Overall: Looks to be quite workable. Can't believe I missed this one ... couple of bumps but I'll revisit this
"Zorin OS is the alternative to Windows and macOS designed to make your computer faster, more powerful, secure, and privacy-respecting."
Zorin Lite: "For basic use on low-spec PCs up to 15 years old." - Hey! That sounds like the AAO!
Motivation: Stumbled upon Zorin during a Windows PC rebuild. Always looking for a simple alternative for Windows users.
Lite version looked perfect for AAO: System Requirements = 1g RAM, 1ghz Single Core, 10g Storage and 800x600
Downloaded Zorin-OS-16.3-Lite-64-bit.iso (2.5g) from https://zorin.com/os/download/
Good old Raspberry Pi Imager to burn to 65g Thumbdrive
Booted right up on AAO. No login required on Live Boot. Appears to checksum itself @ boot, nice!
AAO Hardware - looks pretty good
Ethernet and WiFi worked without a hitch
Networking Software pre-installed. Home networking right out of the box, even found network printer!
Software - looks good also (appears to ubuntu repositories+zorin?)
Overall: Looked good enough to Install on the AAO. Time will tell. Expect some tweaking.
Parrot Security: "The ultimate framework for your Cyber Security operations"
Hack The Box: "The #1 cybersecurity upskilling platform. Hack The Box gives individuals, businesses and universities the tools they need to
continuously improve their cybersecurity capabilities — all in one place."
Motivation: Looking for alternative to NST, specifically web-based access to a good set of security/pen testing tools. HTB edition Use case targets "Beginners in Cyber Security" and "Slow device/laptop with low capabilities".
System Requirements: Dual Core CPU, no graphic accelerator required, 1g memory, 20g available storage. My AAO is actually over qualified, for once!
Downloaded Parrot-htb5.3_amd64 ISO (4.4g) from https://www.parrotsec.org/download/
Burned ISO to 64g thumbdrive (overkill) using Raspberry Pi Imager, but any imaging tools would work (Rufus, Etcher, etc)
Booted right up on AAO
AAO Hardware - EVERYTHING seemed to work!
Looks too good! Going all-in! Registered for Hack the Box Academy and installed to an unused 80g partition on AAO SSD
Register @ Hack The Box ... use MY referral link and I get credits! https://referral.hackthebox.com/mzwZrL7
Install Parrot: Win 10 recently walked all over my GRUB loader ... have been meaning to fix it anyhoo
Looks too easy! I'll sing-along with https://www.parrotsec.org/docs/installation/dualboot-with-windows
ACK! "Calamares" the installer tells me that "The system does not have enough working memory. At least 4GiB is required". That won't scare me! Push on
set Timezone, pick your language, keyboard ... yada yada
Partition Picker is REALLY nice! I'll install over by Backbox (Ubuntu) partition and leave Win 10 alone
Set up user
Start Install! Nice!
Grub loader installed, dual boot win10 or Parrot ... looks good!
Terminal is REALLY Nice! Green on black .... very readable for elderly eyes! Just switched my konsole on Manjaro to look like this!
Entire Desktop is easy on the eyes. Nice panel w/ proc/mem/net widgets
Firefox appears to be good starting point. Bookmark bar is nice/preset for learning - some very interesting sites
Hold Everything! Openvas/Greenbone appears to be installed! Now I remember ... this is what I've been looking for!!!!
Bottom line: I'll keep it installed, see how it works and what I can learn from HTB Academy!
