Linux OS Install!

I'm a builder, an installer, and a recovery tech; I also rebuild old laptops and PC's (2010–2020). For a decade I installed Linux Distros on new & old PCs (towers & SFFs) and laptops, by the hundreds; so far a 100% success rate. Late in, it was mostly mini's; NUC Kits because they're sold without a proprietary OS baked in. Even many older Android phones can be changed to Lineage OS. But this side gig depends on people Not following the advice presented herein. They don't!
This one page fully absorbed will equal a 3 credit college tech course. Unfortunately, the TLDR / TLCR simpletons can barely make it through 160 characters, let alone do research or gain any level of knowledge that they don't copy/paste or parrot from others. They function as simpletons who think they're smart, until something fails, and only then do they appeal to the researchers for help. It's the most frequent topic in private emails I get.
After many trials and errors over the last decade, along with tens of thousands of posts at the praise & worship site called Reddit, as well as other tech forums, a clear pattern emerged. It is a daily nonstop issue. The number of competing employees with anonymous Reddit accounts are now guesstimated in the 1/2 million range globally. With so many such bait posts at tech sub-Reddits, such as LinuxMint, but mostly at Linux4noobs that they should just rename that sub-Reddit...
The Curse of Dual Booting!
For those not well educated in installations, I do not recommend dual booting. But for techs, it's another matter. Still, all the times I've read about problems concerning a Linux OS (from among stable LTS Ubuntu derivatives), it's always setup where the unit is first formatted in the NTFS proprietary standard, and then someone attempts a dual boot Linux, with two formats partitioned on one drive: NTFS & Ext4: This has risks! Watch Why I Don't Dual Boot Linux & Windows.
And why do so anyway? Why are the many millions of Mac users, not joining all the Linux sub-Reddit's trying to dual boot Linux with Mac, or, trying to explain why not to do so? Simple! They are satisfied with macOS and thus, not even seeking alternatives. Why even consider Linux if Windows is so superior? If it works for you, just stay with it: If it works don't fix it (KISS)! But older Mac units do run UD's well, and that's from an installers point of view; I've done many and they all still work flawlessly (don't own one myself though).
But Windows is expensive because it's complex and overbuilt (layered) over decades; the goal for Microsucks was to keep their thousand techs busy, and for decades, hoping to make the ultimate personal PC experience. Conversely, Linux is simple and built by only a fraction of people/time. Do not expect Linux to be Windows renamed. It's analogous to complaining at a Ford dealer why their cars don't look & function like a Honda; would it not just be easier to go to a Honda dealer?
Real techs are too busy making 6 figures to donate time at Reddit. But many of us old techs, used to be availed on Reddit to help honest people seeking honest tech answers. One person I often read there, builds Firefox extensions also; very talented (well beyond me)! But they too, stopped contributing at Reddit, for the same reason I did; too many who'd learn a few bits, and suddenly they know terabytes; they'd berate or down vote us (we'd make them look bad); battling these anonymity bullies got old. Better to help someone locally who has real issues, and service their units for ca$h and a thank you! r/FkReddit!
In the early days of Linux for PC (already dominating the Server market), problems with motherboard components would cause many glitches, driving frustrated people back to Windows. Even now, there are conflicts that arise from non-Intel components; this is because, since the beginning, all Ubuntu/Debian operating systems were built around Intel ME component integration; the BIOS marriage of the CPU, Graphics, WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, and so on.
Assemblers (Lenovo, Dell, HP, etc.) tried money saving efforts, via a mixing of different branded components, all of which were codesigned by the (almost) only PC market OS, at the time: MS Windows. Even then, conflicts occurred, and were resolved (in update hell) as they manifest. For the poor little kid on the block (Linux), trying to build an OS in this ever–changing and competitive market, proved a challenge. But as new techs with Open Source aspirations entered the arena, things changed fast; hence the Debian family.
In personal computing, a platform is the basic hardware (PC) and software (OS) that platform specific software applications run on, within the MP system. Computers use specific central processing units (CPUs) that are designed to run specific machine language code (see µarch). Even the file systems are exclusive (NTFS & APFS) and designed (covertly) to cause cross–contamination with each other; the exception is Ext4 which is Open Source. That is why there's so many confirmed glitches with Linux on file system maps other than exclusively Ext4. Thankfully, Microsoft has called a truce in its cold war with Linux (or have they :-).
