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Thread: New PC :(

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  1. #21

    Thanks, kahoona -- I understand now that those are the temporary passwords, only while it's running from CD. Of course I thought it was a joke, since I assumed I was about to install Linux that first time...

    New question: Since I have fast Internet now, I decided to drop the annoying local phone carrier. (They insist on charging for "interstate access" despite my insistence that I want local-only service; I use a phone card in the very rare cases where I want to call someone -- much less than once a month.)

    Anyway, I've been exploring various VoIP solutions, and found one that works with a router. The company will sell the router (just under $70). I need a router anyway, so I'm wondering if anyone else is doing this (with Linux, I mean; MEPIS, ideally). It's a Linksys, though I forget the model number. Has a phone line adaptor thingie already on it, apparently. I could look up the technical details if it helps.

  2. #22
    Linux Guru bigtomrodney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    When it comes to VoIP I just use some skype, never used any pure SIP VoIP. To be honest I haven't even used any credit with Skype. Here in Ireland ou can buy a seperate skype handset if you wanted to go down that route. It can plug into your router I *think*.

  3. #23
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Wink installing Mepis

    Hi Techwatcher:
    You may already have installed Mepis as I just l saw this today.
    If you decide to install Mepis from the live CD, you should first do a scandisk and a defrag in Windows XP before the install. Then use Live CD to install from there..
    I chose dual boot which is also an available option. Mepis carves out space from free and clear disc space for Linux. You can decide for 50/50 with Windows for example.
    The Mepis site has a downloadable Users Manual in pdf format which I found useful.
    Happy Linuxing. Joe5

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #24
    Thanks, Joe, but I'm slow, no install yet. I did, however, purchase LINKSYS Broandband Router RT31P2-VD (complete w 2 phone ports), and it's on its way. Once it arrives & I learn how to use the router -- i.e., get my cable access running on Ethernet via Windows XP (first) -- then I'll do the scandisk, defrag, & install.

    I want to maximize my chances of getting back online with Linux immediately, and somewhat safely, though I don't yet know very much about security under Linux. Hence router installation before Linux installation.

    Thanks for the tip about the Users Manual -- that will help a lot!!! I know it's weird, but I'm so much happier, not to mention more competent , if I can read through a whole manual, or at least question an expert for an hour or so, instead of feeling my way through a system or program. In fact, even after I've been working with a program for a long time, I like to read the manual because it almost always results in learning how to do something more effectively, discovering powerful features that aren't apparent on the surface, or at least better understanding the way it was designed to work.

    I was looking at the system setup on this PC, and it seems it has bays for IDE drives, apart from the ATA 160gig hard drive already installed. Since I may well want to restore this machine to pristine status (reformat the drive, use the system recovery CDs) since it's already buggy, perhaps I'll try to transfer in one of my IDE drives and put Linux on that. Lots more crawling around, lots more time. But it would be worth it to know that Linux is on a drive Windows hackers haven't reached.

  6. #25
    I was just checking over at, and it looks as if the new version 6.0 (anticipated to be final, stable -- July 10th) will be available just about the time my new router arrives. I guess I'll soon be doing my first 'download & burn CD' on this machine!

  7. #26
    Just Joined!
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    Jul 2006


    One more thing Techwatcher. Before you start partiioning to install Mepis, if you are opting for dual boot, do a backup of all files in Windows you wouldn't want to lose. Just in case.

  8. #27
    Okay, I had a disaster (as expected) with the horrible, expensive, stupidly designed PC. (I'm finally back after a week offline, temporarily on a 10-year-old box. Today I loaded W'98 SE on here. Again.)

    I bought a MEPIS 'Live CD' on Ebay, and had used it a couple times on the XP box, no problem. So I went to install the router, day after it arrived, one step at a time towards my goal of an online Linux box. No problem connecting via Ethernet instead of USB port, but once I added the router (still in W XP), the machine was completely overrun.

    I don't know what's going on with that box, can't do anything about it for now. But I can tell you that the CD has been corrupted. After I got this ancient box working today, I tried to install MEPIS. The CD would not boot. So I went to the floppies subdir and made the floppies -- then it booted, but I got the same 'hard disk' error messages (repeated for sector after sector) as I had when I used the CD to try to install on the XP box.

    Btw, I wanted to lose ALL the files on that damned XP machine. I wanted that as my Linux-only, online-only PC. That's what I wanted to buy, and that's why I was so annoyed to be paying so much and getting so much power, but without the floppy drive I need on the online box. Now I'm further than ever from my goal. I don't even know how to wipe that hard drive, nor will the "System Recovery" CDs recover the XP system.

    So: Steer clear of any box with only one CD-DVD, where both are read/write. Don't buy MEPIS from someone on Ebay. If you want a Linux box, don't buy some fancy-schmancy XP Home machine and then connect it to a cable modem. The hacker/cracker will eat it for a light snack, and there's no recovery I can find.

