The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 11 Apr 2019, 11:34

My laptop has but one hard drive which is why I chose to multi-boot. You are correct about the last OS installed being the one which sets up Grub. Since Windows boot store doesn't know what Linux is that is the reason why it has to be installed first. Windows writes it's own boot routine to the MBR and would ignore anything Linux.

My desktop is a different situation. I have multiple hard drives in that tower precisely to isolate Windows from the rest of the world. Windows is on the first hard drive and set to boot unattended. When I want to use one of the other Linux distributions, I must do it from BIOS because they are physically on a different hard drive. It turns out that I have three versions of Linux and three versions of Grub. Each partition for Linux has it's own Grub installed on it's own partition, and in theory I can boot from any one of them. Never tried that, but they say it's possible. I use Ubuntu's latest LTS to control all three by installing its version of Grub on the disk's MBR where Ubuntu resides on the primary partition. Thus I get a menu to select one of three Linux systems, or Windows.

This seems convoluted, and it is. The problem is that there is no option to not install Grub. Thus when I install a version of Linux, I must also install Grub. I could do what you suggest and write over the existing Grub on the master boot record each time I install Linux. It turns out to be unnecessary. I just install it on a partition that is never used for booting purposes. As long as the OS is where the working Grub thinks it is, I have no problems. So far Windows 7 has been working side by side with multiple versions of Linux without incident. This is only possible because Windows is on a physical drive of it's own with it's own boot record.

I'm pretty sure my laptop problem is going to result in a new machine dedicated solely to Windows. If I can fix the Toshiba by short circuiting the cmos battery, that machine will be exclusively for Linux. It's a shame they don't play nice together all the time. Then again, how many nerds want Windows and Linux in the same box? :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 12 Apr 2019, 09:22

Hmm, I have Windows on all of my machines, although I never boot into Windows, except on the machine with XP which I only use to play an XP based game or two. A cold boot always brings them up to Debian Linux, except one I've got set for Linux Mint at boot.
I was going to finally forgo Debian and run with Linux Mint, but it wouldn't install on my netbook. This surprised me since I have Debian on there with no problems. I tried straight Ubuntu and it wouldn't install either. Since those are both built on top of Debian, I'm at a loss as to why they won't install for me when Debian installs easily.

As far as I know, all LInux Distro's require Grub to fire up stage one of the boot process, but if you have only one LInux OS on the machine, you won't see it if you are set to boot straight into the OS. If you use a log-in you will still get that screen though. Could be either Grub is just hidden or the wait timer is set to zero so the screen doesn't appear.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 13 Apr 2019, 09:22

Your solution is one configuration guaranteed to work all the time: Windows and Linux installed side by side without ever booting into Windows. LOL

You are also correct about Grub. What's the point of having an OS if you don't have a way to boot into it? Grub provides that way. The thing I don't like about Grub is that it automatically takes ownership of ALL the OS's it can find. Windows does not do that. There are pros and cons argued constantly regarding these two different approaches, but I think it's gosh darn arrogant of Linux to just hose over any Windows boot routine.

From what I understand Linux Mint is Ubuntu with a different desktop, typically Cinnamon. Thus if one has a problem, I'd expect it to be a problem for every distribution. If it were merely the desktop environment that caused the problem, the solution would be simple. But it seems as if you are seeing something generic. This is scary.

I tried a deep dive into my Toshiba laptop in order to locate the cmos battery. The construction of this laptop isn't exactly clam shell. The top and bottom shells could be separated, but the motherboard is attached to the top where the keyboard is located. Thus, in order to release the motherboard for inspection, the keyboard must be removed. I knew this was not going to end well but I did it anyway and found the battery. It's unlike any I've ever seen and is soldered into place looking a lot like an electrolytic capacitor. Well, the long and the short of it is that the computer has some other problem and still will not boot. I removed the hard drive and memory chips and may tear it down again one last time to recycle it.

So ... now I have an MSI laptop designed for gaming inside Windows 10 Home edition. I made numerous backups every which way I could think, and then decided I'd switch out of the standard Windows and go back to the Insider Preview I was using on the Toshiba. That Toshiba version, by the way, was free because I converted from Windows 7 when they were handing out free Windows 10 Pro as an incentive to migrate. As you know the Home edition of Windows isn't exactly what us advanced computer nerds are happy with. Thus I had some reservations about putting in the product key for the Pro into the Home computer. Microsoft, however, wasn't ambiguous about it at all. They said I can't just upgrade because I have a product key. LOL So, yes, with my tail between my legs. I paid off Microsoft to upgrade the MSI laptop.

