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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Introduction

I very rarely review hardware but having spent over £1000 for a computer I decided it was worth documenting my experiences thus far.

Today I will be looking at the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 gaming laptop which is a beast of a machine.



I have used the same hardware for a while now. I generally flip flop my reviews between the Toshiba Satellite Pro and the Dell Inspiron.

I bought the Toshiba about 3 years ago and it was a mid range laptop at the time. The Dell I received as a gift about 2 years ago and it would probably be considered a budget range laptop.

Both of these computers have served me well and continue to serve me well. I also own an old Samsung laptop which is now being put out to pasture. I have written all the guides necessary for converting from Windows XP to Linux on old computers and from Windows Vista to Linux.

I have also given away my Acer Aspire One netbook because quite frankly I was overrun with hardware.

I still have a Chromebook and a number of Raspberry PIs including a model B, B+, 2 and zero.

With the remaining hardware and the new laptop I hope to be able to cover a wider array of topics.

My reasoning for buying the Lenovo is that a number of emails recently have asked about installing Linux on an SSD, how to get Linux working with NVidia graphics cards and general UEFI issues with new computers.

The only way I could really answer the questions was to get something new. It is a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

Lenovo Y700 Ideapad Specifications































The Lenovo Y700 Ideapad comes pre-installed with Windows 10 as expected and boasts the following hardware specifications:


Processor

  • Intel I7 - 6700HQ Processor
  • Quad Core
  • 2.6 ghz / 3 ghz with turbo boost
  • 6 MB Cache

Memory

  • 16 GB DDR4

Graphics Card

  • NVidia GeForce GTX 960M

Storage

  • 1 TB hard drive, 5400 rpm
  • 128 GB SSD

Screen

  • 15.6 inches
  • Antiglare
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution

Connectivity

  • Wireless 802.11 ac
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • Bluetooth 4
  • 2 x USB 3 ports
  • 1 x USB 2 port
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 3.5 mm Jack

Sound

  • Dolby home theatre
  • Integrated JBL speakers
  • Integrated JBL woofer

Features

  • 1 megapixel webcam
  • Microphone
  • Multitouch trackpad
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Kingston lock slot

Power

  • 4 cell lithium ion
  • up to 5 hours

Software

  • Microsoft Office trial version
  • McAfee trial version
  • Lenovo photo master
  • Lenovo ShareIT
  • Lenovo solution centre
  • Lenovo companion
  • Lenovo settings
  • Lenovo ID

Overview






















The computer boots into Windows 10 very quickly, somewhere around the 5 seconds mark.

You are greeted with the dark background shown above. I didn't really like it so I changed it.



You will have seen in the previous section that there isn't really much software installed.

The Microsoft Office is a trial version. I replaced this with the Office 365 version that I subscribe to. I know I am a Linux guy but working in the software industry I quite often have the need to do things in Excel and it is good to format your CV using Microsoft Word to guarantee that clients see it the way it is supposed to look.

There are usually some subtle differences between Word and LibreOffice Writer as well as Google Docs. The way around this would be to export to PDF but many recruitment agents don't like to receive CVs in this format because they can't butcher them.

At £5.99 a month for a single computer or £7.99 a month for 5 computers it is something I am willing to pay for.

I have subscribed to the free McAfee trial but beyond the trial period I will probably go for one of the free options because I don't use Windows regularly enough to warrant paying for security software. There is also no reason to trust McAfee over AVG.

The rest of the Lenovo software is pretty much the standard bloatware that you expect from hardware manufacturers.

The Lenovo ShareIT application lets you share files between your laptop and other devices such as phones and tablets.

Personally I am not sure I would use this over bluetooth

You have to install the Lenovo ShareIT application to every other device anyway.

Bluetooth is already enabled on all of my devices without any extra software required.


The disaster recovery software is potentially worth using as it allows you to create system images.

The images can be stored anywhere you wish but as you will see later the disk is pre-setup with a Lenovo partition on the hard drive.


























The one other piece of software that might be worth looking at is the Lenovo One Play application which lets you rent or buy games.

There is a free 90 day subscription to start you off. The gaming library isn't massive and long term I think you will end up going back to Steam.

Performance

You aren't buying a gaming laptop for the junk that comes as pre-installed software. You are buying this computer for performance.

I will start off with a comparison between this computer and my other two main laptops.






























The above screen shot shows the stats for the Dell Inspiron 3521. In its own right it isn't a slouch. It has 6 gigabytes of RAM and an Intel I3 dual core processor. It is not really any good for gaming but for general office tasks and web browsing it is perfectly decent, especially when running any form of Linux.



The other computer is the Toshiba Satellite Pro L870. It boast 8 gigabytes of RAM and a quad core i5 processor.

The Satellite Pro is very dependable and still fairly high end, especially when it comes to running Linux. There is nothing that it isn't capable of doing.

Needless to say, the Lenovo Ideapad makes both of these laptops look like Sinclair ZX81s. Everything loads instantly and you can have dozens of tabs open on Chrome without a hitch. Transferring files, watching videos and encoding music can all be handled at the same time.



