Mint 19.2 and “finding “ my computer

Granny Sue

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OK, since I have installed Mint on my Compaq, I have found that it appears that I have 350 gigs on my hard drive. Which is unbelievably large. My question is, if I have such a big hard drive I wonder why there is not an Internet connection on there somewhere. But I’ve looked around and played with it and I haven’t figured out how to find the stuff I have on my computer through Linux. Can somebody help me?

A little further explanation: someone gave me this PC because because they were going to throw it away. When I opened it up, I could see it had Microsoft vista on it but on top of that was another program that appeared to be something this person used at his work. Now I know that all of this has been deleted and erased since I installed Linux but I can’t believe there isn’t some kind of Internet connection hardware on the computer.
 


atanere

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I'm curious why you posted this in "Other distributions" instead of the Mint Forum? No big deal though.

So, a "network connection" is not a file or folder on your hard drive by itself, but you do need some files (software) to make it work. It is said that in Linux, "everything is a file"... but I'm not going to go there for now! :D

A network connection is provided primarily by hardware... a "network adapter." The network adapter can be wired (ethernet) or wireless (internal WiFi "modem", or external dongle). Software is needed to make the hardware work though.

I told you... Granny the Geek!... we're gonna teach you some Linux commands! :eek:o_O:D

We'll start slow... this stuff is easy, but it's very helpful. Open a terminal and enter this below:
Code:
lspci | grep Ethernet
If you know the old Windows trick to highlight text, use CTRL-C to copy the text and CTRL-V to paste the text, that works most of the time in Linux too. But in the terminal, you need to CTRL-SHIFT-V to paste it on the command line. Practice that now.... you will use it a lot. Copy the text above, and paste it into your terminal. Let us know the result. (You will learn more details later, like what "lspci" means, what the "|" character is doing... and what the heck is "grep?")
 

Granny Sue

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I'm curious why you posted this in "Other distributions" instead of the Mint Forum? No big deal though.

So, a "network connection" is not a file or folder on your hard drive by itself, but you do need some files (software) to make it work. It is said that in Linux, "everything is a file"... but I'm not going to go there for now! :D

A network connection is provided primarily by hardware... a "network adapter." The network adapter can be wired (ethernet) or wireless (internal WiFi "modem", or external dongle). Software is needed to make the hardware work though.

I told you... Granny the Geek!... we're gonna teach you some Linux commands! :eek:o_O:D

We'll start slow... this stuff is easy, but it's very helpful. Open a terminal and enter this below:
Code:
lspci | grep Ethernet
If you know the old Windows trick to highlight text, use CTRL-C to copy the text and CTRL-V to paste the text, that works most of the time in Linux too. But in the terminal, you need to CTRL-SHIFT-V to paste it on the command line. Practice that now.... you will use it a lot. Copy the text above, and paste it into your terminal. Let us know the result. (You will learn more details later, like what "lspci" means, what the "|" character is doing... and what the heck is "grep?")
( for some reason my eyes could not see the mint forum) OK here is what I got
“0| :00.0 Ethernet controller: Real tek Semiconductor Co, Ltd RTL81 0xE PC| Express Fast Ethernet controller (rev 1)”

I couldn’t do a copy paste because I’m working from my cell phone onto my Compaq.
 

Granny Sue

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Can I do other things with this computer, while I have a terminal window open? I thought I would try adding some pictures.
 

atanere

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Ouch, I forgot you're working from phone.... sorry about that! I had a whole string of more commands to unleash on you, but I'll try to contain myself. :D

But in case you didn't understand the output you just gave us, it shows you do in fact have an internal Ethernet network adapter. It says, "Fast Ethernet"... so I think that is 100 Mbps, and not the faster Gigabit Ethernet that is common these days. Of course, that's an older computer, so that's expected. Linux sees this device, and it will almost certainly work when you connect a cable to it, and to a network, like your router.

If you want to do one more (don't have to)... the same command, but use Wireless instead of Ethernet.
Code:
lspci | grep Wireless
If you have in internal WiFi adapter, it will respond similar to above. If not, it will just return you to the command prompt with no output. I know you don't think there is any wireless, and I don't doubt you. It's all just a lesson in learning how to identify your network devices in Linux. When you get a dongle, it will plug into the USB port, and we'll need a different command to check that.

No need to memorize these things, or take notes even. You'll learn as you go, and as you repeat things that are needed more often.
 

atanere

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Can I do other things with this computer, while I have a terminal window open? I thought I would try adding some pictures.
Don't need the terminal for photos, although you can copy them, etc. Pop in your CD and see if they are visible in your File Manager now? They didn't show up when you were running the live USB. If you can see them, you can "click and drag" individual photos, or folder full of pics, to your hard drive. In your Home folder, there is a folder called, My Pictures, or something like that.... much like Windows. Its a good place to store your photos.

