Cheap Laptop Reborn [Photo: Henrik Hemrin]


Half a year ago I wrote the article Short life time for my cheap laptop, about my two years old laptop which could not execute Windows updates due to low memory capacity. After the article was written, I did more trials, but I failed. I do believe it can be possible, for example by reinstallation of Windows and start from start. But so complicated handling should not be needed on a new laptop.

Now I have given the laptop a new life with Linux. After considering several, reviewing by reading and Live-DVD, I have installed Linux Mint. This Linux distribution is suitable for the characteristics of my laptop; memory is big enough with margin. Linux Mint is a distribution with many users, it has a relatively big forum for support, it has a very big software library and is seen as an easy to use distribution.

Installation went very easy, took less than 15 minutes. But. I had a severe problem that it did not start up, the boot did not find the installation… So here I had a stop with multiple testing and reading. Finally, I reinstalled but this time in ”EFI” (UEFI) mode instead of BIOS (legacy) mode, setting in the Boot menu. Linux Mint supports both booting alternatives. In order to have EFI to work, I needed to disable the Secure boot option in the boot menu. After this reinstallation, Linux Mint started perfectly! So, I must admit I had this installation issue. But after that issue, all has been working well for those first days after installation. And this issue was really to replace Windows with a completely different operating system. The normal case is that you purchase a computer with the operating system installed, so this kind of task is normally not done with Windows either by the average user.

Linux Mint, as well as other Linux distributions, are indeed user friendly. Maybe it can be good to know a bit about computers, but absolutely not a computer geek. Much software are included in the installation, so with some settings its ready to use. Linux, in difference to Windows, macOS or ChromeOS, are available in very many different variants; that is where the word distribution (or distro) comes from. And each distribution can be available for both 32 and 64 bits, and may also be available with different types of desktops.

I installed Linux Mint, Cinnamon desktop, release 19. In a couple of weeks will release 19.1 come, and it will be interesting to see how it works with update of the operating system.

Main characteristics of this laptop: CPU: 1.60 GHz dual core, eMCC (SSD) Hard drive: 32 GB and RAM: 2 GB.

As far as I have learned, this laptop which could not handle Windows updates properly anymore, and from that perspective was ready for waste, has no problem to work with Linux!

Final remark: Microsoft Windows is great in many ways. So is Apple macOS. But Linux indeed is also an interesting operating system, also for a normal personal usage (or job)!

Henrik Hemrin
19 November 2018

This article is also published on LinkedIn