My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

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My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

Postby AE2100A on Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:06 pm

I have been using Linux Mint 14 for some time, but it has been graphically unstable, but I figured out work-arounds to make it work. My assumption was that my graphics card on my motherboard was just too small or old. Since I was upgrading to a new motherboard, I thought I would upgrade to Linux Mint 16. So, I used the Linux Mint Backup Tool and backed up my files and backed up my software. Using the same hard drive installed with the new motherboard, I used a Linux Mint 16 DVD to install Linux Mint. I can't remember ever running Linux Mint after that point without falling back graphically. Since I had primarily upgraded motherboards specifically to get a more robust graphical experience without the annoying work-arounds with Linux Mint 14, I was not pleased. I tried various graphics cards attempting, but failing to have any impact on falling back. Finally, after installing Linux Mint 16 and Linux Mint 15 9 times, I was presented with an option from Linux Mint 16 to completely re-format the whole drive. I don't know what I was doing before, but I thought i was writing over the section of Linux Mint 14 OS with Linux Mint 16 OS, potentailly keeping intact all by data. Once I selected to re-format the whole drive, the Linux Mint 16 finally did not fallback. So, I restored my software and re-booted and fell back again. So, I re-installed again, this time only restoring some of the software. However, upon reboot, I fell back again. Finally, I gave up attempting to re-instate my former software and decided to start from scratch, reloading everything. So far, I have remained graphically stable and having introduced something to make me fallback. That said, I am rather disappointed that after investing in better hardware, my level of confidence in the graphics isn't any higher. I am concerned I will load something that I had on my machine before that will force it to fallback and not be able to reverse the issue without reloading the whole OS again. And, that is bad enough, but since restoring the backup didn't go smoothly either because of other unmentioned software conflicts, I am left with a lot of concern. This experience cost me about 28 hours nursing the process along to get it to the point where I could start using the system again.

Motherboard is a MSI Z77A-G41 with 4GB of RAM. I don't think the motherboard had anything to do with my problems, though.

If you read this and feel I missed it with my approach, I hope you'll comment so that I can learn.
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Re: My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

Postby Reorx on Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:29 am

What you need is a live Clonezilla USB stick and an external USB device large enough to store a cloned image of your entire HD... :D
Procrastinate now!
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Re: My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

Postby NuxNubkins on Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:13 pm

If you do not have a discrete graphics solution, then you subject yourself to lower quality performance with graphics. I have never seen an on board device function as well as a discrete card, with its own RAM and processing unit. Intel on-board graphics are particularly bad, and you run into lots of trouble when you need to allocate your system memory and reserve blocks of it for a graphics solution in an on-board configuration. I would purchase even a relatively low end discrete card from AMD or nVidia before attempting to judge graphical performance of an operating system.
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Re: My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

Postby gold_finger on Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:31 am

AE2100A wrote:My assumption was that my graphics card on my motherboard was just too small or old.

I don't know why you would "assume" that because the integrated graphics are on the CPU not the motherboard. If you didn't upgrade the Intel CPU along with the new motherboard, then you are still using the SAME integrated graphics you had before. (NOTE: see added edit below.) Any less tweeking needed by a fresh install of Mint 16 (with formatting over 14) vs. what you had when on 14 means that Mint improved the handling of Intel's integrated graphics from the time of 14's release to the 16 release.

If problems arose once you started importing your backups, that most likely had to do with old configurations (possibly including workarounds you mentioned having to do with 14) that conflict with how Mint 16 handles things.

P.s. If what you want is improved graphics do as NuxNubkins suggested -- get a dedicated graphics card.

