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Computer without operating system

  1. May 20, 2007 #1


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    Already tried an internet search; apparantly some mention of Dell selling computers without operating systems in case a customer wants a computer this way. Any other sources of buying computers without operating systems so that someone could install whatever operating system which he desires. Seemingly to have to buy a computer with pre-installed system and then to uninstall it in order to install a different system seems like a waste.

    One reason for getting a computer without an operating system might be so to install Windows XP instead of just accepting Vista; another reason would be for trying some form of Linux or other.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2007 #2

    Dr Transport

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    The Dell auction site sells used computers without an operating system, these computers are used and refurbished but can be a decent machine.
  4. May 21, 2007 #3
    Theres plenty of used computers out there that you could do this with. This is probably a dumb suggestion, but farely large hard drives aren't very expensive now. You could just throw a new one in. When I wiped the various hdds on my computers, I ran the program overnight so it wasnt a huge hassle. Just a thought.
  5. May 27, 2007 #4
    The only setback with having an OS preinstalled is any extra cost. In many cases, there may not be an extra cost involved at all. Ordering in a special "empty" machine could in fact be more difficult. If you want to go ahead and put a new OS on it, then you wipe the old one. I don't see the problem.
  6. May 28, 2007 #5
    an another reason for buying a pc without an os is so you dont have to pay for the os :D
  7. May 29, 2007 #6
    Not really... I bought a used IBM, an older one, for 40$ and it has Windows Professional on it.
  8. May 29, 2007 #7
    The problem is that he may not be as computer savvy. Chances are Symbolipoint doesn't want to take a chance ruining a computer, although wiping isnt the hardest thing to do. But in any event, if he doesn't feel comfortable wiping the hdd, there no point it trying it if you aren't confident.
  9. Jun 3, 2007 #8
    Honestly, if his goal is to get a different operating system on his computer then there really isn't a way to actually ruin the computer. The only way that I can think of this happening is to try a low level format and this option is certainly not offered in the installers for your common operating systems. Windows <= 95 and modern Linux distro's will easily handle the actually repartitioning and formatting with little to no user input.
  10. Jun 3, 2007 #9
    In my past few experiences with Linux it has taken 3 installs before it is fully functional and working correctly. Also I had weird problems with the auto partition built into the OS.
  11. Jun 3, 2007 #10
    Well, unless you're multi booting, then you can easily delete all of the partitions and tell it to use the unallocated space.
  12. Jun 4, 2007 #11

    Chris Hillman

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    Mention live CD option

    For most Windows users, an easier mode of experimenting with linux would probably be to obtain a live CD so that one can run linux without installing anything on the hard drive. I've never used Windows (and am perenially amazed that such a product became so widely used), so I am not in a position to judge how easy the average Windows user would find this, but I frequently use live CDs and live memory sticks. They are ideal for certain maintainance and security tasks.

    You can't really "ruin a computer" repartitioning drives, but you can render it temporarily unusable. In that case, repairing a partition table is one of the tasks a live CD distro like Knoppix is ideally suited for. Another is securely deleting all files and installing a fresh OS before donating and old computer to charity. And ditto Erudite, except that I'd use Knoppix to securely delete all files before the final step.

    See Kyle Rankin, Knoppix Hacks, O'Reilly, 2005.
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2007
  13. Jun 4, 2007 #12


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    Chris, are you a Mac guy?
  14. Jun 4, 2007 #13

    Chris Hillman

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    Just curious

    I've installed many a linux system and I've never had any problems (so far). Maybe that's because I've generally used fairly modern computers and generally avoided doing anything fancy in the initial installation. Which linux distro did you use? Were you installing from a live CD? If not, you should really try that sometime--- everyone I know has been very impressed the first time they see a live CD!
  15. Jun 4, 2007 #14

    Chris Hillman

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    God wears a tux

    I heart icon the penguin :smile:
  16. Jun 5, 2007 #15


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    What am I missing? I have been doing this for something like 15yrs. You buy a case, a motherboard, a cpu, memory, video card, mouse, keyboard and a hard drive. but it all together. It is called build your own and is the ONLY reasonable way to buy a computer. Stay as far away from Dell, Gateway, HP/Compaq as you can. You do need to do a bit of research to get a compatiable motherboard/cpu/memory combination.
  17. Jun 5, 2007 #16
    Yes, all of the computers were new. I used Ubuntu CD's and Fedora CD's right from the distro website. I've used both types. I also had problems trying to install with the disc after the third try. It was as if the disc became useless to the point of being a frisbee. There weren't any scratches on the disc considering I just left the disc in the CD/DVD drive. Maybe I just have bad luck.:cry:
  18. Jun 5, 2007 #17


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    Not bad luck. You just need to:
    a) Check the md5 check sums for each ISO.
    b) Use fdisk/cfdisk to make your partitions. Ubuntu for example has a horrible partitioner.
    c) Or mayby you need to use something other than the default kernel or modules to support your "newer" hardware.
  19. Jun 5, 2007 #18
    Thanks ranger! I never thought about that. I also learned that Ubuntu has a horrible partitioner the hard way. :cry: When referring to "newer" hardware, what is the time frame to relate to "newer"?

  20. Jun 5, 2007 #19


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    I can't give a range exactly. But I mean configurations like SATA and SATA based RAID. I've seen a bunch of problems with installing on SATA hard disks because there weren't any modules (drivers are referred to as modules in the Unix/Linux world) for the particular SATA controller.
  21. Jun 5, 2007 #20
    I was running it on a laptop when I tried. It may be helpful to note that it was IDE based. That may have been a bottleneck for the system. If so, ill just set up a dual boot on my new computer (new as in bought all the parts off newegg last month) and see how that goes. The trial I had that lasted was awesome with Linux, I just had major problems with it a few days after the install.
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