Now I have a laptop whose manufacturer refuses to support Linux, but the tech savvy folks on their support site say it's OK to do but expect a thing or two not to work. I decided not to install Linux just yet because I have some other mischief up my sleeve which needs to be done first. I bought some ROM to upgrade from the 8GB that comes standard with the laptop, AND I bought a 500GB SSD to replace the mechanical one that comes standard. Any hardware upgrades I make will void the warranty, and MSI isn't shy about saying so on their web site. So, I'm going to wait a while to be certain the laptop will not break down from the trauma I will impose upon it, and then begin the upgrade. This is scary too.

The new MSI has a 1TB HDD as standard equipment. Windows 10 uses less than half, but there are recovery, data, and blank space partitions which consume the entire 1TB of disk space. Obviously that won't all fit on my 500GB SSD, but do I really care? I dunno. I backed up and image copied the whole OS and it fits into about 50GB of disk space. Thus in theory my 500GB will work just fine. All I need to do is repartition things before I transfer the system from HDD to SSD. And this is the scary part. I never did the transfer the way they suggest doing it. I would need migration software (abundantly available) and a USB to SATA cable. I have a USB to eSATA but don't think that will cut it. So, I may have to add another cable to my tool kit in order to make the migration.

And if I should be successful, I'll have a nearly new upgraded laptop that is out of warranty, I could also run into problems from Microsoft given that the OS will now have hardware other than what it is licensed for. I did this exact thing with Windows 7 and all they wanted then was my product key. But given their recent refusal to recognize my old Windows Pro license from a defunct computer, I doubt that I will want to pay for a license a second time.

I expect the greatest challenge of all will be installing Linux because at the moment Windows uses a secure boot via UEFI. There is a disk partition for this and I have absolutely no experience using it. All my experiments have been confined to the now deprecated BIOS, which I believe I can ditch but may not be able to undo the Windows secure boot. I've yet to look at the BIOS control panel on this MSI machine and have totally ignored EFI on this desktop. So I know I can ignore it, but I don't know if I can turn it off once it has been turned on. The glitch here is that I don't have a working OS install CD. It's all on a recovery partition which I would like to blow away once I set up the multi-boot.

So, right now I'm asking myself if Linux is worth all this trouble.

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 13 Apr 2019, 11:25

Well, I use Linux all day every day for everything I do, because it is fast, efficient, and easy to use. Plus there are several things I can do with Linux I never could do with Windows. I do know Windows has added some Linux like features but at what cost.
Windows thinks it God so does not play nice with any other OS.
A couple of years ago I totaled up what it would cost for me to go back to using Windows, including all the software programs I currently use. That price was well over six-thousand dollars, and I still wouldn't have access to all the programs I only use occasionally without forking over more money.
The only thing one has to be wary of when running Linux is to make sure the hardware you buy is compatible with Linux and not designed for Windows ONLY use.
With the proper computer and peripherals, Linux can outshine Windows hands down, and without all the headaches caused by Windows bassackwards way of doing things. And the Linux user has complete control of their own computer! We don't have to get permission from Windows or pay a fee to use our computer the way we see fit.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 13 Apr 2019, 14:08

I think we both are computer savvy to the same degree. You are comfortable with Linux and I am not. I think that says it all about the capabilities of each OS.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 14 Apr 2019, 10:41

All the years I did use Windows computers, I never became what you would call proficient at using most of the programs.
I can't say I know a whole lot about Linux either, I still have to look up how to do things on-line. But when it comes to using the programs, I find them normally to be easier to use than the Windows counterpart, mainly because they are more logical.

What Windows does have going for it, you don't need to know much of anything technical to keep it working, or adding new programs or hardware.
Linux is not that far along in many areas.
That being said though, you should see the number of people who have problems playing Farm Town on Windows computers. Most of the time it is simply because they don't know how to do something. Not even something simple like holding down the control key and turning the mouse wheel to make the screen larger or smaller. If they sit down to a large screen, they just don't know how to fix it. But then too, that is one thing they really should learn about the OS they are using from the git go. My point is, it is normally user error and not a problem with the game, even though they blame it on the game most of the time.
Ironically, most of them are now trying to play this game using a cell phone, which is total masochism, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 14 Apr 2019, 14:53

