Seeking Guidance: Installing Linux on SSD and Optimizing for a 4GB Laptop

Greetings Everyone,

After an extended hiatus, I am returning to this forum and rediscovering my affinity for Linux. Despite a prolonged stint with Windows 10, I find myself yearning for the familiar experience offered by Zorin and Linux in general. My Windows experience has been less than satisfactory, leading me to rue my decision to switch. However, certain factors have impeded my return to Linux, one of which I wish to address today.

I am encountering difficulties installing Linux on my SSD. Despite multiple attempts, I have been unsuccessful in installing Linux on the SSD, consistently encountering errors and issues. This persistent problem has compelled me to revert to Windows. I would greatly appreciate assistance in successfully installing Linux on my SSD.

Furthermore, I seek guidance on effectively managing an SSD on Linux and determining the optimal partitioning scheme for a 4GB laptop with a 240GB SSD. While I have not encountered any issues installing Linux on an HDD, the current challenges with the SSD perplex me.

Thank you in advance for any assistance or insights you can provide.

Welcome back!

The first and perhaps most important question would be if you want to install Linux only, or have the option to dual-boot so that you can jump between Windows and Linux when you turn on the computer.

It would be helpful to know what have you tried thus far, and what issues have you encountered exactly. Also, were you able to install Windows on that same SSD?

The problem with SSDs is that firmware updates can only be done through Windows. So I would split the drive down the middle. Having said that Windows can create several partitions. I moved the SSD in the Notebook to my Eldests which has Windows 11 on it now as their Windows 8.1 Pro came to EOL in January this year, will have to check. To limit Windows exploitation of the whole drive I would create a partition with NTFS on the first half of the drive using GParted that comes with Zorin. Back in a bit.

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I am inclined towards installing Linux exclusively; the prospect of dual-booting with Windows isn't something I wish to entertain based on my past experiences. In my earnest pursuit, I've experimented with various Distros including Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Manjaro, Zorin, Ubuntu, EndeavourOS, and Linux Mint. Regrettably, I've encountered a recurring challenge—my attempts to install packages or update repositories consistently result in errors. Subsequently, the Distros undergo significant deterioration, rendering them entirely inoperable. This deterioration extends to the loss of basic functionalities like Copy/Pasting in extreme cases, raising considerable concerns.

On a contrasting note, Windows 10 has seamlessly operated on the same SSD for the past six months without a hitch. I haven't encountered any issues thus far, solidifying my confidence in its stability and reliability.

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Without more information about those issues you mention, my first thought goes to containerized package formats such as Flatpak are involved. These package formats are designed to limit the amount of reach an application has with the underlying operating system, and it's possible that some expected actions were not available because of that.
Another option is that you were running on Wayland, another technology that emphasizes security by creating a separation of concerns between windows.

Like I said, just a very wild guess that may not have anything do with anything. But needless to say, if you do run into any issues we're here to help.

Is there any reason you want to move away from that? Not that I want to steer anyone away from at least trying Linux, but a system that works reliably should be among the top reasons to use it.
Maybe is worth considering using a separate or spare machine if you have one available, and run Linux from there for a while as you test the waters.

But if you decide to move forward with this decision I would just jump right in, I'm sure you are already familiar with the process of creating a bootable drive and installing Linux?

If it's a relatively modern computer you shouldn't need to do anything special, just follow the instructions and accept whatever defaults are selected. However, I've had also some bad luck with older hardware and had to try different distributions although this is mostly me not knowing exactly how to handle those scenarios. Debian in particular has never given me any trouble, but it lacks on certain aspects regarding user friendliness.

With all that said, the first steps should always to create backup copies of whatever important data you want to keep. Other than that, you can always revert back to Windows (assuming you have the necessary ISO, or whatever Windows uses), or even to another distribution altogether.


Is the SSD eMMC or NVMe?

Are you using AHCI or RAID?

Hi Aravisian, I think you meant SATA not eMMC! NVMe I would not touch. I know the cascade issue with Samsung devices has been resolved (NVMe) but once scared, twice shy! In regards to the OP I would split the drive in two, creating an NTFS partition in the first half using GParted with nothing after it so that if firmware updates to the SSD are needed, windows is there purely for that. I would then use GParted to format the second half to Ext4 and point the Zorin installer to that. I wouldn't bother partitioning Zorin due to size of drive, just make regular backups of home folders to external drive.

I meant eMMC as it is an SSD that can be problematic with GnuLinux installs.

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Not heard of eMMC hard drives!

The SSD in question is a SATA SSD. Regarding the AHCI or RAID configuration, to the best of my knowledge, I believe I am currently using AHCI. If there is a specific method to verify this configuration, I would appreciate guidance on how to do so.

It will be in your BIOS settings of your motherboard. Reaching the settings is manufacturer specific, so you may need to look up some information on the web.

