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Paul Saffold
11-05-2015, 6:24 PM
I need a new operating system for my HP laptop w/WinXP. I now have a macbook pro and the HP has been in the closet for over a year. I want to wipe the HP and install a free or cheep OS to use it as an internet radio for the shop. Iíve seen a few articles mentioning Ubuntu, Mint, elementary OS and others but I have never used anything not original to any of my computers. The specs on the HP are: AMD 64 3200+, 996 MHz, 2.0 GB RAM, 74 GB hard drive.
I donít want to try to install an OS that my hardware wonít be able to handle.
After using the mac for over a year Iíd forgotten how s l o w the HP was but it works for a radio. I tried Spotify on it and the internal speakers are enough. Most of my work is neander now except for the lathe. When I use other machines it is only for a few minutes.
Any suggestions or recommendation appreciated. Iím not much of a geek but there isnít much to lose by playing with the old HP.

Paul

David Masters
11-05-2015, 7:24 PM
If it were me, I'd load some distribution of Linux on it. Any would perform well enough on your HP to provide Internet radio. I've only played with Ubuntu, but it was easy to install and manage. Mint I'm told is better, but I've not put in any time with it. There are a few here that are big Linux advocates that can provide more detailed information. All should have the drivers necessary to work on the vintage of your laptop.

Dave

Mike Henderson
11-05-2015, 9:01 PM
If the radio works with XP, why not just keep XP? Changing the OS to anything will be a lot of work.

Mike

Prashun Patel
11-05-2015, 9:07 PM
I hate to sound glib but you will save yourself a lot of effort by buying a cheap, new machine, tablet, or refurb. I have rarely found it to be worth the effort unless u like doing it.

Mike Henderson
11-05-2015, 9:23 PM
I hate to sound glib but you will save yourself a lot of effort by buying a cheap, new machine, tablet, or refurb. I have rarely found it to be worth the effort unless u like doing it.

+1 I certainly agree with that.

Mike

roger wiegand
11-06-2015, 9:43 AM
If it works why upgrade the OS? It's probably not going to make it work any better. It may be a security risk, but you could turn off any ports that are not essential to run Spotify and give it no privileges on your home network.

Linux will work well on such a machine, meets your free/cheap criterion, but may be a bit of an adventure to get everything running.

Paul Saffold
11-06-2015, 10:43 AM
.....but may be a bit of an adventure to get everything running.

Yep. The more I look into it, it looks like more work than it's worth or that I want to spend my time on. It started because of the security concerns of a laptop with banking and personal info on. I don't have CDs to reinstall XP if I were to do a very through wipe of the hard drive thus the Linux OS.

Curt Harms
11-06-2015, 10:53 AM
There are a few here that are big Linux advocates that can provide more detailed information. All should have the drivers necessary to work on the vintage of your laptop.

You called? :D

It's easy to try one of the 'buntus on it as a live install. Ease of install and use has improved over the past few years. Yes, Windows users, it's quite possible to have a usable machine running off a CD/DVD or USB flash drive, no hard drive even required. Not fully functional but enough to tell how well the hardware is supported certainly. No it won't run MS Office or Photoshop (At least not easily). I would not install one of the 'heavier' distros on that machine. Rather I'd look at something like MintXFCE, LXLE, maybe Xubuntu. Unlike Windows or Mac, linux can use several desktops. Ubuntu's Unity (default desktop), Gnome-shell and I think Cinnamon require video hardware acceleration. I don't know if your machine supports that. XFCE and LXDE work fine with less capable video subsystems. Mint is quite popular because it comes with more license restricted codecs and such already installed so things are more likely to "just work". You may have trouble with flash video; Some early AMD Athlon processors didn't support some instruction required for recent Flash versions. I would expect internet radio to work just fine.

