Putting Ubuntu on my craptop
October 5, 2017 10:57 AM   Subscribe

I have an hp Stream 13. It has Windows 10 and it sucks. I think some of my problems will be solved with Ubuntu. But how do I do that? Or find someone who will do it for me? I have many questions.

My understanding is that I have to 1) backup my data somewhere else (check), 2) Delete Windows (how?), and 3) Run the Ubuntu install from a pre-prepared USB (how? which one?)

Is there anything I need to think about? I can usually figure out new software or a new environment, but I don't know how to partition a drive or what that means. So I'm confident that I can get around in a new environment, but I'm not confident that I can get to that new environment.

I literally only need Internet (and compatibility with Google Docs), some way to manage non-DRM music that I have on an external hard drive, and some way to manage library ebooks using a kobo device. And maybe like a notepad program and a calculator. I don't game or use the computer to watch media. Is this all likely to be possible with Ubuntu?

And finally...if I screw up the install or if I can't figure out how to do it, how do I find someone honest to fix it? What's a good ballpark cost?

I used to be with it, but then they changed what it was. Now what I'm with isn't it anymore, and what's it seems weird and scary! It'll happen to you!
posted by blnkfrnk to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I just did this. Ubuntu will ask you during the installation process if you want to be able to dual boot with windows, you don't have to do anything else (like partitioning)
To create the usb boot drive, download this program (Rufus) Rufus will take the downloaded install file from Ubuntu and put it on the USB drive
You should be able to find all the software you need for Ubuntu.
posted by canoehead at 11:37 AM on October 5


First: there used to be Kobo software available, but I don't know if there's still anything floating around somewhere.

For 3) there's this guide.

As for wiping Windows c.q. partitioning, that's all done in one go by the installer if you pick the "use entire drive" option (or something similar-sounding).

If you screw up, you can just try again, figuring out how to do it shouldn't be difficult... You might want to wait for the new release later this month, iirc the current Ubuntu release had some issues with the install image.

In the linux landscape there are about a gazillion desktop environments available; since your machine appears to have only a (by today's standards) meagre 2GB RAM, you might want to try a more lightweight version like xubuntu if the regular ubuntu seems a bit sluggish.
posted by farlukar at 11:39 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I have an hp Stream 13. It has Windows 10 and it sucks. I think some of my problems will be solved with Ubuntu.
Quite possibly, yes. Many, many people use and like Ubuntu. It used to be the go-to beginners distro; right now, however, Mint is exactly that. I'll answer your questions as if you said Mint because I like it so much, but it doesn't matter much: Mint is based on Ubuntu and similar in many ways. So if you read Ubuntu wherever I wrote Mint, that is fine too.

My understanding is that I have to 1) backup my data somewhere else (check), 2) Delete Windows (how?), and 3) Run the Ubuntu install from a pre-prepared USB (how? which one?)
1) Yes! Good.
2) No. Mint will do that for you during the installation process, if you tell it to.
3) Yes. The 'how' will depend on your laptop; you can find a tutorial here. And here is someone who did what you have in mind, proving that it's possible! Woo hoo!

I can usually figure out new software or a new environment, but I don't know how to partition a drive or what that means. So I'm confident that I can get around in a new environment, but I'm not confident that I can get to that new environment.
During the installation, Mint will partition the drive for you. If you don't care to keep your Windows installation, then things are really quite easy. Installation troubles usually consist of getting the two different OSses on a dual boot to play nice; if that's not what you're after, then the battle is already half won.

First, you'll need to download your ISO of choice. For a light machine like yours, I recommend Mint XFCE.
Then you can use a program like Rufus or UNetBootin to make your bootable USB stick. 2GB is all it takes.
Then you will need to make your laptop jump through the hoop of booting from that instead of from the harddrive. The tutorial linked above deals with all of that.
Once you get Mint to start, you can rejoice, take it for a test drive and see how you like it, and if you like what you see, you click on the Install icon on the desktop. And from then on, you'll be guided through the installation process step by step, in a nice friendly GUI.

I literally only need Internet (and compatibility with Google Docs), some way to manage non-DRM music that I have on an external hard drive, and some way to manage library ebooks using a kobo device. And maybe like a notepad program and a calculator. I don't game or use the computer to watch media. Is this all likely to be possible with Ubuntu?
Yes. And then some. (I'm expecting that the e-reader will act like an external HD.)

And finally...if I screw up the install or if I can't figure out how to do it, how do I find someone honest to fix it? What's a good ballpark cost?
This is the one question that I can't answer. If you lived in my country, I'd do it for a nice dinner. Your local hackerspace can probably help you, or hook you up with someone who can; in most hackerspaces, people are happy to hear someone utter the words 'I'd love to ditch Windows for good'.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:42 AM on October 5 [1 favorite]


I've done this a few times over the years and it was usually really easy to just let the installer handle everything. But earlier this year I got an Acer laptop with Windows 10 that had some kind innate resistance. It would appear to go through the whole installation process but would reboot to Windows 10 with no sign that anything had actually been changed -- even though I'd been trying to remove Windows 10 entirely.

I eventually got Windows 10 off and Ubuntu on by wiping and reformatting all original partitions on the hard drive, and then installing.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 11:47 AM on October 5


If your craptop is really low powered, you might consider Lubuntu. It's a version of Ubuntu specifically tailored not to need much power. (Lubuntu is a portmanteau of "low-powered" and Ubuntu.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:18 PM on October 5


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