I benchmarked the graphics performance using the 3D Marks software.  There are a series of graphical and physics tests resulting in an overall score.

As you can from the image above it is no match for a 4K gaming PC but it comes in very well against other gaming laptops as well as standard laptops, notebooks and office PCs.









































The two image above show the rest of the stats from the benchmark tests. Whilst performing the tests I had the OBS video recording software running.

The images are powerful and resource heavy yet the computer handled them with ease and the experience was smooth, much like a cinema. I haven't mentioned the sound quality yet which is absolutely phenomenal.

I will compare again against the only other 2 devices I have that a remotely close and to be honest they are nowhere near.





















The Dell was better than 0% of any other computer. The pictures were jerky even though there were no applications running.





















Despite having a much better graphics card than the Dell, the Toshiba was only marginally better.

The real test of the graphics card comes by playing games on the computer and I tried my favourite games including Grand Theft Auto 5, Call Of Duty and various other titles. The performance is perfect.

Generally I am a console gamer but I have to admit to being impressed with the way the laptop plays.

Disk Setup


























The first thing I did when I got the computer home was to install Linux Mint as part of a dual boot setup.

Disk 0 is a 128 gigabyte SSD. Disk 1 is a 1 terabyte hard drive.

Disk 0 was setup with a 260 megabyte EFI partition and a 100 gigabyte Windows partition. There are then 3 other partitions for recovery and OEM stuff. To be quite frank a good portion of the SSD is being used for nonsense. Why put the Windows recovery partition on the SSD? It is my aim to remove those recovery partitions and use Macrium Reflect as a method for backing up the computer.

Disk 1 has a 100 gigabyte partition called system image. The rest of the disk was previously unformatted but I have used the entire space for Linux Mint which is a little bit wasteful.

Issues
























When I first booted the computer I continually received the above error from the NVidia GeForce Experience application which is used to keep your drivers up to date.

It didn't matter what I did I couldn't get it to connect. I ended up using the following solution.

https://joshmccarty.com/2014/02/fix-geforce-experience-unable-connect-nvidia-try-later-error/






















Summary

Whilst this is technically a review of the Lenovo Y700 Ideapad, this article isn't just about the hardware involved.

In the coming weeks I will be showing you how to install Linux on an SSD and I will show you how I fixed some of the hardware issues I faced with such modern graphics cards and how I resolved wireless issues.

You see, the problem is that new hardware is just as vulnerable to driver issues within Linux as older hardware.

Older hardware sometimes drops off the radar and you end up having to jump through hoops to get it working. Newer hardware suffers from the fact that the drivers are included in newer versions of the Linux kernel which aren't used by default by many of the top Linux distributions.

The Lenovo Y700 Ideapad is a great computer. It is by far the best piece of hardware that I have ever owned and I look forward to using it in the coming years. 

If you are in the market for a new laptop and you are willing to spend slightly north of £1000 then it is definitely worth it.

Click the link below for more information. Feel free to use your shop or website of choice to buy the computer. 

Lenovo ideapad Y700 15.6-inch FHD Laptop Notebook (Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, External DVDRW, WLAN, BT, Camera, NVIDIA GTX960M 4 GB Graphics, Windows 10 Home) - Black

The Lenovo Ideapad Y700 Gaming Laptop

Introduction

I very rarely review hardware but having spent over £1000 for a computer I decided it was worth documenting my experiences thus far.

Today I will be looking at the Lenovo Ideapad Y700 gaming laptop which is a beast of a machine.



I have used the same hardware for a while now. I generally flip flop my reviews between the Toshiba Satellite Pro and the Dell Inspiron.

I bought the Toshiba about 3 years ago and it was a mid range laptop at the time. The Dell I received as a gift about 2 years ago and it would probably be considered a budget range laptop.

Both of these computers have served me well and continue to serve me well. I also own an old Samsung laptop which is now being put out to pasture. I have written all the guides necessary for converting from Windows XP to Linux on old computers and from Windows Vista to Linux.

I have also given away my Acer Aspire One netbook because quite frankly I was overrun with hardware.

I still have a Chromebook and a number of Raspberry PIs including a model B, B+, 2 and zero.

With the remaining hardware and the new laptop I hope to be able to cover a wider array of topics.

My reasoning for buying the Lenovo is that a number of emails recently have asked about installing Linux on an SSD, how to get Linux working with NVidia graphics cards and general UEFI issues with new computers.