All data stored on any motherboard (see circuit board image), is not limited to the RAM or the HDD/SSD. There has to be technical data (code) stored on embedded chips (e.g. BIOS), so that the many systems on the board can communicate with one another. But this is also why, for one example, a user of a PC/laptop that came with a Windows OS baked on it, can reinstate Windows, even if the user were to remove the RAM and SSD, install new and then install a Linux Distro onto it.
They can later get their Windows OS back, because Microsucks has code ― including the license but obviously more than that ― embedded in chips that cannot be removed and are not accessible by any end user. It is in there, and for the life of that unit, and cannot be altered or erased by an end user. The only way to avoid this is to buy separate components that have never been inside of a Microsucks or Crapple tech lab, or purchased wholesale by a retailer that modifies them via a proprietary OEM install for a mark up resell. Build your own system with all factory raw components; that is, with no installed OS. How? Keep reading!
Simply put, if you were a mega corporation investing big time into PC/laptop manufacturers to host your prized and monetized OS, why would you then make it easy for any other tech entity or an end user, to simply erase your OS and all other footprints, to install another? They depend upon their OS for their second largest business venture; data mining! That's where the subsidies come from.
Therefore, it makes more business sense to simply write code into the chips, which will make another OS glitch, or just not function optimally (covertly; plausible deniability), thus frustrating the end user until they surrender and reinstall Windows. Microsucks heavily influences motherboard components, especially of the smaller producers, and that would be any who are Not Intel! Intel does not bend to the will of Microsucks because they sell components to others beside Microsucks for their personal & business market (i.e. a massive Server market).
This is not conspiratorialism; this is capitalism! Logic thus dictates that there will be many odd glitches reported (bait from tech employees as well as upset users), whenever any Open Source anything, is trying to marry itself to anything from Microsucks or Crapple; it is always an unwanted wedding when it's the poor trying to marry into the rich!
Still, all this does not mean that only a Linux to Windows dual boot system has problems, it just means that the vast majority of units with problems or just glitches; that is their situation: Coincidence? Doubtful! Therefore I do not recommend it, unless you're a tech, and if you cannot resolve conflicts easily, you are not. Corporate techs have had decades to write all this "glitch" code; it seems to rotate so that it's not the same issue, year by year.
Recently, it's been at the bootloader (grub) stage where problems arise, but also with BT & WiFi chip conflicts, and graphics cards like AMD, Nvidia, and so on: motherboard components. This is because there's more going on than a simple Hard Drive partition, where a unit boots and everything works, just because it is on a separate partition and format.
There is a computer inside the computer that runs the computer; ask most what that is and they're clueless. The BIOS is basically an OS for the OS; it's on a chip that is not any part of the Main Drive, and not seen anywhere by/in the OS. It resides on its own little flash drive; the BIOS SPIflash. Damage that data and you've got yourself a brick!
But the magic that the untrained know-it-all advice peddlers want you to believe, is too often bits of knowledge they've acquired playing with their own units. They're not financially accountable to you, when their anonymous "advise" harms your system; they never back up their BS with $! No one ever showed up to a meet with cash to support their claims or debunk mine (cash talks & BS walks; put up or shut up; put your money where your mouth is). Why? Bullshitters want to sound smart but not get caught in stupid! Naturally they're angered by those who challenge or expose them; hence the hate feast they hunger for and thrive in.
Warning: Do not apply any tech advice given by online trolls (White Angry Young Unpleasant Males, or WAYUMs), who are online with fake profiles, or made up accounts, or without their real names, and thus they could even be foreign hacks who'd lie about it; frauds nevertheless, who avoid accountability, and covert so they can gang up on you, or otherwise attack & hurt others from behind the shield of anonymity: It's why they're online! Hence the popularity of all the query bait sub-Reddits. They are platforms designed to expel the rage within the enraged.