Overall: A Struggle ... started with live boot - it's was OK. Installed to USB drive, not the best but I'll keep it around and try to use Web Interface (NSTWUI)
Tagline: "Welcome to the Network Security Toolkit (NST). This bootable ISO live USB Flash Drive (NST Live) is based on Fedora. The toolkit was designed to provide easy access to best-of-breed Open Source Network Security Applications and should run on most x86_64 systems"
Motivation: Gave up on NST a few years ago ... can't recall why! Time to give it a re-try. It was VERY handy and I've been struggling to find alternative for years
Docs (you may need these!):
Downloaded the nst-38-13644.x86_64 ISO (4.4g) from sourceforge.net/projects/nst/files/
Burned to thumbdrive using Raspberry Pi Imager
Live USB Booted right up on AAO
AAO Hardware - most if it seems to work but some key components were flaky
AAO Panel works fine ... BUT some NST settings do not fit on AAO display ... even if you move or hide panel // looks like fedora issue //
External/dual monitor by default when plugged in - comes in handy or settings and stuff that doesnt fit on screen
Software - there is a lot of it
Looks like it is still based on Fedora - v38 this go round. https://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/docs/
It's worth a tour of the NST GUI desktop, they do a nice job finding useful utilities in addition to great security/pentest stuff!
Web Interface is the best part ... I park our AAO/NST in the closet next to the switch mirror port and rarely use the desktop gui
Use "Set NST System Passwords" to set PWs for all utilities
There is also a menu item to Start the web interface (NSTWUI)
http://<IP>:9943/nstwui to access web front end ....
MANY apps via NSTWUI ... it will take some time to play and get them all set up
Install to SSD USB Drive ... too spooked to Install to SSD
I typically install live NST image to another larger/faster (64g) USB drive - probably because I could never figure out persistence
Icon on desktop: "Install NST to Hardisk" fires up Anaconda Installer (I have bad luck with this thing!)
For some reason Anaconda is hellbent on using the entire Harddisk. I wasn't willing to share - installed to a large usb drive
Speaking of Anaconda: It struggled with AAO panel resolution. I connected external monitor to help it out
Install to USB took about 1.5 hours!
Installed a few things to test .remaining hardware ... using terminal/CLI "dfn" command
Webcam - Failed
At one point, Fedora actually saw the AAO WiFi adapter ...
Plugged in an old EDIMAX usb wifi adapter, Fedora noticed, enabled WiFi and showed available networks
Overall: Looks pretty good for advanced users, seems to work with AAO hardware ... Arch-Based Pentesting Distro
Tagline: "BlackArch Linux is an Arch Linux-based penetration testing distribution for penetration testers and security researchers. The repository contains 2840 tools. You can install tools individually or in groups. BlackArch Linux is compatible with existing Arch installs."
Motivation: Quick look, I like Arch
See Also: https://github.com/BlackArch
Downloaded the (4.3g) 'slim' ISO - "... a functional BlackArch Linux system with a selected set of common/well-known tools and system utilities for pentesting.
Followed instructions on downloads page to burn usb stick: sudo dd bs=512M status=progress if=<file>.iso of=/dev/sdX
Default login is liveuser/blackarch
Synaptics touchpad detected. 2-finger scrolling right out of the box. Settings for touch to click + more
Card reader even worked ... I thought it may be broken!
External monitor was fine, some fiddling to get dual monitors set the way I'd expect
Audio out - speakers and external jack seemed fine. Muted by default in live boot
Audio in - Didn't test mic or input jack
A couple AAO function keys (touchpad & Monitor on/off) seemed to work as expected. Most, not so much
Amazing amount of pentesting and security software - overwhelming for me!
GUI seems to be mostly for launch and tool organization, expect some command line interaction
Everything I tried appeared to be installed/avail
<I'll save live usb and keep playing>
Overall: Trisquel Mini. Seems to work OK! Nice and lightweight.
Tagline: "Trisquel GNU/Linux is a fully free operating system for home users, small enterprises and educational centers."
Motivation: For the heck of it ... Win 10 reinstall stepped on my Backbox grub loader!
Overall: Worth the trouble ... IT WORKS and breathed life into the AAO - AGAIN! Ended up doing a Re-install (again) using latest 2022 ISO (22H2).