The only way I could really answer the questions was to get something new. It is a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

Lenovo Y700 Ideapad Specifications































The Lenovo Y700 Ideapad comes pre-installed with Windows 10 as expected and boasts the following hardware specifications:


Processor

  • Intel I7 - 6700HQ Processor
  • Quad Core
  • 2.6 ghz / 3 ghz with turbo boost
  • 6 MB Cache

Memory

  • 16 GB DDR4

Graphics Card

  • NVidia GeForce GTX 960M

Storage

  • 1 TB hard drive, 5400 rpm
  • 128 GB SSD

Screen

  • 15.6 inches
  • Antiglare
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution

Connectivity

  • Wireless 802.11 ac
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • Bluetooth 4
  • 2 x USB 3 ports
  • 1 x USB 2 port
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 3.5 mm Jack

Sound

  • Dolby home theatre
  • Integrated JBL speakers
  • Integrated JBL woofer

Features

  • 1 megapixel webcam
  • Microphone
  • Multitouch trackpad
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Kingston lock slot

Power

  • 4 cell lithium ion
  • up to 5 hours

Software

  • Microsoft Office trial version
  • McAfee trial version
  • Lenovo photo master
  • Lenovo ShareIT
  • Lenovo solution centre
  • Lenovo companion
  • Lenovo settings
  • Lenovo ID

Overview






















The computer boots into Windows 10 very quickly, somewhere around the 5 seconds mark.

You are greeted with the dark background shown above. I didn't really like it so I changed it.



You will have seen in the previous section that there isn't really much software installed.

The Microsoft Office is a trial version. I replaced this with the Office 365 version that I subscribe to. I know I am a Linux guy but working in the software industry I quite often have the need to do things in Excel and it is good to format your CV using Microsoft Word to guarantee that clients see it the way it is supposed to look.

There are usually some subtle differences between Word and LibreOffice Writer as well as Google Docs. The way around this would be to export to PDF but many recruitment agents don't like to receive CVs in this format because they can't butcher them.

At £5.99 a month for a single computer or £7.99 a month for 5 computers it is something I am willing to pay for.

I have subscribed to the free McAfee trial but beyond the trial period I will probably go for one of the free options because I don't use Windows regularly enough to warrant paying for security software. There is also no reason to trust McAfee over AVG.

The rest of the Lenovo software is pretty much the standard bloatware that you expect from hardware manufacturers.

The Lenovo ShareIT application lets you share files between your laptop and other devices such as phones and tablets.

Personally I am not sure I would use this over bluetooth

You have to install the Lenovo ShareIT application to every other device anyway.

Bluetooth is already enabled on all of my devices without any extra software required.


The disaster recovery software is potentially worth using as it allows you to create system images.

The images can be stored anywhere you wish but as you will see later the disk is pre-setup with a Lenovo partition on the hard drive.


























The one other piece of software that might be worth looking at is the Lenovo One Play application which lets you rent or buy games.

There is a free 90 day subscription to start you off. The gaming library isn't massive and long term I think you will end up going back to Steam.

Performance

You aren't buying a gaming laptop for the junk that comes as pre-installed software. You are buying this computer for performance.

I will start off with a comparison between this computer and my other two main laptops.






























The above screen shot shows the stats for the Dell Inspiron 3521. In its own right it isn't a slouch. It has 6 gigabytes of RAM and an Intel I3 dual core processor. It is not really any good for gaming but for general office tasks and web browsing it is perfectly decent, especially when running any form of Linux.



The other computer is the Toshiba Satellite Pro L870. It boast 8 gigabytes of RAM and a quad core i5 processor.

The Satellite Pro is very dependable and still fairly high end, especially when it comes to running Linux. There is nothing that it isn't capable of doing.

Needless to say, the Lenovo Ideapad makes both of these laptops look like Sinclair ZX81s. Everything loads instantly and you can have dozens of tabs open on Chrome without a hitch. Transferring files, watching videos and encoding music can all be handled at the same time.



I benchmarked the graphics performance using the 3D Marks software.  There are a series of graphical and physics tests resulting in an overall score.

As you can from the image above it is no match for a 4K gaming PC but it comes in very well against other gaming laptops as well as standard laptops, notebooks and office PCs.









































The two image above show the rest of the stats from the benchmark tests. Whilst performing the tests I had the OBS video recording software running.

The images are powerful and resource heavy yet the computer handled them with ease and the experience was smooth, much like a cinema. I haven't mentioned the sound quality yet which is absolutely phenomenal.

I will compare again against the only other 2 devices I have that a remotely close and to be honest they are nowhere near.





















The Dell was better than 0% of any other computer. The pictures were jerky even though there were no applications running.





















Despite having a much better graphics card than the Dell, the Toshiba was only marginally better.

The real test of the graphics card comes by playing games on the computer and I tried my favourite games including Grand Theft Auto 5, Call Of Duty and various other titles. The performance is perfect.

Generally I am a console gamer but I have to admit to being impressed with the way the laptop plays.

Disk Setup


























The first thing I did when I got the computer home was to install Linux Mint as part of a dual boot setup.

Disk 0 is a 128 gigabyte SSD. Disk 1 is a 1 terabyte hard drive.

Disk 0 was setup with a 260 megabyte EFI partition and a 100 gigabyte Windows partition. There are then 3 other partitions for recovery and OEM stuff. To be quite frank a good portion of the SSD is being used for nonsense. Why put the Windows recovery partition on the SSD? It is my aim to remove those recovery partitions and use Macrium Reflect as a method for backing up the computer.