Acer tired of getting so many laptops returned to them, where the buyer tried to dual boot with Windows, but they'd screw it up so badly, the unit would not boot at all, and the buyer could not work their way out of the botched installation, so they got frustrated and returned the laptops as defective. The retailers do not know if they are unbootable from some factory defect, and so the retailers will return them to Acer as such, but the Acer techs know exactly what happened to them. The other issue with newer Acer laptops is the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) that must be disabled in the BIOS for Linux to work on it, but doing so can prevent Windows from ever booting again.
Therefore, after about 2020 or so, all Acer laptops with Windows 10/11, now come with the BIOS locked; no up/down selection options under BIOS Security or Boot tabs, and so no disabling Secure Boot. Why do this? So that no one can easily dual boot any Linux Distro onto them without many technical tweaks to get there. The hope is to scare off the novice, and I'm sure it works! Also, read this Acer Tech exchange and this one also. Many other manufacturers will soon follow suit. It is time to get a laptop bag designed for 2.
Glitch City!
By the time I'm summoned to rescue units that its user has tried to build a dual boot on, it's so screwed up, mostly by the many applied "tech tweaks" they got online by the Reddit trolling advise peddlers, that I'll zero it, just like I do with ransomware seemingly locking it down. I have the ISO disk and can reinstall Windows, but better, I'll install Linux Mint only, and during the install, select Erase disk & install Linux Mint as a fresh install, in its native Ext4: Problem solved!
Well, for the most part; that's because Microsucks still lurks on that motherboard, forever. But if that code does not impact the dual boot system, be thankful indeed. It's been a major issue forever, so the Linux Mint team will try to mitigate some of the boot issues by keeping OS Prober enabled (21>) by default to support dual boot detection. They know many will do it anyway, even though (almost) none of us techs ever dual boot; the partition Windows is on, will still fragment, and suffer all the same ills.
Overwriting an SSD, everything stored on that (OS only) drive is destroyed; hence, why you never ever store anything irreplaceable ― any personal content you cannot reclaim from the Web ― on the same physical drive as the OS, to begin with. There's really little else one can deliberately do to a laptop worse than attempting to build a Linux dual boot system; the worst of them being Windows. I'm not anti Windows per say, I just like things to work. Name it what you like; if it works I use it, and if not I warn of it. But for the determined here's how.
You Must Comply!
FOSS stands for Free & Open Source Software. Freedom! Proprietary always means pay us; it is ours! You have our permission to buy and use it, but we own it! In other words, no one fully "owns" any electronic device that has a proprietary OS on it. It is always a shared ownership. You own the hardware; the tangible device, but they own the OS and all that happens with it and to it, and you must comply with their directives.
Now, it is puzzling to me why anyone would volunteer to be a consumer drone like this, when there are alternatives. It will not always be this way: Have you not watched Continuum? 😜 The Open Source software options are too vast to list. It is just a matter of learning one over another. Besides, if someone needs Windows just watch this YouTube video: Running Windows in Linux: Virtual Box Configuration (YouTube).
One must either abandon proprietary products like Microsucks and Crapple altogether, or, just have separate branded devices: E.g. An Android phone, an iPad, an MS Surface, and a clean Intel NUC kit with Linux self installed. And use/buy software designed for those brands. Back when computers were expensive, sharing made sense; putting everything on 1 large drive via partitions was less expensive than having physically separate drives, or equipment. These days I recommend separate drives, or better, just multiple devices. I see coffee shop guys with two laptops all the time nowadays.
Still, Windows is more than two times larger than the largest 2 Linux Distros running on any consumer device, and that's before anything else is added like apps and so on. The raw ISO file sizes for Windows is 6 GB; Linux Mint and Fedora Workstation's are 2.0 GB each. Even the Mac OS High Sierra 10 ISO is nearly 5 GB. I have them all on CD with 14 OS's in total. I prefer a CD to a USB for installs because all systems (old & new) will natively recognize a CD Drive. But when those images are unfurled, the proprietary OS's increase 8 to 10 fold, whereas Linux is at 4 to 5 fold.
My newest (10/2020) laptop, an Acer Aspire 5, came with Windows on it, and it was fine; however, it also came with an Intel 10th Gen Core I5, a 512GB NVMe SSD, and (bumped to) 20GB RAM to better handle that OS. It was still at 46GB of space used, even after I uninstalled bloatware via the recommended CC Cleaner (free), and then ran Disk Cleanup & Storage Sense. CC uninstalls bloatware that won't uninstall natively, then I uninstall it too. So far it's been a good laptop; no problems with Windows 10 on this unit, but if I do, especially with W-11 coming, I'll wipe it and install Linux Mint. (Update 8/21: Wipe done! But I sampled W-10 for 10 months).
