New Computers And Moving Away From Microsoft

We’re now into the third full week of post-Dell/HP computers and Windows 7 & 10 here at The Gulch. In an earlier post I mentioned how it came time to replace our ancient computers – one 10 years old and the other 12 – and after pricing their 2024 equivalents – expensive - decided to take a different approach, that being miniPCs.

The WP Mom’s computer has been up and running for a couple of weeks and it does everything she needs it to do. While I originally had plans load Linux Mint on her computer, a locked BIOS made that impossible as I could not change the boot sequence after I gained access to the BIOS. So it is using Windows 11, an operating system that many see as quite intrusive and has little if any regard for privacy, despite Microsoft’s claims to the contrary. That the WP Mom doesn’t use her computer for much more than e-mail, Facebook, and a few computer games like Solitaire and Mahjong, I am not as concerned as I might otherwise be.

I, on the other hand, was able to access the BIOS on the miniPC I acquired for myself and load the aforementioned Linux Mint and have spent time configuring the OS (basic settings and so on) and transferring all of the data on the old Official Weekend Pundit HP Pavilion tower to the new machine. It takes time to copy 400+GB of data from one machine to another as well as about 4GB of e-mail related data and settings. There was also additional software to load and configure. There are still tweaks I need to make and a couple of new peripherals to obtain, one of the most important being a powered USB 3.0 hub to expand the number of USB ports as well as making sure there is sufficient power to run whichever USB peripherals I connect to the new machine, such as an external CD-R/DVD-R drive, a microSD card reader, and so on. (USB ports on PCs can provide power, but only a limited amount, but the powered hubs can provide a lot more.)

My old HP Pavilion is going to be cleaned up, some more RAM installed (which I already have), a new 2 TB hard drive installed, and then have Ubuntu Linux installed. It will become a media server to store all of the music and videos I have which will then be accessible by our Smart TVs, tablets, PCs, laptops, and smart phones. Most of my music CDs and DVDs have already been ripped and copied onto an external drive. Between the new miniPCs, the new 2TB hard drive, and powered USB 3.0 hub, I spent about $600, a fraction of what the 2024 versions of our old Dell and HP would cost.

So far everything seems to be working well. The shift from Windows to Linux hasn’t been difficult, but then I have been using a Lenovo ThinkPad running Ubuntu Linux for a couple of years now, so other than a different look to the desktop and a few other quirks, it works very much like Windows. What’s neat is that if the proper software – called WINE – is installed, Linux can run Windows programs. (I have one I like for light photo editing that is easier to use than some of the ‘heavier’ programs like GIMP, Photoshop, and a few of others out there.)

Now we’ll get a chance to see just how well the new hardware and software work!