Disk 1 has a 100 gigabyte partition called system image. The rest of the disk was previously unformatted but I have used the entire space for Linux Mint which is a little bit wasteful.

Issues
























When I first booted the computer I continually received the above error from the NVidia GeForce Experience application which is used to keep your drivers up to date.

It didn't matter what I did I couldn't get it to connect. I ended up using the following solution.

https://joshmccarty.com/2014/02/fix-geforce-experience-unable-connect-nvidia-try-later-error/






















Summary

Whilst this is technically a review of the Lenovo Y700 Ideapad, this article isn't just about the hardware involved.

In the coming weeks I will be showing you how to install Linux on an SSD and I will show you how I fixed some of the hardware issues I faced with such modern graphics cards and how I resolved wireless issues.

You see, the problem is that new hardware is just as vulnerable to driver issues within Linux as older hardware.

Older hardware sometimes drops off the radar and you end up having to jump through hoops to get it working. Newer hardware suffers from the fact that the drivers are included in newer versions of the Linux kernel which aren't used by default by many of the top Linux distributions.

The Lenovo Y700 Ideapad is a great computer. It is by far the best piece of hardware that I have ever owned and I look forward to using it in the coming years. 

If you are in the market for a new laptop and you are willing to spend slightly north of £1000 then it is definitely worth it.

Click the link below for more information. Feel free to use your shop or website of choice to buy the computer. 

Lenovo ideapad Y700 15.6-inch FHD Laptop Notebook (Intel Core i7-6700HQ, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, External DVDRW, WLAN, BT, Camera, NVIDIA GTX960M 4 GB Graphics, Windows 10 Home) - Black

Posted at 22:34 |  by Gary Newell

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Introduction

The most popular guides on this website deal with dual booting Ubuntu and Windows. In fact I have written a whole heap of guides showing how to dual boot various systems as shown by the list below.

Some of these links will take you to About.com:


What You Will Need

You will need:
  • a blank USB drive
  • media to back up your current system to (i.e. external hard drive, blank DVDs, large USB drive)
  • an internet connection
  • time
The time it takes to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10 depends on how fast your internet connection is as you will need to download an ISO file which is around 2 gigabytes in size.

The actual installation will take around 30 to 45 minutes and this includes the time it takes to create the bootable USB drive. (It doesn't include the time it takes to backup your machine).

Backup Your Computer

This is the most important step during the whole procedure. It is a little bit time consuming and you will need a device to backup your computer to but the benefits totally outweigh the cons.

With a good backup you can get straight back to the point you were in prior to following this guide.

This will save you money should you accidentally kill Windows and lose your recovery partition. 

Consider the backup as your insurance policy.


Shrink Your Windows Partition

In order to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10 you need to make some space available on your hard drive.

Traditionally Windows installations take up a vast amount of disk space. You can safely shrink the Windows partition leaving enough space for both Windows 10 and Linux Mint.


This is a very important step. Do not skip it.

Create A Linux Mint USB Drive

The following guide shows some very important steps in the dual booting process:
  • how to download Linux Mint
  • how to format a USB drive
  • how to create the Linux Mint USB drive
  • how to change the boot settings to allow booting into Linux Mint live
  • how to actually boot into Linux Mint live

Follow the linked guide and from within Linux Mint live follow the rest of the guide

Install Linux Mint


























Click on the install icon on the desktop.

The installer will start and you will be asked to choose your installation language. 

Now personally I would choose the language that you are most fluent in otherwise you are really setting yourself an extra challenge.


























If you have followed my guides for installing Ubuntu then most of these steps will be familiar to you but there are some subtle differences which I will come to shortly with regards to partitioning.

However the above screen is asking whether you want to connect to the internet or not. If you are using a wired connection then the screen won't be displayed at all but if it is you can either choose not to connect to the internet or connect to your chosen wireless access point.

Here is my view on this step. If you have a decent internet connection then you may as well connect to the internet. The benefits for doing so it that the system updates as it installs.

If however your internet connection is slow or likely to drop out then don't connect. You can always connect to the internet post installation and run the updates at that point. This saves time and the potential for a failed install.

When you have made your decision click "Continue".


























The next screen tells you how prepared you are for installing Linux Mint. You must have 9.4 gigabytes of free disk space. I recommend having much more than that with a minimum of 20 gigabytes. 

Your computer should be plugged in. (More so if you are using a desktop because you might find that your computer doesn't turn on). If you are using a laptop you can get away without being plugged in as long as your computer has a lot of battery life left.

As you can see in the image above it complains that I am not connected to the internet. As mentioned previously this isn't really a pre-requisite.

If you are ready to continue click "Continue".


























I have received a number of comments on the Ubuntu dual boot guide stating that there is no option to install alongside Windows 10.

I have to say that this is pretty much always the case with Linux Mint. You receive a scary option which says erase the disk and install Linux Mint or do something else.