I've built many Intel NUC Kits; all of them work flawlessly on Linux Mint (YouTube). Intel's integrated chipset is a big part of that success. And their Ice Lake Micro Architecture, as well as AMD's Zen 2: Sweet! And LMDE5 is an awesome choice for older 32 bit systems. Of course, I always keep a BIOS updated, when availed, as recommended.
The main logic of buying a bare bones unit, is that they do not come with an OS. Otherwise, the choices for Windows PC's (towers, mini's & SFF units) is enormous. Why pick a device that does not come with a proprietary OEM baked into it, and then spend an additional $150 to install Windows on it? I charge 2 bills to scrub wipe it away!
Trying a Linux Distro is an awesome idea; just buy an older used, or a new low end laptop, and experiment with it first, before trying to create a Windows/Linux dual boot on (say) a $3K gaming laptop. Linux will run great on a cheap laptop/PC if you wipe it. Whenever you have two completely different OS's on one computer, problems will arise, so be expecting it. It's like putting flex fuel in a gas only car!
When someone brings me an older laptop/PC that they want to reinvigorate, I'll first replace the older mechanical 3.5"-2.5" HDD with a new and much faster SSD of some configuration: It's clean, fast, cool to run, and with no OS ever baked onto it. Then, I will load Linux Mint Cinnamon, which only uses Ext4 as format, and everything always works: Always! Here's how to make an ISO.
Why Mint? It's not personal; it is not my product, and I'm not a brand cultist. It's just because it just works! I'm getting paid and I do not want repeat work (unpaid) when something fails, down the line. I've done many so far and no call backs with problems. I'll even shred the older removed HDD, or simply reformat the disk to Ext4 (YouTube), and then they can reuse it with a usb to sata cable adapter, as a larger external storage device (I'll reinstall it internally as a secondary drive if it's a tower PC). Thus, everything used is in Ext4 standard format, or FAT for USB sticks and SD cards, and even partitions in special use cases.
We typically learn a software program to do a task (any task) on one OS, and then find the learning curve a bit too sharp on another OS, and thus, will respond to the frustration, by critiquing the unfamiliar programs. I read about this frustration everywhere, but it's not justified; the simple are just slow to change. Even when Windows XP users jumped over to Windows, most had the same problems, via the dreaded learning curve. But I found free and open-source software packages easy to learn. And then there's gaming; oh what to do!
Furthermore; regardless of how easily one learns new or updated programs, Windows and MacOS requires a minimum of hardware resources to function optimally; 8G+ RAM, 128GB+ SSD, and an Intel Core I5 or I7 Processor. Conversely, Linux Distros do very well on budget or older hardware, with little performance difference on higher end equipment, depending of course on what you are using it for. But if you are not tech savvy, there are quality high end Linux laptops (and here too), and low cost Linux Mint SFF PC's for your HDTV.
Usage problems will arise when using Windows (even cloud mode) with inexpensive processors; Atom, Celeron or Pentium; or the AMD line of low end processors. Then there is fragmentation; Linux does not need defragmenting because it's all Ext4 (vs FAT & NTFS).
Regardless of your Linux OS choice, you really do not want to use a partition for personal content; everything on one large single hard drive, partitioned. All techs have known for a long time, the technical certainty that the more partitions on a single drive, the slower the drive; the goal therefore, is as few partitions on one drive as possible. That is why dual booting creates further problems in the overall performance arena. Never fully trust gauges; only be concerned with real world results, such as how long it takes to download something, or to transfer from one drive to another.
It is better to have a small but fast SDD with only your OS on it (2.5" or M.2; I prefer PCIe NVMe with an adapter when there's no slot), and then, a peripheral (or external), or mounted drive for all your personal content; especially stuff you cannot recapture online after an OS drive wipe. Such separation also eliminates storage device heat passed in tight spaces to the motherboard.
