Friday, May 22, 2020

Acer Aspire V5-122P-0408

Happy birthday to this little guy! The sticker on the bottom says it was manufactured 05/22/2013.

This little laptop came back to me from my daughter last week. It went to her so she had something a little smaller to carry to college.

This little Acer is a 11.6"; the perfect size for portability.

AND, it has a touch screen!

The downside is this is what I call "tweener" technology - it is between different technology hardware eras.

It has 2GB of RAM soldered on the mainboard and a Dimm slot containing 2GB more (can be replaced with a 4GB).

Thankfully, it does NOT have one of those semi-useless EMMc chips, but rather a "real" hard drive... Too bad it's a Seagate...

The processor is an AMD A4 1250, that is a dual-core 1.0GHz. It doesn't draw a lot of power, but it doesn't offer any speed or performance either.

There is a 2.0 USB and a 3.0 USB and an SD card slot, and that's it. No CD/DVD drive.

I'm wondering if pulling the 2GB RAM card and replacing it with a 4GB will offer any noticable performance/speed improvements. Going from 4GB to 6GB?

Then, pulling that "guaranteed to fail" Seagate hard drive and replacing it with an SSD?

Is it worth it to upgrade or should I leave it alone?

For now, it works, slow, but it works; the battery seems to be holding too.

Windows 10 is out (Click HERE!)

Zorin Lite 15.2 works well.

I got this screen during install, which is something I've never seen before


I'm not sure if this is 'buntu's answer to problems I've had in years past with booting on a UEFI laptop, or...?

When the laptop first booted after install, it went straight to Windows 10. I powered off and cold booted into BIOS. In Boot Options I chose the "ubuntu" one and moved it to the first slot so it would "boot" first.

It worked.

I never saw any screen that needed that Secure Boot password that I set during install.

Everything seems to be fine, as long as I'm patient and realize the AMD 1.0GHz processor can't be expected to run any faster than it does.

The touch screen works too. I installed Xubuntu 18.04 and it worked with it too. This has me a little perplexed; my previous experiences with touch screens and Linux were questionable. I'm not sure if this is the superiority of Acer's hardware and design, or if it is general improvements in the world of Linux and it's evolution. What I do know, this touch screen works with Zorin Lite 15.2 and Xubuntu 18.04.4 with no tweaking or adjustments.

I did have a failure with the recent pCloud update. After the update, pCloud failed to start and I got an error message. I immediately downloaded pCloud again, made it executable, double clicked, and all is well.

So, only 2 manual adjustments, one on pCloud, the other in the BIOS Boot order, and it runs.

Maybe I will upgrade the RAM and switch to an SSD...

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Is Linux That Great or Is It That Windows Sucks That Bad?

As I collected my thoughts before writing this article, I had to pause and consider,

Is this another victory for the Linux community, or is it just another testimony of just how bad Microsoft's Windows 10 is?

I was hoodwinked into thinking Windows 10 was making itself into a worthwile operating system during the version 1903 released May 21, 2019. I was so shocked, I wrote a positive article about Windows 10 (Click HERE!)

That was very short-lived. November 12, 2019 is when Microsoft released version 1909 of Windows 10. I started noticing things that I'd normally expect to see from Windows...

When watching IMDB TV on the Amazon Prime Video website, their ads were getting through my adblockers. This was not the case in Linux, just Windows (Click HERE!).

Amazon Prime limits customers to Standard Definition ONLY if they are not using Windows or Mac (Click HERE!) Yep, that big TV limited to VCR tape quality...

Next, there was a re-emergence of a problem I had seen in the past - when Windows 10 upgraded to the next version, it would delete or render the Linux partition unusable if you had any form of Linux on the same PC (Click HERE!)

Oh, but, wait! There's more...

One of Windows 10's biggest selling points was its driver base, and its ability to find drivers for most any computer or hardware...

...until now.

Now I am seeing evidence of drivers that used to be readily and automatically available disappearing.

- Case #1
     A newer Dell Inspiron was acting like it had a failing power supply. After way too much time was spent diagnosing and eliminating what should have been the culprits, it was discovered that the computer would completely black out when it went to sleep. The only way to get it to recover was to remove power, zero the mainboard voltage, and plug it back in. The solution was to disable sleep altogether.
     This had never happened before; this was a new problem that arose a short while after upgrading. There is a chance that a BIOS update could have remedied this if one was available. Whether one was availble or if it would have helped is unknown.

- Case #2
     An HP laptop was several versions behind on upgrades, so it got its hard drive wiped, and a fresh copy of Windows 10 version 1909 installed... more than once...
     After diagnosing the hard drive, RAM, and other hardware, all of which were fine, if the laptop went to sleep, or hibernated, it could not wake up without crashing and restarting.
     This is a driver issue, and, possibly, a BIOS issue. Either way, it is a new problem brought on with Windows 10, version 1909.
     The only fix was to disable sleep and hibernation. That sounds easy, but at every turn, Windows 10 was turning sleep and/or hibernation back on. Absolutley enfuriating!

- Case #3
     An Acer Aspire V5-122P-0408 that I just got back from my daughter. It had Windows 10 version 1709 on it (2-1/2 years old). It worked, but it was slow because of its diminutive hardware, but it worked.
     The best way to upgrade is to wipe the drive and install the current Windows 10 version.
     This caused what I call "chugging". Chugging is when a computer works for a few seconds, freezes for a few seconds, works, freezes, and so on.
     Updates did not help. Checking and updating all drivers did not help...
     And, remember, version 1709 did NOT do this; this was brought on by 1909...
     So, when I installed Zorin Lite 15.2, it worked fine. Even the touch screen worked fine. For fun, I installed Xubuntu 18.04. It worked fine and the touchscreen worked fine too (much to my surprise!).

Can I say "Yay! Linux saved the day!"?

Or,

is Linux (in this case, Zorin 15.2 and Xubuntu 18.04) just running like an operating system should? Dependably with the necessary drivers?

And, has Microsoft let Windows 10 slack into a state of disarray?

Or,

is this a tactful move by Microsoft to force some computers into a state of obsolesence so new ones need to be purchased?

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