Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Tech Talk
Reload this Page >

Converting an HTPC from Win XP to Linux

Tech Talk Discuss PC Hardware, Software, Internet and Other Technology

Converting an HTPC from Win XP to Linux

Old 11-02-08, 10:09 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 8,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Converting an HTPC from Win XP to Linux

So I have an old emachines computer that I use as an HTPC. It's a pretty lowend machine running XP. The problem is it constantly crashes.. during startup, when i pause a movie, just randomly... I've tried formatting and reloading windows xp plenty of times, but the same problem occurs...

Now, I'm thinking about switching to Linux or some other OS. Heard good things about Ubuntu. I have 3 concerns/goals


1) I need the comp to do 2 things.. play movies and have some sort remote computing like VNC
2) is using/installing ubuntu easy? I want it to be a fully graphic OS.
3)Drivers.. Are drivers for ubuntu going to be a problem? Some of the hardware I have is a little old (old ATI cards, no name sound card, etc)
Old 11-02-08, 11:31 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Houston, Tx
Posts: 3,318
Received 90 Likes on 64 Posts
Originally Posted by j123vt_99 View Post
So I have an old emachines computer that I use as an HTPC. It's a pretty lowend machine running XP. The problem is it constantly crashes.. during startup, when i pause a movie, just randomly... I've tried formatting and reloading windows xp plenty of times, but the same problem occurs...

Now, I'm thinking about switching to Linux or some other OS. Heard good things about Ubuntu. I have 3 concerns/goals


1) I need the comp to do 2 things.. play movies and have some sort remote computing like VNC
2) is using/installing ubuntu easy? I want it to be a fully graphic OS.
3)Drivers.. Are drivers for ubuntu going to be a problem? Some of the hardware I have is a little old (old ATI cards, no name sound card, etc)

Maybe the problem is the older components in your PC rather than the OS. What exactly are you doing with this system? What are the specs of your ATI card? What exatly, is your non name audio card? Oh, and lastly, how is it hooked up to your TV and at what resolution?
Old 11-02-08, 11:39 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 8,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by SmackDaddy View Post
Maybe the problem is the older components in your PC rather than the OS. What exactly are you doing with this system? What are the specs of your ATI card? What exatly, is your non name audio card? Oh, and lastly, how is it hooked up to your TV and at what resolution?
Purely using it for to watch avi's. that's it

The graphics card is a Radeon 9200 LE. the sound card is an Envy 24. and i have just an a/v cable out to my tv
Old 11-02-08, 11:42 AM
  #4  
lxl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 813
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Before you install ubuntu to your harddisk, boot ubuntu liveCD and check if it recognizes your sound card, video card, etc.

btw, nomachine's NX is much much better than VNC
Old 11-02-08, 11:47 AM
  #5  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 8,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
thanks guys.. is ubuntu the way to go or should i look at a different flavor of linux?
Old 11-02-08, 05:21 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Houston, Tx
Posts: 3,318
Received 90 Likes on 64 Posts
Just out of curiosity, do you have all the proper codecs for playing back all your avi's?

There's an all in one codec pack you can download (along with Media Player Classic) that might solve your lock ups, at least as far as video playback is concerned.
Old 11-02-08, 07:10 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 19,201
Received 385 Likes on 283 Posts
Originally Posted by j123vt_99 View Post
So I have an old emachines computer that I use as an HTPC. It's a pretty lowend machine running XP. The problem is it constantly crashes.. during startup, when i pause a movie, just randomly... I've tried formatting and reloading windows xp plenty of times, but the same problem occurs...
If a clean install of Windows XP (I'm assuming at least SP2) is crashing, it's possible you have a hardware issue. You should run some hardware diagnostics to makes sure you don't have a bad hard drive, memory, etc..

You may want to download and burn a copy of the Ultimate Boot CD for diagnostics:
http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/

Originally Posted by j123vt_99 View Post
1) I need the comp to do 2 things.. play movies and have some sort remote computing like VNC
2) is using/installing ubuntu easy? I want it to be a fully graphic OS.
Ubuntu is a linux distro with a graphical interface aimed at the casual user, so is pretty user-friendly for newbies. It also has a built in VNC server called Vino. There are countless other distributions you could try, but Ubuntu is pretty popular, so it'll be easier to find support for it than some other flavors. One possible alternative is Linux Mint, which is based off Ubuntu and is thus largely compatible with it, but is a bit more user-friendly and has some proprietary codecs/software included.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/VNC
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_Mint

Originally Posted by j123vt_99 View Post
3)Drivers.. Are drivers for ubuntu going to be a problem? Some of the hardware I have is a little old (old ATI cards, no name sound card, etc)
Originally Posted by j123vt_99 View Post
The graphics card is a Radeon 9200 LE. the sound card is an Envy 24. and i have just an a/v cable out to my tv
Installing hardware in Linux is just like doing it in Windows: it's easy as long as you have the right drivers. If you don't, it can be a headache.

There's a script for Ubuntu and Linux Mint that can install the right ATI driver for you:
http://albertomilone.com/nvidia_scripts1.html

As for the audio card, that may be trickier if it's not autodetected.
Old 11-02-08, 10:28 PM
  #8  
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Just to reinforce what others have said, burn a copy of the latest Ubuntu install DVD and boot your machine with it. It will run the OS off the CD at first, giving you the chance to see if all your hardware is supported before you actually install it. If your soundcard is supported, go ahead and give 'er. If not, you might want to try to find a way to make it work before going any further. Audio is one of the weaker points of Linux. If it doesn't work out of the box it can be a pain to make it work.
Old 11-03-08, 03:01 AM
  #9  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
UAIOE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: LV-426
Posts: 6,598
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
You might also try a Live CD of PCLinuxOS.
Old 11-03-08, 07:16 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 8,756
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
installed ubuntu. looks like i was having a problem with my old HD, so I used another one. Got most of it working. Still a problem with the sound card and now my video card only displays in low graphics mode

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.