Obviously we don't want to erase the entire disk. Click the "Something Else" option and click "Continue".































You will now see a screen which shows your current disk layout. You will also see that I have highlighted a section of free space.

The first thing to check is the drop down list at the bottom of the screen. Make sure it points to the partition with type EFI listed in the table above.

The free space was created by shrinking Windows in a previous step. If you don't see a section of free space, stop what you are doing and revisit the steps for shrinking Windows.

With the free space line highlighted click on the plus symbol.


For this installation I am going to show you how to create 2 partitions. The first is the root partition and is where Linux Mint will be installed and the second will be the swap partition.

The create partition screen shows the amount of free space in megabytes. 

You need to take away the amount of memory your computer has in gigabytes away from the size shown on your screen.

Note that the size is shown in megabytes so you will need to convert from gigabytes to megabytes. This may sound confusing but if your computer has 4 gigabytes of RAM then you need to take 4000 away from the figure in the size box, if you have 8 gigabytes of RAM then you need to take 8000 away from the figure in the size box.

Make sure the type for the new partition is set to primary, set the location to the beginning of this space, select "EXT4" as the use as and change the mount point to a forward slash (/).

You are basically creating a new primary partition with the EXT4 file system and setting the mount point to root.

Click "OK" to continue.































The partitioning screen will be displayed again. You should now see the new partition that you created in the previous step and there will still be free space.

Click on the free space and click the plus symbol again.


This time you will be creating a swap partition.

Leave the size as the number displayed (i.e use the rest of the free space).

Set the type to primary and leave the location as the beginning of the free space.

Select "swap area" as the option for use as.

Press "OK".

When you get back to the installation type screen click "Install"



A window will appear showing which partitions will be created.

Click "Continue".































You will be pleased to know that the scary bit is now out of the way.

Click where you live on the map. This is used to set your timezone.

Click "Continue".































Choose your keyboard layout by selecting the language of the keyboard from the left pane and then the keyboard type from the right pane. Generally these are set for you already.

Click "Continue".































The final step is to create a user.

Enter your name and give your computer a name. The computer name is how it will appear on a home network.

Choose a user name and then choose a password. You will need to confirm the password.

You can choose to login automatically but I highly recommend that you don't do this. The default option is to require a password to login which is far more sensible.

The final box allows you to encrypt your home folder. You can do this to keep your important documents safe should your computer fall into the wrong hands (i.e. thieves). However if you lose the encryption key then you won't be able to access your documents yourself. It is up to you whether you tick this box or not.

Click "Continue".










The installer will now start copying the files and installing them to your computer. When the process has completed you will receive the option to restart now or continue testing.

You can now restart your computer making sure that you remove the USB drive after the computer has shut down.

When the computer restarts you will receive a new menu with options to boot into Linux Mint or to boot into Windows Boot Manager.

Try the Linux Mint option to make sure it works and then try the Windows option to make sure it works.

Troubleshooting

If your computer boots straight back to Windows boot back into the live environment and use the following guide to set the correct UEFI boot order.

On some computers which have an NVidia graphics card, Linux Mint will fail to boot and will show a black screen with a small white cursor. In the next guide I will show you how to fix this issue.

On modern computers with the latest Intel wireless adapters you might find that you can't get a wireless connection. Another guide is on its way showing how to fix this issue.

Also coming shortly I will show you how to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 10 on a computer with an SSD.

How To Install Linux Mint Alongside Windows 10 (UEFI)

Introduction

The most popular guides on this website deal with dual booting Ubuntu and Windows. In fact I have written a whole heap of guides showing how to dual boot various systems as shown by the list below.

Some of these links will take you to About.com:


What You Will Need

You will need:
  • a blank USB drive
  • media to back up your current system to (i.e. external hard drive, blank DVDs, large USB drive)
  • an internet connection
  • time
The time it takes to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10 depends on how fast your internet connection is as you will need to download an ISO file which is around 2 gigabytes in size.

The actual installation will take around 30 to 45 minutes and this includes the time it takes to create the bootable USB drive. (It doesn't include the time it takes to backup your machine).

Backup Your Computer

This is the most important step during the whole procedure. It is a little bit time consuming and you will need a device to backup your computer to but the benefits totally outweigh the cons.

With a good backup you can get straight back to the point you were in prior to following this guide.

This will save you money should you accidentally kill Windows and lose your recovery partition. 

Consider the backup as your insurance policy.


Shrink Your Windows Partition

In order to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 10 you need to make some space available on your hard drive.

Traditionally Windows installations take up a vast amount of disk space. You can safely shrink the Windows partition leaving enough space for both Windows 10 and Linux Mint.


This is a very important step. Do not skip it.

Create A Linux Mint USB Drive

The following guide shows some very important steps in the dual booting process:
  • how to download Linux Mint
  • how to format a USB drive
  • how to create the Linux Mint USB drive
  • how to change the boot settings to allow booting into Linux Mint live
  • how to actually boot into Linux Mint live

Follow the linked guide and from within Linux Mint live follow the rest of the guide

Install Linux Mint


























Click on the install icon on the desktop.

