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Formatting an adopted HDD and installing linux for hobby pc. HELP

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Silverhammered, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. Silverhammered

    Silverhammered New Member

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    2.1 ghz cpu, 4gb RAM, 320gb HDD

    Hi, everyone! I'm completely new to linux, just to get that out of the way, and I have some concerns before I proceed. I'm a beginner when it comes to pc's in general; meaning i know what I can and can't do with my hardware restrictions, and am comfortable with the guts in the box. Comfortable with ISO's and the ilk as well.

    1. I'm thinking linuxlite would be my best option if for no other reason than to reduce the load on the old hardware, but I'm open to suggestions. I'll be using it for a little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing. Essentially a secondary pc i can play around with before bed time. Mostly multimedia streaming, some light emulators, and something like gimp for making pixel art. My biggest concern here is being sure it will be compatible with an xbox1 wireless controller.



    2. This pc is perfectly functional, but not operational as I'm waiting on a few cables to complete the build. The HDD is currently sata'd into my primary pc, and I want to go ahead and format it in preparation for linux since its already here. I would also like to download linux to this hard drive right now so I can get a start on getting comfortable with a new os, and start setting it up for it's permanent home. I'm curious if I can effectively download linux to this HDD, and then transfer it to its new home without issue? I've looked into the dual booting (?) set ups and I don't think that's quite what I need. Hope this isn't too convoluted. lol

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Silverhammered and welcome to linux.org :)

    Boy, have I got some reading for you to do, hope you are up to it? :D

    Short answer is, both 1. and 2. sound do-able.

    Is that the bedtime one?

    Give us any specs you can on both units. If I take it that you are currently on Windows, let us know which and we can tell you where to get the specs, if you don't already know.

    Let us know if you have recovery solutions in place to safeguard personal data, external storage or large USB sticks, a supply of DVDs, &c. This includes a Recovery DVD for Windows if need be.

    Also, whether you would like one or both builds to run Linux exclusively or dual-boot, you get the picture.

    BIOS or UEFI?

    I know next to nothing about X-box, but a quick Google using "linux xbox1 wireless controller" shows some promise if you have not already investigated same.

    Wizard's Reading:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light-weight_Linux_distribution - the table shows system requirements.

    Not featured in there is Peach OSI Barebones, which runs quite well on my wife's lappie, which is a Compaq Presario C300 with only 512MB RAM and a 60GB HDD.

    Linux Lite is a good choice, I only started playing with it recently. MX-17 is another good one. LXLE is also on my wife's lappie (I have 3 on hers, soon to put a 4th, possibly 4M Linux or similar.)

    All the Puppies are light, but different - some love it, some hate it.

    I could go on (Peppermint is good, you just have to add LibreOffice if you want a productivity suite)

    I typically run 65 - 70 Linux, so have lots of opinions :p:p

    DEs (Desktop Environments) - https://renewablepcs.wordpress.com/about-linux/kde-gnome-or-xfce/ - Cinnamon is heaviest on resources, MATE, Xfce and LXDE quite light

    Architecture - you may be running a 32-bit Windows, but have a 64-bit capable CPU, if you are not sure, ask.

    Cheers

    Chris Turner
    wizardfromoz
     
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  3. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    If I understand correctly, you want to prep a hard drive for Linux using your Windows computer, but not setup dual boot. And you are comfortable with ISO files and inside the computer case. Good! I take it you also know that you need special methods to burn the ISO files... you can't just "copy" the ISO to a DVD or USB.

    I think a simple method is to download Linux Lite (if not already done) and burn it to DVD or USB with your Windows system. Then go inside your case and unplug your Windows hard drive, leaving only the future Linux hard drive plugged in. Boot on the DVD/USB that you made for the Linux Lite install media, and install it to the hard drive. This leaves no chance for confusion on which hard drive is being used or where the bootloader is being installed. When finished, boot on the new hard drive installation and play for a little while. When you later install this Linux hard drive into the other computer, it will hopefully detect all the hardware changes without much complaint.