Set up Ventoy and put both Win10 PE and Zorin OS (16 and 17b) .ISO files on it.

When you need to do any firmware updates, just boot Win10 PE, do the firmware updates, then reboot back into Zorin. I've done it for my UEFI firmware and the touchpad firmware.


Hiren's Boot CD! :grin:

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I'd be more interested in the overall hardware, along the lines of the Motherboard model, the type of RAM, and the SSD details. [Yes, we have some details, and it is a laptop, but I'm talking generics.]

The reason I'm bringing up the RAM, is I have seen peculiar things happen with RAM which passes testing (Teamgroup, I'm looking at you), but hit system stability by switching to a different brand. This was on a Proxmox system, and ZFS didn't like what it was seeing, hitting Kernel panics on heavy writes in the ZFS driver.

So, if we can get an idea of what is interacting here, it might allow us to suggest some areas to test a little. Keep in mind, the oddities you are getting with your data traffic stands out to me, suggesting there is something fundamentally wrong with a component.

Since it's SATA that you're upgrading - how old is the machine; do happen to know if it has a UEFI/EFI boot setup? That has proved to be problematic with newer UEFI/EFI boot disks - they will boot, but not after installing.

I always see using Rufus to write an MBR startup disk but, never works for me. When I need a legacy installer I make the USB with Unetbootin, use auto-install option and everything works.

A short synopsis on your machine would maybe point some things out though.

The laptop in question was acquired in 2014 and is equipped with a UEFI/EFI setup. It specifically belongs to the HP brand and is powered by an Intel Pentium N3540 processor, accompanied by 4GB of RAM. If additional details about the system are required for a more comprehensive analysis, please feel free to inquire.

Awesome - that should be fine.

I have something close to that, an N4020 with 4GB RAM - couldn't really hang with Core, but running Mint MATE right now. Probably going to try Zorin 17 Lite sometime later. It did run Core but, not too well. Would definitely say Lite would be a winner with that seutp :+1:

I had no issues in running ZorinOS or any other Linux distro on live boot. I have no issues in installing Linux or whatsoever on my laptop, and it does get successfully installed with no problems whatsoever, and I'm talking generally, not just for ZorinOS.

I have installed many Linux Distros on my laptop over time and faced some issues which, because of sincere efforts of the Linux Community, were resolved. I had an HDD back then, and I used to use Xubuntu as it was lightweight and worked really well.

But then, still, I thought upgrading to an SSD is better as package upgrades and launching apps were kind of slow. So, I installed the SSD for which the link has been provided in the first post.

After I installed SSD, I installed Xubuntu as the SSD had nothing because it was brand new, so the setup and installation went smoothly. I installed Xubuntu on the whole drive with default setup and SWAP storage set by the Installer itself—I changed nothing. Installation went smoothly, and the OS was successfully installed on my brand new SSD.

But when I ran sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade, I started facing problems like repository failed or unsuccessful—I don't remember the exact message, but it was something like that. I thought it might be a server issue, so I opened my Software Center and tried changing from Main Server to Local and vice-versa multiple times but to no avail.

So I decided to install Linux Mint, and again the installation went fine, no problems again. I just left all the default settings, changing nothing, and I also tested it on Live Boot—it was running fine. I was able to run sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade, and everything was running exactly as intended.

But as soon as I installed it on my local machine, it started throwing errors and a bunch of other things. I was not able to use some system apps as well, and it was a broken distro, which I never faced when I installed on HDD.

Then I tried many different distros facing the exact same problem, keeping everything on default settings. I followed some videos from YouTube and followed their Partition Guides like making Root Partition, Home Partition, SWAP Partition, and other things but still, it always broke!

Then I finally stopped because installing Distros again and again costed me repeated cycles, which could lower my SSD lifespan, and I settled down for Windows 10, which by far has not given me any problems. But the only issue with Windows 10 is that it's too slow because of all those processes running in the background.

At the time of boot, Windows 10 eats up 2GB of RAM. When I start browsing stuff, it eats another 1GB, and I couldn't even watch YouTube at 1080p smoothly on my same laptop where I could watch videos at 2K with no problem on Linux.

That's why I want to come back to Linux and experience that snappy performance which I used to get. And since my Laptop is not powerful enough to run Windows 11 in 2025, my Laptop will hit EOL, and I couldn't afford to keep an OS with no security patches.

I can see why you are stumped. This is an unusual problem. A SATA SSD is generally plug n' play and there is not a lot that can go wrong with it as the drivers are quite simple. Barring manufacturer defects or drive damage, of course.

In your BIOS / EFI Settings, I would recommend ensuring that you are on AHCI and that you do not have RST with RAID enabled.
You might relay the Make and Model of the SSD. We live in an age of replicants, after-all...


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