The installer will start and you will be asked to choose your installation language. 

Now personally I would choose the language that you are most fluent in otherwise you are really setting yourself an extra challenge.


























If you have followed my guides for installing Ubuntu then most of these steps will be familiar to you but there are some subtle differences which I will come to shortly with regards to partitioning.

However the above screen is asking whether you want to connect to the internet or not. If you are using a wired connection then the screen won't be displayed at all but if it is you can either choose not to connect to the internet or connect to your chosen wireless access point.

Here is my view on this step. If you have a decent internet connection then you may as well connect to the internet. The benefits for doing so it that the system updates as it installs.

If however your internet connection is slow or likely to drop out then don't connect. You can always connect to the internet post installation and run the updates at that point. This saves time and the potential for a failed install.

When you have made your decision click "Continue".


























The next screen tells you how prepared you are for installing Linux Mint. You must have 9.4 gigabytes of free disk space. I recommend having much more than that with a minimum of 20 gigabytes. 

Your computer should be plugged in. (More so if you are using a desktop because you might find that your computer doesn't turn on). If you are using a laptop you can get away without being plugged in as long as your computer has a lot of battery life left.

As you can see in the image above it complains that I am not connected to the internet. As mentioned previously this isn't really a pre-requisite.

If you are ready to continue click "Continue".


























I have received a number of comments on the Ubuntu dual boot guide stating that there is no option to install alongside Windows 10.

I have to say that this is pretty much always the case with Linux Mint. You receive a scary option which says erase the disk and install Linux Mint or do something else.

Obviously we don't want to erase the entire disk. Click the "Something Else" option and click "Continue".































You will now see a screen which shows your current disk layout. You will also see that I have highlighted a section of free space.

The first thing to check is the drop down list at the bottom of the screen. Make sure it points to the partition with type EFI listed in the table above.

The free space was created by shrinking Windows in a previous step. If you don't see a section of free space, stop what you are doing and revisit the steps for shrinking Windows.

With the free space line highlighted click on the plus symbol.


For this installation I am going to show you how to create 2 partitions. The first is the root partition and is where Linux Mint will be installed and the second will be the swap partition.

The create partition screen shows the amount of free space in megabytes. 

You need to take away the amount of memory your computer has in gigabytes away from the size shown on your screen.

Note that the size is shown in megabytes so you will need to convert from gigabytes to megabytes. This may sound confusing but if your computer has 4 gigabytes of RAM then you need to take 4000 away from the figure in the size box, if you have 8 gigabytes of RAM then you need to take 8000 away from the figure in the size box.

Make sure the type for the new partition is set to primary, set the location to the beginning of this space, select "EXT4" as the use as and change the mount point to a forward slash (/).

You are basically creating a new primary partition with the EXT4 file system and setting the mount point to root.

Click "OK" to continue.































The partitioning screen will be displayed again. You should now see the new partition that you created in the previous step and there will still be free space.

Click on the free space and click the plus symbol again.


This time you will be creating a swap partition.

Leave the size as the number displayed (i.e use the rest of the free space).

Set the type to primary and leave the location as the beginning of the free space.

Select "swap area" as the option for use as.

Press "OK".

When you get back to the installation type screen click "Install"



A window will appear showing which partitions will be created.

Click "Continue".































You will be pleased to know that the scary bit is now out of the way.

Click where you live on the map. This is used to set your timezone.

Click "Continue".































Choose your keyboard layout by selecting the language of the keyboard from the left pane and then the keyboard type from the right pane. Generally these are set for you already.

Click "Continue".































The final step is to create a user.

Enter your name and give your computer a name. The computer name is how it will appear on a home network.

Choose a user name and then choose a password. You will need to confirm the password.

You can choose to login automatically but I highly recommend that you don't do this. The default option is to require a password to login which is far more sensible.

The final box allows you to encrypt your home folder. You can do this to keep your important documents safe should your computer fall into the wrong hands (i.e. thieves). However if you lose the encryption key then you won't be able to access your documents yourself. It is up to you whether you tick this box or not.

Click "Continue".










The installer will now start copying the files and installing them to your computer. When the process has completed you will receive the option to restart now or continue testing.

You can now restart your computer making sure that you remove the USB drive after the computer has shut down.

When the computer restarts you will receive a new menu with options to boot into Linux Mint or to boot into Windows Boot Manager.

Try the Linux Mint option to make sure it works and then try the Windows option to make sure it works.

Troubleshooting

If your computer boots straight back to Windows boot back into the live environment and use the following guide to set the correct UEFI boot order.

On some computers which have an NVidia graphics card, Linux Mint will fail to boot and will show a black screen with a small white cursor. In the next guide I will show you how to fix this issue.

On modern computers with the latest Intel wireless adapters you might find that you can't get a wireless connection. Another guide is on its way showing how to fix this issue.

