Author Topic: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users  (Read 11062 times)

Offline agmg

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Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« on: October 19, 2012, 03:03:10 AM »
There is an ongoing discussion here with some suggestions of writing a series of articles for the PCLinuxOS Magazine that would help new users migrating from Windows to find their way in PCLinuxOS. I find it a wonderful idea and I would be more than glad to participate and help in everyway I can.

Migrating from Windows is not easy. Windows has come to be the default operating system for the majority of desktop and laptop computers so leaving it for something completely different is an experience that each one of us handles differently. Fear of the unknown, lack of knowledge and resources, force of habit, suspicion are only some of the reasons that could turn a potential GNU/Linux user back to Windows. Hopefully, this series of articles, when completed, will provide a little more help to new users and convince them of the advantages of GNU/Linux. Of course the purpose is not to force someone to quit Windows. There are users who are decided to stay with it, no matter what. The purpose is to help users who have decided to take the step forward to overcome the obstacles of migration and enjoy a worry-free experience.
 
I have made a list of articles that I believe a new user would find useful. Of course this list is only basic and suggestions/corrections/additions are welcome and mandatory.

Project “Migrating from Windows to PCLinuxOS”
A guide for new users.


Article 1. Getting started

Downloading from Windows
(PCLinuxOS site, mirrors, torrents)
Creating liveCD or USB
(Free image burning software and liveUSB creators for Windows)
Live session
(What is a Live session, advantages and disadvantages)
Partitioning (Windows)
(Tools and tips for creating partitions and preparing installation of PCLinuxOS)
Partitioning with PCLinuxOS
(Creating partitions during setup, diskdrake, GParted, KDE Partition Manager)
Installation
(Single and dual boot scenarios)


Article 2. Welcome to PCLinuxOS

A small introduction to Linux
(Philoshophy, differences from Windows, community)
A small introduction to PCLinuxOS
(History, features, rolling release, forum, magazine)
Software management
(Repositories, Synaptic, updates)
Essential configuration
(Network connections, graphics cards, sound)
PCLinuxOS Control Center
(Presentation and explanation of each section)


Article 3. Find the software you need

Programs available
(or) Alternatives to Windows programs


Article 4. Desktop Environments & Window Managers

What is a DE (main DE)
Available DEs (LXDE, Xfce etc)
Multiple DEs on the same machine
What is a Window Manager
Available Window Managers


Article 5. The Terminal

Introduction
The power of terminal
Basic operations
Most common commands


Article 6. Useful Stuff (or most common issues)

Live-usb-creator

Removable drives and automount
Dual-Monitor Setup
SAMBA sharing
SSH sharing




I'm calling all forum members and Linux users, especially the new ones, to have a look at this list and provide valuable feedback.
Share your experiences as new Linux users and help accomplish this project.
What complicated you most and made you consider going back?
What have you found invaluable and convinced you to stay?

This could be turned into something great but I need all the help I can get. Anyone willing to follow?
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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 03:50:34 AM »
Excellent idea agmg - it could prove invaluable to new users coming over from Windows, and to some degree, could be useful for people from Apple's OS and even other Linux distributions (why aren't distributions called distri's   ;D  ;D  ;D )

As it's mandatory  ;D  ;D  ;D one item which may be useful is to cover the KDE System Settings in the Introduction to KDE section, especially as it now has many settings which were once only obtained from the PCC module

Introduction to KDE (main DE)
General usage tips
KDE Programs
Alternative DE’s (LXDE, Xfce etc)
Multiple DE’s on the same machine.

These articles would cover an x number of magazine releases, so another suggestion would be that a short time after the "final" magazine covering the migration articles is released that all of those articles are "extracted" and put into just one magazine which could then be placed on the PCLinuxOS home page?
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Offline Legs11

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2012, 04:36:51 AM »
A great project idea!

A few comments, if I may .....

1.    Don't assume that all 'converts' to PCLOS are clueless in the matter of PCs.
It is one thing to supply information from the basics up, but please ensure there is sufficient information provided for those who might be termed 'advanced users' of their previous OS. Likely those users would not need 'hand-holding', but more a resource where they can find info on 'how to do XYZ in Linux'.


2.  Although I use KDE for the most part, I personally dislike references to 'alternate' DEs. It implies (at least to me) that the other DEs are somehow 'less' than KDE. Yes I know this is a small thing, but it is all about impressions conveyed by the wording.