I've had some intimate exposure to the workings of computers and the software that drives them. I knew enough so that my boss would not have to fire me or reassign me to some less demanding job, but I was no engineer and had no university degree in my resumé. I did become smart enough to recognize how complicated things are and when I should ask for help. That understanding of the complexities of computers still lingers in my mind. One of the responsibilities I had was to teach other people how to use the fancy equipment we put into the factory for testing the products we built. That particular aspect of my job made me very aware of how difficult it is to merge high tech and semi-educated people. Of course I could not explain everything, but I was able to pick out the salient points and make sure my users clearly understood what was needed to perform the task. I'm sure you have heard the joke about computer instructions to "Press any key to continue." The immediate query is to ask where is the "any" key. Well, I'm here to tell you that is not as much of a joke as you would think, Only about half the people I dealt with had English as their native language.

My job was made easier by the fact that I had face to face sessions with the less than computer literate people using my creations. That doesn't and cannot happen when you design a computer for a general audience. All the operations needs must be intuitive or easily derived. I would agree with you that Microsoft has gone further in that direction than Linux, but then those are two separate communities with two different mindsets. There are trade offs in each system. In my own experience i have grown fond of systems that "just work" with little effort or need for thought on my part. I can overcome any difficulty Linux might pose, but it irks me that there are so many difficulties. The logic to which you refer is a layer of complexity that means nothing to a guy who just wants to complete a task. And, it is totally confounding to the person who is looking for the "any" key. :eek:

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 15 Apr 2019, 08:50

I hear ya loud n clear Yogi, been there, done that, hi hi. Only in my case, working with folks, they cut it off twice and it's still to short, hi hi.
One of the major drawbacks for Linux is EVERY OS that uses the Linux Kernel is called Linux, when in most cases, they are as different as night and day. There is as much of a difference between RedHat and Debian, as their is between Windows XP and Windows 10, they are not the same animals, and run totally different software programs.
There is only ONE Windows per se. But their are numerous flavors of Linux OS's, and just as Windows is not compatible with Ubuntu, Ubuntu is not compatible with BSD, or RedHat, etc.
I've been around folks who have worked in companies who used RedHat for years. Plop them down in front of a Debian based OS and they are just as lost as a Windows user sitting down to Ubuntu. Well almost, they do know the Linux basics, but you get what I mean.
We are thankful to Windows for standardizing a lot of things in the industry. But it is still the things they got bassackwards that drive folks nuts. Windows users learned how to do some things the hard way, then when they hit the proper way, they are lost. For example: Looking under FILE SYSTEMS to do a PAGE FORMATTING JOB in msWORD, instead of under FORMATTING as is done in almost all Linux based programs. And they say Windows is easier, hi hi.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 15 Apr 2019, 13:50

Technically Linux and Windows both depend on a kernel that is common among all the distributions of each. Everything that distinguishes the various flavors are simply additions to the basic kernel. And that's the thing. The kernel is pretty much useless by itself. It has a certain amount of basic functionality but with nothing connected to it those functions stay inside the kernel. Building upon the kernels involves a file system architecture that is as different as night and day when we examine Linux vs Windows. However, it takes a fair amount of understanding to appreciate what is going on and why. The end users don't care for the most part because they don't have to know how a word processor works in order to benefit from using it. All the technical mumbo-jumbo behind the scenes means nothing to a kid trying to finish his homework or a job applicant writing a resumé. The end user likes how the product has been branded and not much more. It's like the soccer mom who buys a Chevy because the color matched the dress she was wearing that day. LOL

I feel your pain when it comes to MS Word, and all the other Office products that seem to be a staple of today's computer systems. But, it's misplaced to say Windows is flawed because MS Word isn't logical. Windows in an operating system and MS Word is a program run on it. I abandoned all of MS Office programs about twenty years ago and have been using free software in its place. Based on your observations, I'd have to assume you would love Windows operating system if Open Office worked well on that kind of kernel. Well, I'm here to tell you it does. I've been doing it. Of course I don't need it to generate an income as you do, but Open Office or LibreOffice both work well regardless of the platform upon which they are installed.

The proof of the pudding, or in this case the value of the operating system, is down there on the command line (BASH) level. That is where you will see who outshines who. I realize you have problems in that area, but that just goes to prove my point. You don't need to know about the kernels in order to benefit from the operating system. You are doing quite well using the software installed on your Linux kernel. You really don't need to understand Linux in order to be successful using it. The same can be said of Windows.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 17 Apr 2019, 10:36

This may be old hat, but Windows uses NT on a hybrid kernel. Debian uses GNU on the Linux kernel.
What OS is above that is really what an OS should be named. Not use the word Linux as Linux does for everything.

