Upgrading Motherboard, CPU, Memory and Case

My computer that I built 11 years ago was starting to show it’s age. I decided that it was time to upgrade. The old computer was running well, but it was old school without any USB 3.0 ports and only had 4 GB of ram, and a AMD Athlon 2.4 Ghz processor.. It was in a heavy steel case with a 500 watt pwr supply, and 7 ea 5.25 external bays of which 4 held swapable hard drive racks, and one held a DVD Burner. I decided it was time to upgrade to a better system. I am not a gamer so I don’t need a fancy Graphics card.

Here is what I wanted. A motherboard that could be ungraded in the future with 3.0 and 3.1 USB ports, FX Plus CPU Socket, 4ea Memory slots that could hold at least 16 GB of ram. HDMI port, and Sub D VGA port. UEFI Bios. Here is what I got.

After getting all of the parts that I wanted I started to assemble My upgraded computer. The upgrade went without a hitch and everything worked as intended. Some of you are probably wondering why I wanted a UEFI Bios. Here is why I wanted a GPT Partitioning scheme so that I could have more than 4 Primary Partitions and not have to have a extended  partition. I wanted a Lighter case and I didn’t need 7 External bays. In this build I am only going to have 3 External bays. 1 DVD Burner and 2 swapable hard drive racks. The following are my thoughts after using the new upgraded computer.
Asus Motherboard A88XM-A
Pro: Good mid priced Micro ATX Motherboard with all of the features that I wanted.
Cons: The Bios leaves a lot to be desired even with the latest update. The manual does not explain the Bios setting very well and it is a nightmare to navigate. only has one chassis Fan header and one for the cpu.
AMD 8A-7600 Kaveri Quad-Core 3.1 Ghz Socket FM2 Plus 65 Watt
Pro: Nice sweet little processor with radeon R7. Easy cooling with only 65 watts. it works good at 3.1 Ghz can be overclocked.
Con: None
2ea 4 GB G Skill Ripjaws Memory 2133
Pro: Works good with this Motherboard and CPU Combination.
Con: None
ThermalTake Versa 1 Computer Case.
Pro: Good cheap Case, Good air flow for Cooling, Power Supply bottom mounted, 3 external 5.25 bays. 3.0 and 2.0 USB ports with audio on top
front of case. 
Con: Very thin metal, Flimsy and will bent easy. Still a good case for the money.
Rosewill Fan package (I only used 3)
Pro: Good Price, very quite, no noise, even with all fans running.
Con: None
All in all not a bad deal for under $250 I used my own hard drives and 500 Watt power supply. If I had to do it over I would probably get a GigaByte Motherboard Because of the Problems with the Bios not holding My Boot Order setting. It is a small problem and I can hold down F8 and choose which OS to  boot. It is just a pain and I never had this problem with my GigaByte MoBo.
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Mint 18 Clean Install

I made room on my hard drive that has Mint 17.3 on it as my primary OS. I made 3 partitions, root, swap, and home using Ext4. I booted the computer with the Mint 18 DVD  and installed Mint 18 to the partitions that I made on the hard drive using Gparted. It installed in about 20 minutes, and it recognized all of my hardware. I built this computer 10 years ago and it is still running strong. It has a Gigabyte Mother board, AMD 64 CPU, 4 Gb of ram, a server case with 4 swapable hard drives. I got all of the updates available at that time. I then copied my Thunder Bird and Firefox, along with Documents and Pictures from my Mint 17.3 Home partition. Everything has been working fine until a thunderbird update which I got today. For some reason after I close it I will get a error message saying

“Were Sorry Mozilla Has Crashed” It then gives me a choice of restarting or closing. Other than that everything is working fine so far. I still have my Mint 17.3 to fall back on if Mint 18 Becomes problematic. or develops a serious problem. So far I am pleased with Mint 18 and it appears to run a tad faster. Will write more after I have used it more. I’ve only had it for a week now.



