A grandson was happy with the flame throwing hot rod Linux gaming computer that his grandfather had built — until peer pressure came into play.
It’s Sunday evening and I’m in my daughter’s kitchen. My grandson and I have taken over the table with the computer I built for him, the family’s desktop, his laptop, and my laptop.
I have read multiple sources in the alt.os.linux.mint newsgroup saying that Windows is much, much easier to install and configure than Linux. Some people say those guys are trolls. Whatever. I need one of those sources to meet me in my daughter’s kitchen in the lower left corner of Missouri, USA, to show me how to finish installing Windows 7 on my grandson’s computer.
Several months ago, my 16-year-old grandson decided he wanted a powerful computer for gaming. I showed him Steam and some other stuff in Linux and he thought that looked good, so I started accumulating parts. If it was substantially more powerful than anything I have for myself, it was on the list. Sorry I don’t have the details list nearby, but it had a motherboard with a name I had heard, a fairly fast AMD processor with six cores, maxed out RAM, 1TB hard drive, video that took up two slots and had two fans, power supply you could use for welding, and a pair of 22″ monitors.
I installed Mint 17.3 KDE in less than half an hour (the usual), including separate swap and home partitions (it’s a neurotic thing), setting wallpaper and the like, and doing whatever came to mind at the time. It ran flawlessly and I was happy, so I played with it a while. I really liked it. If I could think of a use, I’d build one for myself.
Delivered it early in December. Three weeks passed. My daughter called. It wouldn’t connect to the Internet. That was strange. It connected fine when I was installing Mint. I was going to their town anyway, so I arrived early.
Picture my daughter’s kitchen on a Sunday afternoon: my grandson and I have taken over the entire table with the computer I built for him (cover removed), the family’s desktop, his laptop, and my Mint 17.3 KDE laptop. If you’re going to eat, find a TV tray.
The computer I built for him? Somebody convinced hims he needed an Intel processor, so he bought an open box motherboard on eBay or Amazon or somewhere. No docs and no CD. Found an I5 processor somewhere. The new board wouldn’t take the RAM from the other board, so he bought RAM. Has ordered new video. What’s bad is I assembled a fairly nice toolbox and tools for him a while back. I’m sorry. He should not be allowed to have screwdrivers. No, this isn’t the computer I built for him.
Some gamers he met were running that other OS, so he decided he needed it too. He wiped the Mint 17.3 from the drive and started installing Windows 7 on Saturday afternoon. He got it to light up and boot into Windows. Nice. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t connect to the Internet — or do anything else for that matter. Wouldn’t give any information a mere mortal could understand about anything. Call Granddaddy.
The Ethernet driver was missing from the Device Mangler. In fact, there were yellow triangles everywhere, with essentially no drivers for anything. It somehow was running very default video. Okay, if we can get it online, Windows can find its own drivers. I read that somewhere. Really easy, I understand.
I had a USB thumb drive with Mint 17.3 in my laptop bag, so we booted the new computer from it. It ran beautifully and snappy fast, on the thumb drive — even going online via the Ethernet cable without requiring a prompt from us. Grandson found a pencil and paper and we ran
lside so he could write stuff I told him to write.
Fired up my Mint 17.3 laptop, went to Intel’s website, and downloaded the Ethernet driver for his computer. Copy it onto the thumb drive and we’ll be flying!
Oops! His computer can’t find the thumb drive. No USB drivers. A brainless…er, driverless Windows can only read a hard drive or CD. Grandson found a blank CD, so back to my laptop and K3B to put the Ethernet driver on the disk. Put the CD in the new machine, pointed the Device Mangler to it, and in five minutes or so the network was working. Well, if you ignore a 10-15 second delay between clicking the mouse and seeing any action on the screen. Grandson used his laptop to go online and somebody told him to let it do its updates.
Okay, get the updates started and it’s going to all be automatic. Everybody says how much easier Windows is than Linux. Smooth sailing from now on.
Start the update process. Thirty seconds later: “Windows Update cannot search for updated drivers. Windows Update has encountered an unknown error. Get help on this error?”
It was time to change the topic by going out to eat. My daughter and her husband had a meeting at church, so I was elected to take grandson and granddaughter to supper.
On the way, I asked my grandson about his laptop. He had bought a fairly nice used Asus “gaming laptop” — headphones with boom mike, fancy mouse, and all that — running Windows 10 quite a while back and was using it for online games. He didn’t remember the laptop details other than 8GB RAM, a bunch of cores and a 1TB drive. He was going to sell it after the new computer was running.
“So, what antivirus are you using?”
More deathly silence.
“I’m not running an antivirus.”
On a Windows computer that has online games as its only use?
We were halfway to the restaurant, but the car slowed down all by itself. It didn’t stop, but if this had been anybody’s grandchild but mine he might still be walking and very hungry.
On the plus side, I’m getting back the motherboard, RAM, processor, and video from the computer I built, so I can build a nice computer for somebody. Or myself. Whatever. Maybe I can find a pirate copy of Windows 10 somewhere, because I hear Windows is so much easier…