Need help to determine which Linux version is best for a new computer I got

I recently purchased a computer that is 4 years old.

It is a Dell with Core 15 Optoplex 3240 AIO Series all in one.

I bought from a software engineer that buys up office computers in bulk and resells them.

He added an SSD and loaded Linux on for me.

But shortly it stopped working and now I can’t even get into the OS.

It might have to do with what kind of device drivers I have and maybe they are not compatible???

I want to start over and buy a USB with a distro on it and start that way.

Can someone direct me to what I should do and what distro would work best with my drivers.

In fact I am willing to pay for a USB with a distro on from this group as well.


Do you know which distro it had pre-installed?

Linux Mint I have found to have very broad hardware compatibility and it’s one of the best distros, overall, for new users and power users.

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Ubuntu loaded in Oct 2019.

Is it better to download from a USB or the internet?

Where you recommend to buy a USB with the distro that is reliable?

I am looking on ebay right now and can buy one for around $6 and up

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I use a 8GB USB drive for installing anything. I always prepare that drive with the image of the distro I just want to install. I guess a 4GB would do also, but don’t have such. I have few pieces of 2GB in size, MX Linux, or a netinst fits on that, but a normal Linux Mint or Ubuntu image is larger than that. So I warmly recommend to get a 8GB USB drive.
I don’t think you have to worry about which is good, if it works, it will do the job. What I have, is a Kingston G4.
But chances are your problem is not just to get a reliable USB drive to put an installer onto it.

If that computer worked before, but does not work now, I don’t think the problem is incompatible device driver. So can you remember what happened before that? Did you do an update, or similar? Installed something?
If that just happened from one day to the other, without messing with the grub, updating the kernel, I’d suspect a hardware problem. Once upon a time, my system SSD died, it reported itself as satafirm s11 or similar, and didn’t work at all - all of a sudden. I had to RMA that SSD.

What if you press right shift while booting, do you get a GRUB screen with boot options?

If not, can you check in the BIOS if the SSD is present, and named as an SSD? I mean not something like satafirm?

You can’t boot from the Internet. You need a drive to boot from, and if you already have it, most probably the live image (installer) will fit onto it. You can download Ubuntu image from:
Or Linux Mint:
Here you need to choose with which DE you want it (Cinnamon, XFCE,MATE) and then choose a mirror to download from.

After you have the .iso downloaded, you need to put that onto the USB. If you are currently on Linux, I recommend Balena Etcher to do this.

If you can use only your neighbours Windows machine for example, I’d try LiLi

or Rufus


What do you mean by that? Do you want to install from that usb or work from it?

Nevertheless I think it would be better to first determine the actual problem why your notebook stopped working.
It’s true, what @kovacslt stated, due to its nature, a ssd can die just the next minute without “announcement” (keeping health informations with tools or BIOS aside).

Need more details on it. When you power on the system, what do you see? Is there any error?

If you are not getting a post screen at power up then something is very wrong with that PC.

Listen to the advice from Abishek and the rest–something is wrong with your hardware. The main suspect for me is the SSD. If it isn’t properly listed in the BIOS, nothing will work. Go to the library and download Linux, creating a bootable USB if you don’t have an optical drive. Seek the counsel of a local independent computer repair shop; a good one will fix all that ails the machine. Never pay for anything Linux. It’s all free.

Thanks everyone for all the responses. I got busy with other things and have been using my laptop but want to find the solution to this.

I called the guy I bought the computer from and he is a software engineer. He indicated the SSD drive is brand new and said it should be good. He seems to think downloading a fresh distro should work and just watch what happens when updates are downloaded and see if it reoccurs.

I did do some updates shortly before I started having problems. I googled some info and something new I learned is Linux distros with device drivers which are free and open source might not be compatible with drivers that are proprietary or closed. This info was specific to wireless adapters. My wireless did not work from the beginning of using the computer. I had to use a Ethernet connection which worked great.

My machine could not find a wireless adapter if I remember correctly. I was OK with this as I prefer to use Ethernet. If I travel I just take my laptop and use that with wireless. This is my stay at home computer.

So I took a picture of what happens when I turn it on.

After the Dell Logo the 1st screen is the Purple screen with the Advanced options for Ubuntu, memory test at the top. At the bottom is the “Use the up & down arrows to …” etc.

