Gray Matter


Linux Computers - Desktops and Laptops With Linux Already Installed

RT Cunningham | July 17, 2020 (UTC) | Computers, Linux

Linux ComputersBelieve it or not, you can buy desktop and laptop computers with Linux already installed. You won’t see them in regular retail stores like Walmart, however, because Linux still isn’t considered a mainstream operating system.

A guy named Olivier Cleynen maintains a website called Linux Preloaded. He seems to keep it up-to-date, but I’ve only communicated with him once and that was in 2016.

Linux Computer Suppliers

Arguably, System76 is one of the most well-known suppliers of Linux computers. Like the other suppliers on the list, their products are too expensive for what I would use them for. I don’t create graphic images and I don’t play games. I don’t need the horsepower most of them provide. My laptop computer is lame in comparison. It would be nice to have more RAM, but I’m not going to quibble about it.

I can watch movies with VLC and I can listen to music with Rhythmbox. I use Geany as my text editor and Brave Browser as my web browser every day and that’s pretty much everything. I occasionally watch Netflix, Amazon Videos or Disney+ on it, but I prefer using my phone in a somewhat supine position on my bed. I will probably never use the power the higher end computers provide.

Your situation may be different, and it probably is. If you’re tired of fouled up Windows updates or Windows crashing on you more frequently than it should, moving to a good Linux machine is a great idea. Major updates on Windows can take longer than they should with multiple reboots. Major updates on Linux never take more than one reboot.

Building Your Own

You can install Linux on almost any Windows computer you can buy in a retail store. The computers with Windows 8 and later on them store the Windows product key in the UEFI firmware or BIOS. Using your product key, you can reinstall Windows if Linux just won’t work on it. If you do, you’ll probably end up with less bloatware than it came with.

From Windows, you can run this command from the Windows PowerShell command line to get your product key:

(Get-WmiObject -query 'select * from SoftwareLicensingService').OA3xOriginalProductKey

From Linux, you can run this command from the terminal command line to get your product key:

sudo cat /sys/firmware/acpi/tables/MSDM | tail -c 32 | xargs -0 echo

You can get the latest Windows ISO here: Download Windows 10 Disc Image

As far as Linux distributions go, I shouldn’t recommend anything specific but I will. If you want to get up and running with Linux quickly, you can’t go wrong with the desktop version of Ubuntu. It’s based on Debian. I use Linux Mint myself, which is based on Debian and Ubuntu.

I have two HP laptop computers. One, sitting at my house in the Philippines, only has Linux Mint on it. The one I’m using today dual boots Windows and Linux Mint. I had a much older HP laptop computer before either one of them and it had Ubuntu running on it before it died its slow death. My daughter-in-law is dual booting Windows and Linux Mint on a four-year old Sony Vaio laptop computer.

I have yet to come across any modern Windows computer (made after 2012) that can’t run Linux.

Image Attribution: Clker-Free-Vector-Images at Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in February 2020.

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