Linux to the Rescue!

Just another example of how a live Linux distro can save your bacon. My mother was buying a new computer finally. Her old beast was an old Compaq, 10G hd, 96M ram, with Windows 98. It has a USB port in the back, a 3 ½” floppy drive and a read-only CD-ROM drive. She bought an HP with 3G ram and Windows Vista, from Best Buy. The problem being that she wanted photos from her old PC copied over to her new machine, but Windows 98 couldn’t plug-and-play the USB stick. I popped Puppy Linux in her CD-ROM drive and rebooted. Puppy is a neat, small Linux distro, with JWM desktop, an older version of Firefox, 2.0.0.7, and Abiword, and boots into a 64M ramdisk. All drives are unmounted by default, but there’s a nice little wizard that allows you to mount them with a simple click.

If I had known that Windows 98 didn’t even recognize the USB stick (a 2G one – that might have been the problem), I would have taken Puppy along with me. As it was I offered to take the old machine off her hands, took her USB stick with me, set it up at home, after a good cleaning{!}, and copied everything in a few seconds.

And the moral of the story is – when doing tech support for relatives, always take along one or more live CDs.

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One Response to “Linux to the Rescue!”

  1. anonymousbloke Says:

    A live cd definitely comes in handy.
    I remember one day my mom was trying to print some office document on her pc, and, to quote and old mac commercial, “the pc… the printer… they just weren’t talking”
    I don’t how CUPS works with recent printers, but the printer in question was something like 5 years old, one of those printer/scanner/fax monsters.
    Pop up a ubuntu live cd, boom. Printer working out of the box, opened the .doc in openoffice, printed it with no hassle.
    Sometimes linux kicks some serious ass.

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