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Installing Linux on your Laptop

Some variants of Linux can be installed by plugging your laptop into one of the laptop connections and booting over the network - no CDs or DVDs etc are needed.

  • Connect laptop to a wired laptop-network port.
  • Set the BIOS boot order to put "PXE" (aka Ethernet or just Network) first - some systems let you temporarily change the boot order by hitting F12 (or occasionally other keys such as F10) during the Power on Self-Tests which saves you from having to change the order several times.
  • While connected to the Laptop network a PXE boot should cause a boot menu to be displayed which will list a number of boot options including various Linux 'LiveCD' distributions as well as more traditional installers.
    The 'LiveCD' setups should allow you to test that all the hardware is supported before installing onto the local disk and can also be used to test hardware, copy files etc.

Running Linux 'LiveCD' distributions

A number of the systems listed will be 'LiveCD' setups which can be loaded into the machine without needing to install them.

As well as allowing you to install from the running systems the 'LiveCD' versions let you check that the hardware is actually supported before attempting the install.

The 'LiveCD' setups include:

  • Ubuntu 16.04 (32-bit and 64-bit platforms)
  • Ubuntu 14.04 (32-bit and 64-bit platforms)
  • Ubuntu 13.04 (32-bit and 64-bit platforms)
  • Ubuntu 12.04 (32-bit and 64-bit platforms)

For those who are not familiar with Linux we suggest that you look at the Ubuntu distribution first. At the time of writing the Fedora 19 installer is also available but hidden away in the Test menu.

Some other Linux installers

Sometimes the 'LiveCD' versions are not what is needed, e.g. if there are extra drivers needed to support the hardware. In some of these cases running a more traditional installer may help. Look for a line with "no auto options".

Other things

In addition to the systems mentioned above there are various hardware testing tools in the Hardware menu, and some more advanced and testing options which you may want to talk to us about before using.

Available hardware tests include:

  • memtest86+ - memory tester - also memtest86
  • HGST Windows Drive Fitness Test
  • Seatools - Seagate disk test utility
  • PowerMax - Maxtor PowerMax disk test utility

If you know of any other test utilities which we should add or if we need to update the utilities above, please let us know.

We can't really "support" any of these. Note that we are more likely to be familiar with the Ubuntu and Fedora setups simply because more people here choose to run them on their laptops.