sure it is not partitioned and unallocated, you can do that with Vista or with a Live Linux DVD using gParted.) When you install Linux make sure you select "Do Something Else" from your install menu on the live DVD and make sure that Grub is installed to the same drive as your Linux (the blank drive). This will give you some advantages. First Grub will not install to the Windows drive and overwrite your Windows MBR. Second, when Windows updates, if there is an update for the MBR it won't wipe out Grub. Third, if a Linux update has one for Grub, it won't mess with your Windows MBR on the other drive. Then all you have to do is edit your windows MBR to reflect the Linux install and where Grub is located. You'll be in dual boot heaven.
 

atanere

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This article by well known security expert Bruce Schneier, just came out a couple of days ago. It is more broadly in the security realm than simple spyware, but I thought it was still valid enough to share as on-topic here. I really think it's worth a few minutes to read and ponder the future a bit. :eek:

@Pepper: Have you decided on your next step yet? Dual boot? Or install to a single drive? I don't want to derail your immediate need to install Linux.... whenever you're ready.

Cheers
 

Pepper

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WOW! Thanks for all your responses. That's a lot of information to absorb at one time and I must admit I don't understand it very well. I'll try to answer your questions.

Wizard... I am running the old style BIOS and your second scenario describes my virtual Linux experience.

atanere... Thanks for the link. The article mirrors my views on privacy and security quite accurately. In my opinion, organizations which collect data on people should be held financially accountable when their systems are breached - think Equifax. I know I cannot stop all the data collection but I want to limit it as much as I possibly can.

As for my next step, I will remove the Vista drive and work toward a single boot system. Looks like I have plenty of information to start with but it may take several days to make everything happen.
 

atanere

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As for my next step, I will remove the Vista drive and work toward a single boot system. Looks like I have plenty of information to start with but it may take several days to make everything happen.
Sounds good. Just give a shout if you run into any trouble. As long as you know you need to use a special method to "burn" the Linux .iso image to your DVD or USB so it will be bootable, it should all be pretty straightforward from there as you will tell the Linux installer to "use entire disk."

Even though privacy and security are concerns to you, we would generally recommend that any new users choose to NOT encrypt their home folder during the installation. Also, if during the install you see a selection for "LVM," we would generally discourage that too. These are generally more advanced and usually not necessary when you're first getting started. The added complexity is just good to avoid until you get your feet wet a little more.

Cheers
 

Pepper

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Success! I have successfully installed the Linix Mint 19 64bit operating system on my former windows pc! The install went flawlessly on the first attempt. The reason it has taken me so long to get back to everyone is, I decided to skip all the downloading, grubs and burning and simply buy the DVD from OSDisc.com. The disc arrived yesterday and I installed it today.

Now I could use help connecting to the internet. Please let me know if I should start another thread for this topic.

Basically I'm having problems installing drivers for a D-Link Range Booster N USB Adaptor. I cannot run the Setup.exe file which came with the CD and the most recent driver is for Windows 7x64. Is there a work around, a command I can enter to cause Linux to execute Setup.exe? Will the Win7 drivers work with Linux?

As Always, Thanks in advance for your help.
 

wizardfromoz

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That's great news Pepper :)... on the install, that is

Yes, I would start a new Thread say in Linux Hardware here

https://www.linux.org/forums/linux-hardware.150/

... and include in the Title Linux Mint and D-Link wifi adapter, something like that.

I have to go out for a bit but someone else may be along, other than that I will be back.

Meanwhile, set up your firewall at Terminal - Ctrl-Alt-t will open it.

Code:
sudo ufw enable
Enter your password (no movement, security) and press Enter. The firewall is enabled instantly and will load every time you reboot or power up.

Chris
 


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