Dell help please

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Forum' started by priscus, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. priscus

    priscus

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    My neighbour has never had/used a computer, and has expressed a desire to participate in on-line shopping.

    He is a good neighbour, not very well off, so would like to buy a cheap second-hand machine to get him started.

    He lives in a tiny apartment. Such little space, it is going to have to be a laptop.

    I assemble my own desktop machines, but when it comes to laptops, my experience is limited to Fujitsu, and Lenovo. The latter, in particular because I can delve into their innards and swap stuff in/out with confidence.

    His needs are different. I have seen advert for a Dell Latitude on eBay:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/CHEAP-La...SSD-Win-10-HDMI/183822607579?var=691457909622

    I have no experience with Dell, As they had in past, a reputation for proprietary hardware, I tended to avoid, as a self-builder. (Though that is probably universally applicable when it comes to laptops)

    However, I have observed they feature a lot on our threads, so have any of you any advice/warnings/caveats for someone ignorant of the brand, before I go ahead and purchase.
     
    priscus, Jun 15, 2019
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  2. priscus

    Elizabeth23

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    cannot say for others but I have had this dell desktop since 2005 or 2003 can't really remember.

    Have a dell laptop with win10 at the shop, was getting hot as it is on 24/7 so I bought one of those fan units that sit under the entire laptop, has 5 fans and works great to keep the laptop cool, :), I , myself prefer Dell, but that could be just because I have never had anything else, :)
     
    Elizabeth23, Jun 16, 2019
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  3. priscus

    cornemuse

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    If your friend has never had or used a computer, get any used laptop & install 'Mint Mate' or 'Cinnamon' (or any os you think would be ok for him) on it. Its not like he's gonna have to learn a new os.
     
    cornemuse, Jun 16, 2019
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  4. priscus

    priscus

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    Elizabeth, every laptop I have ever opened up has sucked a lot of dust into cpu heatsink, fan and duct. I now clean mine out at least once a year.

    I was certainly not suggesting anything wrong with Dell, my reason for not using them is specific, and probably applies to few other users. Hence, as a gift to another user, the model identified may be quite suitable.

    (Researching online, the model identified, I am staggered how great a strip down is required just to replace the cmos battery!)
     
    priscus, Jun 16, 2019
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  5. priscus

    priscus

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    Another neighbour, who lives in the same building as my friend, is going to let him share Wifi/internet access, so I think it will have to be a 'Windows' system, so the man will be able to be first port of call when help required. I am not always available, I have health issues, and, for example, I am back in hospital in three weeks time.

    Also, I do not know if he would cope with learning to navigate a Linux system. I have used Linux for more than a decade, and still encounter frustration/impasse!

    For example, I have used Cinnamon 17.1/17.3 for two years, problem free. Just tried to replace it with Cinnamon 19.1. Well, a few hours into the process, OS installed, Proprietary graphics drivers loaded, printer and MIDI interface, and other peripherals all functioning. Then attempt to set up 'Timeshift', and it tells me I cannot have separate "/", and "/home" partitions (which I have always used in the past) but that for the facility to work, I have to have standard Ubuntu set up!

    DRAT! Reformat the disk start again from beginning the following day!

    Installation attempt#2: Allow it to default to install onto a single partition, get to same point as above, next step, Update manager. DRAT! After about 90 minutes tells me I have broken packages, which I have not succeeded in finding!

    Have run out of time! Will give it another go sometime in the future. For now, have to revert to running Cinnamon 17.3

    I could not impose this sort of thing onto a complete novice.
     
    priscus, Jun 16, 2019
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  6. priscus

    cornemuse

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    Whole lotta os's out there. A lot of systems touted here (and at 3 or 4 or 5 other forums) I did not like. Ubuntu 8 - 11.xx I loved! prollem w/ ubu, you start losing functions(?) quickly. I have not ug'd to above M-Mate 17x, they have not tried to get me to ug. Its like everybody here: We have not moved on, 7-8-10-etc, we are still keeping our chosen os viable.
     
    cornemuse, Jun 17, 2019
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  7. priscus

    Computer semi-expert

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    If you are going to get a Dell, you could go to dellrefurbished.com and get a refurbished computer for cheap. It's just a thought...
     
    Computer semi-expert, Jun 17, 2019
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  8. priscus

    priscus

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    Thanks. I am in UK. Search did find a dellrefurbished.uk variant, but they are not exactly cheap. Price range from £200 to £500.

    They don't call it rip-off Britain for nothing.:(

    Also UK keyboard differs slightly from US, and given transport cost, perhaps not something to import.
     
    priscus, Jun 17, 2019
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  9. priscus

    Mike_Walsh

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    You could do a lot worse than Dells. Whatever their faults, they've always been good Windows boxes, and they've always had a reputation as being 'Linux-friendly', too. I've used 'em for over 20 years, and had no real complaints. Their one major failing is their insistence on using cheap'n'nasty Broadcom wireless cards.....which are somewhat awkward to get working under Linux (but that's Broadcom's fault, not that of the open-source community.)

    A suitable USB wireless adapter usually solves the problem for me. Anything BUT Broadcom tends to work fine...!!

    (CMOS replacement time for my ancient Inspiron 1100 necessitated a mobo-out strip-down; the battery's soldered to the edge of the board, on top, under the palm-rest. However, it is a rechargeable model, and the original did last almost 15 years. I doubt I'll ever need to do it again; the old girl will probably expire before she reaches the age of 30....)