The other problem you might run into would be wireless networking. This probably generates more forum support traffic than any other. If the machine has an Intel or Atheros/Qualcomm wifi chip, it'll likely just work. If it's Broadcom, most Realtek or brand X, it probably won't without extra steps. You'll know as soon as the live session finishes loading. If you see a message "wifi networks available" (assuming there are some of course), you're good. If not, the easiest solution would be to buy one of these:

staples (.) com/NETGEAR-N150-WiFi-USB-Adapter-WNA1100-/product_819059

amazon (.) com/TRENDnet-Wireless-Mbps-Adapter-TEW-649UB/dp/B002PHV6TK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446818905&sr=8-1&keywords=Trendnet+TEW-649UB

amazon (.) com/Tenda-150Mbps-Wireless-Adapter-W311MI/dp/B006GCYAOI/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1446818986&sr=8-3-fkmr0&keywords=tenda+300mi

There are other good choices, these are the ones I have experience with. My favorite of those is the TrendNet. Good signal strength, good speed for an N adapter. Plug it in and it works - unless TrendNet has changed the chipset. No way to determine that without buying it. Return it if it doesn't work.

How to create a live DVD/USB? If your machine has a DVD drive, I've had better luck with DVD than USB. In fact I wouldn't bet on that vintage machine booting a live USB, it may not have the BIOS support for USB booting. Here's the 'home page' for Mint XFCE with links to help with download & install.

http://www.linuxmint.com/rel_qiana_xfce_whatsnew.php

Here's the first thing to come up on Google, should help with using Windows to create a linux live DVD.

https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/burn-mint

If Mint XFCE is still too 'heavy' or you don't like green, here's a fairly new but well regarded distro.

http://www.lxle.net/

The download, burn and install are the same for all Ubuntu derivatives.

If you decide to install a linux distro, you can tell it to install beside Windows and you have what is called 'dual boot'. When you turn the machine on, you'll see a simple menu. Use the arrow keys to highlight either Windows or Ubuntu/Mint/LXLE and press enter. There'll be other entries that you can ignore. I hope this isn't too confusing. Contrary to common opinion, I don't think modern linux distros are any harder to install and use than Windows. They ARE different. No "C:" drive (What??!! How can that be????) Instead it's sda, and on and on. Similar things different names. And practically speaking no malware to date on desktop systems.

David Masters
11-06-2015, 11:31 AM
Security is a valid concern on XP. I'm like you that I have a collection of old Thinkpad laptops that have Windows 2000 and XP loaded on them. I don't allow them on the Internet. I keep them for the few old applications I have that are still useful, but didn't provide updates to newer operating systems. Since you want to use Internet Radio, I would recommend the Linux OS route. There is very little work to install and get things running.

Chuck Wintle
11-06-2015, 11:57 AM
Security is a valid concern on XP. I'm like you that I have a collection of old Thinkpad laptops that have Windows 2000 and XP loaded on them. I don't allow them on the Internet. I keep them for the few old applications I have that are still useful, but didn't provide updates to newer operating systems. Since you want to use Internet Radio, I would recommend the Linux OS route. There is very little work to install and get things running.

Personally I find the newer Linux distros pretty good and, as such, once installed, are ready to use. if you do not like xp and no longer have the install cd's then wipe the hard d rive clean for the linux install. I don't think drivers will be a problem.

Jerome Stanek
11-06-2015, 12:08 PM
Why not try a live linux cd and see how that would work.

Justin Ludwig
11-07-2015, 8:08 AM
Sounds like a lot of work for a just wanting to stream radio and chase the interwebs occasionally.

I'd clean up XP, turn off all applications from loading and set it to Performance. It would run just fine.

My helper was about to punch his computer yesterday until I showed him how to clean it up and lose all the "bundled" junk. I thought millennials are supposed to know computers? :D

Paul Saffold
11-07-2015, 10:27 AM
Curt, (and others)

Thank you very very much for your detailed reply.

If you don't mind I have a few questions.

1-My HP w/ win xp does not have a dvd burner (read only) but I have a macbook pro and external burner (mac only). I want to download and burn one of the os. Can I do it on the mac then put it in the HP dvd reader? If not I've looked up external burners and there are many to choose from for not too much money.

2-You talked about wifi connectivity. I am able to connect now with the XP. Might that change if I switch to one of the linux os?

3-Reading through the instructions for downloading LXLE or Elementary OS from landoflinux.com they describe the options. The one that appeals to me is to use the whole disc thus removing winXP. Does this option erase the whole disc or should I download one of the disc erasers to be sure to remove any person data?

