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Installing linux on a blank Hard drive

This is a discussion on Installing linux on a blank Hard drive within the Linux Support forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. i am trying to install a linux operating system on a computer that used to run windows ME. i am


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Old 04-28-2007, 10:01 AM   #1
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i am trying to install a linux operating system on a computer that used to run windows ME. i am planning to format the hard drive and installing a linux distribution when the hard drive is wiped. would this work. please could somebody guide me through this as i am a complete newbie with this aspect of computers. i also need advice on a linux distribution, (the computer is quite old and runs intel pentium pro as its processor, quite low spec but it could run windows ME relatively easily if this helps). any help would be much appreciated.

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Old 04-28-2007, 10:25 AM   #2
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I'm sorry I can't help you on the lunix portion for I do not use linux BUT formatting the HDD to install linux will/should work.

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Old 04-28-2007, 10:49 AM   #3
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busta -
If you scroll back thru the last few months there are numerous threads regarding older PC's. I just mentioned the "Sweet!" website a coupla days ago.

Generally speaking, the processor isn't as critical as the RAM. I mean, things are going to get markedly slower and slower if we're talking all the way back in the Pentium II's or thereabouts. My old Pentium III 450MHz test box shows its limitations if you start trying to push things at all.

RAM is what really creates a distinct watershed event, as they call it. Less than 256 means you'll have to use an "alternate install" (AT) CD. An AT CD installs Linux. You find out after it's been installed whether it's gonna work or not.

If you have more than 256 RAM, you can spin a LiveCD. LiveCD's have become so ubiquitous in the last year or so that lots of distros don't even bother making it clear that is what you're downloading. They just offer the LiveCD as the main (or only) option. A LiveCD allows you to run the OS from memory. Although it will be slower than an actual installation to the hard drive (in your case much slower) you can poke around and see what you think without making any changes to your computer at all.

Another thing to really think about is the fact that there are lightweight Linux distros that are designed to run better on older gear. Xubuntu, Arch, Zenwalk are a few. Lighter weight also means steeper learning curve. Things we take for granted, like dragging and dropping icons to the desktop, may not work or will only work for a few applications.

If I were to try and sum it up, a person who is willing to dedicate some time can resurrect an old machine with a lightweight distro and some learning. It gets much easier if you can find a PC with at least a 1GHz CPU and 512 RAM or more. Then you can install a fully featured Linux distro.
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Old 04-28-2007, 11:57 AM   #4
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You should start out as simple as you can because it is another world from Windows and new terminology to learn.Many go from Windows to Suse 10 or Fedoria Core which have so many extra programs that they get confused and go back to Windows.Others have good advice here for you so read all the post that come up. But here is what I suggest. You can get PC Linux in two versions.Lite is called maybe 93 or Junior.It is best for older PCs.But PC Linux 2007 will do well if you add a memory card of at least 256 mbytes at maybe 25 bucks.PC Linux 2007 is real easy to install on your hard drive.Especially if you don't need Windows. Just run the live CD.Click the install icon and check where it ask,.Take over the entire disk? Check yes and let it go.All else is easy to answer by pushing the enter key mostly.Make a name and password.(Write both down to find later) You do not know how to burn an ISO yet.So Look on the site on the left to order the live CDs like PC Linux for about 2 bucks shipped.You can read of Linux versions there too.>> http://distrowatch.com/ Where you may have trouble is the method and the device you use to get on the WEB. Dialup? You may need a Linux capable modem.Wireless? Same there. But the easy one is cable because you can find a cheap card if one is not already in your PC.People will help you on those. But once you get online you can enjoy it while you learn a few tricks to do other things. Go to the forums of the version of Linux you are using.You locate them at distro watch too.You don't have to be a geek to use Linux.Everyone learns enough to go online and enjoy it. I might add this. If you load Linux you have a big job if you decide to load Windows with Linux later.It is easier to format Linux with Windows and add Linux again afterward. No keycode or registeration with most all Linux versions so you can load it as many times as you like. You could save WIN ME if you use PC Linux.Because there is a choice to load to the WIN partition. Check it,Use the slide bar to grab five gigs of space.
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Old 04-28-2007, 12:09 PM   #5
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Just a few days ago I installed pclinux on an old Dell Pent III/1Gig/256 RAM; ME had been the OS. The machine had been used by my boys and was a mess with clutter, spyware, etc, etc. The Dell OS reinstallation disc had long ago been lost. Before installing Linux, the hdd was erased with D-Ban. The entire process was easy, took about 90 minutes or so, and the machine now works well (though, it's only used to surf the Net and check email).

