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  • How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Ubuntu – Hardware and software considerations

    Posted on Alex5723 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Linux – all distros How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Ubuntu – Hardware and software considerations

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    • This topic has 25 replies, 16 voices, and was last updated 8 months ago.
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      • #2111263 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        ….This series will cover the following topics:

        Preparation for the migration – In the first installment here, we will cover the options available to Windows 7 users, the necessary checklist of steps before the actual migration, and the data backup ahead of the change.

        Installation of Ubuntu – In essence, Ubuntu is an operating system, just like Windows. This guide will go through the different scenarios by which the Windows 7 users will be able to install Ubuntu on their machine. The operating system installation is not a trivial process, especially for users without prior knowledge in this domain, and we want to make this part of the journey as seamless as possible.

        Post-install configuration – Once Ubuntu is installed, the user will need to familiarize themselves with the new operating system, the layout of the desktop, the applications, and other settings that form part of the day-to-day desktop usage. For many people, the question of whether they will be able to continue using their apps is a critical one, and we will pay special care to this aspect of the overall experience…..

        • This topic was modified 9 months ago by Alex5723.
        7 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2123627 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        Iv a dell laptop i got 2nd hand i didt get a reinstall disk its my 1st time updating its on windows 7 im curious wot will happen if i used any of these ?
        as anybody used these

      • #2123683 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Iv a dell laptop i got 2nd hand

        Do not pay for any of those “recovery” disks, they are a waste of money.
        Get an external hard disk and backup to it. Then you can return to Windows without issue.
        You can download any of the linux live ISO files and then burn to a USB stick with Rufus.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2123742 Reply

        The biggest problem that I’m having is getting the full and detailed Step By Step instructions on how to download a Linux OS Distro’s ISO using Windows 7 to do the downloading/verification/burning. The exact steps required to Download the ISO/Image and verify that Image using “sha256sum.txt” and “sha256sum.txt.gpg”(For Example) and how to install the proper third party Windows software that does the summing of the SHA sums. So getting that done via Windows 7(For Example) and only Windows 7 is problematic as the Linux Distro notes on how to do that via Windows is not novice friendly.

        It’s almost like a chicken or egg thing with the Linux Distro maintainers notes assuming that folks have some earlier version of Linux already installed and the notes on how to do this using Windows 7/Other Windows versions are incomplete and confusing to any Linux novices looking to Install Linux over top of Windows 7 or Linux as a dual boot with Windows 7/Other Windows OS.

        So there appears to be a lack of a full and complete guide/primer that’s written with the novice(And Windows users) in mind as the Linux Distro Maintainers are not very focused on providing the full and complete Windows 7 based step by step towards Downloading a Linux OS ISO/Image, verifying that the image is not corrupted, verifying that ISO digital signature is authentic, and either burning that ISO to a DVD on installing that ISO on a Flash/Thumb drive(All done Via Windows 7 for example). And for Windows 7 users that may want to download Linux on their laptops/PCs for the very first time the download has to be done with Windows(7, 8.1, 10 whatever) because that’s the only OS most Windows 7(For Example) have on their laptops/PCs.

        The Linux Foundation really missed their chance by not funding some online outreach and complete instructional materials specifically targeted for any Windows 7 EOL users that may have been interested in installing Linux either on top of Windows 7 or by installing Linux alongside Windows 7 and dual booting 7 and Linux.

        The Linux Foundation should have maybe partnered with some educational institutions and done more public oriented outreach regarding Windows 7’s EOL and assisting folks more in getting access to the help and even some ISO/DVDs made available to potential Windows 7 to Linux end users that may need some actual Step by Step(No steps left out or unexplained) tutorials/primers that focused on Windows 7 and getting Linux installed as an option, either Linux installed over top of an existing Windows 7 install or Linux and Windows 7 dual booting. And step by step instructions, using Windows 7, on how to get a full add vetted/verified ISO installer image of whatever Linux OS distro the Windows 7 user was interested in installing.

        All that having to have Linux already installed to download and install Linux focused instructions from the Linux Distro maintainers is not helping the folks that currently only have say Windows 7 installed and folks wishing to give Linux a try.