Or double-click on a photo, and it should open in a viewer.
 

Granny Sue

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OK. So I’ll go ahead and try the wireless command and I’m getting excited about learning how to use all these command lines.
 

Granny Sue

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OK. So I’ll go ahead and try the wireless command and I’m getting excited about learning how to use all these command lines.
No luck on the wireless. I guess I’ll wait till payday. And I’ll keep playing with my little routers that I have and see if I can make one of them work
 

atanere

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No luck on the wireless. I guess I’ll wait till payday. And I’ll keep playing with my little routers that I have and see if I can make one of them work
Don't let them frustrate you too much though. It would be great if they do work, but it's hard to say. I saw a few reviews from people who had them, and they weren't too encouraging. :(
 

Granny Sue

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Thanks for that. I’m not gonna get too worried over it but I thought I might as well play with it since I don’t have anything else to use.
 

atanere

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Check your photos and let us know how they go. Or if you want more commands, I'll get my book out. No, just kidding! There are a number of useful ones I can come up with off the top of my head though, if you want to experiment more with that.
 

Granny Sue

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Well I finally figured out what I was doing with the photos and it’s pretty cool. Lots of things to do and edit and all that stuff. I’ll be happy to take those command lines but I’m not gonna be using them tonight I’m quite sure so if you want to wait until I’m more with it that would be OK too. My company should be here any minute so I’m kind of just messing around till they get here.
 

atanere

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No rush on my part. Your opening paragraph said you have a 350 GB hard drive. Let's check:
Code:
df -h
The only one to really look at is /dev/sda1 probably.... but find the one that matches your drive size. Yes?

It will show full drive Size, Used amount, Available amount, % used.... very quick and handy.

Take off whenever you need to.... have fun!
 

wizardfromoz

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Just touching base here, and welcome Granny :)

If you get a chance swing over to Member Introductions

https://www.linux.org/forums/member-introductions.141/

and tell us a little of the Granny Sue story and meet a few of The Gang.

Avagudweegend, all, and enjoy your Linux

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

atanere

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It is good to get the fear of the command line behind you. Commands are fun, easy, and VERY powerful, but you will only need them once in awhile. And we will guide you as needed because their output helps us to troubleshoot problems.

Back on-topic, I hope… finding your way around your Linux system. Most everything you will need to do (run programs) will be done from the Menu button. In the Mint MATE menu, you may see only “Favorites” on the right, and some system apps on the left. But look in the right corner and click on “All applications.” Then you will see the categories open up, Accessories, Graphics, Internet, Office, and so on. You may have found this already. If you install new software (something to discuss later) you may find new categories, like Education or Games. Like Windows, there is a lot of stuff included that you will likely not need or use.

We don’t know your computer abilities, so forgive me if I seem condescending sometimes. I don’t mean to, but I think it comes across that way sometimes. Linux has a lot of its own “lingo” that you will not be familiar with, and a lot of things will probably need to be explained, maybe in some detail.

So… file systems, and storage structure. You are likely familiar with the Windows way of identifying drives: hard drives, CD-ROM drives, USB flash drives, etc. You learn that C: is your primary partition on your hard drive, and it is where Windows resides (in C:\Windows). The hard drive could be split into multiple partitions that would be C:, D:, E:, etc, but it usually isn’t split. If you have a second hard drive, it would usually be D: instead. Other things are added after the hard drives, so your CD-ROM might be D:, or E:, and when you plug in a USB drive it is automatically assigned a letter, like E: or F:, etc.

C:\Windows is a “path” or “location.” But Linux does not use C: and D: identifiers, and it does not use the backslash (\) character to indicate the path. This stuff might be over the top a bit, so I won’t go deep into it, but I hope that a summary will be helpful. Linux identifies drives as “sda” and “sdb” and “sdc.” If there is a number shown, it is a partition on the drive (hard drive or USB). So “sda1” is the first partition on the first drive “sda,” and “sdb2” is the second partition on the second drive “sdb,” and “sdc3” would be the third partition on the third drive "sdc." Easy, right? Any of these might be a hard drive, a USB drive, or a flash memory card (like for a camera). But a CD-ROM is identified differently.

Well, you will almost always see the drives prefaced with “dev” (device). It looks like, “/dev/sda1” and that is probably what you see above if you ran the command to see how big your hard drive is. Linux uses forward slashes (/) instead of backslashes (\). In Linux, backslashes have other purposes that aren’t important right now.

The “root” of your Linux file system is just a simple slash (/). It is kind of like C: in Windows, but not exactly. “Root” also describes the Super User (in Windows, the Administrator), but we’ll talk about that later too. There may be files stored under /, but it’s mostly folders. As you navigate with your File Manager (hint: “go up” from your home folder), you will find folders like, /bin, /boot, /dev, /home, and many others. /dev is where information about the drives is stored. /boot has the files needed to boot your computer (don’t play around in here). /home is where your own personal user files are stored, in /home/your-username, and this is like “My Documents” in Windows. So the best place to store your photos is in /home/your-username/Pictures, and documents in /home/your-username/Documents. Linux is case-sensitive too, so your Documents folder is not the same as folder named "documents."

