Saturday, January 25, 2020

Not Pretty Day

You don't "fix" computers; there's no such thing.

If hardware is faulty you *replace* it.

If the operating system is wonky, you *reinstall* it.

You don't fix it, ever.

So, for the past 2 days I've been trying to *fix* my primary work horse computer. That's right, I said *"fix"*.

3 days ago Windows booted fine, but Peppermint OS just gave me a black screen with a blinking cursor.

I know why this happened. Windows 10 creates an ESP/boot partition on the hard drive that is 100MB in size. That is generally fine for Windows. But, when you have more than one operating system on the computer, you need that partition to have at least 100 per OS. Otherwise, like I was experiencing, you will eventually have boot issues.

https://www.atnpc.com/2019/02/how-large-should-you-make-uefi-system.html

Generally speaking, reinstalling an OS *"fixes"* everything, but I didn't want to do that. So, even as much as I despise forums, I joined the Peppermint OS forum.

https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php

The forum is chock full of great information! I searched, but couldn't find my issue with a cure already posted (no surprise) so I started a thread. Since I was a new user, my thread had to be approved. That took a few hours.

I went ahead and started working on my computer.

I tried Boot Repair several times from a LiveUSB.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair

No dice.

Next, it was time to go ahead and address the undersized ESP/boot partition. It is so easy to make one on a new or newly wiped hard drive, but on one already set up, it isn't fun. I had to resize and move everything to get the partion the size it needed to be. If you've ever done this before, you know it can take hours.

The ESP/boot partition didn't expand the 100MB to fill and utilize the new space even after running the fix tools.

I tried Boot Repair in hopes it would rewrite and fill the partition.

Nope.

I reinstalled Peppermint OS thinking it would rewrite and fill the partition.

Nope.

The only thing left to do was to delete the ESP/boot partition, and create a new one. This means all boot info is lost.

I installed Xubuntu 18.04 over the Pepermint partition. Before restarting I ran efibootmgr. Xubuntu booted fine, but no Windows 10.

Boot Repair?

Nope.

I used my Windows 10 USB drive and ran the repair options. Running the Command Prompt, following all the instructions, it didn't work. Windows was not an available boot option.

With no choice left and no response form the Peppermint forum, I tried to reinstall Windows.

It failed.

I booted into the UEFI/BIOS interface and purged ALL of the boot options.

Windows installed correctly.

I ran a LiveUSB of Xubuntu and Boot Repair and it created a GRUB menu with Windows and Xubuntu, both bootable.

That's not what I wanted. I wanted to make the original Peppermint OS bootable...

And, 2 days later...

So now I have an ESP/boot partition that is big enough it should last longer than I need, a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro, and fresh install of Xubuntu 18.04.



Bye, bye Peppermint

 - -

Windows 10 After Install

Device Manager update drivers
 restart

Display Settings
 adjust monitors

Additional Power Settings
 High Performance
  Hard disk 0 min
  Turn off dispaly after
 Turn on fast startup (OFF)

Apps
 remove bloat

Start Menu
 remove bloat

Local Disk C:
 Tool
  Optimize
   Change Settings
    (OFF)

Open Hardware Monitor

Windows Update
 check for updates
 restart

Windows Update
 Change active hours
 Automatically adjust... (ON)

Alarms & Clock
 add to Start Menu

Firefox Web Browser
 pin to start
 pin to taskbar
 sign in

Google Chrome
 pin to start
 pin to taskbar
 sign in

pcloud

Background
 Slideshow
 Custom Wallpaper Folder
 Span

Libre Office

PhotoScape

VLC Media Player

Speedtest by Ookla

MyRadar


 - -

Xubuntu 18.04 After Install

Updates

 restart

Additional Drivers

 restart

Display
 arrange monitors

Software
 Gnome System Monitor
 GParted
 Sound Juicer

Firefox
 sign in
 create panel shortcut

Google Chrome
 add to panel
 sign in


Grub Customizer
 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

Desktop Settings
 Background
  Spanning Screens
  Folder to custom wallpaper folder
  change background every



 - -

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Peppermint 10 OS, Still Awesome

I was just saying the other day that Deepin was giving me that not-so-up-to-date feeling. For fun, I checked the version of Firefox that it was running 60.0.1.

That's bad.

The next day everybody else running Firefox updated to 70.0.1.

I knew that Deepin hadn't updated in a while so I looked it up - Deepin hadn't updated since July!

That's really bad.

The worst thing, the Deepin installation was what I did all my banking and bill-paying on.

Eeks!!!

