[SOLVED] "Replacing" Mint

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Crusader
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[SOLVED] "Replacing" Mint

Post by Crusader » Tue Jul 04, 2017 11:56 am

Hello,

Technical Specs
I am currently running Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon 64-bit alongside Windows 7 on an ASUS laptop with an Intel U7300 @ 1.30 GHz x 2 chip.

Background
I was happily running the above system for the past few (4?) years - mostly running Linux and occasionally Windows - until I got the itch to install SANE to be able to use my ScanSnap S1100 scanner from Linux (as opposed to Windows). While I managed to get SANE installed and running (with a lot of help), something serious has happened to Linux: a series of numbers (looks more like calculations) run before the system starts, sometimes it takes a long time to boot; once it went to "sleep" every few minutes (I checked Power Management settings - they remain the same as before) - restarting the laptop seemed to resolve that issue. These and other issues are frequently popping up making me uneasy and wondering if my system (Linux) is infected (once I got a screen asking to select if others can see my screen) etc. I have decided to totally wipe out Linux and start afresh (Linux Mint will continue to be my primary OS). Even though I rarely use Windows, I need it and do not want to mess with it. As part of my research, I noted a newer version of Linux Mint (18.2) was released just days ago. I felt it may be a good idea (?) if I upgrade to Mint Cinnamon 18.2.

Problem
There is tons of information out there; however, plain English works best for me - without having to indulge in complicated technical steps that can be bypassed - and that information is not exactly plentiful. I was able to prepare a USB with Linux Mint 18.2 ISO (I trust it is "live"). I can also go to Windows and delete partitions holding Linux Mint 17.3; however, I am not comfortable with having to reset Windows to address the "GRUB" issue (Windows having difficulty starting). Another issue I am facing is I can't get my laptop to boot off the USB first (I cannot get to the options to change the boot settings).

Assistance requested
Based on the above information, I am requesting assistance with the following:
  • Can I overwrite Linux Mint 17.3 with Linux Mint 18.2, bypassing the GRUB issue? (Bypassing deletion of Linux partitions would be a bonus - but I can handle it).
    If the answer to the above question is "yes," how do I go about doing it (in plain English and simple step by step directions, please)?
    Will replacing Linux Mint 17.3 with Linux Mint 18.2 eliminate (delete) the "infections" that seemed to have crept into Linux?
    Am I better off just replacing Linux Mint 17.3 with fresh Linux Mint 17.3 or upgrading to Linux Mint 18.2? Please see my note below.
Other
I will be happy to share other details as needed.
I am open to just "replacing" my currently installed Linux Mint 17.3 with fresh Linux Mint 17.3 - with the understanding that the fresh install would wipe out my "infections" and take me back to happier days :(
I would like to stick to Cinammon (no pun intended).
For those curious about the SANE outcome, the quality of images scanned from SANE has forced me to continue to use Windows to scan my documents.
All support will be greatly appreciated!
Last edited by Crusader on Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ozo
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Ozo » Tue Jul 04, 2017 12:10 pm

To address just one question: You said "Another issue I am facing is I can't get my laptop to boot off the USB first (I cannot get to the options to change the boot settings)." Try removing your battery and depress the on button for 10 seconds to fully reset it. Then try accessing BIOS again after reinstalling the battery. No, this does not reset Windows.

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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by JerryF » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:01 pm

Do you remember how you got your original 17.3 Mint installed? You more than likely booted from a USB or a DVD when you installed 17.3

F2, F10, F12, Del, and Esc keys are a few of the popular ones to get into BIOS.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Crusader » Tue Jul 04, 2017 3:55 pm

Ozo and JerryF, thank you for your responses.

The original Linux Mint I installed (may not have been version 17.3) was using a CD/DVD. I also recall using software called "EasyBCD" - although I don't recall its exact role. Up until yesterday that software was on my laptop - today I cannot find it. :?