Tagline: "A Scoped and Streamlined Update"
"Windows 10, version 22H2 is a scoped release focused on quality improvements to the overall Windows experience in existing feature areas such as quality, productivity and security." - https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2022/10/18/how-to-get-the-windows-10-2022-update/
Motivation: AAO Win 10 updates have been chronic prob. One update just won't go in (KB5011487, I think) - It takes forever attempting to install (a day or so) then fails and spends forever (another full day!) attempting to "Undo Changes" ... I noticed the Nov 2023 22H2 image and decided to give it a shot
Note: My AAO has a couple of mods. A solid state disk and 2g of memory
Windows Release Health Site @ https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/release-health/
Win 10 22H2 info @ https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/release-health/status-windows-10-22h2
Release Notes @ https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/whats-new/whats-new-windows-10-version-22h2
Downloaded 32-Bit ISO from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10ISO
Attempted to create bootable USB on linux (and macbook). None of the attempts below worked ... I don't think the downloaded ISO reall WAS an ISO!
Step by Step for creating bootable Win10 USB because I forgot to take notes last time -
Attempted using favorite image writers under linux - Raspberry Pi Image writer, Etcher, etc ...It looked like it worked, but USB was not bootable
Attempted using Disk Image Writer utility - basically a restore. Again,, it seemed to finish, but USB was not bootable on AAO
Also tried everything in the sing-a-long @ https://itsfoss.com/bootable-windows-usb-linux/
Ended up using the Media Creation Tool on AAO in Win 10 mode ... that worked! USB was bootable
Tool should be @ https://www.microsoft.com/software-download/windows10
Attempt #1 - try update via win 10! Ran setup from USB Stick, just like autorun would
Simply ran setup.exe from the USB stick ...
Nope ... After some rummaging around, it said: "Sorry we are having trouble if your PC can run Windows 10. Please close Setup and try again"
...closed setup.exe and tried again (like a fool!) ...
What a surprise! It said: "Sorry we are having trouble if your PC can run Windows 10. Please close Setup and try again"
Attempt #2 - Boot from USB. This worked
Prompted for Language and Locale ... then "Install Now"
Activate Windows screen, but OK to skip product ID if reinstalling. Clink on "I Don't Have a Product key"
Select OS Screen - AAO is licensed for Windows 10 Home, highlight and hit NEXT
License Terms - Look good!
Option to Upgrade install and keep files - Nice! Whoops! Not available if you boot off of Installation Media.
(it suggests booting into Windoze and using setup.exe ... fool me once, fool me twice ....)
Use back arrow to Select Custom install
oh, oh! I need to select a Partition! ... will overwrite the last Win 10 and start from scratch
Looks like it will save my files in a folder called windows.old and reinstall - fine by me (if it works!).
Started a timer for the heck of it ... this AAO has a dual boot SSD, linux is default if it restarts, will watch carefully ...
Copying windows files (< 1 min)
Getting files ready for installation (about 10 mins)
Back to Language/Locale/Keyboard selection screen - the INSTALL NOW
Selected Windows Home (dated 9/8/2022) ... back to partition screen ...
Ack! It booted back to the USB! ... watch carefully and pull the USB after it gets the files ready!
Install aftermath ...
I turned off ALL privacy stuff during install ... probably why I had to set Timezone. But it had my local weather?!?!
Windows Update just to confirm ... "You're up to date"
Lot's of junk on taskbar ... left alone for now
Sluggish but sort of usable .
AAO Hardware. Works pretty darn well without any special drivers or fiddling
Touch pad works, but as a mouse (no scrolling area or options for 2-finger scroll) ... quick look for better driver came up empty - ToDo
Seems to be picked up as PS/2 Compatible mouse - only driver Win could fin2
Camera: Camera App initially could not find camera! Device manager was no help ... Showed up after a reboot and now works!!
SD Card reader doesn't seem to work ... no big deal for me but I wonder if Win 7 Drivers would work
Performance is MUCH improved over the one installed - V20H2, I think.
// Still not as fast as Linux but Win10 on AAO is actually usable for possibly the first time! //
Still a lot of bloatware on Win10 ... but this time, it runs well enough to leave it all, no major tweaking to remember!
We have one App that only runs on Win10 - configurator for my semi-smart switch. Installed and ran fine!
Doesn't seem to want to play on the home network (mac, linux & ftp) ... but that's OK