The hard drive on my old laptop (HP Pavilion dv2221us) died on me after several hours of trying to re-install the vista that was bundled with it. Not that I like Vista or anything but I just wanted it back to it’s “factory” settings before I started it to configure it the way I wanted. No love. The backup OS DVDs didn’t work either so. . . had to find an alternative.
Linux Mint! CD iso downloaded super fast as usual with Linux distributions and I decided to install it from a thumb drive instead of from a CD. There are quite a few tutorials out there on how to do that so I wont’ bother re-creating them. . . but the process was a matter of just a few clicks and I was able to launch the “CD” version of linux right from the thumb drive and there on the desktop was an option to install Mint Linux 10 onto the system’s hard drive. Click click. . . and away it went.
The question’s it asked were very simple and easy to follow, the usual “where”, name of account etc.
Once installed I re-booted and pulled out the thumb drive and it didn’t like that much for some reason. Kept asking for it back. So I put it back in and I guess it hadn’t finished moving all the files over after the install. Ok. After setting everything up, and exploring a little a notification came up on the top right of the screen to say there were some non open-source drivers that I might be able to use to make my computer run better. I clicked on that and had the option to enabling my wi-fi and updating my video card. Click click. . . done. All working.
So far I have used skype, Team Speak 3, Thunderbird, Firefox, Wings3D and even installed the demo of messiah:studio 5 to try it out. That required wine but the new sofware manager made things super easy and drama free.
My laptop is performing flawlessly and I’m very happy. I’m sure once I try and get into the deeper elements of trying to use it for network rendering I’ll come up against the same clashes with wine and networking that I have always come up against in the past but for now, while I’m on vacation, this is all I need and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Linux Mint 10 to anyone wanting to replace Vista on their older laptops.