Ubuntu - Help

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Geoff, May 4, 2010.

  1. Geoff

    Geoff Guest

    I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop - around 6 years old, P4, 1.3Gb Ram,
    newish 160GB drive with plenty of space, and an internal DVD drive that
    is dead. It has been running on WInXp for the last few years doing the
    usual stuff, and even some CFD modelling in the past. Speed has been ok
    for the usual word processing, interweb, etc. I slowed down with my 360
    page 30 GB thesis though.
    The setup has been a bit unreliable over the last few months, with some
    Windows update nuking the boot sector (or similar) so all the data is
    there, but do what you like, it won't boot wihtout a format and reinstall
    - a PIA with WinXP from a flashdrive.
    Pulled all the data off with UBCD4Win (A great utility), and since Linux
    is supposed to run well on old machines, downloaded Ubuntu 10, put it on
    a flashdrive, and everything worked, even my old wireless PMCIA card.
    Install it, check out a few programs (why doesn't WiFi Radar come
    standard in the distribution - makes wireless setup easier...).
    All in all, quite impressed, although under the pretty face lies a
    certain amount of geekiness that would , I suspect, make some
    troubleshooting awkward. Found native programs to replace most of the Win
    equivalents I was using

    BUT, and it is a big one, it seems to need a Cray supercomputer to run.
    It is slow, especially with a couple of programs open, like VIsta on a
    486 kinda slow. The system monitor shows available ram, but even with
    nothing running, the CPU is maxxed out. Running hard enough to cause
    overheating faults and shutdowns, which I have never had before, even
    running CFD models (NIST FDS) flat out for a week. This is the second
    time I have written this post due to the first one being lost when the
    computer pulled the pin due to overheating.
    Any ideas? At this rate, I am going back to Microsoft.

    And assuming I can fix that one, what are the recommendations for news
    readers. I prefer Agent on Windows to Pan

    Geoff
    Geoff, May 4, 2010
    #1
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  2. Geoff

    victor Guest

    On 4/05/2010 10:55 p.m., Geoff wrote:
    > I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop - around 6 years old, P4, 1.3Gb Ram,
    > newish 160GB drive with plenty of space, and an internal DVD drive that
    > is dead. It has been running on WInXp for the last few years doing the
    > usual stuff, and even some CFD modelling in the past. Speed has been ok
    > for the usual word processing, interweb, etc. I slowed down with my 360
    > page 30 GB thesis though.
    > The setup has been a bit unreliable over the last few months, with some
    > Windows update nuking the boot sector (or similar) so all the data is
    > there, but do what you like, it won't boot wihtout a format and reinstall
    > - a PIA with WinXP from a flashdrive.
    > Pulled all the data off with UBCD4Win (A great utility), and since Linux
    > is supposed to run well on old machines, downloaded Ubuntu 10, put it on
    > a flashdrive, and everything worked, even my old wireless PMCIA card.
    > Install it, check out a few programs (why doesn't WiFi Radar come
    > standard in the distribution - makes wireless setup easier...).
    > All in all, quite impressed, although under the pretty face lies a
    > certain amount of geekiness that would , I suspect, make some
    > troubleshooting awkward. Found native programs to replace most of the Win
    > equivalents I was using
    >
    > BUT, and it is a big one, it seems to need a Cray supercomputer to run.
    > It is slow, especially with a couple of programs open, like VIsta on a
    > 486 kinda slow. The system monitor shows available ram, but even with
    > nothing running, the CPU is maxxed out. Running hard enough to cause
    > overheating faults and shutdowns, which I have never had before, even
    > running CFD models (NIST FDS) flat out for a week. This is the second
    > time I have written this post due to the first one being lost when the
    > computer pulled the pin due to overheating.
    > Any ideas? At this rate, I am going back to Microsoft.
    >
    > And assuming I can fix that one, what are the recommendations for news
    > readers. I prefer Agent on Windows to Pan
    >
    > Geoff


    http://lubuntu.net/ lightweight desktop instead of the gnome compiz
    standard version.
    I use Thunderbird for newsgroups
    victor, May 4, 2010
    #2
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  3. Geoff

    Me Guest

    On 4/05/2010 11:26 p.m., victor wrote:
    > On 4/05/2010 10:55 p.m., Geoff wrote:
    >> I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop - around 6 years old, P4, 1.3Gb Ram,
    >> newish 160GB drive with plenty of space, and an internal DVD drive that
    >> is dead. It has been running on WInXp for the last few years doing the
    >> usual stuff, and even some CFD modelling in the past. Speed has been ok
    >> for the usual word processing, interweb, etc. I slowed down with my 360
    >> page 30 GB thesis though.
    >> The setup has been a bit unreliable over the last few months, with some
    >> Windows update nuking the boot sector (or similar) so all the data is
    >> there, but do what you like, it won't boot wihtout a format and reinstall
    >> - a PIA with WinXP from a flashdrive.
    >> Pulled all the data off with UBCD4Win (A great utility), and since Linux
    >> is supposed to run well on old machines, downloaded Ubuntu 10, put it on
    >> a flashdrive, and everything worked, even my old wireless PMCIA card.
    >> Install it, check out a few programs (why doesn't WiFi Radar come
    >> standard in the distribution - makes wireless setup easier...).
    >> All in all, quite impressed, although under the pretty face lies a
    >> certain amount of geekiness that would , I suspect, make some
    >> troubleshooting awkward. Found native programs to replace most of the Win
    >> equivalents I was using
    >>
    >> BUT, and it is a big one, it seems to need a Cray supercomputer to run.
    >> It is slow, especially with a couple of programs open, like VIsta on a
    >> 486 kinda slow. The system monitor shows available ram, but even with
    >> nothing running, the CPU is maxxed out. Running hard enough to cause
    >> overheating faults and shutdowns, which I have never had before, even
    >> running CFD models (NIST FDS) flat out for a week. This is the second
    >> time I have written this post due to the first one being lost when the
    >> computer pulled the pin due to overheating.
    >> Any ideas? At this rate, I am going back to Microsoft.
    >>
    >> And assuming I can fix that one, what are the recommendations for news
    >> readers. I prefer Agent on Windows to Pan
    >>
    >> Geoff

