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I want to use a Linux OS on old pc

Hello,

I am new to Linux OS but was in a conversation with an employee at a local computer store and I mentioned that I would like to use an older pc currently running Win XP as a network storage pc. He mentioned that a Linux OS would be better suited for that purpose. Is that true? If so, what system should I use?

my goal is to convert that older desktop into network storage. That will be the only use for it, well, with the exception that if I put a Linux OS on it, I may play with it to learn Linux.

I would like to designate the partitions for my wife and I. Plus, I'd like to have each partition show up as a "Save as" option on our laptops. Can I do that with Linux and what would you suggest?

Thanks,

Don

Comments

  • Unfortunately, I have to run to class right now so really quickly I'll suggest an OS and hopefully someone will be able to give you some good information on how to set all that up.

    Long story short: Yes, it's definitely possible to use an older PC as a server in your household to host all of your files. If you want to learn linux on top of using it as a server, you'll probably want to use a Desktop version of Ubuntu - Xubuntu might be a good bet to lower system resources. Generally, I would recommend the server version of a distro, or a disto like arch linux, but with you being new Xubuntu or Ubuntu will really help you learn the basics and let you do everything you need to do.
  • First you should find a suitable Linux distribution... now looking on distrowatch or similar pages a lot of new users are confused by the high number of various Linux distributions and don't know which one to pick ‚Äì simply choose one of the big players - I would go with OpenSuse, Fedora, Debian or Ubuntu server (assuming that you want to learn how to setup a Linux server). Those have a very detailed community documentation and forum posts about everything. If you are not sure if starting with a server installation is such a good idea install the suggested Xubuntu, or one of the Fedora Xfce, LXDE spins ;)

    If you have more (preferably) similar drives you can easily make a software raid 1 using the Linux mdadm utility, to keep your data safe(er). For most distributions this is possible also during the installation process. Just enter the name of your distribution together with mdadm into your favorite search engine... but the software raid setup steps should be pretty similar on all distributions...

    For the data sharing itself I would use samba. There are plenty of tutorials on how to setup samba in just few steps (here samba version is important, could be that the tutorial is for an older version), just look around :) btw not sure about the "Save as" part
  • Thank you both for taking time to share your thoughts with me. I am not looking to do a server yet but to go with something that will let me play with and learn a little about Linux OS's so I think I will try the Xubuntu for now, I will continue to post in here my experience and questions.

    Thank you,

    don
  • Thank you both for taking time to share your thoughts with me. I am not looking to do a server yet but to go with something that will let me play with and learn a little about Linux OS's so I think I will try the Xubuntu for now, I will continue to post in here my experience and questions.

    Thank you,

    don
  • Sounds good, we'll be here for any help you may need. Good Luck!
  • Hello,
    I downloaded and installed XUBUNTU and I like it. I had a minimal amount of trouble getting going but figured it out. Now my question is, what OS deletes MS Windows and becomes the default? Do I need to look at server OS?
    Thanks for your help

    Don
  • While Xubuntu and many of the other major distributions are a popular choice for desktops and servers I found, particularily for network attached storage, turnkey was wonderful and super easy to set up. It has a nice out of the box web interface so you can scrap the keyboard, mouse, and monitor on the computer. You may want to take a look.

    http://www.turnkeylinux.org/fileserver
  • chosenonee wrote:
    Hello,
    I downloaded and installed XUBUNTU and I like it. I had a minimal amount of trouble getting going but figured it out. Now my question is, what OS deletes MS Windows and becomes the default? Do I need to look at server OS?
    Thanks for your help

    Don

    Sorry Don but I don't fully understand your question "what OS deletes MS Windows and becomes the default"?

    You can delete windows from your computer with any distro and make it the default. Particularly, when you install Xubuntu, it gives you that option.
  • Hi Daniel,
    Thanks for your comments, I will look at the program you recommended. I also must have missed the part in the installation that let me wipe out MS Windows. Should I reinstall XUBUNTU or is there another way to make it my only operating system?

    Thanks again for your help.

    Don
  • If you boot from the Xubuntu disc, you can go into the manage partitons section and wipe out the Windows OS while extending your current OS.

    Also, if you run "sudo apt-get install gparted" you should be able to run that and delete the Windows partition and extend the Xubuntu partition.
  • I'll try that. Thank you and I'll let you know how it goes.

    Don
  • Hello All,

    Thank you for all of your help and advise. I have successfully installed XUBUNTU as my primary OS on that old desktop and it is doing great. I found it to be so user friendly that I also installed it onto one of our laptops. Now I plan to go back to my original plan and look at adding TurnKey onto that desktop and swaping the OS on my laptops and other desktops with a Linux OS.

    I will continue to ask questions and hopefully I'll learn enough after reading and trial & error that I'll be able to assist someone else.


    Thank you so much.

    Don
  • You guys did a great job in helping out Don. Please keep up the good work.

    A quick suggestion to a linux server, and learning linux, I like the distros that uses the Gnome desktop environment. It is very easy to use when it comes to setting up network shares and to help the new user learn how to operate the system. Don, if your system has 512mb of ram, I recommend using ubuntu 9.10.

    Ubuntu server will be the best option, do to the fact it is very lite on system resources since it is all CLI based. On your personal desktop system, install virtualbox and install ubuntu server (any version) as a VM guest and practice operating it.
  • chosenonee wrote:
    Hello All,

    Thank you for all of your help and advise. I have successfully installed XUBUNTU as my primary OS on that old desktop and it is doing great. I found it to be so user friendly that I also installed it onto one of our laptops. Now I plan to go back to my original plan and look at adding TurnKey onto that desktop and swaping the OS on my laptops and other desktops with a Linux OS.

    I will continue to ask questions and hopefully I'll learn enough after reading and trial & error that I'll be able to assist someone else.


    Thank you so much.

    Don

    Great to hear. Enjoy!
  • Get Puppy 5.2 Easy to use, for the most part.
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