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Install Linux Mint Stand Alone on HP Pavilion Laptop with UEFI

Linux Mint Stand Alone on HP Laptop with UEFI

The Title probably should have said “HOW TO GET RID OF WINDOWS on a HP Pavilion Laptop. Like the title says, I installed Linux Mint 17.3 (Rosa) on my HP pavilion 17 Laptop. As most of those who have a late model HP laptop Know, HP and Microsoft really messed things up with their Firmware / Bios and UEFI and Secure boot. The way they changed the booting with windows 8.1 and 10, They made it all but impossible to dual boot Linux using Grub as the boot loader. You could change the boot order, but it would revert back to booting windows on the next reboot. There is a work around, and I wrote a Article about it in this blog, called Dual Boot Windows 8.1 with Linux Grub (Boot Order) HP Laptop. The problem was as soon as you installed or upgraded the kernel or made any changes, you where right back to having to press the F-9 key and selecting the Linux that you wanted to boot. It was a Real Pain Because Linux Mint is my everyday OS and I play with several others and boot several times. I only went to windows to upgrade the maps on my Garmin GPS maybe twice a year. So I would have to do the work around all over again. HP would not come out with a new Bios or Firmware to rectify this problem.

Continue reading

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Looking for light weight Linux Distro

It has been a long time since I’ve wrote anything in this blog. I’ve been busy with my other blogs on RVing and Motor Homes. I got bored the other day, and it has been to cold to do anything outside other than to shovel snow. LoL! so I decided to try and find a light weight Linux desktop that was easy on resources, easy to install , with only a few of the essential programs. I found that many of the ones I down loaded and tried were Junk, did not recognize hardware on a 4 year HP Laptop and 10 year old Home Brewed Desktop computer. first off the good ones.

1. Linux Mint Cinnamon Desktop 17.3 (Rosa): Excellent choice and the very best Distro available in MHO. It is easy to install and has everything to do the job. I use it for everything and is on all of my computers as the Main Distribution for everyday work. The Cinnamon version is heavy on resources, and the Linux Mint with the Mate Desktop, may be suited for less powerful or slower computers.

2. Linux Mint Mate Desktop 17.3 (Rosa): Lite weight and uses the Mint Mate Desktop. Slightly faster on my computers than Cinnamon version. Not as resource intensive. Still looking for something a little faster for my Laptop.

3. Linux Mint XFCE Desktop 17.3 (Rosa): Faster on my computers than Cinnamon, But not as fast as Mate.

4. Exton Extix 16.1 with QT desktop and Exton 4.3 Kernel Fastest one of the bunch tested.

5. Parsix (Latest Version) was not impressed still needs work.

6. Q4OS Shows Promise, But is under development.

 7. Fedora 23 Gnome Desktop. Very nice and the best version yet. Was fast and stable on my Main Computer. I am not a fan of Fedora, but this one is worth considering. It is not Light weight though.

8. SuSe 42.1 (Leap) KDE Desktop: Still very Bloated and Resource Hungry. Very polished, But not for a Light weight Distro.

9. LXLE  1404.3 This is one of my favorites. It would be a good Light weight distro if it wasn’t so bloated with games and unnecessary programs and a few dangerous one such as Bleach. It is still my favorite after Mint.

Now for the Bad. The following Distro’s are supposed to be light weight and for Older Machines.

1. Vector Linux 7.1 Velocity. Vector use to be a very good fast distro based on Slackware. I don’t know what has happened, but the last 2 versions will not recognize the video cards in my computers. All of the above Distro Do with out having to make modifications or down load drivers to try and get it to work. For a Distro that is supposed to run on older hardware, It does not work out of the Box. I will not waste my time downloading it again.

2. Linux Lite 2.8 Beta This use to be a excellent lite weight Distro, But the Dev’s have shot there self in the foot by changing the Grub boot loader for MS Windows. It will not boot if you are only running Linux Distros Without a bunch of changes to make it boot. I was unable to get it to boot and their forum was unfriendly giving the standard read the docs or do a search in the forum. If it won’t boot after wasting my time downloading and installing, Then I have no use for it. I had great hope for it, But without answers to solve the problem it is bye bye.