3.  As most Windows installs are capable these days of burning an ISO to optical media, and you will be providing names of free applications if the function is absent, it should also be pointed out that a LiveUSB can be created from such a Live optical media without the need for another application.

4.  Under the partitioning section I would like to see mention of Gparted and KDE Partition Manager as well as diskdrake available under PCC. Gparted is likely to be more 'familiar' to those from the MS side who might have previously use other partitioning tools.

5.  The section on running 'Live' might need to explain the difference between booting Windows from a USB drive and booting PCLOS from a USB drive ......  one is only an install media while the other is a full running OS which can ALSO be installed. This is something which a lot of people find difficult to grasp when they first meet with the idea.

6.  Again for the more advanced user of a previous OS, I would suggest a section on utilities which gives them power .....  this could include small utilities and basic konsole commands to gather information about their PC and also to make changes.
Such might include details on MBR, partition table, command line utilities such as fdisk, sfdisk ..... dd command and others.

My personal recollections include the fact that I was limited in a lot of ways in what I could do in Windows .......  BUT .....  the biggest limitation was in the lack of information about whay might be possible. Even though I knew I wanted to achieve something I did not have the info, nor could I find a means to do those things.
After moving to Linux, I was still lost with a lot of it, because I did not have the correct terminology to ask a meaningful question.
So, for me at least, what would have been useful, was a list of things that *could* be done, under separate headings, and done easily with the tools provided in the OS.
For instance I had no concept of how easy to install or versatile the Grub boot manager was.
...  and that is just a very small part of PCLOS.

So an awareness of the possibilities is probably more important than anything else.
If that can be got across to the readers then they will have received information to allow them to search further for info on what interests them.

I understand what I have posted above is most likely not under consideration for the project, but I ask that you consider new users who know nothing of Linux terminology or commands or capabilities, but if they had the information, would be quite capable of digging in and learning quite quickly.
Providing 'teasers' for those new users should be sufficient to point them in the right direction.

I wish you the very best with this project.
It will not be an easy task.

regards.
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Offline agmg

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2012, 05:25:13 AM »
Thank you for your suggestions Just17, your input is always appreciated (by me, at least) :)

A great project idea!

A few comments, if I may .....

1.    Don't assume that all 'converts' to PCLOS are clueless in the matter of PCs.
It is one thing to supply information from the basics up, but please ensure there is sufficient information provided for those who might be termed 'advanced users' of their previous OS. Likely those users would not need 'hand-holding', but more a resource where they can find info on 'how to do XYZ in Linux'.

I'm not making this assumption. I was considered to be an advanced Windows user but when I had my first encounter with Linux, I was lost.
This series of articles will be targeting to users that are new to Linux, whether they are novice or advanced PC users.
I agree that advanced PC users may know i.e. how to manage partitions but there are many more that don't.
I hope these articles can cover both.

Quote
2.  Although I use KDE for the most part, I personally dislike references to 'alternate' DEs. It implies (at least to me) that the other DEs are somehow 'less' than KDE. Yes I know this is a small thing, but it is all about impressions conveyed by the wording.

How would you suggest mentioning all available DEs? I don't like the term "alternative" either, but, as English is not my native language, I'm sometimes lost for words...

Quote
3.  As most Windows installs are capable these days of burning an ISO to optical media, and you will be providing names of free applications if the function is absent, it should also be pointed out that a LiveUSB can be created from such a Live optical media without the need for another application.

Some Windows users aren't even aware of that function (burning an iso to cd/dvd) so I guess I should mention that.
And the second part of your comment too... :)

Quote
4.  Under the partitioning section I would like to see mention of Gparted and KDE Partition Manager as well as diskdrake available under PCC. Gparted is likely to be more 'familiar' to those from the MS side who might have previously use other partitioning tools.

GParted or KDE Partition Manager would have to be installed as extra in Live Session... But I think that would cover more options...

Quote
5.  The section on running 'Live' might need to explain the difference between booting Windows from a USB drive and booting PCLOS from a USB drive ......  one is only an install media while the other is a full running OS which can ALSO be installed. This is something which a lot of people find difficult to grasp when they first meet with the idea.

That one goes to "Advantages" sub-section :)

Quote
6.  Again for the more advanced user of a previous OS, I would suggest a section on utilities which gives them power .....  this could include small utilities and basic konsole commands to gather information about their PC and also to make changes.
Such might include details on MBR, partition table, command line utilities such as fdisk, sfdisk ..... dd command and others.