    BIOS or UEFI may be an issue though, as Wizard noted. Linux Lite is not yet UEFI capable. So if the DVD/USB fails to boot or it fails to install to the hard drive, that it a likely suspect (and it may give you an error telling you this). If so, you will need to go into your BIOS Setup and make some changes. The two most common are to 1) Disable Secure Boot and 2) Disable UEFI mode... which may also be described as Enable Legacy Mode, or Enable CSM, and maybe other terminology too.

    I know nothing about xbox controllers either, but if you get Linux Lite running on your current system, you may can check it out and see if you discover any problems before making the hard drive switchover.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. Silverhammered

    Silverhammered New Member

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    Primary unit: Ryzen 7 1800x 3.6 oc to 4.1, asus crosshair vi hero mobo, 4x8gb 3200mhz Gskill Ripjaws V ram, 2x 250gb ssd (1 of which has the windows 10 os), 2x 2tb hdd, evga gtx 1080 ftw2
    Secondary unit: intel core 2 duo 2.1, G33M02 mobo, 4x1gb RAM, 320gb HDD, wx093 video card. I think its an old dell inspiron with some beefed up cooling and a non stock hdd.

    *edit: the 320gb hdd for the secondary unit is currently sata'd to the primary pc.

    I have a windows disk for recovery, and another spare 250gb hdd i could use for personal data that isn't currently in either system (glad you said something, wizard I didn't even think about recovery. phew).

    Only the secondary unit will be running linux at this time (kind of a test drive), and it will be exclusively linux. Primary will remain windows 10 for now.

    I'm pretty comfortable within bios, so making changes there shouldn't be an issue if necessary.

    I love to learn, so reading won't be an issue. Point me in a direction, and I'll go.

    I know there are tons of tutorials and whatnot online, but I figured I'd be safe and talk to some experts before I eff something up. lol

    Nice to meet y'all
     
    #4 Silverhammered, Feb 25, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
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  5. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    Hi again @Silverhammered, and by the way, welcome to the forums!

    If the delay on getting your cables to complete the install on the old Dell (secondary) computer isn't going to be too long, you could just as well wait until its ready to go. Since you're new to Linux, I'm not sure that you will gain much from the experience, except maybe some frustration.

    Your primary motherboard is definitely a UEFI based system. The link to Asus doesn't say whether it is capable of "Legacy mode" or not. A quick look around with Google today seems to show that Linux Lite is still not ready for UEFI, so the settings to enable Legacy mode and disable Secure Boot will be required if you want to prepare the Linux hard drive ahead of time. I don't think your primary system will boot the Linux Lite media without these changes, and booting on the media is needed to install it to the hard drive. But your primary system should be fine to create the Linux Lite media for later use on the secondary system.

    Your secondary motherboard (here and here) indicates it was used in Dell Inspirion 530 Series systems, ranging from Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. It is almost certainly a BIOS based system.

    Wizard can probably explain these differences better than I, but I will try a brief introduction (hopefully with few errors). Computers were BIOS based since the 1980's. BIOS had become very limited due to the great increases in RAM and hard drive capacities, and UEFI has become the chosen replacement (although most folks still call it BIOS, it is really a different technology, but it mostly kept backward compatibility with BIOS via the "Legacy Mode" of many names). The distinctions between BIOS and UEFI also calls into play the differences of setting up partitions and file systems on hard drives. BIOS uses Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioning schemes (limited to 4 primary partitions on a drive) and UEFI uses GUID Partition Tables (GPT) which has no limit on the number of primary partitions.

