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How to install Linux on Dell Vostro 3500 laptop, and which system should I choose?
I am currently running Win 7 pro on my Dell laptop, due to programming requirements, I want to switch to Linux. However, I have no experience in Linux, and no idea about which system to choose. Could someone give me some suggestions?
The best way is to download some LiveCDs/LiveDVDs and boot your laptop from that medium. That way you can have a look at the distro, try it out, see if it detects your hardware correctly without installing anything to harddisk. If you found one you like then you can install it to harddisk using all your harddisk space or resizing your Windows partition and making your laptop dualboot. If you're completely new to Linux then Ubuntu or LinuxMint would be a great starting point. Have a look at DistroWatch.com for distros available. Download some of those in the top 10, try them out and go with the one you like best. If you have any problems or questions running, installing, using the distro you choose, then post them here and you'll get an answer for sure.
Whether or not you have issues with the live-cd idea (one, by the way, I agree with) you may try installing VirtualBox and installing Linux in a virtual machine. Even if the live-cd has problems with your dell hardware, we KNOW it will work well with the virtual hardware in VirtualBox.
(Some would recommend the free player from VMWare, but I have no personal experience with it.)
I'd start with any of the top 30 or so at distrowatch. Try them all in a virtual machine to learn.
I prefer the VMplayer but don't even know why anymore, I think it shuts down quicker?. A great way to learn would be on a supported computer and with a Virtual machine of some kind. There are a number of free ones that work great.
If your system is running W7 it ought to run a vm just fine.