Success! A couple of hiccups…
While in the process of creating a recovery for Windows (which took hours by the way, almost didn’t want to finish it), I came across a couple of articles in which users who had issues with the same manufacturer of the laptop I’m using - MSI.
Some users were having issues with getting past the initial boot, claiming that the process would hang at a black screen and never show anything. I remember having an issue or two of that nature years ago when I experimented with Linux for the first time.
Others said that MSI had notoriously bad compatibility with Linux, but right below that the same user listed other (worse) compatibility with Linux - Acer being one of them. The “beater” that I bought to distro hop and play with prior to this move is an Acer. Honestly, I have nearly no compatibility issues with that machine. I stopped reading into it, not wanting to be led on.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe some people’s experience varies based on certain variables such as user experience (savviness perhaps), hardware contained within the machine, and the ability to overcome adversity. I continued with the process.
Booting Pop OS from USB to the installation, it wasn’t detecting my SSDs (two 512GB). Did a couple of searches and seemed like a few people were having issues with SSDs which were in a Raid configuration would not be detectable in the installation process (not a distro related issue, hopefully). So, back to the BIOS.
I took the SSDs out of Raid… the computer wouldn’t boot. Hah. Back to the BIOS. I remember reading something about a configuration setting with the Raid configuration, AHCI. Perused the BIOS settings for a few and came across the setting… which should have just been set instead of me taking the SSDs out of the Raid configuration. Anyway, I restarted the machine and booted into Pop OS USB environment. The installation discovered the SSDs and the process continued as normal. A few minutes later, I have booted into the freshly installed Pop OS.
Pop OS’s polish and attention to the hardware makes for a superb first impression as my monitor was already running at 144Hz, the graphics card (RTX 2080) was selected as primary (with no black screens to speak of) while the integrated Intel 630 is on standby ready to go if selected to do so, etc, etc, etc.
So, I’ve accomplished what I set out to do and migrated completely to Linux. A very pleasant experience indeed with System76’s distro. I’m coming from Plasma environments typically, but this Gnome environment has been pretty solid (really wish the extensions were a bit more polished).