A writer for a popular magazine had written about Peppermint OS recently and how amazing it was. I already knew this, but it was a solid reminder I need to swap OS's before I do anymore online banking.

(previous article on Peppermint https://www.atnpc.com/2019/08/peppermint-10.html )

(original Pepperming 9 discovery https://www.atnpc.com/2019/02/peppermint-os-linux.html )

Peppermint 10 went right on my dual-booted work machine. The monitor on the right started to flicker during instal; I knew this was Nvidia driver related so I didn't panic.

Upon restart, there was no monitor flicker. I went straight to the additional driver tool and checked for necessary drivers. Peppermint had already installed the right drivers.



If you've been following my adventures with Linux this year, you'll understand how happy I am about this.

With everything that is behind it, and with everything that goes into it, Linux certainly SHOULD BE this easy.

From here I went to Display settings and configured my monitors correctly.


After system/software updates, it was time to put a few other programs on it

(a list of addition software is started here https://www.atnpc.com/2019/11/peppermint-os-mods-and-addons.html )

Simple.

Now I feel safe, secure (up-to-date), and can get back to computing.

Thanks to everybody that makes Peppermint OS!

 - -

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Peppermint OS Mods and Addons

Icon Theme
 elementary Xfce
 or
 Elementary Xfce Darkest

Clementine

 Gnome System Monitor

Google Chrome

Gparted

GtkHash

LibreOffice

Sound Juicer

UNetbootin
 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gezakovacs/ppa
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install unetbootin
Variety



Grub Customizer
 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install grub-customizer






 - -

Sunday, October 27, 2019

HP/Compaq Salvage

HP Pavilion a6303w
https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c01294321

https://www.cnet.com/products/compaq-presario-sr5214x-tower-pentium-e2140-1-6-ghz-1-gb-160-gb/

Sunday, October 6, 2019

NVidia Graphics Card AFTER OS Install

Here we go again...

I went through all my computers and realised some of them are close to being retired. This being due to *some* components reaching dinosaur-like ages in computer-to-human years, which leaves other components to be scuttled and used in other machines to enhance their performance.

My HTPC, the computer attached to the TV, got upgrade with 8 whole gigabytes of RAM.

The beloved Dell Optiplex 755 SFF is just getting too old for service. At 11 years old, it equates to 110 "human years". Most humans have retired from this world at that age... Granted, it may find service as the *new* feed computer for the online scanner, but that is a project for later.

For now, I removed the PNY Geforce GT 710 graphics card. At 2GB, and having DVI and HDMI ports, it's a dandly little card with low power requirements.

So, now I find myself with parts to build up the loathed and infamous Dell Optiplex 7010 DT.

(read more about it HERE, HERE, and HERE)

It received the PNY graphics card, and 10GB of RAM. The RAM was an accidental combination - it was supposed to be 8, but my tired eyes misread the small print. And, I know full well that RAM needs to be congruant, or you will have issues. The speed/frequency all matches, it's just the capacity that differs. I might remove the 2GB stick later, but, hey, the silly thing is running...

I thought about installing a SSD from another machine, but decided against it. The current hard drive was already partioned. It has Windows 10, Xubuntu 18.04, and Peppermint 10, and extra partitions for whatever. So it stayed.

I thought it would be easy enough to get all the drivers sorted.

Windows, right-click, Device Manager, Display Adapters, Update Driver...

Then Peppermint, additional drivers, nvidia-driver-430, Apply Changes...


But the progress bar would go half way, then the whole process stopped.


I restarted, tried again, and got the same results.

Next, I booted into Xubuntu, same process, same results.

I didn't record how many cold boots and restarts I performed between attempts, but the results were the same.

I installed Xubuntu fresh, updated, and then went to Additional Drivers. The process worked this time.

Today I booted into Peppermint and went through the process just to get screenshots, and guess what...


It worked.


Pressing the Restart button in Additional Drivers failed to restart the computer to finish the driver install, but the regular Restart button for the OS did the trick.

WTF?

There is a meme floating around that says something to the effect off
"we see you have hit the [whatever] key 517, 402 times; your selection has now been accepted"

I guess that's what happened here. It's not the second cold boot, it's not the second restart, it's not the combination of the two, it's the fact that I went to the internet to post a snarky article... THAT'S WHEN IT WORKS, just to make me look/feel stupid...

Too funny...

My advice has ALWAYS been to configure your computer the way you want it with all the hardware you desire in it's proper place, THEN install your Linux distro while connected to the internet via ethernet cable (not Wifi).

I stand by this.

 - -