EDIT added 1/7/14:
Going to correct myself on the above statement -- appears I was wrong. After looking into a possible Intel-based build for myself (my first -- have only used AMD before) and reading this link, have realized that the majority of time the integrated graphics are a component of the MB. Still a bit confused myself because seems that the capability to use the integrated graphics on MB must be part of CPU in some way too. Have not finished figuring it all out, but appears I was primarily wrong. My humble apologies to OP.
Last edited by gold_finger on Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

Postby AE2100A on Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:00 pm

Thanks for the tips gold_finger. Sorry I was so unspecific. I actually upgraded the motherboard and the cpu. The CPU is now an Intel i5 3570K. The old cpu was an Athlon II X2 250.

Since the problem with the fallback seemed to be resolved by completely re-formatting the hard drive, that is where my expectations differed from what I had seen for instructions on upgrading. I was under the impression re-formatting would not be required, therefore, I kept trying to make it work without.

I am still very concerned about the robustness of Linux Mint Cinnamon given the problems I had. In otherwords, I am concerned if I load the right (er...wrong) software, I get stuck in the fallback again.
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Re: My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

Postby gold_finger on Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:02 pm

AE2100A wrote: I actually upgraded the motherboard and the cpu. The CPU is now an Intel i5 3570K. The old cpu was an Athlon II X2 250.

Okay, that makes more sense now.

AE2100A wrote:Since the problem with the fallback seemed to be resolved by completely re-formatting the hard drive, that is where my expectations differed from what I had seen for instructions on upgrading. I was under the impression re-formatting would not be required, therefore, I kept trying to make it work without.

Seems clear that something you tried to restore from the backup conflicted with the graphics driver. Generally speaking, if you are not having graphics problems now you will likely be fine from here on out as long as you don't re-import what caused the problem or change graphics drivers.

I don't know how the backup program you used works, but if you have the ability to pick and choose which files to restore then you will be able to safely use it for restoring documents, pictures, etc. But pick those specific folders. If just telling program to restore the entire /home/username directory then it will also pull in all kinds of configuration files that are stored there as well. Sometimes those work fine with the next version; other times not so well. That might have been the problem.

For that reason, what many people do is just import (or copy over) the data files and let the new installation start fresh with everything else. Others do something similar by keeping all data files on a completely separate partition (or drive) and just sym-link it to the new /home directory. Another good idea is to keep a list of any extra packages (programs) that you typically install that don't come with the default Mint installation. Then, when upgrading you just do the install, do initial updates, then install the extra programs from your list. It only adds another 20-30 minutes or so to your conversion time, but you end-up avoiding a lot of unnecessary headaches from config files that may not work the same way on the newer software packages.

A full backup of your system is a good thing to have. If you ever accidently break your system, such a backup is perfect for getting you up and running again -- using that same set-up. But when changing versions of your OS it's probably better to be more selective of what gets imported from the old one.

Hope this makes a little bit more sense.
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Re: My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

Postby AE2100A on Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:58 pm

Despite my concerns about the robustness of my graphics, and my impression that most anything might force me back into a fallback mode, I haven't had any issues so far, despite the loading of various other apps. So, seems ok.
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Re: My Experience Installing Linux Mint 16

Postby gold_finger on Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:43 pm

@AE2100A,

Glad to hear everything still going well. Still don't know what was being imported from your old back-up to cause the initial problems.

I've recently been thinking of doing my next build with an Intel processor vs. AMD which I normally use. As I started looking into it I realized that what I had said in my initial post above may have been wrong -- seems that integrated graphics are more frequently a component of the MB, not the CPU as I mistakenly stated above. (Some AMD CPU's have it built into them, but seems that MB is key component most of the time.) So, you have my sincere apologies for the mis-statement. I'm still a bit confused myself as to the exact roles played by each when it comes to onboard graphics. When looking into Intel CPU's, some state the inclusion of integrated graphics as long as the MB supports it. Others seem to state that integrated graphics are not part of capabilities -- which confuses me. If the Intel-based MB has integrated graphics, why would it not work with SOME CPU's, but be fine with others? Maybe there is some added component (for lack of a better word) on SOME CPU's that enable it to interact with the MB's integrated graphics.

If you happen to have any insight on that, I'd like to hear it. Thanks.
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