I didn’t choose any options at this point and the next the screen that appears shows the picture I uploaded. It stays on for about a minute then the it shuts off

This should reveal some issues.

On ebay I found “Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” 16GB USB Format” for $7.95. But I am confused by all the options out there like what is the difference between Tricia & Cinnamon etc. I mean I get that they are just variations of Mint but what would be the best bet for my computer? I even found one on ebay that says Tricia Cinnamon??? I need a copy of it on a USB anyways.

All advice would be appreciated.

I am also attached pictures of the spec of my computer if that helps.

Just to clear up some info on Linux Mint which is built on Ubuntu, but is not Ubuntu.
The current release of Linux Mint is 19.3 which is called Tricia. 19.2 is Tina, 19.1 is Tessa, and 19.0 is called Tara.
Linux Mint comes in 3 different desktop environments (DE) both in 32 and 64 bit mode.
The 3 different DE are Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce.
The most popular Linux Mint and easiest to use (I believe) is Cinnamon. I use Cinnamon and I’m very happy with it.
---- So I would recommend Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon.

On your screen shot I saw “Firmware Bug __ TSC_DEADLINE disable due to Errate; please update microcode to version: 0xb2 (or later)”.
Doing a google search on the Firmware Bug, I got a lot of hits. One option I read (and don’t how to do) was to boot to an older kernel.
---- One option I read was;
“Just install intel-microcode with sudo apt-get install intel-microcode and reboot.
If it does not help, try to update your BIOS.
It was already reported to launchpad as [bug 1724650]”
— So if you get a USB drive that you can boot, you could try the sudo apt-get option above. Updating the BIOS is a whole other story. If you can, I would try this first.

it does help, but troubleshooting a non-booting system can take some time and doesn’t guarantee a fix. it can be quicker to get back to a working system to install a new operating system.

since this thread is about figuring out which version is best for your computer, i will address that possibility from here on out.

as @easyt50 has explained, Tricia is just a code name for linux mint 19.3. mint 19.2 was called Tina. all versions in the 19 series (the most recent series) have a name starting with T. Cinnamon refers to the Desktop Environment much like Ubuntu has Kubuntu (ubuntu with KDE) and Lubuntu (ubuntu with LxQt). linux mint also has the Mate and Xfce desktop environments available, but Cinnamon is the default.

while you certainly can get a usb from ebay, one of the security features of downloading from the linux mint website is that you can verify that the operating system is exactly as they say it will and should be. something from ebay runs the risk of possibly also having something added that was not originally included. i would only advise this route if you have used the vendor before and truly trust in their integrity.

one of the other advantages of downloading and creating your own usb is that you can test mint on your system to make sure everything works before you install it.

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Cordx suggests downloading your own install iso rather than buying one–this is a piece of advice that will save hours of heartache! I’ve done this with dozens of distros and they have all worked. Just get the newest version–Mint 19.3 (Tricia) is very friendly and works nicely. The wireless adapter problem is more puzzling. Are you sure your desktop has one–laptops usually do, but not desktops. USB wireless adapters are inexpensive and work well.


Never heard that one before… Some distributions are almost fanatical about not allowing proprietary drivers (e.g. Debian) - but you can always add them later on (they strongly advise against it - and don’t make it easy for newbies)… or you could find a respin of Debian ISO that does have binary drivers…

One thing about drivers on Linux, in many cases, if there’s no “native” binary, dedicated driver, especially for things like WiFi chipsets, some distributions will attempt to use the Windows driver using a thing called “ndiswrapper”… there’s no reason you couldn’t have a Debian system, with an open source driver for an Intel ethernet NIC, and a proprietary wifi driver (e.g. for a broadcom, although they’re usually pretty good) that uses the Windows driver via ndiswrapper… it won’t break your system, but it might make Richard Stallman unhappy :


You never mentioned the RAM. If it’s a 2-4GB stick to something that is pretty stable and light like LUBUNTU, LXLE etc. If it’s 6-8GB put UBUNTU STUDIO or Mint!

Hope this helped. Cheers!

Mint MATE works great on 4GB machines. We use it so.
Agree on LX* with only 2GB - but then even better to try something like Elive.