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Old 06-24-2010, 01:31 PM   #1
SaphireAlchemy
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I have several question involving starting to use linux


I see there are specific threads for each distribution of Linux, and I am not here to simply ask 'Which is best?'

I am interested in what you would recommend to a long time windows vista user on an 2009 acer aspire laptop with 144 GB of memory, who has finally gotten sick of Microsoft deciding it must update your software now, without your permission, thus restarting the computer and losing your data. The last time vista did this, it really messed with my computer, I had to run start up repair etc. and had to reinstall a few programs.

Also, I am curious what changing ones operating system actually entails. Will I lose programs or files? Does this completely replace your present windows?

As you can see, I am a newb if ever there were one, but this newb is actually fairly computer literate: just not enough to want to do something big like this without guidance from those who know what they're talking about. Also, I'm all about freeware and open-source.

Thank you for any help anyone may provide.
 
Old 06-24-2010, 01:49 PM   #2
irmin
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Welcome on LQ,

it's a good decision to try some linux distribution. Maybe you want to try some live cds/dvds available for some distributions first. For beginners Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download) or OpenSuSE (http://software.opensuse.org/112/en) will be fine choices. But just try some live versions of those distributions. These versions will allow you to start a fully working linux environment on your laptop without installing it. Furthermore it allows you to see if your hardware works well with the distribution.

Also you do not need to remove windows completely from your laptop. It is possible to have both operating systems installed at the same time (provided there is enough free space on the harddisk). If you install the distribution of your choice it will automatically offer you this option. In principle the windows partition will be shrunk and on the free space linux will be installed. Through this procedure no files or programs from windows will be erased (it is a good idea to make a backup of your important data anyway). But keep in mind, that windows programs will not be usable under linux! There are some exceptions though.
 
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:20 PM   #3
MrCode
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Quote:
But keep in mind, that windows programs will not be usable under linux! There are some exceptions though.
Yes, there is a way to run some Windows programs under Linux through a software compatibility layer called Wine. It's not going to be able to run everything, but it's always improving, and it's already got support for quite a number of Windows programs. There are also commercial versions like Cedega and CrossOver that allow greater specific compatibility with things like games and office software (e.g. MS Office).

As for installing a Linux distro alongside Windows, as irmin stated above, there's usually a way to do this from within the installer. It's just a matter of shrinking your existing Windows partition and creating a new Linux partition(s?) alongside it. It is possible to completely blow away Windows, but that's not usually the default.

Last edited by MrCode; 06-24-2010 at 02:21 PM.
 
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:23 PM   #4
tredegar
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The above advice is good.
Don't be frightened, jump in and test the water.
"I'm scared to install linux" is understandable, but, just GO for it.

It's "different", but in a "better" way. You'll have to learn some new things (usually a good idea), but it's not really painful at all.

There is lots of help available here on LQ, and we tend to be "nice" on these forums.

There is perhaps better help available if you read
http://www.linuxquestions.org/linux/...Ask_a_Question
before posting.

Welcome to linux and LQ!
 
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Old 06-24-2010, 02:34 PM   #5
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmin View Post
But keep in mind, that windows programs will not be usable under linux! There are some exceptions though.
In my experience, it's now the other way 'round---i.e. most of the Windows programs I need to use work fine** using CrossOver. The one's that do NOT work are the exceptions.

What's possibly more relevant is that the Linux equivalents are very often as good---and sometimes better--than the Windows equivalents.


**Or at least "good enough"....
 
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Old 06-24-2010, 03:43 PM   #6
fruttenboel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaphireAlchemy View Post
I see there are specific threads for each distribution of Linux, and I am not here to simply ask 'Which is best?'
That question will invariably set a few people aflame... There is no best. There are hjust the few that you prefer. That you feel at home with. I personally prefer Slackware since it allows me to be in charge by simply editing some text files (and by being a nuisance to Alien Bob.. ).

Quote:
I am interested in what you would recommend to a long time windows vista user on an 2009 acer aspire laptop with 144 GB of memory, who has finally gotten sick of Microsoft deciding it must update your software now, without your permission, thus restarting the computer and losing your data. The last time vista did this, it really messed with my computer, I had to run start up repair etc. and had to reinstall a few programs.
First, dig out 140 GB of that memory and sell it. Linux will seldomly use more than 1 GB so 4 GB is still major overkill. Next: try some live distro's, like www.slax.org, www.knoppix.org and http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ to name just a few. Get familiar with the games. That's always a good introduction.
As of now, you will never be treated to malware, spyware, viruses or whatever.

Quote:
Also, I am curious what changing ones operating system actually entails. Will I lose programs or files? Does this completely replace your present windows?
I recommend a dual boot machine. Use the Windows repartitioner to free up 40 GB of disk space and then install a Linux (after field trials with live distro's) in that partition. Search LQ for the size of the swap partition with your amounts of system memory. Just do a full install. It will require less than 10 GB. The Linux bootloader (Lilo, Grub, Uboot, whichever you want) will honour all operating systems on your computer.
Linux does not require a bootable partition. It will just as well run from a logical partition. You may even fire up Linux with a DOS program called LinLoad.exe from within Windows. You are now in the land of the many options and your main problem is 'finding the program that I like the best'.

Quote:
Thank you for any help anyone may provide.
If in doubt, ask first, we're here to help you. This is a global operation so there's always one of us who is awake in one timezone.

My experiences:

http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/linux/index.html
http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/EEE/index.html
http://fruttenboel.verhoeven272.nl/Dell/index.html

Last edited by fruttenboel; 06-24-2010 at 03:46 PM. Reason: deleted an 'e'
 
  


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