I think this will be covered (at least partially) in the section about PCLinuxOS Control Center, KDE System Settings (as menotu proposed) and in a separate article about the use of the Terminal.

Quote
My personal recollections include the fact that I was limited in a lot of ways in what I could do in Windows .......  BUT .....  the biggest limitation was in the lack of information about whay might be possible. Even though I knew I wanted to achieve something I did not have the info, nor could I find a means to do those things.
After moving to Linux, I was still lost with a lot of it, because I did not have the correct terminology to ask a meaningful question.
So, for me at least, what would have been useful, was a list of things that *could* be done, under separate headings, and done easily with the tools provided in the OS.
For instance I had no concept of how easy to install or versatile the Grub boot manager was.
...  and that is just a very small part of PCLOS.

So an awareness of the possibilities is probably more important than anything else.
If that can be got across to the readers then they will have received information to allow them to search further for info on what interests them.

I understand what I have posted above is most likely not under consideration for the project, but I ask that you consider new users who know nothing of Linux terminology or commands or capabilities, but if they had the information, would be quite capable of digging in and learning quite quickly.
Providing 'teasers' for those new users should be sufficient to point them in the right direction.

I wish you the very best with this project.
It will not be an easy task.

regards.

Once again I want to thank you for your valuable input.

Of course you understand that this series of articles will cover only a small part of the Linux wonder (we would need a whole site otherwise).
It will be more like a stepping stone than a swiss-army knife.

And I know that it is a difficult task, that's why I will appreciate all the help I can receive.
Thank you for kind words also... :)
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Offline parnote

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2012, 05:31:39 AM »
There is an ongoing discussion here with some suggestions of writing a series of articles for the PCLinuxOS Magazine that would help new users migrating from Windows to find their way in PCLinuxOS. I find it a wonderful idea and I would be more than glad to participate and help in everyway I can.

Migrating from Windows is not easy. Windows has come to be the default operating system for the majority of desktop and laptop computers so leaving it for something completely different is an experience that each one of us handles differently. Fear of the unknown, lack of knowledge and resources, force of habit, suspicion are only some of the reasons that could turn a potential GNU/Linux user back to Windows. Hopefully, this series of articles, when completed, will provide a little more help to new users and convince them of the advantages of GNU/Linux. Of course the purpose is not to force someone to quit Windows. There are users who are decided to stay with it, no matter what. The purpose is to help users who have decided to take the step forward to overcome the obstacles of migration and enjoy a worry-free experience.
 
I have made a list of articles that I believe a new user would find useful. Of course this list is only basic and suggestions/corrections/additions are welcome and mandatory.

Project “Migrating from Windows to PCLinuxOS”
A guide for new users.


Article 1. Getting started

Downloading from Windows
(PCLinuxOS site, mirrors, torrents)
Creating liveCD or USB
(Free image burning software and liveUSB creators for Windows)
Live session
(What is a Live session, advantages and disadvantages)
Partitioning (Windows)
(Tools and tips for creating partitions and preparing installation of PCLinuxOS)
Partitioning with PCLinuxOS
(Usage of diskdrake for creating partitions during setup)
Installation
(Single and dual boot scenarios)


Article 2. Welcome to PCLinuxOS

A small introduction to Linux
(Philoshophy, differences from Windows, community)
A small introduction to PCLinuxOS
(History, features, rolling release, forum, magazine)
Software management
(Repositories, Synaptic, updates)
Essential configuration
(Network connections, graphics cards, sound)
PCLinuxOS Control Center
(Presentation and explanation of each section)


Article 3. Find the software you need

Programs available
(or) Alternatives to Windows programs


Article 4. The Desktop Environment (KDE)

Introduction to KDE (main DE)
General usage tips
KDE Programs
Alternative DE’s (LXDE, Xfce etc)
Multiple DE’s on the same machine.


Article 5. The Terminal

Introduction
The power of terminal
Basic operations
Most common commands


Article 6. Useful Stuff (or most common issues)

Live-usb-creator

Removable drives and automount
Dual-Monitor Setup
SAMBA sharing
SSH sharing




I'm calling all forum members and Linux users, especially the new ones, to have a look at this list and provide valuable feedback.
Share your experiences as new Linux users and help accomplish this project.
What complicated you most and made you consider going back?
What have you found invaluable and convinced you to stay?

This could be turned into something great but I need all the help I can get. Anyone willing to follow?