Also coming shortly I will show you how to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 10 on a computer with an SSD.

Posted at 19:29 |  by Gary Newell

Monday, 18 April 2016

Introduction

A number of people have requested a guide showing how to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 10 along the same lines as my other guide which shows how to dual boot Ubuntu and Windows 10.

Part of that process is creating the Linux Mint USB drive. In this guide I will show you how to create the Linux Mint USB drive using Windows 10 and how to boot into it so that you can have a look around prior to the main dual boot guide being written.

Why Linux Mint Over Ubuntu?


Linux Mint provides all of the multimedia codecs installed by default which means you are up and running slightly quicker than with Ubuntu.

Linux Mint also provides a more Windows like interface whether you use the lightweight XFCE and MATE versions or the more sophisticated Cinnamon desktop.

I have written two guides which may help you make your decision:

Download Linux Mint






















You can download Linux Mint from https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
































At the bottom of the page you will see a list of available versions.

There are three versions for the Cinnamon desktop, which is the flagship desktop environment for Linux Mint.

The one you will probably want to go for is the standard Cinnamon version as opposed to the no codecs and OEM versions.

The no codecs version prevents you playing MP3 audio and other proprietary video and audio versions.

The OEM versions is for computer manufacturers.

There is also the MATE desktop which also comes in three flavours. The MATE desktop is a lightweight desktop aimed at people with older hardware. Again you will probably want to go for the standard version as opposed to the one with no codecs or the OEM version.

There is only one version which comes with the KDE desktop which is again a more modern desktop. 

Finally there is the XFCE version which is also lightweight but highly customisable.

It is up to you which version you go for but you must choose the correct architecture.






















To find out your computer's architecture type "PC INFO" into the search bar in the bottom left corner.

An option will appear called "About Your PC". Click on this option.


Look for the "System Type". If it says 64-bit click the 64-bit link next to the version of Mint you wish to try otherwise click the 32-bit link.



An information page will appear describing the version you have chosen including the download size and the MD5 checksum.

Click on the mirror link closest to where you live.

The file will download.

A very important lesson was learned after a recent issue with Linux Mint and you should follow this guide which will help you check your downloaded version against the checksum on the information page.

Download And Install Win32 Disk Imager





















You can download Win32 Disk Imager from http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/

The Win32 Disk Imager software is used to install the downloaded Linux ISO to the USB drive.



Click the download link. 

A "Save As" dialogue box will appear. Save the file to your Downloads folder.

To install Win32 Disk Imager double click on the downloaded file.


A welcome screen will appear. Click "Next" to continue.


Accept the license agreement and click "Next".


Unless you have a reason to change it leave the installation location as the default and click "Next".


Click "Next" to skip past the start menu folder.


If you want a desktop shortcut leave the box ticked otherwise uncheck the box.

Click "Next" to continue.


Click the "Install" button.


Uncheck the "README.txt" box and click "Finish" to launch the software.

Format A USB Drive

If you have a blank USB drive already you can skip this section.






















Insert a USB drive into a spare port and open Windows Explorer. (ALT and E on the keyboard or click the folder icon in the task bar).

Find the USB drive icon and right click with the mouse. Click on the "Format" option.



When the box above appears choose "FAT32" as the file system and make sure the "Quick Format" box is checked and click "Start".

Make sure you have chosen the correct USB drive. Check the capacity box to make sure it is around the right size for the USB drive.

Create A Linux Mint USB Drive






















If you left the "Launch Win32 Disk Imager" box checked then it should still be running but if not type Win32 into the search box at the bottom and when the Win32DiskImager icon appears click on it.


Make sure the device dropdown points to the letter represented by your USB drive. You can check in Windows Explorer to make sure this is the case.

Click on the folder icon next to the drive letter and navigate to your downloads folder.

Choose the Linux Mint ISO that you downloaded earlier.

Click "Write".

The Linux Mint files will be copied to your USB drive.

Turn Off Fast Boot

On some computers you need to turn off fast boot in order to be able to boot from USB drives.






















Right click on the start button and choose the "Power Options" item on the menu.



























Click on the "Choose what the power button does" menu item on the left hand side of the "Power Options" settings window.




























Click on the link that reads "Change settings that are currently unavailable".

Now scroll down the page and untick the "Turn On Fast Start-up" option.

Click "Save Changes".

Boot Into Linux Mint (non UEFI)

Reboot your computer with the USB drive still plugged in.

If your computer has a standard BIOS a menu should appear with an option to "Try Linux Mint". Choose this option.

Boot Into Linux Mint (UEFI)

Hold down the shift key and reboot your computer with the shift key held down.

The screen that appears will differ from make to make and even model to model.

What you are looking for is the "Use a device" option.






















A list of possible boot options will appear. Choose the EFI USB Device

Your computer should now display a menu with an option to "Try Linux Mint".

Choose this option.

Summary

You may experience an issue when booting Linux Mint if you have a modern NVidia graphics card.

I will be writing a guide to show you how to solve this issue shortly.