Open Office and LibreOffice do work a little differently on a Windows machine than they do on Linux machines, and even on Linux machines, it may have a few differences depending on the actual Distribution OS it is running on.
This is not as noticeable on Writer as it is on spreadsheets, and there are a few big differences on how GIMP works on Windows vs Linux boxes, and between the various Linux OSs.

Logically one would think there shouldn't be any difference, but I think it has a lot to do with how the processor talks to the kernel and the overlying NT or GNU systems. Also not all Linux Distro's use GNU.

I sorta understand this from back when I did Basic programming, although you could write a perfectly running Basic program for the 6502 processor, you had to make changes to the program for an 8080a processor, and also the brand of processor could make a difference as well. What worked on Intel may not work on another brand.

Although Intel is a great processor, probably the best one now. But most of the years I did work with computer programs, I always found the AMD to be faster, ran cooler, and cost a lot less, for the things I was doing. But for those who were into gaming and high speed graphics, for them Intel was the best. Talking about AFTER we had to have separate math co-processors installed as in the early days. More around the 286 and 386 days. It was AMD only for me during the 386 days, but now I really don't have a preference as to which is used, until I open my billfold. AMD is still cheaper!

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 17 Apr 2019, 16:37

One of the aspects of open source I consider to be a problem is the lack of continuity, or standardization. Some folks think that is a good thing because specialized OS's can easily be designed as opposed to working with the unknown contents of an API into a proprietary OS. But even so, if all the kernels were identical programs would still be as unique as the developers who create them. Just because software engineers have certain tools available does not mean they will use them. The variations in OS's and processors gets even crazier in the mobile device world. Fortunately the big three all have the same software development kits, more or less, so that apps end up looking and working similarly across platforms. I like the fact that so many options are available, until the time comes when I want to make a change. Too many choices. :grin:

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 18 Apr 2019, 15:13

Honestly, that was my biggest downfall when I went back to using Linux full-time, and for almost everything.
Most of the time, there was only ONE program on top, if there was another possible selection in Windows.
However, in Linux, there was often 20 or more nearly similar programs and each had major differences.
It would take forever to try out each one to see which worked best for you.

But technically, I had the same problem with Windows in some program areas, especially graphics programs.
Each time I bought a new printer, it came with several programs, including graphics programs.
There was something unique about each of those programs in what it could do best, and some couldn't do it at all.
I used to keep a chart above my desk where I made notes about which graphics program did what.
This way, when I wanted to do something, I would use one program for one thing and another program for another thing.
I think I had five different programs I used when modifying and/or restoring images.
Then I hit a big snag. Some of these programs looked to see if you had the printer they came with installed, and if not, the program would not work. Some of those printers also became obsolete and no new drivers.
So I was forced to buy a program similar to photoshop, but nowhere near as robust.

So for me, Windows really wasn't much different than hunting through a lot of Linux programs looking for the ones I like the best. I was back to doing the same thing as I did on Windows.
Then the problem was not finding software for Linux, it was out there, under funny names, and folks to tell you which they liked best. The problem was Hardware, and in some cases still is. 100% of Hardware manufacturers cater to Windows, and IF they happen to work on Linux with 3rd party drivers, great, but don't expect miracles.
It has only been in recent years when hardware vendors started including Linux drivers with their hardware, and/or pointing to the 3rd party software that worked with their hardware.

Once they started writing drivers for MAC, it was only a small step to write for Android and Linux OSs. So we are finally seeing more and more hardware compatible with almost all OSs.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 18 Apr 2019, 18:48

It's been a long time since I've not been able to find a driver for the hardware I have. Most of that is due to the fact I rely on Ubuntu so much. They put a lot of effort into making things work, but then I don't have a lot of demands. The biggest problem maker was nVidia. For some reason they didn't get along with anything Linux for a long time. While their drivers were not in the repositories they were downloadable and installable if you knew how to do it. It involves shell commands but it's quite routine once you get it down pat. These days nVidia is playing a lot nicer with Linux and the world is good again.