        • #2123757 Reply
          AskWoody Lounger

          I’ve never had any issues with downloading and burning CDs or DVDs (years ago) and now creating bootable pendrives using Rufus. Simply download the ISO and run Rufus. Then you boot the USB key and run the system. If you’re fine with it, you can install from within the OS.

          MSI H110 PC MATE * Intel Core i5-6402P * 2 x 8 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2133 MHz * Aorus Radeon RX 570 4GB * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD * Western Digital Blue 1TB HDD * Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD * DVD RW Lite-ON iHAS 124 * Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer PCI * Windows 10 Pro 2004 64-bit
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        • #2123863 Reply
          AskWoody Lounger

          The rather simple reason (IMO) that you don’t see the kind of information you’re looking for is because Linux in most of its flavors is not an operating system designed to be installed and maintained by completely inexperienced users, especially not in a multi-boot environment.

          You’re asking (primarily) volunteer labor to bundle-up a pretty package for you that will simplify a rather complex task. That’s a big request.

          You can do this – but *you’re* going to have to do it. You’re going to have to do the research, and you’re going to have to do the manual labor, you’re going to have to educate yourself.

          That’s not a bad thing.

          (Alternatively, you can look to someone like Red Hat for their fully-supported workstation version, but you’ll pay almost $300 a year for the privilege.)

          • #2134909 Reply

            Oh I got Linux Mint 19.3 downloaded under Windows 7(Pro) and the SHA256 verification, and certification key, stuff done under W7 as well and I made 2 other copies of the Mint 19.3  ISO on separate SD cards  so now it’s just a matter of getting that ISO onto my Toshiba laptop to burn a DVD(TOSHIBA Disc Creator).

            I Would have burned the DVD from my HP Probook but that laptop’s 3rd party DVD/CD burning software got a little too ad pushy over top of my desktop and I removed it. So now it’s just a matter of burning a DVD that I can try out Live and making sure that at least the wired Ethernet works on the Toshiba Satellite c655 s5061(with a first generation Intel core i series i3-370M) my oldest working laptop. I’ve also got to look at Mint 19.3 on 2 Sandy Bridge Intel core i series generation laptops with Intel core i5 and core i7 processors. The HP Probook(Intel Ivy Bridge core i7 and AMD 7650M discrete mobile GPU) that’s running Windows 7 Pro is actually licensed for Widows 8 Pro so that’s what that can run on the Windows side until 2023 after installing 8 and upgrading to 8.1.

            But I really have to do more research and testing on my laptops for Linux Mint 19.3 and considering all the issues that Intel has had With Spectre/Meltdown/Other I’ll have to get up to speed on Linux microcode updating via the Linux OS methods. I’d like to find out more about how the Linux Kernel/Distro manages any OS based Intel Microcode shims/patching for any of my older laptops that are not really getting any Firmware updates from their OEMs. I’m not at all uncomfortable with command lines as long as the documentation is available.

            The only laptop that I own that’s getting any Intel Microcode updating via Laptop OEM firmware updates love is the HP Probook and that’s because it’s a business grade laptop. So any Windows 7(Pro) Microcode updating that’s not via an OEM provided PC/Laptop firmware based Intel microcode update is not possible without shimming/patching in the microcode via the OS and that’s a complex problem in Windows 7. But Linux appears to have that OS support for directly patching the CPUs firmware via Linux without having to wait for the Laptop’s OEM to provide a BIOS/UEFI firmware based Intel Microcode update that may never be offered.

            I’ve read that Linux has had issues with Realtek Wifi drivers in the past but I’m more concerned with the laptops’ NIC/Ethernet able to work with Linux Mint 19.3. USB Wifi dongles are so cheap that it’s not hard to fix that on Linux with a Linux compatible WiFi dongle.

            I’m more than likely just going to Install Linux Mint 19.3 in a dual boot configuration with Windows 7 on the older laptops and keep 7 around for offline usage or Printer usage if Linux Mint 19.3 lacks any drivers for my Cannon printers.

            • #2164449 Reply

              But I really have to do more research and testing on my laptops for Linux Mint 19.3 and considering all the issues that Intel has had With Spectre/Meltdown/Other I’ll have to get up to speed on Linux microcode updating via the Linux OS methods.

              If Intel released a microcode update for your CPU, you should not have to do anything at all.  It will automatically be installed when you install Mint, and any updates Intel releases will be provided automatically as well.  Ubuntu is quite fast in getting these updates out as Intel provides them (and Mint, as a derivative of Ubuntu, uses the Ubuntu repo for things like that).

              Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.20.1 User Edition, Ubuntu 20.04 base).

              1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2135387 Reply

            Just tried a Linux Mint Live DVD session of 19.3 on my Toshiba Satellite c655 s5061 laptop and both the Wired/Ethernet(Qualcomm) and WIFI(Qualcomm) are working so now it’s just a matter of shrinking down the Windows 7 Pro partition and installing Linux on the free space made available on the C Drive.

            I’ll be shrinking the partition under Windows 7’s partition manager and then booting to the Linux 19.3 DVD/ISO that I created and working from there on a Windows 7 and Linux Mint 19.3 dual boot arrangement. But I do have one question about DRAM size(4 GB of ram across 2, 2GB DDR3 SODIMMs on the Toshiba laptop currently) how much swap partition/swap space is needed for Linux Mint(19.3) for a laptop with 4GB on memory installed for the Linux OS’s paging file/swap-space to properly support 4, or 8, Gigabytes of physical memory.

            Will Windows 7’s System Image Backup include the Linux partition if I run 7’s system Image Backup utility while booted into W7?

            I’m also looking for some Windows 7, and Linux compatible as well, system hardware information software that will actually report any of the PC/Laptop system’s occupied and unoccupied Motherboard slots/other ports/etc. I find that most of MS’s included system information utilities is not very specific as is Intel’s Processor/Motherboard information software. It’s not always easy to find the specific laptop’s repair manual online and I’m really wanting some software that will help me map my laptops hardware and Motherboard components including the Memory and any PCIe available slots(Populated or not) on any PC/Laptop.

            Also Since Linux Mint/Mint 19.3 is a downstream distribution derived from Ubuntu LTS that support will continue until April 2023.

            • #2135638 Reply
              Paul T
              AskWoody MVP

              HWiNFO does a pretty good job of listing your hardware.

              cheers, Paul

      • #2123865 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        to do the downloading/verification/burning. The exact steps required to Download the ISO/Image and verify that Image using “sha256sum.txt” and “sha256sum.txt.gpg

        I don’t suppose you verify sha256sum for every Windows OS update downloaded from Microsoft.
        There is no need for that for the Linux ISO files when downloaded from the source.

        • #2123873 Reply
          AskWoody MVP

          There is no need for that for the Linux ISO files when downloaded from the source

          I wouldn’t advise this, linux mint was compromised a few years ago. It’s always best practise to verify linux distro iso’s against the given distributors hash files/checksums..otherwise one could be using a MITM OS or worse!!
          Rule of thumb: If they don’t match, trash it and download from a different link/source given by distributors.

          It’s also common courtesy to drop the distributors an email if a bad iso is found from their sources given.

          Win8.1 Pro | Linux Hybrids | Win7 Pro O/L | WinXP O/L
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      • #2123895 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        Linux Lite has a VERY simple way of checking MD5SUM’s…you can just do a drag and drop!

        (I wish other distributions would use this, it’s as easy as you can get!)

        When your download has finished, drag and drop the ISO or click on the box below to navigate to your downloaded ISO.

        Then check it against the MD5SUM for your ISO just above.

        Your file will not be uploaded. instead, we use some clever pixie dust to do the magic.

        Drop File Here

        It’s based on Ubuntu, but IMO is much more friendly for new users coming from Windows. They have an extensive help manual that’s very user friendly:

        • This reply was modified 9 months ago by johnf.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2138404 Reply
          AskWoody Plus

          I know I am late but THANKS johnf.

          I have tried several Linux distros and Linux Lite turned out to be the easiest for simple, not computer minded users.

      • #2124023 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        @anonymous – @jabeattyauditor above is right – you will have to do this yourself (unless you buy a computer with Linux already installed on it), but he’s also right when he says you can do this.

        Try this installation guide for Mint:

        It will take you step by step through an installation. There is also a wealth of info on the Linux Mint website:

        Another place to find clearly written articles is

        And, of course, there are some threads here at askwoody that describe how to do it.