When you open a terminal, your are automatically placed in your home folder. Your terminal prompt will look something like "[email protected]:~$". Remember I suggested a short computer name, and this is one of the reasons why. The $ character indicates you are just a regular user right now. If you become "root" that will change to a # character. Again, more about that later.

Okay, time to get ready for breakfast with friends this morning. Just thought I’d type out this bit to get back on-topic and give you something to think about besides those little repeaters!

Cheers
 
Last edited:

atanere

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Here's another "wall of text" for you! :D

More about root, this time the root user. One of the things that makes Linux so much more secure than Windows is that you are not normally using your system with root (Administrator) privileges. Windows encourages people to create and use a regular user account, but few people do, and it opens the system up to many problems, including viruses and malware. Linux basically forces you to be a regular user most of the time, although there are some exceptions and some ways around the restrictions.

You will soon learn about "su" and "sudo." These are used in the terminal. "su" takes on a couple of meanings, "switch user" or "super user" (root). "sudo" (usually pronounced soo-doo" is used to preface a command and it executes that command with root privilege, just that one time, or for a short period of time. You'll have to enter your password to use sudo. "sudo" is saying, "Super User, do this command for me." You won't usually "su" (switch user) because you are likely the only user on your computer, but Linux is a multi-user system if you want to share it. If you do have multiple users, you can "become any user" on the system with the password. This is very helpful for troubleshooting sometimes.

So, sometimes you give a command in the terminal, and it will respond, "Permission denied." This indicates you need root privileges, so you'll need to re-enter the command again but put "sudo" in at the beginning (without quotes). A shortcut to re-enter the command when this happens is to use "sudo !!"

If you have a lot of work to do that will require root privileges, you can "become root" with the command, "sudo su" and give your password. This is when the final character of your terminal prompt will change from a $ to a # character. You only want to work this way as long as needed, then type exit to leave the root shell. "Shell" and "terminal" and "command line" are all basically the same thing... the method by which you can interact with direct commands to your Linux system. Oh, some Linux distros are slightly different, so that "su" by itself might let you become root, instead of "sudo su" but I think Mint needs "sudo su"

As you learn to surf around the web and find Linux solutions on your own, you will encounter many examples of terminal commands that you can copy/paste to do things. If these examples begin with the # character, they are telling you that you need to become root, or use sudo, to run the commands they are providing. They may or may not explicitly say this, but the # character represents that.

You only want to use root privileges when needed, not as a habit. You must provide your password to update software or install new software. Sometimes you will need your password to open restricted files or copy files to/from restricted locations. Any screen that pops up and requests your password, you should be expecting it... but still read it and know what is happening. If in doubt, cancel the action to evaluate who/what wants your password. This simple thing is greatly what keeps Linux users from allowing malware to install itself in their systems. I know many Windows users who have been infected with malware even though they were running some kind of software to protect them, so I have little regard for programs like that. Your best protection is your firewall, and to be attentive to what you are doing and where you are surfing.

Okay, bored yet?
 
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Nik-Ken-Bah

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@Granny Sue You'll get the hang of it no worries. And as @atanere said once you get over your initial jitters of using the command line they do sort of become fun depending on your temperament.
Had to do something today with my realtek Internet adapter and used the command line without really thinking about it. Had a job to do and did it some of it I remembered and some of it I used something I filed away to assist me like I did when I had to fix my set of wheels. I also learnt another command as well.
 

Granny Sue

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No rush on my part. Your opening paragraph said you have a 350 GB hard drive. Let's check:
Code:
df -h
The only one to really look at is /dev/sda1 probably.... but find the one that matches your drive size. Yes?

It will show full drive Size, Used amount, Available amount, % used.... very quick and handy.

Take off whenever you need to.... have fun!
Well, as in here, it seems like I do have a very large hard drive. Here’s another screenshot
 

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Granny Sue

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@Granny Sue You'll get the hang of it no worries. And as @atanere said once you get over your initial jitters of using the command line they do sort of become fun depending on your temperament.
Had to do something today with my realtek Internet adapter and used the command line without really thinking about it. Had a job to do and did it some of it I remembered and some of it I used something I filed away to assist me like I did when I had to fix my set of wheels. I also learnt another command as well.
Thanks, Nik-Ken-Bah
 

atanere

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Well, as in here, it seems like I do have a very large hard drive. Here’s another screenshot
And only 5% used.... so you can store a lot of photos, or install a lot of programs, or both. :D

If you want to see how your RAM memory is doing, you can try this:
Code:
free -h
 


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