I can't say the same for UEFI. Linux is giving me a hard time on that new laptop I bought. I'm pretty sure I can do what I want to do but the version of Windows on this laptop is installed with a secure boot sector on the hard drive. This is causing Linux to puke during the boot process. I am now confronted with the fact that I will need to have some intimate knowledge of the differences between BIOS and GPT not to mention CSM. The strategy I have in mind will involve replacing the hard drive that came with the computer and putting an SSD in its place. This boils down to a clean install of Windows and any Linux OS's I care to load up. The only reason I'm hesitating is because the warranty will be voided once I break the seal and open the case to replace the HDD.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 19 Apr 2019, 10:36

Have you checked your BIOs to see if you can use the multi-user UEFI? Or let the Linux Distro let Windows keep its MBR as is with only adding an extension to jump to GRUB.

Most computers have UEFI now, especially if they came with windows already installed. I've installed Linux Mint on the little new computer I bought for Debi with Win10 and it has UEFI. Been several months since I did this, but I did use GParted to repartition the disk after shrinking Windows down enough to give me like 80 gigs for Linux. Seems like the install asked about adding link share to UEFI on the MBR to protect Windows.
On that machine, Windows will always appear to be starting, then Grub appears, only with Windows as the default instead of Linux which is the normal way. Last Linux install always takes first place in Grub, but not on this machine, Windows is the default and will continue to boot if you don't hit the down arrow while the Grub screen is up for like only 3 seconds.

Never heard of a computer you couldn't open to add more cards or drives and it would cause the warranty to void. But may laptops are different. Why not just wait until the warranty runs out?

My youngest sister had a knock down drag out with one of her laptops. The place she bought it from added extra memory for her before she ever took it home the first time. She never had a problem for about 8 months, then the screen began flickering so she took it back to the store. It was supposed to be covered under I think a 2-year warranty. In any case, they said the computer was modified from original which voided the warranty.
If you knew my sister, she was going to get it fixed, and at their expense, and NOW.
What she doesn't know is if the store bought the bullet and just fixed it for her, or if they got the repair and parts cost back from the mfgr. All she knew for certain was she got it back fixed in only two days, no charge.
They did tell her their was a defect in the screen, had nothing to do with drivers or memory or the motherboard.
The screen never gave her any more problems, but after a couple more years of usage, her keys started missing what they were supposed to do. To replace the keyboard would be on her dime, and the store had a new computer within a price range she liked, and they did take her laptop in on trade, so she was a happy camper.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 19 Apr 2019, 18:36

I've not done enough research to speak with authority yet, but as far as personal computers go the process of booting into an operating system is started in BIOS or in something called GPT. BIOS creates an MBR while GPT doesn't - not sure exactly what GPT does to boot but it's always done via EFI. Thus, if you have a system that boots using EFI, there is no MBR nor BIOS.

Apparently both Windows and Linux can boot via BIOS or EFI. It all depends on how it's set up for security purposes. A secure boot is not possible in BIOS which is why GPT and UEFI was invented. I guess one way to look at this is like logging into your bank's web site. You can do it the same old way as always via http or it can be secured via https and TFA (two factor authentication). The choice of how to go is up to the webmaster.

To further complicate the boot process there is a compatibility mode labeled CSM (compatibility support mode) wherein EFI will emulate BIOS for guys like me who have no clue about any of this. LOL The sequence is important from what I read. You can't set up Windows for secure boot and then install unsecure Linux OS's on the same disk. That is where I'm at right now. Linux is supposed to support EFI and secure boots, but I have yet to prove that it does. I can boot the latest distribution from Ubuntu (on a live DVD) when I use my desktop, but that same disk will start the boot and quit in the middle of it on the laptop. Oddly enough it generates error messages saying something inside the Linux kernel failed. I was able to track down one of those and got the response to change my BIOS or wait until Ubuntu fixes the problem. That's a typical Linux forum response so I tried to boot my Debian software with the same results. Different error message, but no boot.

