It is 3:55 AM on Friday May 4th, 2018.
It took some time to find a solution that would make me happy in using this new laptop. It is small, there is very limited space and after hitting a number of roadblocks yesterday I stumbled into a wonderful solution.
Although I was happy with the size and weight of this laptop I wasn’t happy with the OS and bloatware. Windows took up just about all of the space and after installing the very necessary antivirus and malware blocker I was left with only about 2 gigabytes. It also ran pretty slow as Norton Antivirus was taking up nearly half of the cpu with its constant scanning.
My first thought was to target the bloatware which Dell makes it very difficult to uninstall. Therefore, I looked into reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows 10 and explored how to do this on USB. However, one needs about 8 gigabytes of free space which was impossible as deleting everything I installed would only leave me with 3 gigabytes. I then looked into using the built in restore/refresh options in Windows but it is programmed to keep all the bloatware whose deletion was my aim!
After about an hour or so of researching this I was just about ready to give up and took a break. Then it occurred to me! Why not delete Windows completely and install Ubuntu Linux instead! Linux was sure to be smaller, faster, more secure and wouldn’t need the antivirus and malware programs to constantly run.
I thought it best to play it safe and create a Windows USB key but even that required 4 gigabytes of which I couldn’t make happen even if I deleted everything I had installed. So I just dove right in because I really wasn’t happy and the thought of using Linux excited me. I had dabbled in Linux in the past, first in 2003 in Japan and then again in 2015 with a spare computer. I even wrote about the experience in this very blog.
In 2003 I was living in Japan, studying Japanese at Waseda University and was very motivated to learn as much as I could about computers, history, as well as the culture and language of Japan. One of my classmates, Horacio, was a computer graduate student and also taking Japanese classes. He helped me set up a separate partition on my laptop in which I installed RedHat Linux. I tried my best to learn it but after it took me an entire day just to get my printer installed as well as not being able to use all the programs I had running on Windows I just gave up.
Here is a post from 2003 about part of that experience:
My second attempt was in 2015 when I decided to make use of an old computer and check out the deepweb. The best operating system for the deepweb is obviously Linux but even more so a special USB key distribution called Tails. Here is a link to a post where I wrote about the experience.
*Side note: I’ve just learned how to “insert more” making a link provide a short summary to a link. I pressed the wrong button above and got this nice little summary to a link but didn’t know how to do it again on the second link. I quick Google search told me how with the wonders of the “insert more” button.
I searched around on the deepweb a bit but quickly learned that it isn’t very exciting, full of criminals doing bad things and that any interesting stuff I was searching for could be found on the clear web anyway. Furthermore it was cumbersome to use and I eventually just got bored.
So as for my current laptop I’m now extremely pleased with it. Ubuntu is safe, secure and fast! I don’t need all that junk that comes with Windows and bloatware and was even able to install the “minimal” version of Ubuntu Linux. I’m now very happy and it also gives me the opportunity to finally learn Linux since there is no going back as I completely obliterated Windows from this computer. I could check to see if the copy of Windows that came with this laptop registered to my Microsoft account but no need really.
I only need the browser and Ubuntu comes with Firefox built in which is now my browser of choice for privacy. The services such as Amazon music that I previously used on Windows through an app can be accessed through the Firefox browser and for more difficult services such as Netflix I can use Google Chrome. After messing around with a few mail applications I settled on Thunderbird which didn’t come included in my minimalist version of Ubuntu but could be easily downloaded. Also, the new distribution of Ubuntu works somewhat like Windows except for times when I have to use the Terminal and command line to install programs.
Using the Terminal again concerned me a bit but it is now user friendly in that it provides recommendations along with a sample command such as ‘so and so application could not be found but it can be installed through sudo, insert random command,’ It was through this method that I could install my applications without any issue.
Now that I’ve got my essentials all set up the next step is just the fun of using that Terminal to learn Linux. I’m very motivated again and to be honest, I feel like a really cool super-nerd when using the Terminal and being able to say that this machine runs on Linux. It is something I’ve always wanted to do but the ease of Windows always trumped. Since the primary purpose of buying this small laptop is so I can carry it easily and write more in my blog I really don’t need many other programs that I normally use in Windows. The only other program I can think of at this time that would be useful is Microsoft Access but that looks like it is a bit more difficult to make happen in Linux although it can be done.
One small thing that really isn’t worth writing about but I will anyway is it seemed I had lost the ability to right click on my mouse touch pad. I had thought a driver from Dell might help but I found the easier solution was already built into Ubuntu in that one just needs to double tap and this acts as a mouse right click. This is just one more small thing that Ubuntu thought of making it very user friendly!