Run the OS exclusively from a smaller fast internal drive that runs just the OS, so that ransomware (etc) cannot lock you out of your content, or otherwise infect it or destroy it, and always use uBlock Origin, which is an important front line of online defense. Hardware can also fail, causing a loss of data, regardless of the OS brand. By copying files to be worked on (video, audio, pic, office, cad, etc), onto the main SSD, if anything (that can go wrong) goes wrong, you only lose updates, not the whole file. Every business should have all their data backed up regularly onto a Linux based (air gap) PC or server.
Microsucks once provided a CD with purchase; if anything went wrong, those who had personal content on the same drive as the OS, lost that content. That's because if a corruption took place, be it any virus or an HDD failure, one could remove the HDD, and if it was not a mechanical issue, plug it into a Linux PC with a usb to sata cable adapter, and shred it. Then reinstall it back into the computer (or a new HDD if it was a mechanical fail), and install Windows as a fresh install. Then Microsucks decided not to provide a CD, so if you have a {$} license you must make your own ISO, just like you do {free} with a Linux ISO.
With a large capacity external storage at home, I checkout music & movies (CD/DVD) at my local library (free), and then rip them via Handbrake & Asunder on Linux Mint. Over the last decade I've accumulated a huge video/audio library. I'll get a dozen or so disks at a time, and while I'm doing other things on my NUC-PC, I'll rip them in the background while typing text or surfing on one big screen, while streaming a live ball game on the other big screen. Mass storage is Ext4 formatted, for that reason, and has no executable files to be read at boot, so it's just a mounted storage drive that's read after boot and manual or auto mount (YouTube).
This is important to know; there is nothing on the hard drive that you see on your screen; everything on that screen comes from your RAM. Here's even a list of Linux Distros that run only from RAM. The speed of any device is set by the RAM & CPU, not the storage. It's analogous to sand going through an hour glass; the storage device dumps so much into the hour glass, and then the speed at which it comes out the bottleneck, is determined by the CPU, not the storage specs. I'm on 24GB RAM, 256GB M.2 SSD (OS only), and a USB tethered 5TB HDD external storage. I don't even use the Linux Mint Home Folder.
That's why I still use mechanical drives for mass storage; they're cheaper (for now) and it does not matter their output, because I use an ultra fast NVMe PCIe for all on demand operations. The HDD storage loads its cargo onto the RAM, and there all the processes occur, and when changed, are saved permanently back onto the HDD. With movies, the HDD dumps a load onto the RAM and it plays along until that volatile memory content gets low, and then it tops it off again: We don't see any disruptions while it's doing this. When CAD or video/audio editing: copy (not cut/paste) the entire file onto the M.2, edit/save/edit/save, then (copy/paste) save it all back to the HDD.
Star Labs in Central City!
8Yes, there is a real Star Labs beyond DC Comics Central City. But their Linux OS line of aluminum laptops with backlit keyboards are top shelf. Nowadays I recommend them, because there is no fuss with having to override (or just endure) all the collateral damage done by the proprietary giants, as they stamp their large footprint on anything and everything tech.
As of 2020 onward, I recommend the Intel Core I-3,5,7,9, for muscle work, and the Pentium line of processors for lightweight units; these are good for all Linux Distros. AMD still struggles with compatibility issues on dual boots, where Microsucks had the unit in their possession first. Ryzen on Linux rocks on units such as StarBooks that have never been touched by MS! Another Linux OS laptop maker in Germany, Tuxedo Computers, also offers premium Linux only devices. One of those laptops, along with a 1TB USB Stick in your pocket, and there's little else you'll need, home or away.
Disclaimer: Everything I share online, anywhere, is meant to educate and encourage, because I Love people and hope to be a positive force, even when it hurts. Plus, the honor is to serve: I monetize nothing online. A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't (Twain)! Those who don't share what they know, it dies with them (Me)! One axiom I've honored since 1975: Never go where you're not wanted! In the digital world the same applies. Any hint that I'm not welcome and I'm gone. My goal is not guilt or disparagement, but fun & joy in genuine unity, whenever I am blessed to receive that. If I offend anyone it's not intentional.

Linux Distros:
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Techie Stuff:
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Videos focus more on the tech ecosystem itself!

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