Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

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Ave
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Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by Ave »

I have a rather basic question for anyone whom has installed Linux Mint for any end users whom are not OS nor computer savvy.

I have a friend whose wife is horrible at maintaining her security on a Windows OS. She's constantly getting viruses, not keeping her OS up to date, etc. The other day she received a call from an Indian call center and the guy on the other end was telling her that her OS was infected that she absolutely needed to let him remote into her Windows machine and remove the malware. Luckily she didn't allow him to do it, but she did let him talk to her for a while and he was pretty high-pressure.

Now, this woman is barely functional on Windows. She essentially uses her machine for e-mail, social media and her nursing studies, most of which can be done using a simple browser. So my gut is telling me that she won't be any worse-off with Linux Mint than she will with Windows in that regard. If she doesn't really understand Windows, then she won't really have trouble with Mint, either.

My buddy is absolutely fed-up with her habits on a Windows OS. He's threatened to take her computer away and not buy her another.

So, with all of the above being said...have any of you installed Linux Mint for someone whom is not very computer-savvy? What issues did you/they have after install? What was your and their general experience?

Thanks!!

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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by BigEasy »

Ave wrote:So my gut is telling me that she won't be any worse-off with Linux Mint than she will with Windows in that regard. If she doesn't really understand Windows, then she won't really have trouble with Mint, either.
True. I can't tell better :)
What issues did you/they have after install?
Srew up desktop, delete documents... So everything as in Windows under user account minus malwares.
Windows assumes I'm stupid but Linux demands proof of it

Ave
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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by Ave »

BigEasy wrote:True. I can't tell better :)
Heh heh...I meant that if she isn't good with Windows, then using Linux Mint won't be much different. She'll be OS-agnostic.

Or am I wrong on this? This is what i'm asking of the community.

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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by jimallyn »

I have installed Linux for a number of non-savvy computer users, and generally speaking, it works well for them. I set up my mother's computer to dual boot, and she had no problems with Linux. Nor have any of her (adult) kids had a problem with Linux when they use her computer. A friend of mine used to work for me, and he used both Linux and Windows in my shop; his first use of computers ever. When he got his own computer, I gave him the choice to put either Windows on it or Linux on it, and he chose Linux. He just liked it better, and found it easier to use. Then there's a friend of mine who is a pastor, and he wanted Linux on his computer because he felt that Microsoft was immoral and he needed to use Linux to set a good example for his congregation. He has had no problems with Linux that I know of. His kids also use the Linux computers, and they like it just fine. He recently got a new computer from his board and wants to install Linux on that one, too. I could probably come up with a few other anecdotes for you, but I think you get the message: non-savvy computer users do fine with Linux. Oh, I just remembered another one. A friend brought her Windows computer to me, infested with viruses, and wanted me to fix it. So, I got rid of all the viruses, and set her computer up to dual boot. I don't think she ever used Linux, until one day Windows would no longer boot, and her kids had school work on the computer. I reminded her that she also had Linux on the computer, and that she could boot into Linux and the kids could access their school work from the Windows drive. Linux saved the day! Come to think of it, my church uses Linux on some of the office computers. And the local library has a couple dozen public access computers, all of which run Linux. So go ahead and put Mint on her computer, I suspect she'll do just fine with it.
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Cobber
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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by Cobber »

While I am no Linux genius, I did manage to get everything up and running with the help of this forum. So, installing Linux does require you to have at least a good level of computer skills.

What you are asking is, how easy is it to use once installed? Thinking of what I do on a day-to-day basis, the only thing I need to do as a user, is click on install updates, when I get a blue icon in my system tray. Apart from that, Mint works virtually the same as Windows to the user.

I have read many posts on blogs about people who have installed Linux on their parent's computers. They had no trouble adapting to the new operating system, and actually had less problems than they did with Windows. Once it was installed and running correctly, they rarely had to bother their kids with problems cropping up.

So my advice is, yes, go ahead and install it for her. She will have far less problems than she does with Windows, and will most likely find it very easy to get used to. Everything she is used to doing can be done from the menu, and she would never need to use the terminal.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by trapperjohn »

have any of you installed Linux Mint for someone whom is not very computer-savvy?
Many, many times, mostly for non-profit community groups, sometimes for friends and family. They, in turn, have passed the Linux solution along to others.

My favorite convert is very cautious and sceptical. But... she has roasted several laptops using commercial OSs. I gave her a duel-boot system to provide a sense of security. She hasn't booted the commercial alternate for months. This user is my favorite convert because she is very demanding, insisting that the transition be exactly seamless.

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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by MagicMint »

Ave wrote:I have a friend whose wife is horrible at maintaining her security on a Windows OS. She's constantly getting viruses, not keeping her OS up to date, etc…
These things happen to her because she doesn't care neither know about computers — exactly the way it should be actually. The only distinction between Windows and Linux Mint would be that in the first case one need to, and absolutely has to care.