By all means this was not a scientific evaluation of the above Distro, but is my own humble opinion. As a long time Linux user I expect any Distro to work out of the box without modification before the install. If the first 9 above Distro’s work out of the box, install and boot without problems on all of my computers, then the others should too. There are to many wanna be Devs out there not producing good code for the distro they are working on.


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How to Auto Mount Netgear ReadyShare in Linux

How to Auto Mount Netgear ReadyShare in Linux

I have a Netgear N900 WNDR3700v3 Wirless Dual Band Router, with ReadyShare. I have a USB External Hard drive attached to the router (ReadyShare) and wanted to have the USB Drive attached to the router Auto mount the drive at bootup. I accomplished this by inserting a line in my /etc/fstab file. I tried several different methods and now of them worked with Linux Mint 17 Here is what I did to solve the problem.

1. I made a directory called Public, by opening a terminal press ctrl + alt + T then type the following

sudo mkdir /media/public

Linux Mint 17 mounts the drives in /media, The /pubic is where the ReadyShare drive which is called USB_Storage, will be mounted

2. I then opened a Editor to edit the fstab file in the terminal type

sudo gedit /etc/fstab This will open the editor with Elevated privileges.

3. At the bottom of the fstab file place a line like this:

# Auto Mount Netgear ReadyShare USB_Storage drive

// /media/public cifs user,guest,sec=ntlm,uid=your user name goes here 0 0


// Rather than use The Lable ReadyShare I used The IP address of the router instead.

/USB_Storage The name that Netgear assigns to the directory on the readyshare drive.

/media/public The mounted drive so I can access the drive on the left in my home directory public is what I click on to create, Delete, Read or write files and directories.

cifs is the file system

“sec” is the security mode and determines how passwords are encrypted between server and client ( even if you don’t require passwords ).

ntlm used to be the default, things change and in some cases the new one has to be used ntlmssp most NAS drives are from the old school and have to use the old one ntlm

uid this is where you put your user name.

A few other things. Samba or cifs utils has to be installed the # pound sign in fstab means remark and is not read when the file is executed. You put it ahead of any remarks in the file. Hope this helps someone.


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Streaming from Computer with Netgear, Roku, and Linux

Streaming from Computer with Netgear, Roku, and Linux

I wanted to Stream my own music collection, Family Photo’s and Home Movies from my Computer to my Big Screen TV in another room. My computer is a Home Brewed one with a AMD 64 CPU, 4GB of Ram, and a 500GB Hard Drive, Running Linux Mint 17. I have a 3 Terabyte USB External Hard drive for storage, and a 120 GB USB External Hard Drive hooked to the USB Port on my Netgear 900N WNRD3700v3 Wireless router. I Bought a Roku Streaming Stick to hook to my TV. I have my computer hooked to a Lan (Local Area Network) and a couple of other computers hooked to it Wirelessly through the Netgear Router. The Roku Found my Network and I was able to hook to the Internet and stream movies from the Internet to my Big Screen TV in another room.

The problem was I wanted to stream Home Movies, Photo’s and My Music Collection stored on my computer. To do that I needed a server Like Plex, Roksbox, and Apache. I downloaded Plex, only to find out that after 30 days I would have to pay and found out that Rocksbox was probably the same. Then when I tried Plex I could not get it to recognize my music, Photos, or home movies. To many problems trying to setup Plex or Roksbox and my collections so they could access and read contents of my collections.

