Can I run an accessible version of linux under windows?

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at
Fri Oct 29 16:39:33 UTC 2021

What is the minimum requirements of a computer to run linux?  I was 
hoping to load it on an older machine retired from DOS; a 386 or 486 
with not much memory or hardware expansion.  Perhaps modern linux won't 
run on a machine of that vintage?

On 10/29/2021 10:33 AM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
> Hi,
> I am also relatively new to using Linux as a blind person. Over the 
> past several months, I have downloaded and tried several of the 
> recommended Linux distributions. About a month ago, I came across 
> Linux Mint with the Mate desktop. I like it very much. I am currently 
> working on a project where I have to setup Linux computers for several 
> sighted people and I am using Mint as the distro that I am deploying. 
> I am happy to say that I put the first of these computers into 
> production this week.
> So far, so good. There are a few minor things that I would like to 
> learn to tweak on that system, but I am confident that knowledge will 
> come to me over time.
> The accessibility experience with Linux Mint Mate has been very 
> positive. After downloading the live ISO from, I used 
> Rufus running on my Windows 7 computer to create a bootable     USB 
> flash drive. ( I used a 10 year old Lenovo 
> Thinkpad X220 for all of the testing, first just running from the 
> flash drive and later, installing on a fresh Samsung EVO SSD in the 
> X220. Performance on this 10 year old computer was excellent. I 
> actually did all of the configuration, tweaking and user testing on 
> the X220. Once the setup was ready to turn over to the user, I made an 
> image of the SSD and then just swapped the SSD into the computer for 
> the user. Her computer is also a Lenovo. Mint booted on her computer 
> and she was off and running. I am impressed that I was able to 
> complete the setup of the computer with relatively few roadblocks. I 
> am also impressed with the performance and stability of Linux Mint 
> Mate. The next system that I will be configuring is somewhat more 
> demanding, but I am confident that I will get through it. As with the 
> first system, I will be doing all of the testing and configuration on 
> my trusty old X220 with a fresh Samsung EVO SSD.
> So, if you do not have a old PC gathering dust in a closet, you can 
> create a bootable USB containing Linux Mint Mate and then boot from 
> the USB stick on your existing Windows computer. When you are done 
> playing with Linux, just remove the USB stick and reboot back into 
> Windows. I believe that in the Mint install program, which is fully 
> screen reader accessible, there might be an option where you can 
> install Linux Mint alongside your existing Windows install. Then at 
> boot time, you can choose which system to boot in to. I did not do 
> this, so I can not comment on how well this works.
> One more thing...When you boot into the USB stick, you will have to 
> press control+Alt+Super (this is what linux calls the Windows key) in 
> order to start the Orca screen reader. The "Orca" key is the insert 
> key, just like Jaws or NVDA. Do a web search for "orca screen reader" 
> and you will find plenty of information to help get you up to speed 
> with this screen reader. I am having no problem jumping between it and 
> Jaws/NVDA.
> This experience has been enjoyable for me and I hope that it will be 
> for you also. Do not hesitate to reach out as other questions arise. I 
> can tell you that during the past month, I have spent many hours 
> searching the web for answers to the many, many questions that came up 
> for me. And there is just so much info in the web related to using Linux.
> Best,
> John
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