    This 10-year-old machine doesn't have a CD burner. So I can't even burn the new MEPIS release myself and try again.

    Now what? Anyone know a utility to low-level format a 160 gig drive with unknown crap on it (or deposited somewhere on the machine)? I could scrape together enough to pay someone to get me to a library where I could presumably burn a CD, if I knew what to download.

  9. #28
    SuperMod (Back again) devils casper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Chandigarh, India
    hi techwatcher !!

    Quote Originally Posted by techwatcher
    Now what? Anyone know a utility to low-level format a 160 gig drive with unknown crap on it (or deposited somewhere on the machine)? I could scrape together enough to pay someone to get me to a library where I could presumably burn a CD, if I knew what to download.
    download utlimatebootcd from
    it has almost all utilities you need right now...

    <=== { casper } ===>
    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
    New Users: Read This First

  10. #29
    Linux Engineer rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    the hills
    Back up here a second and describe what the new PC
    is doing. It may not be a disaster. You haven't effectively
    described the symptoms.

  11. #30
    Thanks, Casper -- looks great! I'll try to pay someone to get me to the main library this weekend so I can burn it.

    RC Green, this happened a week ago Tuesday, but as best I can remember: Having tested the Ethernet-cable modem connection (still in W XP Home), I shut down and connected the new (used, Ebay) router -- Linksys, with 2 phone ports. When I brought up the machine again, it wouldn't boot XP. So I shut down, inserted the first of the so-called "System Recovery" CDs which I obediently burned when I first turned on the machine after purchase, 6 weeks previously.

    It wasn't a System Recovery. Apparently you don't actually get XP Home when you buy XP Home on a Cisnet PC. Grrrrrrrr. It started by making a (completely unwanted) user partition. After that I cancelled, and rebooted (still with this "PC Angel" so-called System Recovery CD) hoping to see something tucked away (in onscreen small print) about completely wiping the drive, or resetting to factory defaults, something. It failed again, with some sort of stop Windows message (bunch of numbers), and suggested I should reboot Windows and search for a virus! I'd been running AVG and updating it every single day. Knew I had a problem with the machine because (for example) if I tried to shut down Windows after being online, it wouldn't actually shut down. But I figured I could just clean up once the router arrived and then install Linux, so it wouldn't matter.

    At that point I was mad, but I had my 'ace in the hole' -- the MEPIS Live CD. I inserted that into the single CD-DVD (read-write everthing) drive. It seemed to boot okay, just maybe a few lines were a little different than when I'd run it before (this or that disabled). I told it to install itself, without preserving anything; think I tried that first and it failed. Then I tried to run Qparted. After awhile (I'd walked away for a couple minutes), I came back and saw all these disk error messages, error 100 I think, with sector numbers failing.

    I assumed the problem was my hardware. Yesterday I cobbled together one of my 10-year-old used PCs, reinstalling W98SE. But when I put the Linux CD in the CD-ROM, it failed in exactly the same way. So perhaps the jerk who sold the CD on Ebay didn't terminate the CD write function, and it's been corrupted. Or it's been corrupted despite having been 'terminated,' which points to a worse hardware problem on the Cisnet PC.

    Unfortunately, I decided I'd had enough of BellSouth (local phone service) and shut them off after paying the last bill, just a week earlier. So I can't call tech support for Cisnet (for what good that might possibly do), and I don't want to turn it on again.

    I have to get phone service again (I wanted VoIP, but obviously that will have to wait), then call Cisnet, and get them to take this back and return it to factory status, so at least I can get Linux on it. I was going to allow a little Windows XP Home somewhere on it, either a small partition or a smaller drive. But what it has now is an ATA hard drive. I only have IDE hard drives lying around here. The PC has bays for IDE drives (so it claims, anyway), but after I physically installed a floppy, it never even recognized that, so I don't have much hope for this pile of crap.

    What idiot makes a PC with no floppy, only one huge hard drive, and only one CD-DVD that writes to everything? Wish I'd never bought the thing -- I could have bought 3 very fine used PCs from the Goodwill outlet for what I paid for this, and been safely on Linux a month ago.

    My 10-year-old PC doesn't have a DVD drive, of course, so I can't even watch a film anymore. *sigh* I want to install that router, but I've just come off almost total isolation (I'm disabled, almost homebound) for over a week. Figure before I try it again, I should at least give myself a few days of social interaction (online).

    Btw, anyone else seen a shiny black van with a satellite dish on top and "Windows Live" (and logo) lettered in white? One went by this extremely rural pocket of this 'city' just as I was losing the Linux CD. I got down from my porch steps on crutches to try to follow it, but it went straight back to where it must have originally entered my street! [cue Twilight Zone music]

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