I may change my mind but as of right now I am going to eventually open up the laptop and put in a fresh never been used SSD. I will then do a clean install of Windows unsecured. Then I'll see if Linux will install - my guess is that it will. At that point I believe I can turn on the CSM and boot both in the secure mode. I can do exactly as you suggest and wait 15 months for the warranty to lapse. Not only does the sticker on the case say I'll void it if I break the seal but MSI explicitly states on their web site that any opening and upgrading voids their warranty. That all would be fine with me if I didn't want to have a multi-boot computer. :mrgreen:

I explained elsewhere how I feel about Grub taking over the boot process and disregarding any other OS that might have different ideas about it. The difficulty I'm running into, however, is happening before Grub has a chance to kidnap the process of booting. In the case of the laptop there is no BIOS to fine tune. It's all GPT (whatever the hell that is). That's why I'm stuck at the moment. In the past I've been able to ignore EFI because the firmware settings defaulted to a method that allows both Linux and Windows to come up normally. The new laptop, however, came with Windows already installed and the OEM decided a secure boot was what I wanted. I already blew away the "Home" edition and moved over to beta testing the Pro version as I was doing before. Thus I won't feel too bad about replacing the entire OS using a clean install. The only question is will I use the 1 TB drive already in the lappie, or will I substitute the 500 GB SSD in its place. I think I already have the answer to that, but I need to learn more about UEFI so that I can recover back to the original configuration if necessary.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 20 Apr 2019, 12:06

I'm sure you already know this, but one heck of a lot of computers, mainly laptops and even a few desktops are designed strictly for Windows PERIOD, nothing else.

Some Linux Distro's like Ubuntu and Linux Mint have come up with ways to circumvent a few of these locked out computers, but it requires dumping the OEM Windows on the computer and if you want Windows, buying a new msVersion. Even then, you still have to install Windows first in the first partition, and then install whichever Linux Distro's you want to install.

Heck, according to the repair shop down the street from us, who I don't use myself due to his attitude, he said most of today's new laptops cannot be upgraded, you are stuck with what you bought. And Windows OEM OS will check to make sure you have the motherboard serial number, size of the hard drive, and installed memory, exactly as the OEM Windows was designed for. Any change and Windows will not boot up.
I don't know if he's telling the truth or not, but it sounds about right, considering some of the computers I've messed with trying to install Linux on for friends. Running GParted to create partitions on the hard drive, will prevent Windows from booting, with an error about not OEM drive size if it even tells you at all.
This can be fixed by reinstalling Windows from a dealer install disk, which then has to be registered with MS to keep it working after a few days, or to even get it to start in the first place, hi hi.

This is why it is usually best to have a computer built up from individual components, and not buy an off-the-shelf assembled unit with Windows already on it.

While in the waiting room at my doctors office, he always has some of the medical magazines he gets laying around for folks to read. Two different articles in the same magazine showed more doctors offices are switching from Windows medical practice software to Android, because Linux makes it most scale-able among all medical devices now in use.
The biggest article that covered pages was from MD+D something, a leader in the medical equipment industry.

Remember the IBM computer named WATSON used on the TV show Jeopardy? I just learned it ran Linux!
Got that from the medical magazine too.

My wife's doctor just changed all of their computers from Windows to MAC, probably because that is what their new software required. In any case, it is a step closer to Linux.

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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 20 Apr 2019, 14:55

The Windows only computers are a hoax. But, I will be quick to admit that they do have a way to secure the booting process so that nothing but Windows can boot. This is considered to be a security measure designed to prevent malware from taking over the system; not only the OS but also the firmware (BIOS). This approach is appealing and in fact desirable to be used by the same crowd that cannot live life without antivirus software installed. To their credit, the secure boot does work a lot better than the antivirus software I've evaluated. LOL

The OEM version of Windows is like the Linux kernel in some ways. It's designed to be modified to accommodate the needs of a particular manufacturer. In some cases you are absolutely correct to say the OS has to be changed in order to gain control over the boot process. But, with any luck at all, I'm about to demonstrate how all that can be circumvented ... for a price.

My laptop from MSI had an OEM version of Windows Home pre-installed. For all intents and purpose we can say nothing but Windows will boot on this lappie, and it's probable that the OEM designed OS is locked into the hardware as well. This is very safe and secure, if not exclusive. I not only upgraded the OS from Home to Pro, but I also went to the Windows Insider Preview version of Windows. The Preview version is free, but the conversion from Home to Pro cost me the price of a new license. So, now I have a laptop without the OEM version of Windows installed, but it is STILL a secure boot. At some point in the future I will remove the hard drive and replace it with a blank one. I will do a clean not-secured install of Windows Insider Pro Preview. This will establish the condition I had with the old laptop that died. My hope is that if all this works, I will then be able to install and boot Linux as lI did with the old laptop.