Thanks for starting this separate topic, agmg. I'm sure it will help users follow along more easily. It also looks like you have a good start on an article list.

I do agree with Just17 about the use of the term "alternate desktops." I also don't want the articles to be KDE specific. We can cover the common ground between ALL the desktops (KDE, LXDE, Xfce, e17, etc.). For example, a panel is a panel is a panel, regardless of which DE is used. Do some of them have some differences (different appearances, different features)? Sure. We can then have separate articles that detail specific features that new users will find in each desktop environment. In this way, users who choose LXDE, for example, to install on older hardware aren't left out. Also, some specifics of some of the desktops have been covered previously. Those articles are already collected in "special editions" that the magazine has previously published. Users can be referred to those special editions for information more specific to those particular DE's.

I think during this endeavor, it will be important to keep in mind the scope and target audience. This guide will be mainly aimed at new users migrating from Windows to PCLinuxOS. More "advanced" Windows users will generally be more "computer savvy" and will be more able to seek out the necessary information on more advanced Linux topics. At some point, we have to draw a line as to how far we want/need to go on coverage of those advanced topics, and to keep the articles germane to the average Windows user seeking refuge with PCLinuxOS.

I'm liking this discussion. There are a LOT of really good ideas bouncing around. I'm eager to see how this project turns out.

Paul Arnote [parnote]
PCLinuxOS Magazine Chief Editor
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Offline Legs11

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2012, 05:38:38 AM »
Maybe an explanation of Desktop Environments ....  after all Win users know only of the one they have available .....  and a list of the more popular DEs such as  Gnome, KDE, LXDE, & Xfce.

Maybe also a short note on Window Managers and how they differ from DEs and also a short list of those .....  Openbox, Flux, RazorQT and a few more that are in the repository.

Approaching it like this might avoid the use of 'alternate' DEs.

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Offline agmg

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2012, 06:21:40 AM »
I think you both have a point.

My initial thought about a separate article for KDE was based to the fact that KDE is considered as the main DE for PCLinuxOS.
But now I realize how unfair that would be to the other DEs...

So, I'm changing Article 4 accordingly...

And in my rush, I forgot to say THANK YOU to menotu for his input :) :P
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Offline agmg

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2012, 06:46:25 AM »
Also I would like to make clear that this idea came up from this post by a new forum member, NiklasAX.
I'm quoting his message below:

As a new user to linux and PCLinuxOS I'd suggest something like a newbie edition for people wanting to migrate from windows. I have tested a bunch of different distros the last couple of weeks and, I hope, finally found what I was looking for in PCLOS. But, it would make things a lot easier if there were somewhere you could go to find more basic guides that fit your specific needs. This might fit more in a specific forum topic or site section. I'm involved in running a small browserbased game and know how important it is with easy accessible help. I know this isn't an commercial site, but I bet a collection of more newbie friendly articles would be very helpfull.

I have a few idéas myself and most of that is already available around the site in already published articles or in forum posts. Some things that I as a experienced windows user that uses his PC mostly for music, watching movies and series, chatting and surfing would appreciate myself would for instance be.

1. Setting up a working sound environment with HDMI. Let's face it, HDMI is coming more and more and in general it's a pest to get working in linux. That alone was one of two things that made me keep looking for other distros after having tried most of the popular ones. The other things was the difficulties to get my monitor and TV set up correctly, side by side and not over and under which for some reason was the only way that would be accepted by other distros, no matter what drivers I used. That and getting the primary display setting to actually stick after a reboot or shutdown.

This took care of my sound problems: http://pclosmag.com/html/Issues/201209/page08.html

This fixed the primary display  issue: http://divby0.blogspot.se/2011/11/howto-make-kde-remember-dual-monitor.html

The "extended desktop" problem was actually fixed by ATI CC in PCLOS, no idea what's done different here compared to for example another distro. It's probably set up better since it's included in the distro from start.

Some other things I've had problems with is finding players for my music and movies/series. Audacious seems to be the best for handling large collections of music, 1300 hours of music mostly in high quality flac files, other players would simply crash trying to add all the files to the library. VLC for some reason have a sync problem between picture and sound, so I'm using XBMC even though I have to run it in window mode because of problems getting it to recognizing my monitor setup.

Having PCLOS auto mount hard drives is also something I think most people "need", I think I found a topic in the forum that helped in that regard.

Setting up xchat is also something that's been a challenge, much less so though than some of the other stuff. It's mostly been about having it auto authing on startup/connection.

