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Install Linux on Netbook using SD card

By JesseM
Sep 3, 2014
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  1. I have an older netbook with Win7 and it's painfully slow. I'd like to completely wipe the HDD and start fresh. It doesn't have an optical drive and I don't have access to a thumb drive, but it does have a built-in SD card reader and I have a 32GB SD card handy.

    I'm curious about installing Linux on the netbook so I can actually surf the web at a decent pace. I have very little experience with Linux and am having trouble finding out how to make a bootable SD card, or if that's even possible.

    Anyone have any Linux for netbooks advice or knowledge on installing an OS from an SD card? Thanks!

    EDIT: I just found this guide online, but I'm not sure my netbook will allow to be booted from the built-in SD card slot.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  2. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,540   +242

    If you haven't already done so increasing the ram to 2Gb is useful. Unfortunately, netbooks only have a single slot for ram. Also, most apart from some Samsungs, have to be taken apart because they lack an access panel on the bottom. I installed Windows 8 on mine from a usb stick so you should be able to install Linux. A great opportunity was wasted with netbooks largely down to Microsoft calling the shots on the hardware specs and the lack of oomph with the atom processors. They shot themselves in the foot.
  3. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,540   +242

  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +53

    There is a useful program that helps with installing Linux distros (from iso files) onto USB sticks, I've used it and found a 4GB stick was enough.
    You will need to download;
    Then for the LInux O.S you will need to get an .iso file of it, either download from each distro's site, or are 'given' away on Linux coverdiscs, such as 'Linux User'.
    I don't see any reason why it should not install to SD card, the issue you might have is to get your pc to boot from the SD slot, have check on the boot order in the BIOS, could be possible. Otherwise it's USB flash stick, which works well.
    If you want to wipe your current OS and go with Linux, then a 'Live' Linux distro is better because you can run it off the disc, when you get to the desktop, there will be an icon to install the OS from there.
    Your netbook pc won't have a CD/DVD drive but if you have or can borrow a DVD drive with USB connector, that would be an option, or install a 'live' distro to USB stick and install it from there. I would think that not all LInux distros will run on a netbook, but many of the 'slimmer' ones will.
    e.g. Lubuntu, Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux, but you might try 'Mint' as I have it running on a 2GHZ AMD / 2MB RAM old tech system where it's fine.
    You could also read; http://www.tuxradar.com/content/whats-best-lightweight-linux-distro
    There is also good info on this Techspot site, worthwhile reading.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2014

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