I then installed Apache2 From the Linux repo’s. I got it to work partway, but Could not get it configured so that Roku could see it. I did not want it to go onto the Internet and just wanted it to act as a server for Roku and my computer on the Lan. I was about to give up when I remembered that the Netgear router had something called “ReadyShare” “USB_Storage” and that Roku Found on my Local Network. I took a 120 GB USB External Hard drive and hooked to the USB Port on the router. I then copied 3 folders called Movies, Music, and Photos to it. Put part of my Music collection in Music and several family pictures with jpg format in Photos. Then in my Roku from the TV I choose a Free Roku Channel to stream from my ReadyShare on the router. Roku found ReadyShare and USB_Storage and in USB_Storage it found the Folders that I had put on the drive. I selected The Music folder and Viola I was streaming music from my music collection. I did the same with my photo’s and looked at several family Photos.

I now need to put a line in my FSTAB so that the External USB Drive on ReadyShare will load when I boot the computer. This is so I can add more Media. It is not necessary to do that once you have all of the media on the ReadyShare USB_Storage drive, as Roku will see it on the lan without having to add anything to FSTAB. Maybe someday I will get Apache2 working so I can Stream from my computers Hard drive and my big USB3 External Drive. This would be faster because the USB Port on the Router is only USB2 and my Network card in the computer is GigaHertz so that should be faster. I could download movies and stream them from my computer. By the way ReadyShare calls the hard drive USB_Storage.


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Dual Boot Windows 8.1 with Linux Grub (Boot Order) HP Laptop

Windows 8.1 and Linux Boot Order on HP Laptop

I installed Linux Mint on a New HP 17-117DX Pavilion with Windows 8.1 and UEFI. I covered the installation in a previous Blog Post so won’t cover the installation here. I wanted Linux Mint as the default and Grub 2 as the boot manager.

What follows is my experience and what worked for me. I tried many different suggestions from Forums and Others. I am now able to boot with Linux Mint 17 as my default OS and Grub 2 as my boot manager. Boot up Brings up Grub 2, and boots the Default, Linux Mint after 10 second, Without having to press a key..


It is assumed that you have a working knowledge of Windows 8 or 8.1 and The basics of Linux commands, and that you have one of the newer HP Laptops with UEFI and Windows 8 or 8.1 Pre installed.

Also a linux UEFI Aware distro (Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse) that is already installed

Most of the newer HP Laptops have some sort of a “recovery feature” that is hard coded into the system and on every boot sets Windows 8.1 back as the default OS to boot. Until HP releases an updated UEFI that allows turning this “feature” off or allowing the change of boot order, without reverting back to windows as the default. We will have to use a work around to solve the problem.

Thanks to GreatEmerald in the HP Forums, I was able to Solve my problem by making a few changes to his excellent tutorial to meet my needs.

1. In Linux copy the file /boot/efi//EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi to use some other name (for example, I copied it to “/boot/efi/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfwM.efi, but you can change the name to anything else).

2. Restart your computer in Windows. At the Windows Admin Command Prompt, update the Windows UEFI entry to point to the new name: (type it exactly as shown)

bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfwM.efi (adapt to your set name accordingly).

3. Optionally, change the name of the Windows boot loader so that you would be certain that it points to the new file location: (type Exactly as shown)

bcdedit /set {bootmgr} description “Fixed Windows path”

3a “Fixed Windows Path” is what will be shown in Grub or the boot order F9 when you boot up.

4. I assume that Linux was already installed, but if not Install it. In my case the bootloader was installed into /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu/grubx64.efi.

5. Delete the two files, /boot/efi/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi and /boot/efi/EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi.

6. Use efibootmgr to delete the “OS boot Manager” entry: sudo efibootmgr -b 0000 -B

7.Set the new OS bootloader to be the default bootloader by using efibootmgr with the -o option. In my case, I had an entry called “Ubuntu” in slot Boot0001 and the updated path Windows entry in slot Boot0002, so I had to do sudo efibootmgr -o 0001,0002 I then made one more change. I edited

/etc/grub.d/40_custom and inserted the following.

menuentry “Windows (UEFI)” {

search –set=root –file /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfwM.efi

chainloader /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfwM.efi


Now when I boot up I get the grub menu and can choose windows 8.1, Linux Mint, or Ubuntu. I have room to add a few more distro’s that are UEFI Aware.

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