Windows, BIOS, and UEFI — Adios!

I had some trouble with the laptop (an HP x360 13-A113CL) upgrading to Ubuntu 17.04. But something I did along the way gave the Windows an opening to screw me up, and it did. (I have Windows waiting to screw things up, like a Virus you have to pay for and then validate with a license key, sitting there in a dual-boot configuration (unseen and unused since sometime last September). The simplest way to straighten things out was to reinstall Linux. But things keep changing in the hardware-meant-to-run Windows world, so…

The laptop was only half the problem. I was doing some other work on a completely different PC and and wanted watch YouTube videos and look at manuals on the computer next to me. But it was a Windows PC (a Lenovo H535), and it had a weird audio problem where two drivers were contesting over who was in charge of sound output, so I could only get sound with the first video. After fighting that for half an hour, I said, okay, then, time to give this machine a real operating system.

So: here are some notes.

First, the way you get to the “BIOS” options is probably F1. Probably. (HP, Lenovo)

But it’s not BIOS, it’s UEFI and no matter what you do, you’ll wish they’d never come up with Secure Boot, especially if you want Linux.

So you’ll probably want to use Ubuntu Boot Repair.

I wouldn’t take it gift-wrapped

Office 2016 for Mac now available as stand-alone software. I’ve been exposed to Office 2013/Windows, and to get anything done, I have to use Office 2011 on my Mac.

I wouldn’t even install Office 2016 on my Mac for $100 even if it left the old version intact. More likely, though, it clobbers the previous version. In that case, I’d only do it for the cost of a new computer—so I could throw out the old computer with Office 2016 on it.

Windows PC Start-up List

Download a copy of PC-Decrapifier (or Decrap) and Should I Remove It. (You’ll need to get other things from Ninite (below) but start by getting Revo Uninstaller in case you’re having trouble decrapifying something.)

Product Key Finder by Magical Jellybean.

From Ninite.com create installers for:

  • Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. You can’t have too many alternatives to Exploder.
  • Dropbox and Google Drive.
  • Notepad++, Python, WinSCP, Putty, and WinMerge
  • LibreOffice

vim and gow (Gnu on Windows) and maybe Cygwin.

Ruby Windows Installer.

pdftk

Telegram Desktop

MarkdownPad (or pay $15 and get Pro)

Be not slow to consult Alternative To.

And when you’re ready, make a backup image using Clonezilla. Or at least a system restore point.

Tech Tab Sweep

It’s time to upgrade your Ubuntu machines.

8 things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04. One of the items is to add a tweak tool, which reminded me of Unsettings.

I’m working on a similar list for Windows, except (a) nobody gets to install Windows, you have to buy a PC with it preinstalled, and (b) there are about 300 things you have to do next.

Speaking of Ubuntu…. I barely know what a .deb is, so this article was complete gibberish to me, with all this talk about Snaps and Snappy for future releases of Ubuntu.

Bjarne Stroustrup outlines changes in store for C++ in v17. I can barely remember how awesome I used to think C++ was back in 1986. And compared to C, I guess is was, then. Today—forget about it. Just give me a scripting language.

Finally: During the 1990’s I used to be a DIY system builder, but the past decade or two I’ve been too busy and too impoverished. And there’s a lot to be said for buying something small. Still, I might get around to building something again someday. This sounds like fun:

Ninite.com

I love ninite.com for helping windows users get their computers sorted. I recommend it a lot and I wanted a screenshot I could point people to, so this is it.

Ninite

Command Line Interfaces of the Future

This cracks me up: the Windows 8 server is going to nudge, and eventually force, administrators to give up their point-and-click interfaces in favor of something a little more up-to-date.

(I could have told you they’d eventually wind up here, after struggling for years with COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE, only to see them finally produce a halfway decent shell—long after I’d moved on.)

(Via RedmondMag via someone I’ve forgotten (sorry).)