    >
    > http://lubuntu.net/ lightweight desktop instead of the gnome compiz
    > standard version.
    > I use Thunderbird for newsgroups
    >

    Regardless of OS choice, I'd be finding out what the overheating problem
    is and trying to solve it before spending time doing anything else on
    the machine.
    The laptops i've had seem to need an annual cleanout (switch off,
    carefully prevent fan from rotating with toothpick, blow compressed air
    through heatsink, suck up displaced lint using vacuum). Method varies
    with design - some are bastardly to clean - the above seems to work for
    more recent ones with heat pipe cooling and fine finned "radiators"
    which clog very easily.
    Me, May 4, 2010
    #3
  4. Geoff

    Enkidu Guest

    Geoff wrote:
    > I have a Dell Inspiron 5150 laptop - around 6 years old, P4, 1.3Gb Ram,
    > newish 160GB drive with plenty of space, and an internal DVD drive that
    > is dead. It has been running on WInXp for the last few years doing the
    > usual stuff, and even some CFD modelling in the past. Speed has been ok
    > for the usual word processing, interweb, etc. I slowed down with my 360
    > page 30 GB thesis though.
    > The setup has been a bit unreliable over the last few months, with some
    > Windows update nuking the boot sector (or similar) so all the data is
    > there, but do what you like, it won't boot wihtout a format and reinstall
    > - a PIA with WinXP from a flashdrive.
    > Pulled all the data off with UBCD4Win (A great utility), and since Linux
    > is supposed to run well on old machines, downloaded Ubuntu 10, put it on
    > a flashdrive, and everything worked, even my old wireless PMCIA card.
    > Install it, check out a few programs (why doesn't WiFi Radar come
    > standard in the distribution - makes wireless setup easier...).
    >
    > All in all, quite impressed, although under the pretty face lies a
    > certain amount of geekiness that would , I suspect, make some
    > troubleshooting awkward.
    >

    It's a bit like a car - if you are happy with mechanical things you
    might appreciate being able to open the bonnet and fix things yourself.
    If you aren't, you would normally get it fixed by someone who is able to
    do the mechanical things. Windows is like a car with a bonnet which
    cannot easily be opened by the driver.
    >
    > Found native programs to replace most of the Win
    > equivalents I was using
    >
    > BUT, and it is a big one, it seems to need a Cray supercomputer to run.
    > It is slow, especially with a couple of programs open, like VIsta on a
    > 486 kinda slow. The system monitor shows available ram, but even with
    > nothing running, the CPU is maxxed out. Running hard enough to cause
    > overheating faults and shutdowns, which I have never had before, even
    > running CFD models (NIST FDS) flat out for a week. This is the second
    > time I have written this post due to the first one being lost when the
    > computer pulled the pin due to overheating.
    > Any ideas? At this rate, I am going back to Microsoft.
    >
    > And assuming I can fix that one, what are the recommendations for news
    > readers. I prefer Agent on Windows to Pan
    >

    Open a terminal (command line) and type 'top' and watch it for a while,
    and let us know what the task is that stays at or around the top.

    Cheers,

    Cliff

    --

    The ends justifies the means - Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.

    The end excuses any evil - Sophocles
    Enkidu, May 4, 2010
    #4
  5. Geoff

    Geoff Guest

    Thanks for everyone's replies. I have blown out the air vents of the
    laptop over the years, but it sounds like a screwdriver and some surgery
    might be required.
    Main user of the CPU seems to be Firefox.

    Firefox won't also let me add extensions (through the fire fox menu). If
    I download the .xpi then it works, but directly it comes up with a
    "download error -228".
    Geoff

    >>> Geoff

    >>
    >> http://lubuntu.net/ lightweight desktop instead of the gnome compiz
    >> standard version.
    >> I use Thunderbird for newsgroups
    >>

    > Regardless of OS choice, I'd be finding out what the overheating problem
    > is and trying to solve it before spending time doing anything else on
    > the machine.
    > The laptops i've had seem to need an annual cleanout (switch off,
    > carefully prevent fan from rotating with toothpick, blow compressed air
    > through heatsink, suck up displaced lint using vacuum). Method varies
    > with design - some are bastardly to clean - the above seems to work for
    > more recent ones with heat pipe cooling and fine finned "radiators"
    > which clog very easily.
    Geoff, May 8, 2010
    #5
  6. Geoff

    victor Guest

    On 9/05/2010 10:00 a.m., Geoff wrote:
    > Thanks for everyone's replies. I have blown out the air vents of the
    > laptop over the years, but it sounds like a screwdriver and some surgery
    > might be required.
    > Main user of the CPU seems to be Firefox.
    >
    > Firefox won't also let me add extensions (through the fire fox menu). If
    > I download the .xpi then it works, but directly it comes up with a
    > "download error -228".
    > Geoff
    >


    I use ubuntu, and firefox normally does add extensions through the
    firefox menu.
    Sometimes you can troubleshoot this sort of behavior by renaming the
    ..firefox settings folder in your home directory and letting it make a
    new one, then adding back the settings you want to keep.
    victor, May 9, 2010
    #6
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