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There’s nothing new to report

Uf! I have not been here in quite a while., in fact I even forgotten my login information. After fixing that problem, I decided to make some serious changes to this blog. I’m not longer advertising any used personal items, or selling any refurbished pc’s here. None was sold., the WooCommerce  plugin was just a dud. It’s my personal opinion that to sell used items it’s better done with Craiglist. Thus, the on-line shop of this blog was removed.

There’s nothing to report in the desktop world for me. My sisters has been using her Linux desktop and has never complained of any issues with it. She has been able to use her system with Zoom – and has been doing everything she did with her prior Windows system just like thee has been no changes. If you ask me and wish to try a Linux desktop, I recommend you try Elementary OS.

There’s nothing new to report in the server world for me. I’m bored to death and decided to create my own problems. Linux servers works fine in fact the server was up for nearly 4 month until I decided to remove it from the network and go back to the normal ISP supplied router. Linux server do not present any challenges because the operating system works fine. If you ask me and wish to deploy a server/gateway solution, I recommend you try ClearOS.

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Successfully transitioned my sister from Windows to Linux

I’ve successfully transitioned my sister from Windows to Linux. To summarize this story, she started to complaint about her windows computer being slow and having issues with applications. I promise her that I would fix the computer problems. So, I did. I say that “I” have successfully transitioned my sister from Windows to Linux , in reality, I did nothing. Her transition was more of a matter of using her new operating system.

I installed ElementaryOS in her system, completely removed the windows OS in the process. I’ve also ensured she had the latest applications, such as libreoffice, firewall enabled, and got Zoom working in the process. Many things awe her, however one thing that really surprised her and got her going was the easiness of installing, removing, and updating applications through the appcenter.

While ElementaryOS comes preloaded with a good browser such as Epiphany, I still installed the latest Firefox. Other applications such as mail, photos, and videos are also preloaded and readily available. It’s been a month since she started using ElementaryOS till this date no complains, for her it’s been a smooth ride with her new operating system.

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Elementary OS, Simplicity that works

Elementary OS Hera 5.1

What is Elementary OS?

To answer your question Elementary OS is a Linux distribution based or should I say a derivative of Ubuntu. I have been using and playing with Elementary OS for a few weeks now. So far, I can say that its an excellent operating system. Elementary OS is and excellent OS for people who do not want to break their heads with the technical aspects of an Operating System. Elementary OS is excellent for children starting to use a computer. However, while limited to some extend it’s also good and powerful enough for developers and technical gurus.

The main aim of Elementary OS it to mainly focus on non-technical users. Elementary OS showcases the Pantheon desktop environment. Elementary OS is “fast, open, and privacy-respecting” replacement to macOS. It’s also good for orphaned Windows 7 users looking for something different. One of the good points is the App Center (software center) designed with a pay-what-you-want model. The App Center is populated with thousands of free programs, and some pay programs. The operating system, the desktop environment, and accompanying applications are developed and maintained by elementary, Inc.

I personally like to install Elementary OS into newly refurbished systems. I recommend it as a macOS or windows replacement and for for those individuals are looking for something different and new. If you want to know more about Elemtary OS – I recommend you read Elementary OS Review by Mike Johnston (CMS Critics).

You can directly download elementary OS from their website. You can download Elementary OS for free, however, a small donation will help to support future development works. If you would like to have a PC with Elementary OS installed – contact me, I’ll be more than happy to help you.

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Dual booting Linux Manjaro and Windows the Easy Way

Sounds too good to be true, but yes it’s true. You can dual boot Linux Manjaro and Windows the Easy Way by using an Insigina Dual Hard Drive Docking Station. In my previous article, I blogged about installing a Linux distro into an Alienware Aurora R8. After some trial and error and a few distros I managed to get Linux Manjaro installed.

It occur to me that I could dual boot using the Bios F-12 Option. Having one drive installed inside (Linux Manjaro) the R8 and one externally (Windows 10) I was able to boot either of the operating systems at my leisure. When the systems boots up you either do nothing or you select the the boot option. To select the boot option all you do is press the Function key 12 (F12) immediately when you see the Alienware logo, this will Bring up the boot option. I my case since I made the Linux Manjaro the main OS, then if I want Linux Manjaro to boot up I just leave it be. To boot up Windows 10, after pressing the F12 boot option, all I do is select the Windows Boot Manager to boot into the Windows 10 OS.

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Alienware Aurora R8 Linux Manjaro Install

One of the reason I’ve purchased my pre-build system was to run in Linux in a high-end system. Having done some on-line research about installing Linux distros in the newer Alienware Aurora R8., I’ve found out that not a lot of users have installed Linux or have failed trying to install Linux in an Alienware Aurora R8. Thus, I made it both a goal and a mission to do this install. I wanted to write and share my exploits with you. Prior to installing Linux Manjaro I had tried two other distributions. This first Linux installation (Debian 10 Buster) failed. The Second, Linux installation (Elementary OS) was aborted, I had the wrong CPU architecture load in the bootable USB.

