You seriously wanna follow Auntie Orca’s example and switch your computer operations over to GNU/Linux. Or at least parts of it, home theater stuff and kiddie computer and such? Bought an old computer from Craigslist, Gumtree, Goodwill Store or similar place and now what?
Now … first we gotta find out if your brand new purchase is even a suitable candidate for our attempted enterprise. You’ve heard Orca saying that Linux can be a serious life extender for older computers, and she didn’t lie. But as with everything in life there’s a season for everything. Please don’t even try fiddling with PCs older than, say, ten years, ok? We can deal with those glorious 32-bit machines from the XP and Vista era, no prob. But stuff that came originally with Windows 95, 98 or 2000? Fingers off! Generally I’d say if it’s sand/beige/brown we don’t deal with those.
There are still enough Linux distros available for 32-bit hardware. But generally the newer the better. Depreciation in computer hardware is fast and strong, used second hand shit is cheap, so don’t try to save one or two dollars by downgrading from a 2010 model to a 2005 model. It’s not worth it!
See that computing machine in the photo above? Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. The perfect candidate. I guess it’s kinda 10 years old by now (as we can see from the 4×3 screen) and is probably powered by a 1st gen Intel i-cpu. Perfect. These machines are usually 64-bit and give us enough power to be still productive members of our PC pool. And they are cheap! So if you could get one of those (Lenovo comes highly recommended btw.) it would be a great testing ground for your various trials and tribulatons and adventures in Linux land. 🙂
Now you got the ideal candidate … can you start now?
Hmmmm, generally yes. But wait, let’s do some minor preparations first.
See, that was easy, no?
What else is there to do? Although it’s not needed to format the hard drive before every install, as Linux will do it for you during the installation, I highly recommend doing it nevertheless before you install Linux for the first time.
For that you start the PC as if you wanna install Linux and let the computer boot from your installation medium. It will boot into a Linux desktop that looks like the one you’ll get after the installation and it mostly works in the same way. Only it’s much slower since you’re working from DVD/USB and not from your hard drive. And you can’t save anything so don’t even try to do any serious work in this state. But what we can do is prepare your hard drive for the inevitable. Brace yourself, Linux is coming!
In the menu search for a program called GParted. Open it:
LOL, that is Orca’s SSD. It’s in use right now, as I’m typing this. So you’ll excuse me for not fuking with it. Anyway, GParted is, despite its geeky usage scenarios, a pretty self-explanatory little software. Just highlight and delete your /dev/sda 1. It is your hard drive. And most probably the only drive on your new/old PC. No, of course it will also show you the DVD and/or USB drive but they are occupied by the installation medium, so we don’t touch those.
Anyhoo, after you deleted /dev/sda1 you need to reformat it to make it susceptible for a new installation. Refresh GParted and see if your /dev/sda1 is really empty, then go to Partition and let it format the whole HDD as Primary Partition in ext4 format. This should go like swoosh … done.
Restart the PC and let the installation happen. You’re good. You’re done.
This is the recomended procedure by yours truly. Handling GParted is easy once you did it often enough, and it’s no big deal to play with it often. Every time some Linux install acts up and does stuff that wasn’t sposed to happen, de-virginize your HDD with a thorough wash-n-go via GParted. I do it every so often when dealing with a particularly nasty Linux install, and it’s really remarkable how different shit works before and after GParted did its magic. And have no fear of breaking anything. Remember we’re dealing with depreciated pos drives here that are about to be wiped anyway, so it’s even good to delete and reformat them 2 or 3 times before putting them back into service. Play around with all the options in GParted, it’s really nifty. Particularly if, like Orca, you have no clue about shit, GParted can save your bacon.
Now let’s get started in Linux!