Paul

glenn bradley
11-07-2015, 10:34 AM
As mentioned, since you want this for internet radio, XP is an unsupported exposure that will only grow more exposed to attack with time. If your internet radio is the ONLY thing on your home network, you probably don;t care if it gets hacked, just restore it and move on. However, I doubt this is the case.

Some flavor of linux would be your cheap fix IF you can find drivers for your particular hardware. As Curt mentions, we get more wireless trouble out of linux than anything else when it comes to wireless on campus. We have a near 30,000 user base so it is a pretty good sample.

How you listen to music will effect your satisfaction level. If you currently listen to internet radio I would look for a device that works well with the stations you like. There are several sub-$200 internet radio appliances. I favor Pandora since I can customize everything from my computer and pretty much use the appliance as a player/tuner. Grace makes a few offerings but, something like an old laptop with a keyboard makes things easier if you need to manage your music from your listening device.

Paul Saffold
11-07-2015, 10:43 AM
Some of you have questioned why I want to be bothered with my old laptop. I guess it's the same mindset that gives me the desire to buy and recondition older hand tools. Saws, chisels, planes etc. To make something useable or better than it was. Waste not, want not. Maybe it came from being raised by parents that grew up and struggled through the depression. Maybe just contrariness.

So, after reading more about some of the linux os, and the directions for installing it on my computer, it's something that looks very doable and I want to try. If it doesn't work, well I'm not out much except time and I have lots of that. I hope. And at the worst I know where I can find good magnets.

Tom Stenzel
11-07-2015, 12:42 PM
Hi Paul,

Like I've mentioned before I converted my HP desktop system from XP to Linux. I used Point Linux, none of the Ubuntu and relations would work because of my video system. Point Linux is a Russian distro, I figured after boring the NSA to tears with my drivel I needed to give the Russians equal time. ;)

The big problem I have is video and sound- the same as most others have with Linux. The video and sound support for the VIA (that's the company name) stuff on the motherboard is so-so. Watching video takes up more processor time with Linux, it's just less efficient. Flash doesn't work at all.

A fer instance: Setting up Audacity with Windows was no problem, install and start. It worked with Linux but only after I managed to set the sound to "VIA 8237:VIA8237(hw:0,1):mix:0" out of lots of options. Plus using ALSA sound support, not pulse. The going was slow.

To answer your questions:

1. Yes, you can burn the ISO download to a DVD on a MAC and use it in your HP.

2. Wifi support has been a problem for Linux. Most times it works. But I haven't heard of wired ethernet ports not working. Be prepared to hook up your WIRED ethernet port on the laptop do you can download stuff to fix the wifi support if needed.

3. Windows XP used NTFS for the filesystem to store data on the hard drive. With Linux you have a choice of filesystems. A lot of them are aimed at data security, RAID systems and the like. I used EXT4, FWIW and have found it painless. I *think* the 'buntu releases make the decision for you and should be OK.

Formatting your hard drive with a different filesystem will wipe out everything. There are ways to set up a dual boot but I didn't do that.

I don't do internet radio so I can't give you any help with that.

Only you can figure out if Linux is for you. At work I had to deal with all sorts of stuff, MSOS 4 (Control Data Series 17 for the kids out there) iRMX-86, QNX on the desktop, VAX-VMS, couple others. My patience with this stuff is going to be higher than yours. Lotsa luck!

-Tom

paul cottingham
11-07-2015, 1:58 PM
I have never had trouble getting Linux to run on any 'puter that runs XP. I doubt you will have any problems. I have run streaming clients with ease.

paul cottingham
11-07-2015, 2:07 PM
One thing to think about when considering Linux. Both windows 8 and 10 have learning curves, as they are new operating systems. Linux has a learning curve, admittedly, but if you need to learn a new OS, why not a free one, that doesnt have the myriad of security issues that Windows does.

the security model for Windows is a mess. Most apps run as a highly priveleged user, and this makes windows very vulnerable to hacking, and viruses. Linux does not have this -massive- vulnerability. Dont listen when people tell you that the only reason windows are targetted by hackers and virii is because of how common they are. Most internet, mail, and DNS servers run Unix. So there are plenty of them out there.

the reason people dont write virii for *Nix is becuase it has a very solid security model, unlike Windows, which, at its heart, has a laughable security system.

