• ek

    ek

    @ek

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    • in reply to: A newbie's experience with Linux #1890349

      I recently replaced an old pokey Acer AMD A6 laptop (running dual boot Mint & Win 7) with a Dell Precision 3530 – with Ubuntu 18.04 pre-installed.

      Nice move up. Fast machine!

      It is nice.  I considered getting a Lenovo or another Dell model (both with Win 10 pre-installed) and then install Xubuntu myself.  But I read good user experiences with Dell’s pre-installed Ubuntu laptops, so I went with the Precision.  They offer the XPS laptops with Ubuntu too, but I need all the ports the Precision features.

      I chose a conservative config with a 35watt i5-8400H quad, just onboard Intel GFX but ample ram and storage (16gb ram and 2 drives: nvme ssd and disk) .  I was really tempted by a six core Xeon CPU option.  What a beast!  Glad I went i5: it’s plenty fast and the 6 core Xeon would have probably always been throttling due to high temps no matter what I did with TLP tuning.  The overall design of the 3530 is great but it seems like it was originally targeted for 25-30watt CPUs with more modest boost clocking.

      Initially Out-of-the-box, the laptop would sometimes seem a bit slow doing some tasks.  It was because of CPU throttling due to heat.  Using TLP I tuned-down the CPU pstates profile just enough to discourage throttling and got a good performance improvement.  I probably could have done some undervolting too, but I want to keep things simple.

      Anyway, hats off to Dell for doing a good job on integrating the Precision platform with Ubuntu.  They eliminated the hardest things many people have to deal with when trying Linux: finding a reasonably compatible hardware platform and a trouble-free installation.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by ek.
    • in reply to: A newbie's experience with Linux #1889462

      For many years now (like, since the win98 days) all my systems – desktops or laptops – have been dual boot Linux/Windows.  For desktops, I always use dedicated drives for each OS.

      Tried running Linux in a VM on Windows for a year or two on a couple systems.  It worked fine, but I went back to using classic dual boot on dedicated drives.  I just prefer keeping the operating systems’ storage isolated from one another.

      I like Linux Mint, but I keep returning to Xubuntu.  Xubuntu’s UI is simple and lightweight.  Not a lot of fancy effects which can complicate getting actual work done.  I like simple windowing  user interfaces and Xubuntu is just that for me.

      I recently replaced an old pokey Acer AMD A6 laptop (running dual boot Mint & Win 7) with a Dell Precision 3530 – with Ubuntu 18.04 pre-installed.  Yep, my first laptop purchased EVER without any Windows on it.  At purchase, choosing Ubuntu dropped the price a little over $100, which I used to bump up to the next higher processor option.  The laptop is running great.  I did have to install and configure TLP, a system service for CPU and system power management.  Without TLP the 3530 was always throttling the CPU down due to high temps and I’d only see 4hrs on battery.  With TLP the system doesn’t throttle due to overtemp and I get over 12hrs on battery & it’s still fast.   It’s using the standard flashy Ubuntu Gnome desktop, which I am not a fan of.  It’s pretty but unnecessarily gimmicky and often just gets in my way.  I’ll probably add the Xubuntu desktop soon and use that.

      Anyway, I could say a thing or two about Dell’s 3530 design and it’s thermal suitability for high boosting multi-core CPUs.  The phrase “somewhat under-built” comes to mind…

      Meanwhile, I yanked the mechanical drive from the old Acer Mint/Win7 laptop, cloned it to an ssd (via clonezilla) & installed the ssd.  Now the system literally flys & is a great backup laptop.  I’ve since replaced Linux Mint with Xubuntu on the laptop.  The Xubuntu 18.04 install on this Acer AMD A6 laptop went very well.  Everything just worked (trackpad, hotkeys, thermals, etc).

      For many years I used Windows 90% of the time for everything.  But for the last 7 years or so, I rarely use Windows to occasionally run a few graphics apps.  But Linux has some really good graphics apps now and I’m starting to use those more.  Eventually I’ll stop using those old Windows apps completely.

    • in reply to: Revisiting WPAD #1877207

      Correct – if the system is always connected to a wired home net behind a reasonably well maintained secure router/firewall. Sadly, this is often not the case for too many home users.

      Also, if the system is actually a laptop using wireless and WPAD isn’t completely disabled (as I described in my original post) then WPAD is indeed a security problem when the laptop is taken into the wild.  When that laptop connects to a wireless AP, it will (usually) take on the domain name the AP assigns via DHCP.  That will be OK if the AP can be trusted.  Otherwise, the AP could be rogue/fake/compromised and bad things could happen if the AP is setup to leverage WPAD.

      This is why I was concerned.  I had assumed I had disabled WPAD on my systems, using steps documented on tech sites & MS knowledge base.  Fortunately for me, I always boot my laptop to Linux (it’s dual boot) when on the road.

       

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by ek.
    • I have 3 Win 7 systems.  The unexpected (and unannounced) inclusion of telemetry was really the last straw for me.  A huge disappointment.

      All three of my Win 7 systems are dual boot, Win & Xubuntu (or Linux Mint).  I set them up this way when the systems were new.  I only use Windows for a handful of graphics applications I need to use occasionally.  Ultimately, I use Linux on my systems 99% of the time.

      I’ve had automatic Windows updates disabled for a few years now.  But due to the recent telemetry surprise I decided to take more proactive steps… because I just can’t risk MS doing something crazy to my Win 7 systems during these final ~8 months before Win 7 goes EOL.

      So, as others here have declared: I’m not going to install anymore updates.  I’m just going to take many/all of the steps mentioned on this site to keep my Win 7 systems safe for another few years.  The systems are pretty old and I will replace them in the next year or two.  I may run Win 10 on some/all of them – but only if I see MS majorly improving how it’s handling Win 10 releases and updates.  If not, it would be a pity because I’m been an MS customer since the Z80 days (yep, I’m old) – but I won’t look back if I completely walk away from MS products.

      I use a Raspberry Pi based Pihole DNS filter in my home net (actually two, for redundancy) [don’t fret Woody, I whitelist your site].  So one of the steps I’ve taken is to add some pihole filter rules to effectively block MS telemetry and updates.  With the rules in place, I reviewed the pihole logs to see the results.  Most of what I saw was expected.  A few things were not.  I’ll discuss a couple:

      I noted MS’s teredo ipv4-to-ipv6 tunnel was enabled on two of my systems.  My home net is ipv4 only – and my router blocks ipv6 – so, teredo is of zero use to me.  Besides, I believe teredo is pretty much abandoned by MS for Win 7 & 8 now.  So I disabled it:

      netsh interface teredo set state disabled

      The other item was the MS Network Awareness (NCSI).  You can read about it here:
      https://blog.superuser.com/2011/05/16/windows-7-network-awareness/

      Anyway, NCSI may have been a great idea years ago, but today it just seems like another potential point of failure or abuse – so I disabled it via the registry setting mentioned in the above article.

      For the other steps I took, I took advantage of my Linux/Win dual boot capability.  I booted linux, mounted the Windows partition, cd’d to the windows system32 dir and:

      mv CompatTel CompatTel_DISABLED

      mv CompatTelRunner.exe CompatTelRunner_DISABLED.exe

      Then I unmounted the partition.  This method bypasses all the permissions incantations to do this from within Windows.

      I do have the scheduled tasks disabled for the above… but I want to make sure the stuff never runs again – ever.

      I can’t believe it’s come to the point where I actually have to treat MS update and telemetry services as potential malware.  So disappointing.

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