Now, I happen to know Microsoft has a list of all my licenses, hardware, and serial numbers that go along with the package. Because they do have this information, they can come up with a positive ID and issue a digital product key that will activate the software. I'm going to change the hard drive, but the rest of the system should remain the same. I'm thinking that is fair game and I won't lose the license because that is exactly what I did on the old laptop. The end results will be an off the shelf laptop with an OEM OS installed that has been converted to a multi-boot Linux/Windows machine... he said while holding his breath and crossing his fingers.

There is a downside to all this even if I am successful. The laptop is designed and sold as a gaming computer. As such there is a ton of game playing software attached to the OEM version of Windows. By doing what I propose to do, it is very likely that I will lose all that specialized software functionality. No more 7.1 audio in my headset, for example. I went to the MSI website and downloaded all the updates for this special software so that in theory I can reinstall it when I do the clean install. But, honestly, I don't think I need most of it for what I'm contemplating doing. None of it will work in Linux anyway. It's simply there to make Windows a better gaming experience.

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 21 Apr 2019, 10:48

I suppose a Windows ONLY machine could be just a hoax as you said, but there are several out there of which even starting with a new hard drive, you cannot install Linux on it for some reason. Maybe something hidden on the motherboard prevents it. I'm not that machine savvy to know what they do to manufactured machines. I do know they leave parts off that are not needed for that particular build.

I have a little notebook here with about 30 Microsoft Security Labels for the various OSs I've used over the years of running Windows. I thought it best to keep them all in one place, with a note behind them as to which machine I used that serial number with. Saved my can a few times back then.

Linux gives me the freedom to do almost anything I want without cow toeing to Mickey$oft, so I'm quite happy running Linux. It does everything I need it to do, except perhaps play a Windows ONLY game, of which I can use an old Windows computer to play it on if I want. No time usually for play anymore though.

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yogi
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by yogi » 21 Apr 2019, 17:17

I can think of a scenario where Linux could be locked out. The EPROM with BIOS or EFI burned into it, could also have serial numbers of the various system components burned in. Thus, if any of the system components were changed, the EPROM would not allow anything to boot. If Windows was installed with secure UEFI, then there is a partition placed on the hard drive which contains the encryption key needed to boot Windows. This is why Linux won't boot. It doesn't have access to the Microsoft encryption key. Changing the hard drive will get around that problem, but it cannot avoid the EPROM detecting changes in hardware. If that kind of information is embedded into the same chip as the EFI, then I'm screwed. It's a Windows only machine; end of story. Well, it won't be the end actually. I will sell the laptop and pay twice the price to have one built from scratch with Linux as the installed OS. I may or may not install Windows on there depending on my frame of mind at the time.

From what I've seen so far, the serial numbers may be burned into EPROM, but it would be counter-productive to prevent booting if any hardware changed. People change memory and hard drives all the time. In the case of my MSI laptop I can also change the video card. These changes are all normal maintenance and should not prevent a box from working. Microsoft actually has a pretty good method of counteracting piracy and attacks by malicious software. It's probably not bulletproof, but it is working quite well for its intended purpose. Nobody cares if you pirate a copy of Linux. They are a dime a dozen, or less. LOL But if you are a corporation who depends on licensing of your product to be profitable, then you should do whatever it takes to protect your best interests. I am attempting to mix the two concepts in the same bowl. This did work on previous generations of computers. I'm not sure about this MSI machine.

As far as the end user (you) is concerned, all that is needed is an operating system that performs to your expectations. You found that in Linux and don't have a need to pay for something you consider inferior. So be it. You are a rare bird, indeed. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: The Ultimate Qwerky Keyboard

Post by Kellemora » 22 Apr 2019, 11:49

I can't be too rare Yogi, more devices use the Linux Kernel than any other method.
The only true foothold ms still has is in the desktop and laptop market, and although most businesses still use Windows on the floor, their machines are powered and controlled by a Linux based server system or mainframe.

Take a look at the number of Windows users who have switched to using Linux Programs the Linux community ported over for Windows users to enjoy.
In most of the writing communities I belong to, they are using OpenOfficeWriter or LibreOfficeWriter for writing, using GIMP or other graphics programs to create covers and graphic art, and Colibri to convert print books to e-Book or Mobi formats.
The entire world runs on Linux, and only the desktop/laptop market is holding on to Windows.
Most cell phone and Schmartz-Fone users are using devices that run on the Linux Kernel.
So they are quickly becoming more and more familiar with Linux based equipment.

Heck, even ms uses Linux themselves for one heck of a lot of things. Including programming Windows, hi hi.

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