Scott Shepherd
11-07-2015, 2:31 PM
the reason people dont write virii for *Nix is becuase it has a very solid security model, unlike Windows, which, at its heart, has a laughable security system.

And has had that for 25 years now. You'd think at some point along the journey, someone would have figured out that they've gone the wrong direction, wouldn't you? It's really sad that in 25 years, they still have the same problems.

paul cottingham
11-07-2015, 3:06 PM
And has had that for 25 years now. You'd think at some point along the journey, someone would have figured out that they've gone the wrong direction, wouldn't you? It's really sad that in 25 years, they still have the same problems.

Its a huge hassle for admins. We had clients who were running a database app on Windows, using an Access based database. The only way it ran properly (without registry hacks, that only worked about 3/4 of the time, and often blew up computers) was to have the users log in as admin. It was a real security nightmare. We consulted with several people who were more expert than us, (a couple of MCT's we worked with, the real kind, who actually worked as consultants) and they all told us that was as good as it was going to get. So in order to lock users out, we had to use policies, which of course they could remove, cause they were logged in as admin, and locking admin out if Poledit was not an option, of course. Oh, and poledit sometimes blew up the computers for no good reason.

oh, and the damn server wouldnt run in Unix or accept logins from unix clients, so that wasn't an option, even if we could get the client to run in WINE.

It was a nightmare.

Microsoft has never really addressed issues like this.

so the replacement app runs in a web browser, which will run on any OS.

Curt Harms
11-08-2015, 9:05 AM
Curt, (and others)

Thank you very very much for your detailed reply.

If you don't mind I have a few questions.

1-My HP w/ win xp does not have a dvd burner (read only) but I have a macbook pro and external burner (mac only). I want to download and burn one of the os. Can I do it on the mac then put it in the HP dvd reader? If not I've looked up external burners and there are many to choose from for not too much money.

It shouldn't matter as far as I know. I use linux installs to create live linux CD/DVD/USB all the time. It's not a direct copy though. You download an .iso file - seems a little bit like a zip file - and 'burn' that to a disk. I'm not at all familiar with Macs so can't advise which app to use. Unetbootin is available for Mac and Windows and Linux.
http://unetbootin.github.io/ which is what I typically use.


2-You talked about wifi connectivity. I am able to connect now with the XP. Might that change if I switch to one of the linux os?

It can be really easy - plug it in and it works, no need to download anything, or it can be a real PITA. It depends on the chipset. Intel wifi chips typically just work. Atheros is good. Broadcom does not permit their drivers to be bundled in the O.S. download but are easily installed. You do need a one-time internet connection if you have a Broadcom wifi chipset. There's an app to download and install additional drivers. Broadcom will likely show up there. Click and it downloads and installs. That's why I listed some USB wifi adapters that in my experience are plug 'n' play. It's sort of ironic to use a USB wifi adapter to download the drivers for another internal wifi adapter but I've done just that if I didn't have a convenient ethernet cable. You can tell what wifi chipset you have in XP by going to device manager.

3-Reading through the instructions for downloading LXLE or Elementary OS from landoflinux.com they describe the options. The one that appeals to me is to use the whole disc thus removing winXP. Does this option erase the whole disc or should I download one of the disc erasers to be sure to remove any person data?

Paul

It's wise to keep a Windows install around. There are some things where Windows is the only game in town. Updating my Garmin GPS is one such case, updating the firmware on a Brother printer is another. If a piece of software or driver update is only available as an .exe file, Linux won't be able to use it, at least not natively. I haven't started my Win 7 install in months. I dread the updates, there's gotta be a ton but it's there is I need it. I know LXLE is an Ubuntu derivative and I think Elementary OS is as well. I'm not positive about Elementary - I downloaded it once a long time ago and didn't care for it. LXLE uses Ubuntu's installer where you can install

1) beside another O.S. (dual boot),

2) erase and use the whole disk or

3) something else. Something else gives a lot of flexibility but you need to have a clue about partitions, boot loaders and stuff.