        It will take a bit of effort on your part, but you can do it. I did it a couple years ago as a complete Linux newbie (and I generally consider myself a non-techie) when I installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I have since upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, and have also installed Mint 19.2 on a couple of computers following the instructions in the installation guide I linked to above. It all went very smoothly, but if you do run into problems there are plenty of folks here who would be willing and, I dare say happy, to assist.

        I like Mint 19.2 Cinnamon a lot and am about to make it my “daily driver”

        Good luck!

      • #2124044 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        The following might or might not apply to you. But if you are someone not only new to Linux but also to doing major work with any OS, please, read on.

        Alternatively, (assuming that the PC’s hardware is sufficiently capacious of memory and fast of CPU and bus, with compatible peripherals, etc., to accommodate the needs of the new operating system) if you knew someone who is good with computers and won’t make too big a deal of doing the install of Linux for you… The great advantage of getting help from someone professionally trained, or else who has learned driven by personal enthusiasm for computers, or by sheer necessity at his or her job, is that then you are left free to learn in your own time, starting right away, how to use Linux without having to go through the difficult and (for a newby) worrisome process of installing the system.

        I should know: I have been using Linux for years, but I always have gone for help with any major operating system work to someone as I just described. And don’t regret even one little bit having done it.

        By the time you start to feel that you are sufficiently familiar with the ins and outs of Linux through daily use, you may already actually know enough to start taking care of the operating system yourself, e.g. replacing it with another kind of Linux and doing some other major surgery on the very software that lets your machine run. Summing up, I would say: This is serious stuff: take your time to learn it well while actually working with it, before moving on to something more ambitious.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2124087 Reply

        Some used computers are quite a bargain, and fitting two laptops on a desk is practical for many people.  Dual boot is certainly possible, but having a spare computer can be really nice.  While you are setting up Linux, or whenever you need some old data or program, instead of having to reboot you can just move your hand over to the other laptop.  And if you ever want to upgrade your hard drive or anything like that, you can read manuals or watch youtube on the other computer to tell you how to do it while you work.

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      • #2124115 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        There is a simple GUI hash generator here.
        Download the ISO, drag n drop it onto the hash generator and click Generate.
        Compare the result.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2124123 Reply

        For checking hashes on Windows, it doesn’t get any better than NirSoft’s HashMyFiles:

        Simple drag and drop interface.  Computes any and all of the common hashes.

        • #2138065 Reply
          AskWoody Plus

          Another option for Windows; if you install 7-Zip, it creates a context menu so you can right-click on the ISO and generate a hash, such as SHA256 then compare to the published hash “sha256sum.txt”.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2124213 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        There is also a lot of info in the Linux Mint forums if you are trying Mint. They helped me to do a full install of Mint 19.1 on an external USB SSD. I ended up creating the external install using my old Vista laptop – there were some issues with how the Mint installer and Win 7 worked – but I did find a lot of help at that forum. This isn’t a dual boot set up – and I “could” run the Mint install from another computer if I plugged in the SSD there – but right now it behaves like a dual boot since when I want to go back to Windows, I need to reboot.

        I really like Mint and have found it quite easy to use!

        ETA: Here’s a tutorial on verifying the ISO on Windows.

        And here’s a tutorial on the full install to a USB hard drive idea.

        • This reply was modified 9 months ago by LHiggins.
        • This reply was modified 9 months ago by LHiggins.
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        • #2137640 Reply

          I find that it also helps to watch a few videos of someone going through the process of doing everything related to downloading burning a Live Linux USB under Windows/Windows 7 and getting all that SHA256 and Certification process done using Windows 7.

          I used Etcher-Portable(GUI based) and GnuGP(After Installing it on 7) and running GnuGP commands from the Windows console and that’s rather easy to accomplish. And once the Live Linux(Linux Mint 19.3) USB was burned I then set my Laptop’s BIOS boot priority to look for the USB first before the hard-drive and booted my laptop into a live Linux session to test out the Ethernet and WiFI on the laptop for compatibility and both wired and wireless worked.

          But most of the online Instructions for installing Linux Mint 19.3 along side Windows 7 in a dual boot configuration where anything but step by step. As when attempting to do that the first time, I experienced many steps that where omitted and finally had to give up on any custom partitioning options and just choose the default installer selection to install Linux Mint 19.3 alongside Windows 7 and let the Live USB’s Linux installer find the free space that I made with Windows 7’s partition manager(Before Booting the Linux Live USB to do the final install).

