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Ask Slashdot: Installing Linux on an Acer 1 Win 7 netbook

mcgrew (92797) writes | more than 4 years ago

Microsoft 6

I just purchased the first whole computer I've bought since 1989. Ever since then I only upgraded it with parts, even though sometimes the parts were a case, power supply, motherboard and memory. I bought a notebook a couple of months ago, but I don't consider it a "whole computer" since its hard drive and battery are shot and I'll have to replace them. Not bad since I only paid twenty bucks for the notebook (an IBM Thinkpad).

I just purchased the first whole computer I've bought since 1989. Ever since then I only upgraded it with parts, even though sometimes the parts were a case, power supply, motherboard and memory. I bought a notebook a couple of months ago, but I don't consider it a "whole computer" since its hard drive and battery are shot and I'll have to replace them. Not bad since I only paid twenty bucks for the notebook (an IBM Thinkpad).

The whole computer I bought yesterday is a netbook; yes, I'm behind the curve. I usually try to stay behind the curve, although my nerdiness makes it hard sometimes. It's an Acer Aspire, and the WalMart guy said that although it doesn't come with bluetooth I can add one for twenty bucks. I took it home, plugged it in, and turned it on. It showed two wifi connections, which I figured were probably neighbors' ports. I went past them, figuring I'd examine them later.

It has Windows 7 "starter edition", which is the first question: What, exactly, do they mean by "starter edition?" What does it lack that other versions of Windows 7 have? And where is the best place to get information about Windows 7 and its operation? Do the XP hot keys still work in 7 (and BTW, Win+A minimizes, hpw do you maximize without a mouse)?

If my neighbors don't have their wireless protected, I'm using it. But I'm conflicted about what to do if it is protected. Your thoughts on the matter will be appreciated.

I'd like to be able to tether my Motorola i776 to it using bluetooth, does anyone have a link to a good howto? My googlefu is weak today.

I'd also like to install Linux, but how can I do that without a CD or DVD drive?

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Some answers (2, Informative)

AnyoneEB (574727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31363774)

Windows 7 comparison chart on Wikipedia. [wikipedia.org] I am not sure what all of the features it is missing are. I wonder if no multiple monitors support actually means it only allows mirroring or that it won't display on an external monitor/TV at all; I assume the former. It sounds like the noticeable missing features are being able to change the desktop wallpaper and not having Aero (accelerated window manager with graphical effects), neither of which sound like that big a deal. It also sounds like it is less able to use a home network.

If you do not have a CD-ROM drive, the main ways to install Linux are to boot off a USB stick [ubuntu.com] or simply boot off your hard drive using UNetbootin [sourceforge.net] . There is also wubi [wubi-installer.org] which installs Ubuntu inside Windows (see Wikipedia for technical details [wikipedia.org] ).

Hotkeys (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#31363794)

All the hotkeys that I generally use work in Win7, but I don't use tons. My guess is that they should work for the most part, though. If you set the option to use ctrl-alt-del for logging in, they took the keyboard shortcuts off the screen that comes up when you hit ctrl-alt-del, which I hate (I'm used to hitting C-A-D and hitting k to lock the computer), but on the other hand, I've found other ways (I never knew about windows-L before, for some reason).

As to the starter edition, basically it means it doesn't have the niceties like Aero. You can look it up on wikipedia, they had a chart detailing what is/is not in various editions last I checked.

Maybe get a Linux iso expanded onto a thumb drive and install it from there?

Various thoughts (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31363996)

You can install from a partition on the HDD, look for various howto's on Vista -> 7 for netbooks. There's about 10 million copy-n-paste jobs of each one, so it shouldn't be too hard to find an example. Mostly it means mucking about on the command line in 7, but if you grok command lines and computer architecture (like partitions, etc) then that won't be hard.

True you can get a bluetooth module for like $20, $30, but you have Windows 7 Starter, which is the least friendly one. Others have already linked you to the feature comparisons, but the basics are: Don't use Windows 7 Starter for much of anything. It's a Granny distro of Windows. Unless you're a power using Granny, in which case, you already wouldn't be running starter would you? It's good for netbooks since it's scoped to allow you to do less, so it conserves batt life. Hey, unintended benefits, yeah?

