Laptop Dual Boot Project: Part 2

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Nov 30, 2021 3:54 PM EDT
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker
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LXer Feature: 30-Nov-2021

Here continues my journey to boot different versions of Linux onto my laptop and see how things go.

PCLinuxOS

I used Rufus to install PCLinuxOS onto my 8gig jump-drive while running in Windows 10. I set the Persistent Partition Size to 5gigs and the install seemed to go without a hitch. It recognized all my hardware and the backlight on my keyboard even works! I was able to do some updates and install Chrome easily. After booting out of Linux, back into Windows and then into Linux again none of my changes were saved. My friend Don’s first suggestion was that it might be a permissions issue. Looks like I need to do some research.

Kubuntu

I downloaded Kubuntu (2.6gigs) and installed it on my new 32gig jump-drive and tried it out...wow it was SLOW! It took minutes just to open a program or browser. I figured it had to be something to do with the Plasma desktop or Kubuntu in general because my Linux Mint jump-drive and my PCLinuxOS jump-drive, they run nice and fast. I am going to install a different version of Linux on my 32gig and see if it something to do with the jump-drive itself. I tried it on another of my jump drives and it was still really slow in all facets of operation no matter what program or file I was opening/using.

Ubuntu

I loaded Ubuntu onto a jump drive and booted into it just fine. It's interesting to use Ubuntu every so often. It's cool to see Linux as most new people get to see Linux and notice the differences of style and presentation from the other distros I use. I like Ubuntu, I just don't use it very often. Maybe that'll change.

Linux Mint

Once I tried Linux Mint a couple of years ago it has quickly become my 'other' favorite. My first one being PCLinuxOS. Linux Mint is pretty without losing functionality. I like the 'flow' of Mint under Cinnamon. It makes any computer or laptop seem like a jazzy new computer the way it looks and acts.

SUSE

I got SUSE installed to one of my jump drives fine and ran it 'live'. A lot has changed with SUSE over the years but it loaded and ran just fine. It was snappy even. I guess I am just too used to Windows or at least the 'classic' Windows theme. SUSE seems foreign to me now. I remember running OpenSuSE back in the day and loving it, oh well.

VirtualBox

I decided to give the virtual machine a try. I got it to install fairly easily and got PCLinuxOS and Linux Mint 'installed' on it. The performance hit is noticeable. Opening files and programs takes a few seconds to get going but once they are, they run fine. The one program that it was really choppy and noticeable was the web browser. Firefox is the default for both PCLOS and Mint. and getting it to log into and load my Google account and g-mail took longer than it should have. A lot of this has to do with the amount of RAM you dedicate to the virtual machine during the VirtualBox setup.

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I know some of you are wondering why go through all of this when I could just install a Linux distro along side of windows and be done with it? One reason was I had to pay it off. A financed $550 laptop takes a little while to pay off. I didn't want to change the machine any while I owed money on it. And the idea of messing with a bone stock laptop using Linux sounded fun. The good thing now is that I have paid it off so it's all mine to do whatever I want with.

So, for me it came down to PCLOS, Mint, SUSE or Ubuntu to install to my laptop. I tried them all 'live' from USB drives and a couple of them using VirtualBox. They are all good distros and there are many articles on why one or the other is good or better for you but for me, it came down to PCLinuxOS or Mint. Having come from Windows originally I am most comfortable with a "Windows like" environment. I think both PCLOS and Mint are two versions of that I like best. I like Mint more but what has drawn me to PCLOS is that it is the only Linux I have tried in that the backlight on my keyboard works. It may sound dumb but it makes it easier for me being able to see the keys no matter the lighting situation I'm in.

I tried to install PCLinuxOS onto my laptop and I got a "can't call method on first_usable_sector unblessed reference" error at the very beginning of the install process. I couldn't get around it and aborted the install. Time to do some research. Come to find out I have a AHCI-RAID problem. I got into the BIOS and changed the SATA configuration from RAID to AHCI but in rebooting, it wouldn't boot.

So I went back into my BIOS and wrote down the configuration in the SATA settings. It says I am running the "Intel RST Premium with Intel Optane System Acceleration". I have been looking that up but haven't found much...much I understand that is. More Googling is required.

I got back into the boot menu and changed the SATA config back to Intel's RAID setting and it re-booted just fine. It seems that for the moment I am able to run Linux from USB 'live' and under VirtualBox but I am unable to install it to the HD. For those who don't know the big difference AHCI and Raid , it is how they store the data to the hard drive.

I'll use a sink with water filling it for the metaphor. RAID 1 offers redundancy through mirroring, i.e., data is written identically to two drives. Think of two sinks with the same water in them. RAID 0 offers no redundancy and instead uses striping, i.e., data is split across all the drives. think of two sinks with the water split between them. Half of the data goes into one drive and the other half into another drive. This means RAID 0 offers no fault tolerance; if the drives fails, the RAID unit fails.

Because the laptop I own came with Windows pre-installed someone chose RAID (0 or 1 I assume, I haven't figured it out yet) instead of AHCI as the format for data saving to my HD and now I can't seem to install Linux..any Linux, to my laptop.

My friend Don says all is not lost, there may be a way around it still. We'll see. The adventure continues..

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» Read more about: Story Type: LXer Features, News Story; Groups: Distributions, GNOME, GNU, Intel, KDE, Linux, Microsoft, Mint, SUSE, Ubuntu

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I got Linux to install! Scott_Ruecker 2 1,631 Dec 22, 2021 3:02 PM

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