As for bringing up the boot order, the Esc key worked: it brought up 2 options:
  • HDD
    CD/DVD
There was no USB option, nor did I see an option to add USB - which, if I am correct, takes me back to using a CD/DVD - something I can easily do. However, I cannot proceed until my other questions have been addressed.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by JerryF » Tue Jul 04, 2017 4:58 pm

Crusader wrote:The original Linux Mint I installed (may not have been version 17.3) was using a CD/DVD. I also recall using software called "EasyBCD" - although I don't recall its exact role. Up until yesterday that software was on my laptop - today I cannot find it. :?
In the past, you probably had to use EasyBCD because the computer kept booting directly to Windows (no Grub showed). Then you added Mint 17.x to EasyBCD menu so that you could get to Mint and fix Grub. I've had the same issue in the past.
Crusader wrote:As for bringing up the boot order, the Esc key worked: it brought up 2 options:
  • HDD
    CD/DVD
There was no USB option, nor did I see an option to add USB - which, if I am correct, takes me back to using a CD/DVD - something I can easily do. However, I cannot proceed until my other questions have been addressed.
The Esc key may be just for boot choices, not to get into BIOS to change/add boot options. Try some more function keys to get to BIOS.

This may be a silly question on my part.
Did you burn the 18.2 ISO correctly onto the USB?
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Crusader » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:49 pm

I will explore other options to see what gets me to BIOS.

As far as the Grub issue is concerned, I made a change to the Grub boot file as part of rehabbing my system post SANE installation. I will be happy to share details as appropriate.
JerryF wrote:This may be a silly question on my part.
Did you burn the 18.2 ISO correctly onto the USB?
Not in the least bit silly: it is a valid question because I am not familiar with the process and can't claim I thoroughly understood the meager instructions which were only slightly clear than mud. To prepare the USB, I downloaded the ISO from here and extracted it to USB. I understand there is a checking procedure; however, I have yet to implement it. What else do I need to do? I read about using a "dd" command; however, I don't know if the command is run from the Terminal or elsewhere. That is not of immediate concern since I am not ready to install 18.2.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by JerryF » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:16 am

Hi Crusader,

Verifying the ISO is done before burning the image. The instructions are found here for the different versions:

https://linuxmint.com/verify.php

As for the dd command---yes, that is run from the Terminal. I have not used the dd command, so I can't guide you on that.

I burn an ISO image using Mint's USB Image Writer. It's straightforward and easy.

EDIT: I've also used Brasero to burn an ISO image. Some users find that Brasero isn't always reliable, but I've never had a problem burning ISOs.
Last edited by JerryF on Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Ozo » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:26 am

The USB stick has to be plugged in before the option will appear in the BIOS boot options. And yes once you have installed a new system overwriting the old the old is totally gone.

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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by JerryF » Wed Jul 05, 2017 12:17 pm

Can you copy and paste the result of this command from Terminal:

Code: Select all

lsblk -fm
This will show how your disk is set up.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by djk44883 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 5:57 pm

Crusader wrote: Assistance requested
Based on the above information, I am requesting assistance with the following:
Will replacing Linux Mint 17.3 with Linux Mint 18.2 eliminate (delete) the "infections" that seemed to have crept into Linux?
All support will be greatly appreciated!
You don't really address this, I see this as a "windows-way" of fixing problems. "I don't know what happened so I just reinstall something and just hope I don't do it again... since I don't know what I did." (that was suppose to be sarcastic, sorry) You seldom hear of an "infected" linux installation - though it does happen.

If you could elaborate a bit, someone may see your issue and see it as relatively easy fix. Or maybe you're on the way to a catastrophic failure and warn you. What's displayed what the system starts may be stored in one of the system logs located /var/log [dmesg, kern.log, syslog]

Doug

If you decide to do a fresh installation, I'd suggest to upgrade to the latest version. 17.3 is supported until April 2019 if you want to stick with it.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Spearmint2 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 7:11 pm

I downloaded the ISO from here and extracted it to USB

Extracted? Can you explain what you mean by that?
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Crusader » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:41 am

Thank you for all the supportive responses. I will try and address each one (as appropriate).