    It seems that Wizard can do impossible things compared to us mortal beings :D, but it generally seems advisable to let your older secondary system format and prepare your hard disk by booting on the Linux Lite media that you will create. Linux Lite will install the GRUB bootloader into the Master Boot Record, in typical old-school fashion, and it will create at least two partitions on the hard disk (probably more than two, actually), one formatted as ext4 (a standard Linux file system) to hold the operating system and data, and another partition set as SWAP space. With 4 GB of RAM, you probably don't really need SWAP space, but the installer will complain if you don't set it up. It doesn't hurt to have it, and it may help, but you can override this choice if you insist.

    On hard drives, Linux does not install into FAT32 or NTFS partitions, so you may not be aware of this yet. It can read and write to those file systems though, if you plug in a flash drive or external hard drive that uses them. If you were to set up a dual boot system later, you will find that Windows cannot access the ext4 partitions in Linux, so that can limit your ability to transfer files between the systems, but Linux will be able to access the Windows data. Be careful about that.

    There's more to come for you to learn in the Linux world, such as how hard drives and partitions are referenced. You are of course familiar with Windows designations, like "C:" and "D:" .... but Linux does not use those. Windows also uses the backslash character (\) to show paths to files or folders, like "C:\Windows\System32" .... but Linux uses a forward slash (/) instead. So, for a quick example, /dev/sda1 refers to the 1st partition on hard drive sda, and /dev/sdb4 refers to the 4th partition on hard drive sdb. Don't worry... you'll get the hang of this. FYI, /dev means device.

    Okay, enough rambling for now. If you really want to prepare the hard drive now (in the primary) for later use in the secondary, I'd say get Wizards thoughts on that as he will be the better guide.

    Cheers
     
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  6. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    @Silverhammered -

    That Ryzen unit sounds to die for ... where did you say you live? You had better lock your windows at night :p

    (Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, onlookers rush for the fire exits)

    @atanere - Stan, I really enjoyed reading that, I might plagiarise it sometime :rolleyes:

    I am just cracking open my first beer for my Monday arvo (Oz time, down under), so I had better get rolling before I get rolling. :confused:

    You have to install Linux Lite under CSM conditions, it won't install under UEFI

    BUT (Wiz always has a but)

    ... once it is installed, you can run it under either. I am currently writing this from within Linux Lite under UEFI. I installed it under CSM, having first failed under UEFI.

    The other lightweights that I favour, and those are:
    • MX-16 and now MX-17
    • Peach OSI Bare Bones
    • LXLE
    • 4M Linux and
    • Lubuntu
    ... all support UEFI, so that may prove a consideration in favour of them.

    ALSO (Wiz always has an also)

    If you want to go Linux Lite, the manual is here

    https://www.linuxliteos.com/manual/start.html

    and in it, it features a 12 minute video on how to get it to run under UEFI.

    I did not use that method (was unaware of it at the time), but mine is a complicated situation I won't go into here.

    Suffice it to say that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    I have to nick off and dive into CSM and take a screenshot of my Primary Partition there at the moment, which houses a Netrunner, and I'll be back with more. Meantime

    MORE WIZARD'S READING

    My Tute here on Timeshift, this will be a valuable tool for you.

    https://www.linux.org/threads/timeshift-similar-solutions-safeguard-recover-your-linux.15241/

    Cheers

    Wizard
     
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  7. atanere

    atanere Moderator
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    I'd be honored! :cool::D:D

    I've been meaning to ask how you fared with Linux Lite, and I'm not surprised that, once again, you are able to work magic. I caught a brief bit about copying an Ubuntu shim to make Lite work in UEFI, but that seemed a bit over-the-top for new users. I now wonder how many "cats" you have?!?!? :eek::D

    So, @Silverhammered... as I said above, Wizard can guide you if you want to prepare that hard drive before your cables arrive. I am one for taking the easy way out, at least most of the time (although there are a few damaged brick walls around with my head imprint on them).

    Cheers
     
  8. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it's under Clause 17 of the Code:

    17.3 A prospective Wizard must be able to work magic

    :D:rolleyes:

    ... failed miserably on (my) Saturday, with Kali, just ask @JasKinasis (who was chuckling) and @arochester (whom was probably holding his head in his hands), so I've put Kali back on, as we shall see, and I will knuckle down (with it) rather than be a knucklehead, lol.

