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Good distro for replacing Windows?

Linux on ThinkPads
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ko
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Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:08 am
Location: Jacksonville, FL

Good distro for replacing Windows?

#1 Post by ko » Sun Feb 04, 2018 4:30 pm

Lately, my copy of Windows 7 has been breaking often. Today it got to the point where opening Windows Update would crash the computer. Tried several antivirus programs and uninstalling everything, but nothing worked. However, I also have a bunch of Windows-only programs I'd like to use (Adobe CS6, Office 2016, the like).

I've heard many success stories on this forum and elsewhere about Linux on the ThinkPads and I'm thinking of joining the club too. Question is, where do I start?
Currently running:

T60p (Secondary)
T500 (Daily driver)
T400 (HTPC)
T30 (Server)

coolcat37
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Location: Belgium

Re: Good distro for replacing Windows?

#2 Post by coolcat37 » Sun Feb 04, 2018 5:27 pm

Linux Mint 18.3 MATE
Feels like Windows xp+7 with a lot more customabilty.
ThinkPads run great on 'm

evening_hunger
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Location: Normandy, France

Re: Good distro for replacing Windows?

#3 Post by evening_hunger » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:07 pm

I would say it's mostly about the proprietary software you're addicted to. Mostly Photoshop. I have used it (before 2006) and then switched to GIMP (freeware) I've been using since then. But it is noticeable Photoshop useds are so spoiled by Adobe that they tend to nag if anything is not like in their loved program. Same goes for Office. So here's the deal, freedom in software comes at a cost - the cost is some inherent hardship tolerance. GPL and free software is made by enthusiasts who are almost never paid for this. So it has to be expected it will be somewhat behind the commercial counterparts - at least in places. Because there are some fields in which the situation is exact oposite.

If you're able to keep up with that, Linux is for you, doesn't matter which one. Ubuntu MATE is pretty good to start with, user friendly and will not shock you too much. To make it easier, it's perhaps best to try dual booting (so installing Linux while keeping W10) so that you get that possiblity of returning to the comfort zone once the challenge is too much:) (and then, challenge again:) )
x320/i7-2620M/8GB/256gb.ssd/FHD13.3''IPS/debian_testing (main driver)
x230/i5/8GB/500gb.hdd+256gb.m2ssd/IPS/debian_stable+win7 (better half)

farmall
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Location: Columbia, SC

Re: Good distro for replacing Windows?

#4 Post by farmall » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:21 pm

Windows installs deteriorate over time. The colloquial term is "winrot" and the usual solution is nuke and pave (wipe and reinstall). I keep a bootable USB flash drive for Windows 7 with folders containing any applications and printer drivers. They are easy to prepare for both Windows and Linux.

If Linux interests you there's no need to give up Windows and if you wish to keep Windows you can also run Linux. You can run them at the same time instead of dual booting. The way I do this is run the host OS of your choice on "bare metal" and the guest OS in a virtual machine. I do this on all my machines as it's quite easy and there's plenty of info online.

Linux makes an excellent host because it's stable. Any of the Ubuntu varieties get the job done and have ample online support. Virtualbox and KVM are free.
A Windows guest OS can be "snapshotted" and you can revert to previous clean snapshots if something barfs on your Windows install or you want to revert to a clean Windows install. You simple reboot the VM (not your computer!) to a previous snapshot.

You can try Linux live from the same USB flash drive you would use to install it. That can also be used for file rescue from Windows installations. Rufus (free) works well on Windows for making bootable USB drives. https://rufus.akeo.ie/

I find Windows unpleasant to use compared to Linux but tolerate it out of necessity. Ubuntu online support is excellent because of the large community, and you have quite a choice of DEs (Desktop Environments).

dr_st
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Re: Good distro for replacing Windows?

#5 Post by dr_st » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:18 pm

farmall wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:21 pm
Windows installs deteriorate over time. The colloquial term is "winrot" and the usual solution is nuke and pave (wipe and reinstall).
This is not as true as it used to be; I've noticed it becoming less true with each new generation of Windows (i.e., Vista/7 "rot" less than XP, 8.1 and 10 even less - I haven't observed any 'rot' so to speak.

I generally don't "nuke and pave" at all, and all my computers (especially those running Vista or later) are still pretty much as usable as on day 1. Really only boot time deteriorates, once booted - it's no less snappy even after you install all the useful programs you could want. When it comes to XP - my old laptops seem to feel more sluggish with it then they were at first (but it could just be perception), while my P4 desktop feels as good as it ever did (and even boots fast). Go figure.
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), X1 Carbon (20HQ), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG, X61 7673-V2V
T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

pjc123
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:53 pm
Location: Sparta, NJ USA

Re: Good distro for replacing Windows?

#6 Post by pjc123 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:47 pm

You don't say what Thinkpad model you have. In any event I am running Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon on a Thinkpad T470 and it works great. I am not a fan of MATE, mostly due to issues with other brands of laptops....For me Cinnamon just works everywhere, and has a better interface. The only disadvantage is that it is a little resource hungry than MATE.

evening_hunger
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Location: Normandy, France

Re: Good distro for replacing Windows?

#7 Post by evening_hunger » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:02 am

farmall wrote:
Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:21 pm
If Linux interests you there's no need to give up Windows and if you wish to keep Windows you can also run Linux. You can run them at the same time instead of dual booting. The way I do this is run the host OS of your choice on "bare metal" and the guest OS in a virtual machine. I do this on all my machines as it's quite easy and there's plenty of info online.
While this is true, I'd say it doesn't give a fully comfy setup for the guest system. I run sometimes a WinXP guest using qemu (which uses kvm) on my X220. It's extremely rare, maybe once in a month (Epson made a scanning program that has never been ported to Linux, and that's why). And, while Xp runs phenomenally as a guest, I don't like the fact one of my CPU cores stays at full load all the time. (Note this is not even visible as a user cpu load, you have to use 100%-idle to see it). CPU gets hot and that pisses me off, I don't imagine running a VM 24/7 for this reason, unless I had a P51...
x320/i7-2620M/8GB/256gb.ssd/FHD13.3''IPS/debian_testing (main driver)
x230/i5/8GB/500gb.hdd+256gb.m2ssd/IPS/debian_stable+win7 (better half)

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