JerryF: I had previously used USB Image Writer to write the ISO to USB; however, I deleted that ISO from USB and extracted (definition below) the ISO from my Downloads folder to USB. After reading your message, I deleted the (extracted) ISO from USB and used USB Image Writer to again write the ISO to USB. This time, I went through the entire verification process until I got the "good" message as outlined in the link you provided.

Below is a result of the "lsblk -fm" command (I have no idea what it means):

Code: Select all

NAME   FSTYPE LABEL MOUNTPOINT NAME     SIZE OWNER GROUP MODE
sda                            sda    465.8G root  disk  brw-rw----
├─sda1                         ├─sda1   271G root  disk  brw-rw----
├─sda2                         ├─sda2     1K root  disk  brw-rw----
├─sda5              /          ├─sda5 190.8G root  disk  brw-rw----
└─sda6              [SWAP]     └─sda6     4G root  disk  brw-rw----
sdb                            sdb     29.8G root  disk  brw-rw----
└─sdb1                         └─sdb1  29.8G root  disk  brw-rw----
sr0                            sr0     1024M root  cdrom brw-rw----
Ozo: Thank you for the USB plugging tip: I will make sure the USB is plugged when I go for the BIOS hunt; more importantly, it is good to know the new system will overwrite the old one and erase all garbage the previous system had. This is one of the answers I have been waiting for!

djk44883: admittedly, my solution may be, to some degree, Windows like. This is the best I know (which is why I am respectfully requesting help). My use of the term "infection" seems to paint my message in a Windows light. When I use the term "infection" I don't necessarily mean it in the same context as the Windows world does. My use of "infection" refers to any change that occurred in the "system" - whether it was done/authorized by me or not. I have every reason to believe the problems I am having today are related to the software I downloaded as part of the SANE installation (which was done by me - the fact that I didn't know/understand the technical details/implications notwithstanding). So I have no reason to believe the changes are malicious penetration into the system. Whatever I downloaded clearly changed some settings with which I lived comfortably and happily.

Thank you for your suggestion of going with the latest version - I plan to do just that.

As for your point about elaborating my problems, I have done my best to point out 2-3 issues that are bugging me. Not having Linux technical expertise doesn't help. While the issue may be relatively easy (e.g. uninstall SANE), I have no reason to believe I am on the way to a catastrophic failure (from the very little I know). If Linux fails, I have multiple backups - my feelings will not be hurt - but my time will (it is already hurting); on the other hand, I cannot afford a Windows failure - even though I use it occasionally only.

Spearmint2: by "extracted," I mean I right clicked the ISO in my Downloads folder, chose the "Extract To..." option and pointed it to the USB; Linux then "extracted" the ISO to my USB, which, after the extraction was complete, had multiple folders. I hope that addresses your question.

Everyone: I am still looking for the answer to the following question:
Can I overwrite Linux Mint 17.3 with Linux Mint 18.2 and bypass the GRUB issue (this link is just an example of the issue)? I don't want to have to repair Windows. From what I am reading, it appears I can (bypass the GRUB issue); however, I need confirmation before I proceed.

All help is greatly appreciated!
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by JerryF » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:44 am

Crusader wrote:Thank you for all the supportive responses. I will try and address each one (as appropriate).

JerryF: I had previously used USB Image Writer to write the ISO to USB; however, I deleted that ISO from USB and extracted (definition below) the ISO from my Downloads folder to USB. After reading your message, I deleted the (extracted) ISO from USB and used USB Image Writer to again write the ISO to USB. This time, I went through the entire verification process until I got the "good" message as outlined in the link you provided.