Not sure that the hdd actually needed to be erased - pclinux can be installed on a partition, but the drive on this machine was too small to bother. You can use the install disc and then just follow the onscreen instuctions as you go, but reading the info at the site beforehand really makes the installation simple.
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Old 04-28-2007, 12:22 PM   #6
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Just leave everything on the hard drive.Once you hit the install icon .The first choice you get is.Do you want PC Linux to take over the entire disk? Check yes and it wipes all the old things out and takes over.
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Old 04-28-2007, 12:56 PM   #7
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How long does it take to install Linux? A guy over on PC Linux timed some he loaded. It is about what I expected from my past loading of those versions.>> http://xrl.us/vz9w
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Old 04-28-2007, 01:55 PM   #8
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I've installed a few dozen times to my old PIII 450 MHz. If no partitioning, about 20 minutes end to end on a small 8 GB HDD. A 120GB HDD took another five minutes or so with all the formatting.

Which reminds me. I let MEPIS 6.5 auto-install to the little 8GB the other day. Was surprised to see that it set up a /home partition automatically! That's kinda cool
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Old 04-28-2007, 03:59 PM   #9
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When I have to use the expert program it can get very confusing for me.I forgot all the terms.HDA 0 HADA 1 HDA 3 .Swap. Risers and do you want the boot record oh HDA 0 ? Sometimes I loose the Windows boot record. I like the automatic way of PC Linux where you chose to load on the unused section of the Windows partition.It all comes out OK that way.
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Old 04-28-2007, 04:19 PM   #10
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wow, all this info is pretty overwhelming. i quite possibly just made life veeeeery difficcult as i just wiped the hard disk. could i install linux with the disk in this state or should i just reinstall the old OS and go from there?
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Old 04-28-2007, 04:59 PM   #11
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busta -
Relax, we're all over it. You just wiped the drive? Your options are wide open.

First off, do you have more precise specs on that old PC? Such as RAM? CPU speed? A model #, motherboard #, etc.? How big's the HDD?

You could reinstall Windows. Get umpteen thousand updates and be on your way.

You could go for a dual-boot. Reinstall Windows, then toss in a Linux CD and ask it to make some room on the hard drive when you get to the partitioning part. Or you can ask Windows to make a partition when you reinstall it, then ask Linux to install to the free partition.

Or you can just install Linux.

The biggest question in my mind is still RAM. If you don't have enuf you'll just have to install Xubuntu or Arch or Vector or Zenwalk or some other lighter weight version and see how it works. I don't think any LiveCD's will work very well with less than 256 of RAM.

Give us some more details and we can try to point you in the right direction. Do you have access to a PC with broadband so you can download a few Linux distros?

EDIT: Do you have broadband? Linux and dial-up is so frustrating that I try to remember to ask that right up front.
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Old 05-10-2008, 12:14 PM   #12
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I forgot how to format the partitions to do a overlay for mint kde mini. Had it written down, but lost it. I remember doing 3 ,home dev swap, but I dont think thats right. I am also going to be switching another one from windows to mint kde. Man I am dumb. thanks for any help.
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Old 05-10-2008, 04:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linkman420 View Post
I forgot how to format the partitions to do a overlay for mint kde mini. Had it written down, but lost it. I remember doing 3 ,home dev swap, but I dont think thats right. I am also going to be switching another one from windows to mint kde. Man I am dumb. thanks for any help.
Everyone starts the same way as you. Here is some advice if you like simple. Load Windows first. It is easy to do it that way.After you have gotten Windows going.( If you plan to have Windows ) Then you can load a Linux .If you are low on memory then try MCN Toronto Linux.I am on that now. It works fine and has updates available.It is about 420 MBYTES. It is easy to add after Windows is loaded. PS . If you load Mint you can expect it to drag along slowly.
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Old 05-11-2008, 09:45 PM   #14
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thanks justo y r the man
have a great day(or night)

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