New Mini-Computer, Part 2

By Martin Jansen, Owner of Jansen-PCINFO

In part one of this series, I purchased a new COOFUN mini-computer, unboxed it and installed Windows 10 Professional, followed by an upgrade to Windows 11.

I must say that I am thoroughly impressed by the speed of this computer.  Windows 11 shows the desktop in seconds and, seconds later, the computer is fully ready.  Applications open quickly including the default Edge Browser.  Microsoft is actively discouraging the use of other browsers, like Chrome, and offers an incentive to keep using Edge.  Multiple tabs in browsers does not slow the computer down thanks to the 8GB memory, M.2 SSD and the Celeron J4125 four core processor.  Videos play flawlessly at up to 4K resolution.

Windows 11

In the past I have been critical of Windows 10 due to its bloat and layers of screens keeping the user further away from the true operating system.  It looks like Microsoft has finally cleaned up the OS a bit in this iteration.  Right click on the Windows button to access the true workings of the system:

A right click of the start menu has worked quite well since Windows 7, but Windows 11 has the most refined access to critical systems yet.  Settings (not Control Panel) gives full control over the system:

I am using the dark theme here.  Nothing too fancy.

The layout in Windows 11 is more MacOS like with the start menu and other quick launch icons centered at the bottom of the display.  This layout may annoy “died in the wool” Windows fans, but for me it was an easy adjustment.  As you install apps, the icons appear on the desktop.  I’m happy to report that the tiles, so prevalent in Windows 8 through 10, are gone.

On the left bottom, the weather applet needs to be set for your area, but then gives access to not only the weather but news items of preference.  The right bottom notification area has not changed much from Windows 10.  The clock and calendar, sound, network, cloud, USB storage, bluetooth and anti-virus controls are all accessible.  Active apps in the taskbar are underscored.

Overall, I think Windows 11 is better than Windows 10, breaking the pattern of hits and misses from Microsoft over the last four decades.  Of course an operating system (OS) can only run on good hardware.  And this mini-computer runs Windows 11 extremely well.

Dual Booting Ubuntu

Installing Ubuntu along with Windows requires that the OS play nicely with Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI.)  That’s the newer standard which uses drive space to extend beyond the old Legacy BIOS.  For an in-depth explanation comparing BIOS to UEFI, I have found a reference here.  Most people don’t care as long as their OS boots up properly.

Windows took all the drive space, so I shrunk the primary C: NTFS partition to create a Linux partition of about 50GB.  The Ubuntu installer, however, only took about 34GB of the space for the Ubuntu install.  The Disk Management looks like this in Windows:

Although Windows sees the 33.79GB has a healthy partition, it is formatted in EXT4 which Windows cannot “see.”  The 100MB space at the beginning of the drive space is the EFI partition used in booting the OS.

After Ubuntu is installed, I access the OS by pressing the F7 key when the COOFUN logo appears.  Then I select the Ubuntu partition:

I had previously tried to install Windowsfx 11, an intriguing linux distribution from Brazil, that purports to mimic Windows 11.  I found, however, that the beauty was only skin deep, and the distro had deep underlying issues.  Lesson learned, but it did leave a bogus neon boot device in the UEFI.


Although many distributions use Ubuntu as a base, it is unique in its own layout.  The icons appear on the left side by default:

I changed the background picture to something more appealing.  All the apps are accessed by clicking on the 9 dots icon in the lower left corner.  Centered at the top is date and time.  To the top right is the network, bluetooth, sound and power settings.  Click on Activities in the left upper corner to access all open applications. Although quite usable, this desktop layout would be quite foreign to traditional Windows users.

Linux has long offered multiple desktops that can be switched to if needed when running a lot of apps.  Multiple desktops are offered now in Windows 11 as well.  Here’s a guide.

Ubuntu did not work with my sound card initially, especially output through the HDMI port to my monitor with speakers.  PulseAudio Volume Control showed a Dummy output. Through some research I found this fix:

Open a terminal and copy and paste each line:

echo “options snd-hda-intel dmic_detect=0” | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

sudo killall pulseaudio 

sudo alsa force-reload

sudo reboot

  1. This line adds the options… text (minus quotes) to the last line of the alsa-base.conf file
  2. Kills the pulseaudio services
  3. Reloads the Alsa sound service
  4. Make sure you close all programs before running the last line which reboots the computer.

After the computer rebooted, I was able to run audio through the HDMI cable.

Now I have both Operating Systems fully working.  Windows 11 is the default, but I can access Ubuntu Desktop through the boot menu.  I am looking forward to playing with both operating systems to find out the unique characteristics of each – the good and the bad.

In the last part of this series, I will open the case and look for any upgrade options within the COOFUN mini-computer.