How To Create A Linux Mint USB Drive Using Windows 10

Introduction

A number of people have requested a guide showing how to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 10 along the same lines as my other guide which shows how to dual boot Ubuntu and Windows 10.

Part of that process is creating the Linux Mint USB drive. In this guide I will show you how to create the Linux Mint USB drive using Windows 10 and how to boot into it so that you can have a look around prior to the main dual boot guide being written.

Why Linux Mint Over Ubuntu?


Linux Mint provides all of the multimedia codecs installed by default which means you are up and running slightly quicker than with Ubuntu.

Linux Mint also provides a more Windows like interface whether you use the lightweight XFCE and MATE versions or the more sophisticated Cinnamon desktop.

I have written two guides which may help you make your decision:

Download Linux Mint






















You can download Linux Mint from https://www.linuxmint.com/download.php
































At the bottom of the page you will see a list of available versions.

There are three versions for the Cinnamon desktop, which is the flagship desktop environment for Linux Mint.

The one you will probably want to go for is the standard Cinnamon version as opposed to the no codecs and OEM versions.

The no codecs version prevents you playing MP3 audio and other proprietary video and audio versions.

The OEM versions is for computer manufacturers.

There is also the MATE desktop which also comes in three flavours. The MATE desktop is a lightweight desktop aimed at people with older hardware. Again you will probably want to go for the standard version as opposed to the one with no codecs or the OEM version.

There is only one version which comes with the KDE desktop which is again a more modern desktop. 

Finally there is the XFCE version which is also lightweight but highly customisable.

It is up to you which version you go for but you must choose the correct architecture.






















To find out your computer's architecture type "PC INFO" into the search bar in the bottom left corner.

An option will appear called "About Your PC". Click on this option.


Look for the "System Type". If it says 64-bit click the 64-bit link next to the version of Mint you wish to try otherwise click the 32-bit link.



An information page will appear describing the version you have chosen including the download size and the MD5 checksum.

Click on the mirror link closest to where you live.

The file will download.

A very important lesson was learned after a recent issue with Linux Mint and you should follow this guide which will help you check your downloaded version against the checksum on the information page.

Download And Install Win32 Disk Imager





















You can download Win32 Disk Imager from http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/

The Win32 Disk Imager software is used to install the downloaded Linux ISO to the USB drive.



Click the download link. 

A "Save As" dialogue box will appear. Save the file to your Downloads folder.

To install Win32 Disk Imager double click on the downloaded file.


A welcome screen will appear. Click "Next" to continue.


Accept the license agreement and click "Next".


Unless you have a reason to change it leave the installation location as the default and click "Next".


Click "Next" to skip past the start menu folder.


If you want a desktop shortcut leave the box ticked otherwise uncheck the box.

Click "Next" to continue.


Click the "Install" button.


Uncheck the "README.txt" box and click "Finish" to launch the software.

Format A USB Drive

If you have a blank USB drive already you can skip this section.






















Insert a USB drive into a spare port and open Windows Explorer. (ALT and E on the keyboard or click the folder icon in the task bar).

Find the USB drive icon and right click with the mouse. Click on the "Format" option.



When the box above appears choose "FAT32" as the file system and make sure the "Quick Format" box is checked and click "Start".

Make sure you have chosen the correct USB drive. Check the capacity box to make sure it is around the right size for the USB drive.

Create A Linux Mint USB Drive






















If you left the "Launch Win32 Disk Imager" box checked then it should still be running but if not type Win32 into the search box at the bottom and when the Win32DiskImager icon appears click on it.


Make sure the device dropdown points to the letter represented by your USB drive. You can check in Windows Explorer to make sure this is the case.

Click on the folder icon next to the drive letter and navigate to your downloads folder.

Choose the Linux Mint ISO that you downloaded earlier.

Click "Write".

The Linux Mint files will be copied to your USB drive.

Turn Off Fast Boot

On some computers you need to turn off fast boot in order to be able to boot from USB drives.






















Right click on the start button and choose the "Power Options" item on the menu.



























Click on the "Choose what the power button does" menu item on the left hand side of the "Power Options" settings window.




























Click on the link that reads "Change settings that are currently unavailable".

Now scroll down the page and untick the "Turn On Fast Start-up" option.

Click "Save Changes".

Boot Into Linux Mint (non UEFI)

Reboot your computer with the USB drive still plugged in.

If your computer has a standard BIOS a menu should appear with an option to "Try Linux Mint". Choose this option.

Boot Into Linux Mint (UEFI)

Hold down the shift key and reboot your computer with the shift key held down.

The screen that appears will differ from make to make and even model to model.

What you are looking for is the "Use a device" option.






















A list of possible boot options will appear. Choose the EFI USB Device

Your computer should now display a menu with an option to "Try Linux Mint".

Choose this option.

Summary

You may experience an issue when booting Linux Mint if you have a modern NVidia graphics card.

I will be writing a guide to show you how to solve this issue shortly.

Posted at 21:03 |  by Gary Newell
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