I tried to install Debian 10 Buster into an Alienware Aurora R8 but this ended in failure. The failure [73.426159] hdaudio hdaudio COD2: Unable to bind the codec … most likely a device driver that was not loaded during install. This is fixable, in my next install I will prepare a second USB with the ISO images 2 & 3 readily available for the OS. Maybe this will help fix audio codec problem. Perhaps one of you out there know a better way. However, in virtual mode both Debian and Elementary OS install without any problems using virtualbox. I also want to add that you can do this installation directly to an external SSD or HD – and then boot up into the external device as a secondary OS.

First things first, a caution: The success or failure of this installation is largely determined by your technical knowledge. I Dr. Eric O. Flores shall bear no liability with regard to the success or failure of your installation. This is not for the faint heart, if you don’t know what you are doing don’t try it. Be aware that the instructions described below cannot guaranteed a successful installations. I shall bear no liability with regard to any damages incurred by you due to incorrectly installing the operating system. The installation is at your own risk. Once again, Install the operating system at your own risk. If you do not have the necessary installation experience and Linux know-how. I do not recommend you install Linux, have someone with the technical knowledge do it for you. In some cases opening the R8’s case will invalidate your warranty.

Linux Manjaro Alienware Aurora R8

Steps

  1. Download the required ISO files from Manjaro.org (i386/64 or AMD64)
  2. In a Windows system, download and install Balena Etcher into your windows system or laptop.
  3. Burn the Manjaro iso file i386/64 or AMD64 iso file to a USB using Balena etcher or similar type of software.
  4. If you are going to install an only Linux system, remove original HD or SSD from R8 (I used a blank 750GB Hard DIsk) – Insert your freshly purchased HD or SSD. I recommend one SSD of 500Gb for system files, and one 1TB or greater Hard Disk or greater for Home directories. If you don’t know how to partition your drives, then use the entire drive as the OS and Home. You can also do a dual boot installation, it is doable. I did my test install using a 750GB hard disk I had laying around.
  5. Prior to the installation you must prepare the BIOS.
    • Login into your BIOS R8’s screen.
    • Write down all of the current BIOS settings. (do this just in case you wish to return to your previous setup.)
    • Then proceed to make changes as described in step 6 below.
  6. Prepare the R8’s BIOS by disabling certain features that may conflict with the Linux Manjaro installation.
    • Ensure you are in legacy boot mode and not UEFI. (Legacy).
    • Disable secure boot
    • Enable USB support
    • Disable SATA operation, ensure you are in AHCI mode (change from RAID to ACHI).
    • Disable TPM firmware
  7. I don’t recommend you use WIFI during OS installation, connect the R8’s network card via cable directly to hub or router. Enable WIFI later after the installation is completed.
  8. Turn on system press F12
  9. Manually select USB device that has the Manjaro image. The OS will boot from the device selected.
  10. First, test the R8 with the live option, if you are satisfied with that you see then select the install option within the graphical user environment.
  11. The rest is easy just follow the prompts. Once the installation is complete you will be prompted to reboot.
  12. Reboot and login into your freshly installed Linux Manario desktop. Enjoy!
My Aurora R8 Setup with Linux Manjaro
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Manjaro Live Aurora R8

This morning, I woke up with a goal and a mission in mind. I started by installing Debian 10 into the the Alienware Aurora R8, then I tried Elementary OS. I had to stop the installation of the Elementary OS, because I’ve forgot that the bootable USB I had prepared was a AMD bootable USB and not an i386. The Debian 10 Buster install, from beginning till end worked and the install was complete. However, Debian 10 Buster failed the reboot. That’s another article in writing., I will explain the failure and how to fix it.

Manjaro Live / Aurora R8


Having two failures, I’ve decided to try Manjaro Linux Live. This distribution worked right out of the box., however, there are some BIOS changes that are required prior to start the live boot. Those are underlying BIOS settings which I will not mention until I get a full Linux boot installation working in my Aurora R8. Once I achieve this work, I will list all of my bios settings.

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Alienware Aurora R8 – Linux Install

It’s been a while since I’ve posted to my blog. Since yesterday, I’ve been working, trying different distro installations into my Aurora R8. The first choice for me was Debian 10 Buster and the second was ElementaryOS, both OS’es install without a hitch in virtual mode. However, ElementaryOS (non-virtual) had some issues straight into a single hard disk install. I ended up with a black screen, it’s fixable, need to tweak the bios settings, or perhaps may be missing some drivers.

