RT Cunningham

Reinstalling Linux on my Laptop after it Crashed Again

Yesterday morning, my laptop crashed for the second time. When it happened, I knew I’d be reinstalling Linux again. Which Linux distribution would I use?

My laptop has a faulty keyboard connector. I can’t fix it and I can’t afford to replace the laptop with anything. It causes the laptop to go into suspend mode randomly.

Usually a quick tap on one of the keys in the lower left corner of the keyboard will bring it back to life. When it doesn’t, I have to power off and power on manually. Most of the time, it turns out okay. This is the second time it didn’t.

Ubuntu Desktop instead of Linux Mint

I’ve mentioned Linux Mint a few times. I decided to go with the plain Ubuntu desktop this time for no good reason in particular.

I decided not to reinstall Irfanview because I didn’t want to reinstall Wine. It’s the only application that needs Wine to work. Instead, I pulled Pinta from the Ubuntu software store. I only need it for shrinking images and sharpening them.

The default appearance of Ubuntu looks odd to me. I installed the Unity Tweak Tool, again from the Ubuntu software store. I then proceeded to move the task bar from the left to the bottom and change the theme. The only things I can’t change are the minimize and maximize buttons from the top left to the top right. Not without potentially screwing something up.

I recently wrote about looking for the best web browser and decided to roll back to Chromium, once again from the Ubuntu software store. If you’re wondering, I’m trying to avoid installing anything that isn’t in the Ubuntu repository. Except for my web development software, of course.

I had to reinstall Nginx, MariaDB and PHP. I had to restore my database and my files. I’m lucky I keep backups of everything, even when I think I don’t need them. I write my articles on this laptop and I do my web development here.

I didn’t have to install much else and almost all of what I installed was in the Ubuntu software store. Geany is for plain text and code editing, FileZilla for FTP and PuTTY for SSH. I use Transmission for torrents (like my Linux distributions) and Dropbox and overGrive (Linux Google Drive client) for storing backups. Oh, and Thunderbird to download my e-mail from Gmail (and for RSS feeds).

Reinstalling Linux is Easier than Replacing a Computer

And less expensive as well. I have three laptops in this house. The netbook won’t connect to the Internet anymore, for whatever reason. I’ve had it for about nine years. The other HP laptop’s screen is going wonky, changing colors all the time. The battery’s dead and I don’t want to replace it. I’ve had it for at least five years.

I’ll eventually get a desktop tower computer to work with and forget about replacing the rest. Cannibalizing what I have in storage, I know I’ll spend less than $300. Possibly less than $200. Not having to pay the Microsoft tax makes it cheaper.

I’ll never go back to using Windows if I can help it. Every Linux distribution I’ve installed in the last 11 years was far less painful to set up than any version of Windows ever was.

It only took me three hours from start to finish this time. That includes downloading the Ubuntu ISO and installing it on a USB flash drive.

October 13, 2017

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