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Linux for Laptops/What's the Story

  Date: Feb 12    Category: Unix / Linux / Ubuntu    Views: 494

Probably the Group doesn't get a question like this tooo often. I may be out of
line here, just let me know?

Here's the story. Some time ago, Purchased an aspire laptop with, pardon my
language, Vista installed for my Wife's usage. Vista went array, so I
reinstalled XP. After XP reinstallation I have no XP device drivers. No audio,
Lan, Ethernet, Video, Internet, Router, etc. functions.

This senior citizen has next to no knowledge of computer science, procedures,
installations, how to's etc. After downloading the XP drivers Not able to
install the xp drivers to HD of Laptop. I think there is a vast windows OS
conspiracy going on out there :C.

What I would like to know if I was to download the latest Ubuntu Linux on my
desktop PC (which has internet connection) and install this to the laptop. Would
Ubuntu have all the necessary drivers INCLUDED in the download so that I/WE
would have all the DEVICE DRIVERS working properly?? Or is there more to it than

I presume that xp, vista, 7, 98, 98se, etc all have different drivers for each
OS. Does linux have the same protocol? That is, you download the OS than go to
another site to load all or most of the drivers. If you choose to download
another version of Linux are all the device drivers included?

Apologize for the length of the chatter, but our inquiring minds want to know?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to present this to the Forum. Appreciate
any/all of the suggestions, input, & assistance you feel like posting.



5 Answers Found

Answer #1    Answered On: Feb 12    

When comparing Windows to Linux then you have to take into account that
most people get Windows pre-installed so it seems easier to use because it
just works. Once you re-install Windows then you see the difference is not
as simple as that.

To use Windows XP after a re-installation then you need all of the driver
disks or nothing works. That usually means feeding the provided disks as
needed for some time until it was back to where it was. If you do not have
the disks then you need to search and download them. Some OEMs get around
this by providing a restore partition which includes a disk image for the
pre-installed state. No driver disks are needed.

Linux does things differently. Most of the time you do not need any
drivers. The kernel includes the drivers. In some cases you may need a
driver. This is usually the case for older, rare or very recent hardware.
There are no guarantees whether your equipment will work out of the box,
but chances are better than Windows XP without any driver disks. It is
worth the effort to find out. You should know by using the Live disk.

Answer #2    Answered On: Feb 12    

I aquired a notebook from my daughter its an aspire one made by acer.
it had xp that screwed up and had loads of viruses. this model doesn't have a
dvd drive so I made a usbdrive into a bootable drive and put ubuntu 12.04 on it
She bought a £600 laptop and a week later said dad look at my new laptop its
windows 7 she was all smug until she saw her old aspire quite happily running
ubuntu and its quicker than her present laptop. We did a trial downloading an
mp3 and a movie the aspire was faster.

YES ubuntu will go onto the laptop and it will download all drivers as the
aspire recognised all my printers HP and samsung laser printers

She now want me to install ubuntu 12.04 like yesterday. After you put on 12.04
there will be upgrade files you can download to get up to-date.

Answer #3    Answered On: Feb 12    

Yes, Linux is very different from Windows when it comes to drivers. You might
want to give an exact identification of the Aspire, since that describes a very
large family of computers.

Generally speaking, if you install Linux, it will have basic support for all the
devices. One exception is wireless: sometimes you need to connect by Ethernet
cable, then install an "additional driver" to get the wireless working. (Some
wireless adapters will only work by using the Windows driver and a major PITA
called ndiswrapper, and some will never work.)

Likewise, the video adapter will probably work right away, but it might support
more functions if you install an "additional driver."

Do you know how much memory is in the laptop? If it's 512 MB, I suggest you
install Lubuntu 12.04. If it's more, you might want to consider Linux Mint 13,
Kubuntu 12.04 or Ubuntu 12.04.

Answer #4    Answered On: Feb 12    

Whether or not you would need additional drivers besides those contained in the
kernel will depend on exactly which Aspire you have. As earlier mentioned,
there are lots of different Aspires out there.

I'm running Ubuntu 11.10/Unity on an Aspire 5733z. The store I bought it from
installed a "better" wireless NIC in it, and I had to modify grub to deal with a
screen brightness issue. Other than that, the machine has been working
perfectly, and recognizes/supports my old peripherals where Doze 7 does not.

You have nothing to lose. Burn a CD with the Linux ISO of your choice, stick it
in the drive and test drive it without having to install anything.

Answer #5    Answered On: Feb 12    

Most common drivers are supplied with the live CD (the download). You
will need to burn a DVD or make a thumb drive with the ISO image you
download. You will find instructions to do this on the Ubuntu website.
It is best to connect the computer to a wired lan as not all wifi
adapters drivers are on the disk. This can be tested easily though by
starting up with the try Ubuntu option. You will likely see a blurb in
the top right letting you know a connection is available, if one is the
wifi is seen by Ubuntu.

I would not bother with a reinstall of windows that would be the first
thing you would do for a dual boot system (ability to start up in more
than one OS). The reason is the lack of drivers that I would not. You
could reinstall Vista because you likely have the drivers for your
machine. You would want a working windows system before installing
Ubuntu if dual boot was desired.

With only few exceptions selecting install Ubuntu, and then install
Ubuntu alongside, are all you need to know to install Ubuntu as a dual
boot system. I suggest installing Ubuntu while connected to the net.
Select both install third party software and update while installing. As
a beginner you will be happier with the choice if you do so.

I also suggest you open Ubuntu software center that is on the launcher
to the left, just mouse over each Icon and it will tell you what it is.

I suggest installing "Synaptics package manager" right off the start. I
also suggest you browse the software center at this time. Using the
search window you can find applications you have use of. You don't need
a program name just what it does.

If you need a disk utility type in "disk". You do not need to ask if
anyone else has used the program you want to try, just try it. You see
most Applications are free of charge. You will no longer need to go to
the store to buy a program. You will no longer need to go to
questionable sites to download freeware type programs that may include
viruses. You will just install using Ubuntu software center or Synaptics
package manager.

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