Below is a result of the "lsblk -fm" command (I have no idea what it means):

Code: Select all

NAME   FSTYPE LABEL MOUNTPOINT NAME     SIZE OWNER GROUP MODE
sda                            sda    465.8G root  disk  brw-rw----
├─sda1                         ├─sda1   271G root  disk  brw-rw----
├─sda2                         ├─sda2     1K root  disk  brw-rw----
├─sda5              /          ├─sda5 190.8G root  disk  brw-rw----
└─sda6              [SWAP]     └─sda6     4G root  disk  brw-rw----
sdb                            sdb     29.8G root  disk  brw-rw----
└─sdb1                         └─sdb1  29.8G root  disk  brw-rw----
sr0                            sr0     1024M root  cdrom brw-rw----
The result of the command shows your disks and how they are partitioned.
The sda is your hard disk.
sda1 should be where Windows is.
sda2 is very small, so this may be a result of installing Mint.
sda5 is where Mint is, including your files and settings.
sda6 is your SWAP partition (which I think you already know is for swap purposes---hibernation, memory if needed)

sdb looks like a USB flash drive (32GB?) Is this the one you used to burn the ISO?

sr0 is your optical drive.

The two partitions that you will want to focus on are sda5 and sda6. You will be using those when you reinstall Mint. Because you don't have a separate /home partition, the reinstall will overwrite the Mint OS and your files and settings. Make sure you've backed up important files!!!

We'll have to wait until you can boot from your USB to do the install.

Is there a posibility that you can burn a DVD (not a CD---a Mint Live disc won't fit on a CD)? That way you can boot from the DVD and reinstall Mint.
Everyone: I am still looking for the answer to the following question:
Can I overwrite Linux Mint 17.3 with Linux Mint 18.2 and bypass the GRUB issue (this link is just an example of the issue)? I don't want to have to repair Windows. From what I am reading, it appears I can (bypass the GRUB issue); however, I need confirmation before I proceed.
When you overwrite 17.3 with 18.2, GRUB will be reinstalled and should find Windows. You'll be able to dual boot.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by djk44883 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:16 am

JerryF appears to be pointing you in the right direction. I'd just point out the article you reference suggest windows didn't shutdown properly or stuck hibernating - doest sound like either of these are a concern for you.

Doug
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Spearmint2 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:59 pm

Spearmint2: by "extracted," I mean I right clicked the ISO in my Downloads folder, chose the "Extract To..." option and pointed it to the USB; Linux then "extracted" the ISO to my USB, which, after the extraction was complete, had multiple folders. I hope that addresses your question.
Yes, that answers the question. It won't work. Even in windows that has never worked. If you think back to early windows, you still had to sys a: to c: in order to put the proper boot commands into the boot sector.

When you did that, it's the same as extracting the files and folders from an ISO and then burning that to a DVD, or in the case of being mint extracted it would take at least 2 DVD's.

Instead you have to use the process to "burn image" to make the DVD become bootable. Same principle when installing a bootable image to the USB. The boot section still needs to be installed, which isn't when you "extract" the files and folders from the ISO to the USB.

Instead of program like Archive Manager, we use things like USB Image Writer, USB Creator, Unetbootin, or in windows Universal USB Installer, all of which add the boot sector onto the USB in addition to writing the still compressed ISO file to the drive, when creating a LIVE USB. Otherwise, the less effective method of installing Linux to slow USB flashdrives is to do a full install, which can be done from the LIVE DVD to USB.

Booting a 2GB compressed ISO file placed on a "slow read" flashdrive is much faster than booting a fully installed 8-9 GB version from the same USB flashdrive.

I personally never do full installs to flashdrives anymore, but prefer the faster LIVE installation on those, using an ext2 second partition as the casper-rw storage area for all changes. I use ext2 file format since it doesn't journal like ext4, thereby saving extra writes to the flashdrive which slows it down more.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Crusader » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:42 pm

Again, thank you for the supportive responses: I can see light at the end of the tunnel.

JerryF: thank you for explaining the disk partitions. That brought up another question (they don't seem to end): when I attempt to install Linux Mint 18.2 via DVD per your suggestion (more on it below), I hope I get the option of choosing where to put it, especially now that I know where to park it. Assuming I don't get an option (which will be a surprise), I trust Windows will not be over written: else, that would be a catastrophe! Yet another question: will I get an opportunity (or is there an easy way) to adjust partition sizes? When I first installed Linux Mint several years ago, I made only minimal space for Linux Mint and kept a decent chunk of the disk for Windows, not realizing that I will end up using Mint as my primary system. Now that I am re-installing Mint, hopefully this is an opportunity to reverse the space allocation: give Mint a huge portion and Windows minimal (conforming to my usage pattern).

