distributions for laptops

Asked by Windwalker52

 I have a friend with a relatively late model dual core 2.2 GHz (maybe 1.8 GHz) CPU with a Vista distribution that collapsed that is currently looking for a Linux distribution to install. The video and apparently the sound work and Knoppix will recognize a flash drive but the Windows based laptop software has lost the hard drive completely to the point where it no longer recognizes the drive at all. He is good (real good compared to me) with Linux and can get Knoppix 6.2 to run but as far as I know it does not recognize the hard drive either possibly due to different formats?. What distributions and variants of Ubuntu would be best for a laptop being converted from Vista. According to one website which was a small study Mint followed by Kbuntu was the best at detecting laptop hardware and dealing with Windows formats and of course finding all of his personal files to back up.onto the flash drive. He is currently going through rehab and is confined to a nursing home without Internet access so I would need to be able to use Brasero to create disks for him. That is my ultimate goal which is to be able to take the disks to him to install Linux on his laptop. The laptop does not recognize the hard drive at all using Knoppix and using Vista the blue screen of death has resulted in the same thing.
 Any suggestions as to what to do and how to install from disks a new install of Ubuntu or whatever would be greatly appreciated.
                                                                                                                Thanks, Galen

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Best actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

If the hard drive is not being detected it is probably faulty and should be replaced.

The laptop will run any Linux you care to name as it is light and easy, I do not recommend Mint as it is not an official release by canonical so you will not get support for it here on in the official Ubuntu IRC channel on Freenode if you install it. KDE is quite bulky and Ubuntu or Xubuntu will free up maximum resources for your apps to run. XUbuntu, KUbuntu and Ubuntu are all Ubuntu just with a default desktop environment

If the drive isn't detected then you will have to pay professional services several hundred dollars for data retrieval. I suggest you restore from the data backups s/he has made as this will be far easier.

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Windwalker52 (windwalker51) said :

Thanks actionparsnip, that solved my question.

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Windwalker52 (windwalker51) said :

 I think what I ran into was a proprietary laptop made for Windows similar to the modems during the cusp between 3.1-XP and I appreciate all the responses. I'm ducking out of the conversation and calling this one solved for political reasons as well. It is nice to know about Mint however, thanks for your help in the matter and if I can return the favor let me know, Galen