    Back on topic:

    I have some piccies that may illustrate a little of what I was saying above. Let me know if you find any of these turned sideways, because GIMP asked me if I wanted to rotate them, and I did:

    The first one is of Linux Lite running under UEFI, with a fairly vanilla Conky to show the resources being used at rest.

    [​IMG]

    SCREENSHOT 1 - Linux Lite under UEFI

    Note the obligatory Timeshift icon, right end of panel

    So LL is using 401 MB RAM there, almost identical with my MX Series, MX-16 and MX-17.

    Second shot is of my Timeshift setup (incomplete, currently) and I have used the Comments section to let me and The Viewers know that I installed two (2) of my Distros on the Satellite lappie using CSM (near the cursor) - Linux Lite and Netrunner Rolling 2018.01, which is based on Manjaro, as opposed to Netrunner 17.10 which is Debian-based, and I also have.


    [​IMG]

    SCREENSHOT 2 - Timeshift Snapshots, shows Linux Lite (CSM)


    ... the OP can use Timeshift, configured appropriately, to restore/install effectively a clone of his Distro onto any other Partition, HDD or computer that is configured to take Linux. Terms and Conditions apply. (I could have resisted that but ... naah :D:D)


    The next shot is of my GRUB Menu, under UEFI, which has Kali as the Primary Partition/Distro, on /dev/sda7, and highlighted (hard to see) is Linux Lite, you can read its accompanying "Advanced" entry below it a little better


    [​IMG]

    If the above looks like crap, I'll try to remedy and edit.

    The final shot is of another GRUB Menu, this one under CSM, and if I had scrolled down further, it would have shown Linux Lite at /dev/sda19, which is the same as with UEFI. Netrunner is at the top of the Leader Board, that is, Primary Partition, whereas Kali is primary under UEFI. I won't try to explain that here, as it will likely confuse and be off-Topic.

    [​IMG]

    The above has more reflected light in it, as Kali was taken at night-time, and this during the day with the garage door open. Regrets.

    Before I nick off again, Stan had some input on GPT cf MBR:

    Most of the OP's storage space lends itself to being formatted to GPT right from the start (provided the Windows 10 is safeguarded), to avoid the 4 Partition Rule (which is imposed on us under MS-DOS, not a Linux restriction/invention, and pandered to by manufacturers). I personally would do it with any drive larger than, say, arbitrarily, 250 GB. I did it straight away with the 1TB on this Toshiba Satellite lappie, and likewise with the 2 TB Acer AIO and the 3TB Adata NH03 'Nobility' external USB powered unit.

    More on that later.

    I don't think the OP has answered my question on whether the secondary (bedtime) unit is 32-bit or 64-bit, but a brief Google search seems to indicate that the Intel Core 2 Duo Processors support 64-bit, so I would suggest any Linux .iso downloaded be 64-bit and we'll see if it works? :p:p

    Cheers

    Wiz
     
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  9. Silverhammered

    Silverhammered New Member

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    I love a challenge. Sorry for not replying sooner, solo dad of two young boys so free time can be a commodity. Today i have few things stealing my attention so I'm going to attempt my install into the hdd under my primary system. Wizard, thank you . I love my pc, been dreaming of a high end pc since i was like 10 and finally spent the money for it (luckily before memory went through the roof). I'll be reading through my thread and all the links everyone has provided. If I run into issues I'll post again as problems arise. Thank you all so much.
     
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  10. wizardfromoz

    wizardfromoz Well-Known Member

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    More power to you ... being a grandfather, a father, and having also had 5 stepkids over two marriages, I can imagine :p

    Take your time - any number of us are always around, and we have your back if you need help.

    Meantime, it's Friday in Oz, so to all and sundry

    avagudweegend

    Wizard
     

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