Advantages and Disadvantages of Linux and How to Deal with HP Laptop Battery Problems

Q: Although I’ve spent my entire career in technology, I’ve always been a slow follower (meaning stingy, privacy freak, and cynical) in my personal tech habits. Every time I get a new computer, I get it on a cheaper model that is being phased out. I bought my first Mac laptop in January 2007, then replaced it with a late 2010 MacBook Air in 2014. I only use my computer to access the internet, browse photos (before storing them offline ) and some light work on spreadsheets or words. processing (no music, movies, calendars or games).

My Late 2010 MacBook Air is reaching its endgame if I stick to Mac OS. I can’t update my Mac OS because of vintage hardware. I’m picky about online security but, needless to say, I’m afraid I won’t be able to receive security updates due to my old operating system and browsers.

Recently, I went to a local PC store (yes, we still have one of those family businesses here!), and the guy running it pulled out a 2013 MacBook Air that he converted to Linux. I was intrigued and did some cursory research online, and it looks like I could use Ubuntu Linux and breathe a little more life into my MacBook Air.

Data migration would not be a problem; I recently moved everything offline in 2021 when I had to upgrade my Mac OS (so I only have a few incremental files to migrate). I don’t know what I would have to do with my Word and Excel files in a Linux environment, but I’m sure there are solutions. I am ignorant of Linux security.

Could you tell me the pros and cons of switching to Linux and keeping my 2010 MacBook Air?

Mike Joines, Anacortes

A: Yes, you can run Ubuntu Linux on MacBooks, but that will require installing virtual machine software. Fortunately, there is UTM, a free and open-source package that will do the job.

Ubuntu is also free and open source. And from what I can tell, it’s at least as secure as Apple’s operating systems.

Finally, you can work with these Word and Excel files in LibreOffice on Ubuntu.

That said, I’m hesitant to recommend switching from a familiar operating system to a new one, especially if you’re a slow adopter. Learning the ins and outs of a new operating system, as well as the different versions of programs you’re used to working with, can be difficult. And while there is an active community of Ubuntu users that you can ask for help, you probably won’t find many neighbors, co-workers, or family members who can advise you if you run into a problem. problem.

For my part, yes, out of curiosity I installed Ubuntu on one of my computers some time ago. And I was impressed with his abilities.

But if you don’t have that curiosity, I would suggest doing one of two things. My first recommendation is to upgrade to a newer MacBook that continues to receive security updates. Second, if that’s not an option, you can continue to use your old MacBook, but I urge you to be very careful when clicking on links and visiting websites that may not be trustworthy. And, of course, regularly back up any data you care about in case you get hit by malware.

Q: I have an HP laptop that I purchased from HP through their website. My problem is that I suddenly get an error message saying the battery is counterfeit. I bought direct so that shouldn’t be the case. Is there a way to stop this warning without going to a computer store?

Karen Schlemmer

A: This is a known issue that HP acknowledges, and they have provided instructions that should remove this error message. Essentially, you have to uninstall and then reinstall the drivers that manage the battery. Detailed instructions can be found here:

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