As for their networking situation, I refer you to Leo Laporte: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0zt4opqL18 [youtube.com] (in case you missed it on the podcast or on idle here) (yeah, I'm a devoted listener to his podcasts - some of them).

As for the shortcuts, I know that MS keeps a list (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/Keyboard-shortcuts) and I use alt+space - x to maximize my windows (have ever since Win3.1 [? or 95] days). Otherwise, they really are looking to make using the computer easier. Try dragging a window to the top or sides of the screen (or is that an Aero only thing?)

Ok, this is turning into a Wall-o-text. Post back if you have more questions... of course.

Linux without CD (1)

moose_hp (179683) | more than 4 years ago | (#31364184)

For installing Linux without a CD or DVD, you can use an USB key with a bootable image, however, your netbook must be able to boot from an USB device (usually a setting on the BIOS), also, you could borrow an external DVD drive, but you still need to be able to boot from an USB device.

Boot from LAN could work as well, never done it tho. Again, you would need to check if the netbook is capable of booting from the network.

There's a tutorial on how to install Linux without any removable media, I can't vouch for it but I would give it a try: Install GNU/Linux without any CD, floppy, USB-key, nor any other removable media [herbert.free.fr]

If you don't care about warranties, you can open the netbook, extract the hard drive and install Linux in another laptop (I'm assuming that netbook hard drives use the same connector as a regular laptop)

Re:Linux without CD (1)

moose_hp (179683) | more than 4 years ago | (#31364352)

Checking the link I gave you, there's already a tool to do it with Instlux [opensuse.org] with openSUSE.

instlux

openSUSE centric, Instlux is included on the openSUSE media. Just run the openSUSE_NET.exe at the root of the media to get started !

However, since you would still need to have the CD, I _think_ you could just download the ISO and mount it as a CD Drive with something like Daemon Tools or Alcohol 120% (or copy the contents to a USB key... maybe)

Anyway, I would try with the self boot USB key first.

Tethering with motoboost (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31364932)

Under Ubuntu, I use Blueman device manager. When it is installed, you get an applet icon on your taskbar. Right click that, select "local services". Check "use blueman" for DUN or dial up networking connections. Close that. On your phone, find the menu entry for bluetooth, then have it look for the bluetooth on the main computer. Synch with that. Enable "trust this device" both ways. Now go back to blueman applet, normal left click it and open it up. Your phone should be showing on the screen now. Select, right click, you'll see a selection for serial ports, go thataway, select dial up networking. The computer will then signal the phone it wants to connect, the phone rings/makes a noise, hit the appropriate OK to allow it. Wait a sec. You should then be on the network. Mine came with the appropriate numbers to dial out already there installed, it's something goofy like S#77 or whatever. Whatever was there worked fine.. If you don't see the phone, run the setup assistant on blueman, you'll see it then, then "trust" it.

I was going round and round until I found that right click to make it use blueman instead of network manager, which you won't need and sucks anyway under ubuntu.. Once I found that, the rest was about automagical. Works great. Just turn images off and the network is quite usable, my main connectiuon was hosed last week from the preceding wednesday to the following monday, and all I had was the cell and tethering and it was just fine. You won't be able to stream live you tube, but just surfing, works fine..

  To disconnect, same right click on your phone in blueman and enter disconnect. I'm able to tether easy now if I need to, or transfer my pics off the phone. Took me awhile to find a bluetooth adapter that worked with my desktop under linux. I just ordered 4 cheap ones at the same time off of amazon, the second one I tried worked. neither of the two real dinky no name on them devices worked, they are like a dollar, skip those. The one I have that worked the easiest is..gotta look...no real name, just bluetooth stamped on it, has a removable cap. Seems it was three or four bucks.

I think this is it

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwcanoniccom-20&index=blended&link_code=qs&field-keywords=100m%20Wireless%20Bluetooth%20USB%20Dongle%20for%20PDA%2FPC%2Fcellphone&sourceid=Mozilla-search [amazon.com]

  Local to me, ONE crappy bluetooth dongle is 20-30 bucks, I got four, with delivery, for 18 off of amazon. I figured one would work, two worked, one works really well. Just stuck it in the USB slot, that's it. I am using ubuntu karmic, 9.10.

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