You are right on the money about the USB: it is a 32 GB unit - and it is what is currently holding the ISO - written there using USB Image Writer. I can burn a DVD and use that to install Mint 18.2. I trust it is okay to copy (burn) the ISO currently on the USB (written there using USB Image Writer) to the DVD. If not, I can always use USB Image Writer to burn the ISO from the Downloads folder to the DVD.

Not having to deal with GRUB is a blessing!

Spearmint2: thanks for the clarification on the extraction issue. Now using USB Image Writer as noted above.


Action plan: after getting answers to my questions above, burn the ISO to a DVD, figure out/change boot hierarchy in BIOS, install Linux Mint 18.2, install my backed up data, and live happily ever after. :)
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by JerryF » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:45 pm

Crusader wrote:...
when I attempt to install Linux Mint 18.2 via DVD per your suggestion (more on it below), I hope I get the option of choosing where to put it, especially now that I know where to park it.
When you start the installation process, you'll get the option "Something else". This is the option you'll choose so that you can tell the installer where you want to install Mint.

Yet another question: will I get an opportunity (or is there an easy way) to adjust partition sizes?
Yes. Before you install Mint, you can run Gparted from your Live DVD. You can shrink sda1 to a smaller size. Then you can adjust the size of sda5 to take more of he room that's left over from sda1. You may need to delete sda2. Because it's only 1K, there shouldn't be anything in that partition.

You are right on the money about the USB: it is a 32 GB unit - and it is what is currently holding the ISO - written there using USB Image Writer. I can burn a DVD and use that to install Mint 18.2. I trust it is okay to copy (burn) the ISO currently on the USB (written there using USB Image Writer) to the DVD. If not, I can always use USB Image Writer to burn the ISO from the Downloads folder to the DVD.
Once you've burned the ISO to the USB with USB Image Writer, it's no longer an ISO. You'll need the original ISO file and a DVD burner app such as Brasero or Xfburn to burn the DVD to make a Live DVD.

Action plan: after getting answers to my questions above, burn the ISO to a DVD, figure out/change boot hierarchy in BIOS, install Linux Mint 18.2, install my backed up data, and live happily ever after. :)
Let us know when you burn the DVD.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Crusader » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:10 pm

Thank you for the detailed support, JerryF!

I burned the DVD using Brasero (Xfburn failed). I also changed the boot order (F2 was the magic key).

When I tried to install Linux Mint 18.2, the first stumbling block was login name and password. Fortunately, I have another laptop available and was able to research the answer: login name = mint; just hit enter for password. Moved forward a little bit and the next stumbling block is "mint@mint ~ $" I have yet to figure the answer to that.

I am open to suggestions.
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Crusader » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:17 am

Update:
I formatted the DVD (wiping out the ISO image) and tried using Xfburn to burn the ISO image; however, Xfburn continues to report an error (don't have the details handy, but can try and do it again and get the details). Brasero willingly burned the ISO image again - but I ran into the same problem again: after clearing the login name/password hurdle, I am faced with "mint@mint ~ $" command for which I have no answer. I tried a variety of responses such a "Sonya," "18.2," "Mint," and others, but nothing worked.

I am wondering if Brasero is not burning the image correctly. I have verified the download as shared previously. Talk about being lost :?
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Re: "Replacing" Mint

Post by Crusader » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:36 am

Even when I used a fresh (never used) DVD, Xfburn did not work. Below is the Xfburn error message that I seen several times now:

Code: Select all

Failure: SCSI error on write (32, 16): [5 24 00] Illegal request. Invalid field in cdb
I am not sure what to make of all of this. I am tempted to try and reinstall 17.3 as opposed to "upgrading" to 18.2; however, there is no guarantee that 17.3 will successfully install - especially if the issue is a proper burn.

I tried installing via USB by first changing the boot priority; unfortunately, none of the USB ports were recognized (based on the message I received: something to the effect of placing the load file in the correct place).

:?:
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