Not an issue on Paul's machine but if anyone else is reading this, the above doesn't necessarily apply to machines that came with Windows 8 or 10. They are required by Microsoft to use a UEFI BIOS and secure boot which can be another (sometimes smelly) kettle of fish, it depends on the manufacturer's implementation of UEFI.

Paul Saffold
11-13-2015, 5:23 PM
Update.


After going back and forth over different versions, I installed the LXLE linux operating system this morning. No problems with wifi, sound or videos. Plays youtube and the videos on popular woodworking on demand.


Itís very different than anything Iíve used before and not much about it is very intuitive. For example I have not figured how to shut down yet. The guides that Iíve looked at assume the user knows a lot about linux. Still looking for a non-geek users tutorial.


But the biggest drawback to it is not having time to play solitaire while pages are loading like I did with the WindowsXP :) ! The WindowsXP was so slow. I did a clean load, removing everything from the drive upon instillation of the LXLE.


Thanks for all the advice and encouragement to try the linux.


Paul

Larry Browning
11-13-2015, 6:41 PM
To all you "sounds like more trouble than it's worth" crowd. It's the journey, not the destination.
This sounds to me like a couple of evening's (or more) worth of entertainment, that won't cost a penny. Party on Dude! Have fun! And learn something in the process!

BTW: Have a look at this website, It provided me with hours and hours of fun. http://www.havetheknowhow.com/

paul cottingham
11-14-2015, 12:06 AM
Update.


After going back and forth over different versions, I installed the LXLE linux operating system this morning. No problems with wifi, sound or videos. Plays youtube and the videos on popular woodworking on demand.


It’s very different than anything I’ve used before and not much about it is very intuitive. For example I have not figured how to shut down yet. The guides that I’ve looked at assume the user knows a lot about linux. Still looking for a non-geek users tutorial.


But the biggest drawback to it is not having time to play solitaire while pages are loading like I did with the WindowsXP :) ! The WindowsXP was so slow. I did a clean load, removing everything from the drive upon instillation of the LXLE.


Thanks for all the advice and encouragement to try the linux.


Paul

You are the man! Enjoy freedom from all of Windows painful grief.
.

Curt Harms
11-14-2015, 8:34 AM
To all you "sounds like more trouble than it's worth" crowd. It's the journey, not the destination.
This sounds to me like a couple of evening's (or more) worth of entertainment, that won't cost a penny. Party on Dude! Have fun! And learn something in the process!

BTW: Have a look at this website, It provided me with hours and hours of fun. http://www.havetheknowhow.com/


Exactly right, Larry. If nothing else, you may get beyond the rote stage of learning i.e. "I do this and this happens. I have no idea why" if you're so inclined. And maybe have an alternative to Microsoft's monitoring (spyware) that is part of Windows 10 and on consumer versions can't be disabled (as I understand it).

Curt Harms
11-14-2015, 8:42 AM
Update.


After going back and forth over different versions, I installed the LXLE linux operating system this morning. No problems with wifi, sound or videos. Plays youtube and the videos on popular woodworking on demand.


It’s very different than anything I’ve used before and not much about it is very intuitive. For example I have not figured how to shut down yet. The guides that I’ve looked at assume the user knows a lot about linux. Still looking for a non-geek users tutorial.

There are two ways to shut down on Lubuntu - I expect LXLE is similar. The first is the little icon in the lower left corner. It's sort of like Windows XP 'start' button. The second is a button in the lower right corner. It should look like a power button. I don't have an LXLE install but I expect the UI is pretty similar to Lubuntu.


But the biggest drawback to it is not having time to play solitaire while pages are loading like I did with the WindowsXP :) ! The WindowsXP was so slow. I did a clean load, removing everything from the drive upon instillation of the LXLE.


Thanks for all the advice and encouragement to try the linux.


Paul

Have you tried searching in Youtube for "LXLE"? There are quite a few hits there, reviews and such though I haven't looked at them.

