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Thread: 2020 Linux on an aging PC

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    Junior Member ufosarereal's Avatar
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    Default 2020 Linux on an aging PC in legacy mode

    Hello everyone.
    Its has been over a decade since I was on this forum. Feels almost nostalgic to be back.
    Anyway, I have a Lenovo ThinkCentre 71z all-in-one. It came with Windows 7 32bit, but some time ago I installed Linux Mint 18 64 bit on it and have been using it as my main pc (although I have a new laptop). That version of Mint will reach the end of its life in 2021, so feeling bored I tried to install Linux Mint 20, iBuntu (mac clone) and GhostBSD 20 onto an external hard drive. The machine boots in legacy mode and runs Windows 7 internally and Linux 18 externally without an issue and boots from usb pen drives. However, it will not boot anything recent despite my attempts to tweak the bios, change disks, etc. I have also used rufus, etcher and the linux usb writer to create the install drives. Incidentally, it boots FreeDOS from a usb just fine and I'm able to run Windows 3 from it in real mode. I have read that there is a bug in the Ubuntu installer and that a possible work around is to write Grub to the MBR manually. If anyone has any thoughts I would appreciate it. I could just turn legacy off, but that would stop Windows from booting, which I'm using to run legacy 32 bit and some 16 bit software I developed back in the day and still use.

    Cheers
    UFO



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    How far are you getting with the installation of Linux Mint 20? Is it that you cannot boot the usb installation media at all? What exactly does you computer do when you attempt to cold boot from the USB installation media?

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    I could just turn legacy off, but that would stop Windows from booting
    IMHO, that's a positive result =) Especially so when one considers, even by M$' standard, win7 is deprecated/legacy OS anyway...ergo...turning legacy off in BIOS resulting in win7 not booting is 'correct' functionality.

    Just aside that issue for the moment - these legacy win32 and 16bit softwares you speak of ; what are they? Do you actually need a native windows OS instance to run them? I mean, the 16bit stuffs might work in dosbox, and/or WINE...which the win32 stuffs may work in.

    I only mention this because recently in this forum there was a piece of windows ('95-XP) software that won't run at all on win10, but I found it worked fine in linux using WINE ...ergo...one didn't -need- the native windows OS at all.

    Curious if you've explored this angle ~ perhaps there's another way, especially if that's the only reason you use win7.

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    LSemmens
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    Yhis question may well be best answered on the Linux Mint Forums, they are extremely helpful there, When you post your question there, please also include a copy of the output of inxi -Fxxzd run in a terminal, That will give the experts an overview of your system and target your answer accordingly.
    I'm out of my mind, but feel free to leave a message...

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    Thanks for your replies. Live USB pretty much works on everything I throw at it, PrimeOs (Android x86), Linux Mint 20, Ubuntu 20, Ibuntu (Version 1.3 “Catalinux”), Zorin 15, GhostBSD 20 etc. I only installed Mint 20 and GhostBSD 20 to an external hard drive, Windows lives on the internal drive. Anyway, when I boot the latter two operating systems from the external drives all I get is a black screen with a blinking flat cursor on the top left hand corner. I successfully boot external hard drives with FreeDOS, Mint 18, Mac Os 10.5 full installations, which are all older operating systems and all in legacy mode. As for why I keep this machine, there really isn't one. It has been and still is working just fine for my needs with both Win 7 and Mint 18, and that version of Linux will continue to be supported until 2021, so I may have anywhere up to a year before updates stop. The code I wrote for my specific research purposes uses 16 bit Windows API. Microsoft broke compatibility, but the compiled 16 bit code runs fine under the 32 bit system, it won't compile under 32 bit nor 64 bit. It won't run under wine either, don't know why. I never bothered porting it, its not commercial, it ain't broke where it is and its not even the issue. Lets just say that if George R. R. Martin can write Game of Thrones on a Dos machine, then why not! Having said that, I do have a number of virtual machines that I use under Linux and was considering moving these to Mint 20, even onto the internal hard drive, replacing Win7 once and for all, if I can't get it to boot as is. I'm sure there is a solution though, which will require a physical replacement of the MBR with GRUB, thought I'd ask, and will try the linux forum just to see what they say. Thanks again all of your suggestions!

    UFO
    Last edited by ufosarereal; 20-09-20 at 03:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ufosarereal View Post
    Thanks for your replies. Live USB pretty much works on everything I throw at it, PrimeOs (Android x86), Linux Mint 20, Ubuntu 20, Ibuntu (Version 1.3 “Catalinux”), Zorin 15, GhostBSD 20 etc. I only installed Mint 20 and GhostBSD 20 to an external hard drive, Windows lives on the internal drive. Anyway, when I boot the latter two operating systems from the external drives all I get is a black screen with a blinking flat cursor on the top left hand corner. I successfully boot external hard drives with FreeDOS, Mint 18, Mac Os 10.5 full installations, which are all older operating systems and all in legacy mode. As for why I keep this machine, there really isn't one. It has been and still is working just fine for my needs with both Win 7 and Mint 18, and that version of Linux will continue to be supported until 2021, so I may have anywhere up to a year before updates stop. The code I wrote for my specific research purposes uses 16 bit Windows API. Microsoft broke compatibility, but the compiled 16 bit code runs fine under the 32 bit system, it won't compile under 32 bit nor 64 bit. It won't run under wine either, don't know why. I never bothered porting it, its not commercial, it ain't broke where it is and its not even the issue. Lets just say that if George R. R. Martin can write Game of Thrones on a Dos machine, then why not! Having said that, I do have a number of virtual machines that I use under Linux and was considering moving these to Mint 20, even onto the internal hard drive, replacing Win7 once and for all, if I can't get it to boot as is. I'm sure there is a solution though, which will require a physical replacement of the MBR with GRUB, thought I'd ask, and will try the linux forum just to see what they say. Thanks again all of your suggestions!

    UFO
    So relative to my question, it's only the 16bit software you're interested in, and not any legacy win32 stuffs?...and said 16bit binary won't run under WINE and you don't know why (I could tell you, I've worked on/with WINE =)

    Going by this recount....and answering DB44's question at the same time....it would seem that Mint20/spookyBSD20 are already fully installed ~ so the *installer* kernel must have run OK, but that doesn't necessarily mean the -installed- kernel is the same, or what (if any) boot-params were used due that process.

    So one ends up thinking...is this boot-loader, or kernel mode?.... and then, what of Lazarus?...oops, wrong episode....I meant, what boot management are you using? BIOS boot selector?

    As the OP hasn't explained what went on here, I'm -presuming- the OS instances were installed to external HDD, and that the bootloader got scribbled onto the external HDD MBR

    Ummm, if I CBF trying to fathom the actual problem, go with what already works - it boots from USB, fine ...use that =) Put the boot-loader there, set BIOS to boot removeable first (USB-HDD), then first internal disk, use USB drive as /boot and isolated the bootloader files that get written there, see if it boots from the USB drive. When I used to do multiOS boot setups (pita, you'd never do this for 'serious' fun/play but for work), I used to chain-load the boot-loaders and jump from one MBR to the next, but that gets tiresome after a while -- it's better to have a dedicated boot-manager in those instances, either on a flashdrive or installed on a small partition of the HDD which always boots first, and from there select which OS to load. The plop boot manager is such a thing but there's many others out there.

    As you say, there's probably a boot-option to pass to grub, or boot-param to feed the kernel that works around it ~ everyone can google (but the bios in those old lenovos is limited, so don't be surprised if it's something else =)

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    Does the grub menu come up before the blank screen with the blinking curson?

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