          But I did get Mint 19.3 installed along side Windows 7 and both booting nicely and now its time to get up to speed on that Ubuntu LTS based Mint 19.3 Distro and its various ways of getting things done.  So far I’ve done some command line uninstalling for a Firefox Adobe Flash Plugin that came along for the ride with some other codecs and I used the download manager(GUI based) to install other applications as well as the Synaptic package Manager for an uninstall and reinstall of one application. So I’m more into the learn by doing phase now that Mint is installed in its own partition alongside Windows 7 on the hard drive and I’m ready to use 7 post 2020/EOL offline for some legacy applications that do not have Linux options.

          So more learning by doing on that one laptop that has Linux/Windows 7 installed and getting ready to do the same for 2 more Windows 7 laptops and them dual booting with Mint 19.3 as well. And mostly I do not have to worry that much about any Windows 7 Post EOL Zero Days and having no more patches from MS for consumer 7. Linux will be there for the online usage and continuous support without being abandoned like 7 is mostly unless one is qualified for the 7 ESU paid support program.

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      • #2124236 Reply
        AskWoody Plus

        Also more on documentation for Mint here as well: Where to find documentation on Linux Mint.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2133509 Reply
        Bill C.
        AskWoody Plus

        After the hardware testing and installation and once the OS is up and running, you will move to software compatibility and testing. For some programs you may never find a Linux equivalent, but many you will. But for most people the concern is simple personal document compatibility.

        The one recommendation I would also add is to focus on 2-way compatibility testing of working files. Generic cross platform documents with standards, like JPG and MP3 are usually not an issue, they will work under most read and write situations, but creating documents under various productivity suites may show limitations. By that I mean take existing files (images, office documents, videos, any files you routinely work with, etc.), and copy them to a testing folder in your Linux Home directory. Open and edit them and save them in the formats you use, wish to use, or might have to use. Then email then to yourself, use a USB stick, or if in a dual boot scenario get them from your Windows document save locations. NOTE: To be safe, copying them to a temporary testing folder on your Windows document folder eliminates you overwriting any working file with a testing document in error or with an automatic save.

        Then create new documents under each OS and/or various programs and do the same. I have found original documents created may be slightly different than a document you copied and saved in one program and the opened in another.

        Do this both ways and see what is changed and how much work is necessary to meet both yours or others expectations (important with work, less so for non-work). While LibreOffice files saved in MS Office formats are very similar for routine documents, documents with complex macros and or critical formatting, or in very different fonts (specific fonts present in both programs work best) or very complex formatting (forms, etc.) may be problematic at times. Reproducing a colored letterhead can be frustrating if trying to work under a different OS. Better to just copy the text. But that is my experience and your mileage may vary, so test, test, test. Disclaimer: I tend to be a format perfectionist, so it might be easier for others.

        Then test with a colleague or friend by editing one another’s documents. Interestingly, I find working in LibreOffice to fine-tune MS Office formatting (especially Word) is easier due to seeing many formatting marks. Excel is a bit more bother, and I am still seeing what is possible. I do know that LibreOffice Calc (Excel-type LibreOffice spreadsheet) seems to not like too many horizontal cells, but I am still testing that aspect. If you import spreadsheets into local databases, test that for compatibility. The Powerpoint compatibility is not a big issue except for very minor formatting when using simple text, but I have to do further experiments with images and videos, backgrounds, etc.

        II have conducted these types of test a number of times, as I have experimented with Linux distros over the last few years, but this is my first in depth testing for what is to be my main OS, Linux Mint Cinnamon 19.3.

      • #2135031 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        I’m more concerned with the laptops’ NIC/Ethernet able to work with Linux Mint 19.3

        Most network chips are standard these days so there should be a driver. Check the manufacturer’s web site for driver updates if you are unsure.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2175306 Reply
        AskWoody Lounger

        As I researched various distros I read forum posts, watched recent YouTube videos and asked questions. All these things helped but couldn’t cover everything.

        I found testing with a live USB to be very important. I tested headset, microphone, sound, video, and even basic tasks like installing files. In doing so i could evaluate how well my hardware worked, and how well I worked with the distro. By the time I was ready to install Linux Mint it didn’t seem so foreign. Live USBs won’t help with every problem but can make installing Linux much easier.

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