Ways to Get Started with Linux

Martin Wilson

Aug 13, 2022

It's a big cry from the notion of Windows, where one size fits all, and this is just what comes with your computer. On Linux, however, everything from the installation of software to the operation of device drivers is handled differently, which may be quite intimidating. You should know that installing Linux on your own computer is unnecessary to get started. Everything that you need to know is included here.

Choose and Download a Linux Distro

The first thing you'll need to do is choose the Linux distribution that you wish to utilize. In contrast to Windows 10, Linux does not come in a single iteration. Distributions of Linux are created by combining the Linux kernel with other software, such as the GNU core utilities, the X.org graphical server, a desktop environment, a web browser, and more. Each distribution brings together one or more of these components into a unified operating system that can be installed on your computer.

DistroWatch provides an excellent and comprehensive overview of all of the main Linux distributions that you may wish to experiment with. If you've used Windows in the past or are just interested in other operating systems, Ubuntu is a good place to begin. Ubuntu's primary objective is to smooth over many of Linux's rougher edges. The Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments are slightly more conventional than Ubuntu's Unity desktop environments. As a result, many Linux users have begun choosing Linux Mint as their operating system.

Running Linux Live Off an External Drive

You will need to begin booting up that Linux machine now. Simply restarting your computer with the disc or USB drive attached should cause it to boot up immediately. If it does not, you need to modify the boot order in your BIOS or UEFI firmware or pick a boot disc when the computer is booting up. If you are unsure if you are running UEFI or BIOS on your computer, you are likely running UEFI unless your computer is at least five years old. During the POST procedure on a desktop computer, you will often need to press either the Del key or the F12 key to access the BIOS or UEFI (before Windows starts booting).

Accessing the BIOS or UEFI might be more challenging on laptops than desktop computers. There are a lot of newer laptops that don't offer you the option to enter UEFI by typing on the keyboard. You may be able to turn on some computers by holding down a button on the side of the device that isn't labeled. This button is usually located on certain models of laptops. Consult the user manual that came with your personal computer if you are unclear about how to access the UEFI setup screen.

Use Linux in A Virtual Machine

You can create several virtual machines (VMs) with the help of free virtualization technologies like VirtualBox. Each VM will have its startup process, and its storage will be kept separate. One of the most common applications for virtual machines is to eliminate the need to reboot the host computer to run several copies of an operating system on the same device.

Developing a virtual machine (VM) on Windows to provide a simulated setting for running Linux is a very simple process. Virtual machines are simple to administer, and if you've had your fill of utilizing them, you can erase them. If necessary, you can even back up copies of the complete virtualized (guest) operating system.

Your Linux Desktop Environment

Your desktop environment and the apps installed will differ from one Linux distribution and desktop environment to the next, even though most of them will satisfy your average requirements. For example, most Linux variants come pre-installed with the Firefox web browser. Depending on your preference, it takes a few clicks to install either the open-source Chromium browser or Google's Chrome browser. Your desktop environment should contain all the basic components, including an application menu, a taskbar or dock of some kind, and a notification area that is sometimes known as a "system tray." Explore the different links to learn what each one accomplishes.

Install Linux, Or Not

You have options about the time and manner in which Linux is installed. You may play with it anytime you want to by simply booting it up from a disc or a USB device on which it is stored. You should get familiar with it several times before deciding whether to install it. This method allows you to test many Linux distributions and even use the same USB device more than once.

Productivity and simplicity are two of the most compelling arguments for installing Linux rather than just running it from a disc or USB device. Installed Linux, in contrast to running Linux live, will remember your preferences, preserve your installed applications, and maintain your data even after rebooting.

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