The BigDog

[If you don’t know who or what these* are, check our Glossary page.]

BigDog* was a gift to RoboFrog from HIS* brother. The RoboBrother (RB)  likes buying expensive toys that he perceives to be best-in-class, in this case, laptop computers. That’s how RB came to own BigDog. RoboFrog got a call one evening.

“Can you run Linux on a Hewlett Packard laptop?”

“Hey, Bud,” says RoboFrog. “Sure. Why do you ask?”

“I have a new laptop. I can’t get it to do what I want and I’m sick of Windows. I want to try something else.”

“Windows should work just fine for you. What’s the problem?” say RoboFrog gently.

“I don’t want to talk about it. I’m out of patience with this thing. I just want something different.”

The RoboBrother gets in these moods sometimes and we’ve found through painful experience that it’s usually best to just go with the flow.

“Well, sure. It shouldn’t be difficult to load Linux. Understand that once we do that, everything you have on the machine will be gone. By gone I mean really gone. We can’t get it back. You should back up anything that you want to keep.”

“That’s no problem. There’s nothing on here that I want.”

TheFrog walked RB through downloading Linux Mint and burning a DVD. Then HE found out that RB had purchased a new hard drive for the machine. The drive that came with it was 250 GB and RB had purchased a 500 GB drive. Why did he need that much hard drive space for a laptop? RoboFrog was afraid to ask.

“Why don’t we just load Linux onto the new drive? That way you won’t lose anything and you can come back to Windows if this doesn’t work.”

“That’s great,” say RB. “How do I do that?”

“Should be easy. Look for panels around the edge of the machine or screw-down panels on the back. Open the panels until you find a drive that looks like the new one. Then just put the new drive into the machine the same way as the old one.”

Actually, it was easy. There are two drive bays on the bottom of the HP Pavilion dv-9000. They’re held in place by one screw each. The drive just pushes into the connector. Pretty simple stuff. After the new drive was in place RoboFrog walked RB through the Linux Mint installation. Everything went as expected. Finally, the reboot.

For reasons unknown, RoboBrother couldn’t get the system to boot Linux Mint. After a lot of tinkering, TheFrog suggested that he replace the original drive to at least restore RB’s Windows system. Then the big surprise. The Windows system wouldn’t boot either. And…that’s how RoboFrog got a new computer.

“I’m done with the thing!” railed RoboBrother. “It’s yours. I’m sending it to you.”

To which TheFrog said, “Okay.” (Yeah, I know. HE can be really profound sometimes.)

It took about two weeks for RoboBrother to get the HP Pavilion to HIM*. HE opened the box and out came an almost new, 17″ laptop, a hard drive, and a docking station. Now to find out what went wrong. That was where things got really bizarre.

RoboFrog plugged in the power supply and pressed the power switch. Sure enough, the machine wouldn’t boot. HE examined the extra hard drive. It was the 250 GB drive. That was the one that was supposed to be in the machine. So what happened to the 500 GB drive, the one RoboBrother had installed Linux Mint onto? HE turned the laptop over and opened both drive bays. There in bay 2 was the 500 GB drive. That was one obvious reason that it wouldn’t boot. TheFrog removed the 500 GB drive from bay 2 and installed it in bay 1, pressed the power switch…and up came a beautiful Linux Mint system!

Now, we’re running Xubuntu 12.04 on BigDog. We’ve had no problem with the machine whatsoever. With respect to RoboBrother, we only have questions. Why didn’t Linux Mint boot after the installation? It booted just fine for us. Why was the 500 GB drive in the machine instead of the 250 GB drive? And, how in the world did RB get a drive installed into bay 2?

The story has a happy ending. RoboBrother now has an Apple iPad and he’s as happy as a pig in slop. We have a new machine that working terrifically, and best of all, it was free…as in beer. What’s not to like?

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