Getting a new laptop soon.

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Getting a new laptop soon.

Postby theusername on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:11 pm

I started saving up for a new laptop. I will be dual booting Linux Mint MATE 14 with whatever version of Windows it comes with. I will be using windows strictly for gaming with Steam (which doesn't have good Linux support yet D:). Mint will be used for everything else.

I have some questions though. If I want to upgrade to Linux Mint MATE 15 when it comes out, how would I do that?
If something happens when dual booting my new laptop how can I fix the errors or bugged partitions or whatever?

If in the future I decide to remove Windows, or Mint, and only keep one, is it hard to do that?

Thanks :)
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Re: Getting a new laptop soon.

Postby bigj231 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:44 am

A heads up, Try to avoid Windows 8. It will make installing any other OS a royal pain.
What I usually do when upgrading is leave my '/home' partition and format my '/' partition That way, all of my settings and documents remain untouched, but I have a newer version.
The best way to fix the bugged partitions (which you shouldn't have a problem with if you make backups) is to prevent having them. Resize your windows partition inside windows, and do it before you install anything. Then you can restore your system with minimal effort if something breaks. If your laptop doesn't come with recovery discs, make them first.
It's not hard to remove an OS and use only one. The hardest part is deciding whether you want to leave empty space in case you change your mind, or if you want to have the extra disk space.
One final thing: Intel Graphics are infinitely easier to setup on a Linux system. They aren't great for gaming, but they will save you trouble and headaches.

EDIT: If you have the extra cash, buy a SSD and install it yourself. It takes all of 10 minutes to install, and you can partition it however you want before you reinstall Windows. You do give up disk space for near instant boot times. My system boots in less than 30 seconds. It's not a high end system by any stretch.
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Re: Getting a new laptop soon.

Postby theusername on Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:53 pm

Thanks for the info. I was hopeing to get a laptop without integrated graphics because the desktop I have now has integrated graphics and they suck. I might try getting a SSD but they cost more. I might find a bundle though :)
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Re: Getting a new laptop soon.

Postby bigj231 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:33 am

theusername wrote:Thanks for the info. I was hopeing to get a laptop without integrated graphics because the desktop I have now has integrated graphics and they suck. I might try getting a SSD but they cost more. I might find a bundle though :)

If you don't like integrated graphics, then try to avoid hybrid graphics. They will cause nothing but problems.
I like ATI chipsets. Others line nVidia. If you ask which brand is better, you will get 5 different answers. If you don't use Intel graphics, you will most likely want to use the proprietary drivers to enable all the nice features of your card.
As an aside, when I purchased this laptop, I had a choice between this system with the i3 @2.2 GHz and install a SSD, or a system with an i7 @>3GHz and stick with the HDD. I chose this system, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Dual booting did get a bit tight with a 120GB SSD so if you don't want to make a choice, stick with a HDD.
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Re: Getting a new laptop soon.

Postby srs5694 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:38 am

bigj231 wrote:A heads up, Try to avoid Windows 8. It will make installing any other OS a royal pain.


At the moment that's at least partially true because of Secure Boot, which Microsoft demands be active on any non-server computer that bears a Windows 8 logo. A little knowledge goes a long way, though. The easiest way to deal with this issue is to disable Secure Boot, which is usually easy enough if you're comfortable navigating a firmware setup utility. See my Web page on the topic for more information on how to do this (or deal with it in other ways).

This area is changing rapidly. Ubuntu 12.10 was the first of the major distributions to ship with Secure Boot capabilities, but it's using a very early version of the software (known as shim). Fedora 18 and whatever the next OpenSUSE will be will have a newer version with additional capabilities. The adventurous or desperate can install that version now by getting it from its author. I recently released version 0.5.0 of my rEFInd boot manager, which includes shim support, too. Currently shim and related Secure Boot tools are a pain to set up, but as distributions streamline it and developers write new programs to help manage it, I'm sure the situation will improve. Disabling Secure Boot, by contrast, is pretty straightforward right now, but it looks like shim-enabled distributions will win in usability within 2-6 months.

What I usually do when upgrading is leave my '/home' partition and format my '/' partition That way, all of my settings and documents remain untouched, but I have a newer version.


I very much agree with this -- separating /home from root (/) is very helpful. A separate swap partition (1-2x your RAM's size) is also a good idea, particularly if you expect to use suspend-to-disk/hibernate features. On an EFI-based computer (that's just about anything new), I also recommend a separate /boot partition of 200-500MiB. Use FAT, ext2fs, ext3fs, or ReiserFS on it, not anything more sophisticated like ext4fs or XFS. The point of this partition is that some EFI boot loaders (most notably ELILO and the kernel's EFI stub loader) require that the EFI be able to read the kernel. That's easiest if you store the kernel on a FAT partition, but there are EFI drivers for ext2fs/ext3fs and ReiserFS. If you use GRUB 2 (the default for Mint), a separate /boot partition isn't particularly helpful, but it also won't hurt. Thus, using a separate /boot partition can make it easier for you to try alternative boot loaders if you're not happy with GRUB 2.
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