If you take care to put everything she needs just a click away, e.g. on the desktop or onto the panel, she wouldn’t even notice any difference beside the look. And even that is just a question of themes… :wink:

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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by BigEasy »

Ave wrote:
BigEasy wrote:True. I can't tell better :)
Heh heh...I meant that if she isn't good with Windows, then using Linux Mint won't be much different. She'll be OS-agnostic.
Yes, for those who are, so speak, is "OS-agnistic" doesn't matter what OS in front of them. They will never find differences. Of course, mistakes will remains the same. It was bad news. Good news - correct works will remains the same too :)
Windows assumes I'm stupid but Linux demands proof of it

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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by xenopeek »

I recently set up a computer for my dad with Linux. Because he wanted Gnome Shell (I had him look at a bunch of DEs in a VM to pick the one he liked best) I selected Debian Jessie instead of Linux Mint or LMDE. I set up unattended-upgrades as having to deal with upgrades is beyond his comfort level. I locked down his browser with things like uBlock Origin (to block ads and associated malware), HTTPS Everywhere, and such. I also didn't install Adobe Flash for Firefox/Iceweasel and used firejail to sandbox his web browser. For websites that need Adobe Flash I installed Google Chrome, which comes with a decent sandbox for PepperFlash.

He was already using Firefox, Google Chrome, LibreOffice, and such on his Windows computer (which he still has). So he was at least partially familiar with things. He mostly had to get used to how to print from the PDF reader and how to find the files on his Linux computer from his Windows computer. I'd expect for a user that isn't familiar with the applications on Linux Mint the step is a lot bigger and you or your buddy should be available for handholding and aftercare.

Linux Mint would also have worked, but for sure I would have removed a lot of programs to de-clutter the menu. Cut it down to the essentials he needs, to reduce the getting lost in a pile of programs in his menu he doesn't need. For a non-techy person I would do the same every time; spend most time up-front talking with them to drill down on what they use their computer for so you provide them with that. Things can be added later if it comes up. I would also have removed Update Manager and configured unattended-upgrades appropriately. Something I'm a little more comfortable doing on Debian than on Ubuntu.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by gold_finger »

Ave wrote:I have a rather basic question for anyone whom has installed Linux Mint for any end users whom are not OS nor computer savvy.

Now, this woman is barely functional on Windows.

So, with all of the above being said...have any of you installed Linux Mint for someone whom is not very computer-savvy? What issues did you/they have after install? What was your and their general experience?
Above describes two people that I've converted to Linux perfectly. Both were hopeless on Windows and constantly messing things up. I reluctantly (at the time) decided to switch them to Mint because I can't stand fixing Windows and knew that they'd just screw it up in short order. I was fearful that I'd be getting non-stop calls asking how to do things in Linux, but I took a chance and installed Mint anyway. Much to my amazement, both of those people had no problem whatsoever using the system for their basic browsing, email, documents, etc. needs. It has been several YEARS since both converted and I can count on one hand how many times they've called me with a problem and/or question. (And "yes", they both still use it every day and have not switched back to Windows.) So, I say -- go for it.
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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by thom_A »

I installed Mint 17.2 Xfce in my sister's family computer months ago. It's a PC with 2 cores, 2GB ram, display on motherboard, and was bought during the early Vista releases, quite old, so not surprised why it's getting tons of malwares and viruses every week. Before I installed Linux, I made sure it was running smoothly in one of my PC's (almost the same spec). I just told them to get used to Libre Office apps and start forgetting about using MS Office. In other words, none of them knew anything about Linux.

So far, I haven't had a single call from them complaining about issues. Bottom line is you don't have to be "computer savvy" to use Mint. I myself just made a text file listing all the installation steps of apps and drivers, which I painstakingly researched in the beginning. There was Cuda issues, newer graphics card which I recently bought, Krita issues, installing Blender's current version, Inkscape, Grub2 customizer... In my sister's household's case, their needs were simple.

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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by theStreak »

You could set her up on an "indestructible OS". Just have her boot the computer into a live DVD of the Linux Mint edition of choice and tell her not to boot the computer from then on (at least not without first saving any important work onto a USB). Nice thing about live media -- if you mess something up, all you gotta do is reboot the system and you get a fresh and new, perfectly running OS every time! My laptop always has a live DVD in the DVD drive just for when I need to experiment, test, play or otherwise function indestructible. ;)
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z31fanatic
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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by z31fanatic »

She sounds like the perfect candidate for Linux since she is careless and it won't cost her if she screws up like she does in Windows.
You should do the install for your friend and do the initial Mint updates and spend an hour with them to show how things work. You can even install a skin that looks like W7 so she won't find Linux too confusing.

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Reorx
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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by Reorx »

Ave wrote:So... have any of you installed Linux Mint for someone whom is not very computer-savvy?
YES - My wife, daughter, sister-in-law, niece, brother-in-law, and mother-in-law. All are computer "challenged" (regardless of OS). Some more so than others...
Ave wrote:What issues did you/they have after install?
None - I did the original install & setup. They have no problems doing the things they usually do in a Win environment in a Linux environment. Regarding administrative tasks, I usually do those for them but occasionally, I have to walk them thru a task on the phone (rare).
Ave wrote:What was your and their general experience?
Very Good! :D No problems or malware issues whatsoever.
Ave wrote:Thanks!!
You're welcome! :mrgreen:
Full time Linux Mint user since 2011 - Currently running LM19 Cinnamon.

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Re: Installing Linux Mint for Unsavvy Computer Users

Post by uberdorf »

My 4 kids, aged 8-15, have been using linux almost exclusively for the last 5 years or more as soon as we allowed them on the computers. Most of that time was with Ubuntu, but we've recently switched to Mint for more stability. Whenever I let them use windows, they get the windows partitions infested with malware quickly with their flash and java apps. So we use linux. Their complaints are that they can't play all of the same windows games as their friends and that they need to use the terminal to launch MultiMC for Minecraft lol. So for someone who isn't computer savvy or keeps everything updated, I would agree that Mint would be a better solution than windows.

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