09 June, 2008

How to Move from Windows to Linux

  1. Choose a Linux Distro. Research is key.
    Look into what distribution of GNU/Linux would be best for you.
    Everyone is different, and all Linux distributions are different,
    but there will probably be one (or two) that appeals to the most.
    If you're new to the operating system, it's probably best to go for
    something PCLinuxOS,
    Mandriva or Ubuntu - these
    distributions of Linux are aimed at inexperienced users and will
    help you along the way. The Ubuntu distribution will send you a set
    of CDs free of charge, there are other sites on the internet which
    charge a small fee for postage.
  2. Try the "Live CD" versions first, assuming your computer will
    boot from the CD drive; most will. Most distributions offer Live CD
    ISOs on their website, which you can burn to CD. A Live CD means
    that Linux will run entirely from a CD and will not touch your
    Windows installation - this allows you to test out some of the
    functionality Linux offers without wiping your existing Windows
  3. Use Linux applications that have been ported over to Windows.
    Fine example are Inkscape and the
    . Using these will get you used to the kind of applications
    available on Linux (Although there is a school of thought to the
    effect that the GIMP is a bad piece of software). Using open source
    applications will be a real boost when you actually switch over, as
    it will be relatively painless for, say, an XChat user to use XChat
    on his new system, rather than a mIRC (Or other Windows-only IRC client) user having
    to learn an entirely new program.
  4. Back up your important data before you do anything else. If you
    make a mistake while installing Linux, it's possible you'll have to
    format your hard drive to put things right. In which case, you will
    lose all data on it. It is very important you back up if you need
  5. Get hold of a Linux install CD - when you boot from this, it
    will take you through the steps required to install Linux. Some
    distributions, like Ubuntu, actually install from the Live CD, so
    you do not need to download an additional CD image.
  6. Partition your hard drive into two partitions, one containing
    your existing Windows install, the other containing the Linux
    installation. Under Windows, this can be easily done with various
    partitioning tools (Partition Magic, Paragon Partition Manager and
    others) preserving both Windows installation and existing data.
    Note that Windows Vista comes with a partition tool.
  7. Choose which operating system to boot into when once the Linux
    installation has finished. This is called dual-booting. It is wise
    to do this before completely converting to Linux to give you
    something to fall back on if something goes wrong.
  8. Get comfortable with Linux. As time goes on you will find you
    need to boot into Windows less and less. Using Linux is a learning
    experience, make sure you make the most of the "community" help
    which is available from most distributions of Linux. There is
    usually a wide community which you can ask questions and there will
    be people more than willing to help you out with any problems
    you've got. Make sure you use Google and the "search" functions on
    community websites because people may get irate at answering the
    same questions all the time in forums and on irc. Visit your
    distribution's support page or FAQ.
  9. Wipe your Windows partition (devote your entire hard disk to
    Linux) once you're comfortable with Linux. You'll probably never
    look back!