Tom Stenzel
11-14-2015, 3:19 PM
Hi Paul,

LXLE linux uses the LXDE desktop environment. Look to

http://lxde.org/

for help. I also remember some Linux desktops you just right-clicked on an empty area of the screen and the shutdown option would then pop up.

I use the Mate 1.4 interface- the shutdown icon is in the upper right corner but can be moved. That's what's so great about Linux, the distros are all the same and completely different at the same time!:p

-Tom

Paul Saffold
11-14-2015, 3:44 PM
Thanks Tom & Curt. I've been exploring and found how to get around a bit. I've been using a Mac for almost 2 years and need to do a little re-education.
Paul

Curt Harms
11-15-2015, 8:09 AM
Thanks Tom & Curt. I've been exploring and found how to get around a bit. I've been using a Mac for almost 2 years and need to do a little re-education.
Paul

There are desktops that are more Mac-like. They need hardware video support so don't really work well on older machines. XFCE, LXDE based distros and to some extent MATE look and work sort of like Win 9X, Win2k or XP and have modest hardware requirements. Gnome 3, Unity and KDE are 'prettier' and require more graphics hardware capability.

Kent Adams
11-15-2015, 8:35 AM
Thanks Tom & Curt. I've been exploring and found how to get around a bit. I've been using a Mac for almost 2 years and need to do a little re-education.
Paul

Buy a used iPod Touch off craigslist for $50 or less, problem solved and you can free up space because its so tiny.

Chuck Wintle
12-30-2015, 10:56 AM
Thanks Tom & Curt. I've been exploring and found how to get around a bit. I've been using a Mac for almost 2 years and need to do a little re-education.
Paul

Paul, Do you still like this version of linux after using it for awhile?

Paul Saffold
12-30-2015, 11:55 AM
Well, as it turns out I’m not using the old HP for internet music, which was my original goal. My wife bought me a Mondo internet radio by Grace Digital. I do use the HP to watch ww DVDs and youtube and FWW videos and a little internet surfing. However it is a slow computer compared to the Mac w/SSD that I’ve gotten used to. I suspect the slowness of the HP is inherent to the computer and not the Linux OS. Its hard to compare a 10 year old computer to a 2 y.o one. I do like having the old clunker in my shop. I don’t worry much about dust. The Linux LXLE is capable of much more than I’ll ever utilize and it is the only version I've tried so can't compare it to others.

Garth Almgren
12-30-2015, 12:14 PM
And at the worst I know where I can find good magnets.
Yep, they're inside the hard drive! :D
Degaussing a hard drive with magnets is tougher than it sounds and is better left to magnetic tape media. If it's a spinning glass platter hard drive, the easiest way to permanently and irrecoverably destroy the data is with a hammer. Aluminum platters need to take a trip through the (industrial) shredder. Destroy the platters and ain't nobody putting Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

Mike Chance in Iowa
12-30-2015, 8:12 PM
I suspect the slowness of the HP is inherent to the computer and not the Linux OS. Its hard to compare a 10 year old computer to a 2 y.o one. I do like having the old clunker in my shop. I donít worry much about dust.

While I will never claim to be a computer expert, I worked on thousands of computers in my previous career. Based on my experience with HP's, I believe your hunch is right that the slowness is due to the HP itself and not Linux. While I love the old HP Laserjets, I would never own an HP computer.

Until a few weeks ago, I was still running XP on my 10 year old ThinkPad. I finally had to break down and do something different because of internet browsers and antivirus programs crashing on a regular basis due to XP no longer being tested when updates were rolled out. (The laptop & old apps ran great and were still fast. It was the 2015 data that was crashing.) I opted to purchase a Distributer's/Reseller Copy of Windows 7 as that can be used on a refurbished machine.

I cloned my whole hard drive just to be safe. I then wiped my XP OS partition and installed Windows 7 in that partition while leaving my data partition untouched. Having installed Windows 7 on other brands of older laptops, I was expecting it to be slow. I was greatly surprised that my old ThinkPad boots so much faster with Windows 7 and it runs considerably cooler than it ever has before while running XP. As long as the hardware holds up on my old ThinkPad, I plan to continue using it for as long as possible!