Even if my problems are related to very specific areas some of them are things that I think new users "expect" to, if not as easy as in windows, at least having easy accessible guides to be able to set it up properly. The most computer savvy individualls are the younger generation, and even if many of them are proned to playing games, many also have HTPC's and use PC's as a media center and could as easily, with some help, use PCLOS for that. And with steam going for the linux market I'm guessing more people might want to give linux a try in regards to playing games as well.

I know there are guides or HOWTO's for most things but it takes a lot of time to actually find any usefull information if all you want is to set up your PC to work more or less like windows. Linux is on one hand extremely customizable, much more so than windows, but sometimes there is such a thing as "too much options".

And this leads me to something that I've found very usefull in windows to make reinstalling the OS simpler and that's knowing where files are stored. In windows it's usually in program files/program files (x86) and appdata which makes it very easy to save any setups you have for your programs. I saw someone mentioning something similar earlier in this topic. Knowing which files to save would also be usefull so you simply could install the programs you usually use and then just replace the necessary files with your old saved ones to get your specific settings back even on a newly installed system.

I've already tried this and it didn't really work.

http://pclosmag.com/html/Issues/201209/page09.html

And that doesn't really save specific setting anyway I guess?

Granted, I only tried it to revert changes made to the same system, not on a completely new system.

Time to stop ranting now I think.  :P

I was preparing a list of alternative programs as a suggestion for the PCLinuxOS magazine when I read it.
So, I thought, why not make it bigger and better? I myself was a new Linux user not so long ago and I would like to have a similar guide back then :)
Of course, I don't claim to be THE Linux expert but I have come to learn a lot in the last 3 years that I'm using it. And most of them inside this forum.

I'm not certain if I will manage to accomplish this project but I don't like giving up.
I have spent hours trying to find out why Google Earth was not displaying correctly with Greek locale in my system even though I rarely use it :P
I just wanted to make it work.
And I will try the same thing for this project: make it work.

@NiklasAX: if you are reading this, step in, I could use your help :)
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Offline dcwbis

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2012, 09:25:13 AM »
I think that this is an absolutely fabulous idea.  I am anxious to begin reading the articles when they are published.  I have been using pclos for about 10 months now, and a couple of other distros for a bit, before settling here.  It would have been really helpful to have a complete resource like this available when I was doing my initial learning and when I had to do some troubleshooting.

I have been able to get most of my issues resolved (90% + of the time) by searching this forum or doing internet searches.  A central resource like this may have saved me hours in getting my problems resolved.

I know enough now to know how little I actually know.  This resource looks like it will be an excellent guide for me to gain more knowledge about linux in general and more advanced features in pclos.
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Offline smileeb

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2012, 10:22:22 AM »
Would adding a few commands in the terminal maybe helpful.
Like XFdrake and steps
like alsaconf for sound
just an idea 
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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2012, 06:22:36 PM »
agmg

Some of the information that you are seeking can already be found in the http://pclinuxoshelp.com Knowledge Base
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Offline Meemaw

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2012, 07:13:42 PM »
agmg:

Awesome start! Many people have already commented with their thoughts... I would like to say that we also did a series on PCC in the magazine not long ago, so that may also help you along. It may have to be updated a bit....

Maybe a thorough explanation about how to use the live session to test your hardware?

I'm looking forward to seeing all the valuable input for this project!!!

 ;D
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Offline gseaman

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2012, 08:10:34 PM »
agmg

Some of the information that you are seeking can already be found in the http://pclinuxoshelp.com Knowledge Base

The Knowledge Base is looking very good. I think that information from the knowledge base should be including in these articles, and information that is not already there should be added when this is finished.

Galen
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Offline agmg

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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2012, 02:18:56 AM »
Thank you all for your suggestions and feedback.

PCLinuxOS Knowledge Base is already in my bookmarks and will provide valuable help in this project. Also, some older articles published in PCLinuxOS Magazine will be used too, especially on aspects that I have no personal experience (like setting up SAMBA).

Keep posting your ideas and suggestions, I have already started working on the first article...
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Re: Project: Migrating from Windows - A guide for new users
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2012, 04:53:36 PM »

I was preparing a list of alternative programs as a suggestion for the PCLinuxOS magazine when I read it.


Every program that comes with Windows I use a Linux program,
which is why I keep using Linux.   Otherwise I wouldn't.

Ask away if need be.

regards,


FF
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