I was surprised to see that ElementarOS in virtual mode allowed me to go beyond the 1080p (1920 x 1080) with the current monitor setup I have. Later today, I’m going to install Debian 10 Buster it straight into a blank new 1 TB hard disk to see how far I can get with this installation. The main thing about installing Linux in an Alienware Aurora R8 is to disable the Raid mode and some other features in the bios settings.

ElementaryOS in virtualbox
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New Toy, new way to run Linux

Two days ago, (01/10/2020) I received my new replacement Alienware Aurora R8 Desktop. If you have been following this blog, you know, that I like to build custom computers and retro-fit used one. However, I’ve have never purchased a brand new pre-build system for myself. This past 2019 Christmas I’ve decided to go all out and purchase one of the best brand name systems in the market. After some delivery hiccups, a dead on arrival Aurora R8 within 24 hours of plugin it, and then an additional few weeks to wait besides the two weeks I had waited for Dell to delivery this system. I’m in business with my new Alienware Aurora R8.

Elementary OS in Windows 10

This is not a review of the Alienware Aurora R8 Desktop, there are lots of those all over the Internet – especially in Youtube. This pieces is about elemenaryOS (refer to the above screen shot of elemearyOS in my windows 10 pc) running in a virtualbox within Windows 10. Personally, I don’t consider myself a Windows guru or power user. I’m more of a Linux enthusiast because that’s what I’ve been using for nearly twenty years plus. However, this is a new system and I do not want to mess around with it except within the Woodwinds 10 operation constrains that I have to live with.

In order to run Elementary OS in a virtual box within Windows 10. first ensure your Windows 10 is up-to-date. Second, download the Oracle VM virtual box software and install it in your Windows 10 environment. Third, download or better yet donate something to the Elementary OS project developers. Then download the elementaryOS iso. You can install elementary OS using Oracle VM virtual box directly from the iso image, or you can burn it to a USB or a CD/DVD whichever the case will be for you. Fourth step, proceed to install elemtaryOS in the windows virtual environment and you are all set to use Linux elementaryOS in a virtual box in your Windows 10 PC.

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Hard Disk Inconsistencies (fdisk and fsck)

Hard Disk, free clipart Shutterstock

To check the consistency of the hard disk in Linux one must use the fsck command. Fsck stands for exactly what I just mentioned in the previous sentence, file system consistency check. The Linux file system banks its data on a set of internal tables, These tables help the operating system input/output (I/O) routines maintain consistency by keeping track of used inodes and available blocks. When these tables are corrupted for some reason or another, then one will see the dreaded bad block message.

Corruption comes about from improperly un-synchronized data on a disk. This is when you come to know that such inconsistencies require a file system repair. To manage, view, create, and delete partitions one uses fdisk and to check the file system one uses fsck. Both of these software tools come in handy when having issues with your hard disk or ssd’s.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph files system corruptions comes about from power failures during read/write operations, my favorite accidentally unplugging the power cord. Done that so many times! Improperly shutting down a system. Rare but possible, bad code in the kernel or bad I/O software code in a program. There could be many reasons, unfortunately they all lead to corrupted data in a disk that could cause a system not to boot.

The process to fix these issues are fairly simple but does require some command line (CLI) dexterity. To summarize the process boot into rescue mode, if not boot directly into CLI, use the fdisk command to view your hard disk(s) identify and Verify the disk(s), then if applicable proceed to use fsck.

one thing about fdisk, keep in mind that fdisk is an extremely powerful text-based utility for managing and viewing hard disk partitions on Linux. If you don’t know what you are doing with fdisk you could wipeout partitions etc., I recommend some reading prior to using both fdisk and fsck. I personally like to use both to check and manages my drives. As a last resort use fdisk to wipeout the hard disk and re-install from scratch if you feel that fsck did not do the job. If nothing works then you may need new drives.

How to use fsck and fdisk is beyond the point of this article. Like I always say, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. There are numerous on-line articles that help address hard disk issues. Below I listed a few articles that are excellent sources of information:

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New 2020 Resolution, Learn Linux

This is the last of 2019, one more day, one more year, 2020 marks a decade. Times flies! Thus, for this new year make your new resolution to learn something new. Learn, Linux, It’s not that hard, and with the entry level systems I have in the shop you cannot go wrong.

There are many reasons that I could point-out to you about learning Linux. However, that’s been done, and you can easily search and find thousands of articles on the subject. However, in order to understand the difference, you need to try it for yourself. Start, learn, and decide by yourself, the transition is not that hard at all. If you are into gaming, there’s a lot for you in Linux with several gaming distributions, steam, and steam play. For people that are into more serious things – business, writing, developing software etc. there’s something for everyone.

Before, I close this mini-article, Happy New 2020 to you and family and may G_d bless you, your family, and your endeavors for 2020.