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    I kinda agree with cornemuse. From a complete newb's POV, Linux is a lot easier to learn than Windows. It took me months, indeed, almost a year, decades back, to really get comfortable with Windows.....but Linux I was happy with in less than a fortnight. I know I'm a 'Puppy' nut, but even so I'd never recommend it for a beginner; it's just 'too' different. Mint, I agree with; it's extremely beginner-friendly. I do, however, take your point about the neighbour being your friend's 'go-to-man' when you're not about, so.....

    Has to be your decision, ultimately.


    Mike. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
    Mike_Walsh, Jun 18, 2019
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  10. priscus

    Computer semi-expert

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    I agree with Mike_Walsh. Linux Mint is a good version to start with. If you do get it, get the Cinnamon version. It has the most similarity to Windows of the different Mint desktops. Alternatively, you could find a Linux distro that has KDE, which is also somewhat like Windows.

    Also, keep in mind that Linux can run Wine, which runs Windows programs.
     
    Computer semi-expert, Jun 18, 2019
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  11. priscus

    priscus

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    Yes, I am very familiar with the issues arising with Broadcom. I have an ancient Fujitsu/Siemens Amilo Pro which is equipped with one.

    Strangely, the lightweight LXLE, which is an UBUNTU derivative will drive the Broadcom "out of the box" and attains problem-free WiFi. However, none of the more recent, and more developed variants or forks of Ubuntu, including the Mint family, which I have tried, are able to attain this!

    I gather the broadcom chip works with Windows, although does not actually conform to the standards for a PC wireless card!

    I am sure in the past, I have tried Puppy, DSL, etc on the Amilo pro, but alas, I no longer recall what results I obtained.

    Anyway, at this point in time, I have superfluous Linux systems, and no requirement to run Linux on the Amilo Pro. It is now a dedicated portable unit of my XP-based Audio sub system. The XP desktops, in every room are all dual-booted with a Linux system (not all the same one), but the laptop only really gets used to listen to music in the garden, and even then, I can bypass it and send music over Bluetooth from indoors to the garden.
     
    priscus, Jun 18, 2019
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  12. priscus

    stvpls

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    better to get a refurbished one with xp/7, they re more reliable than the modern ones
     
    stvpls, Jun 19, 2019
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  13. priscus

    priscus

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    Just reading something having bearing upon this: LXLE's desktop (LXDE) has the Lightweight Network Manager called LXNM, (which Lubuntu also uses). It seems that LXNM can be installed independently of LXDE here, for example: https://pkgs.org/download/lxnm

    Do other Distros also offer the package in their respective repositories? Just wondering if this offers a way of driving that darned Broadcom chip.
     
    priscus, Jun 20, 2019
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  14. priscus

    Computer semi-expert

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    You can use a program called NDISWrapper to convert a Windows driver to a Linux driver. That could potentially solve the Broadcom problem. I'm going to experiment with my computers on this issue... Stay tuned!

    Edit: My computers don't have wireless cards, so I can't reproduce the situation. However, Ndiswrapper should do the trick.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
    Computer semi-expert, Jun 20, 2019
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  15. priscus

    Bita123

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    I've used dell before my mac. I was using Win 10 pro on it and it was working very well. I think for a person who buys a notebook for the first time dell will be very good.
     
    Bita123, Jun 27, 2019
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  16. priscus

    priscus

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    Had a long chat with the guy about the pros and cons of both Windows and Linux.

    So decided to set up machines side by side running both, and he can assess for himself which he is most comfortable with. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
     
    priscus, Jun 28, 2019
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  17. priscus

    Computer semi-expert

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    Great choice, except you should have set it up as dual boot. :D I totally LOVE dual booting. My motto for computers is "If you have space, install another operating system!" LOL
     
    Computer semi-expert, Jun 28, 2019
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  18. priscus

    ClippyBeer

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    There should be a package manager under System Tools - I have Lubuntu 18 so it's Muon - other distros I have seen come with Synaptics package manager.

    [​IMG]

    You need to know the specific wifi chipset for your machine - my Dell Zino 400 has the Broadcom 4312 chipset.

    First make sure you are connected to the internet via ethernet.

    Load the package manager and type 'Broadcom' in the search box.

    [​IMG]

    You should see about 5 choices - right-click on the first one and select 'Mark for installation' then hit 'Apply changes' - you will be asked for your password to proceed - it will then install a bunch of packages and should show as installed once completed for that selection - repeat the process until all 5 show as 'Installed' - your WIFI should now be active. I didn't have to reboot.
     
    ClippyBeer, Jun 28, 2019
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  19. priscus

    priscus

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    Thank you all for your help. Have bought him a 'Latitude E6430', so hoping that it turns out to be a good choice.

    It already has W10 installed. Had him spend a day trying out both windows, and cinnamon. He liked the inclusion of apps, and lack of charge for any additional ones afforded by Linux. On the other hand, apart from myself everyone else he knows is using Windows.

    Still, best get him starting. I don't mind changing the OS for him at some future date, should he wish.

    I am not too keen on dual booting on laptops, unless as with Lenovo thinkpads, where it is easy to add additional disk drives without sacrificing the optical drive. Not for a complete novice, but will be happy to assist in future should he want to pursue that option.
     
    priscus, Jul 1, 2019
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  20. priscus

    Computer semi-expert

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    How big is the hard drive on this laptop?
     
    Computer semi-expert, Jul 2, 2019
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