Linux is an open source operating system that replaces Windows and Mac OS X. It can be downloaded and installed free of charge on any computer. Due to the fact that the system is open source, there are many different versions or distributions developed by separate groups of people. Read this guide to learn the basics of installing Linux and get an idea of the most popular distributions.
Method 1 of 2: Installing Any Linux Distribution
Step 1. Download any Linux distribution of your choice
Usually Linux distributions are available for download for free in ISO format. You can find the ISO file on the website of the distribution you want to install. This file must be burned to a CD before installing Linux. This disc is called a Live CD.
- You can boot the installer from the Live CD and run the system in test mode before installation.
- Install a program for mounting disk images or use the special built-in utility on Windows 7, 8 or Mac OS X.
Step 2. Boot from Live CD
Most computers are configured to boot from the hard drive. This means that you need to change some settings in order to boot the system from the Live CD. First, restart your computer.
- Press the enter BIOS button during reboot. This button will be displayed on the same screen with the manufacturer's logo. For most computers, these are the F12, F2, or Del buttons.
Windows 8 users need to hold down the Shift button and press restart. This will launch the advanced startup options where you can customize the boot from CD
- Go to the Boot menu and configure your computer to boot from CD. After that, save the settings and exit the BIOS. Your computer will restart again.
- Press any key when you see the "Press any key to boot from CD" message.
Step 3. Test your Linux distribution before installing
Most Live CDs can run the system prior to installation. You won't be able to create files, but you will be able to appreciate the interface and decide if it suits you or not.
Step 4. Begin the installation process
If you decide to test the distribution, you can start the installation using a file on your desktop. If you have not done so, the installation can be started from the boot menu of the disk.
You will be prompted to make basic settings such as language, keyboard layout, and time zone
Step 5. Create a username and password
To install Linux, you will need to create your account. You will need a password to log into Linux as well as to perform system tasks.
Step 6. Create a partition
Linux should be installed on a separate partition on which no other operating systems are installed. A partition is a space on a hard disk dedicated to a specific operating system.
- Some distributions, such as Ubuntu, will automatically detect the required partition. You can manually change it. Most Linux distributions require 4-5 GB of disk space, so make sure that in addition to the system, you also have enough space to install various programs and files.
- If the installer does not automatically detect the partition, make sure you create the partition in Ext4. If Linux is going to be the only operating system on the computer, you will most likely need to manually set the volume of the partition.
Step 7. Start Linux
After the installation is complete, your computer will restart. At boot time, you will see a new screen called GNU GRUB. This is a bootloader for Linux distributions. Choose your distribution from the list.
If you have installed multiple distributions, all of them will be displayed in the list
Step 8. Check hardware operation
Most of the components should work with Linux without problems, although you may need to download some drivers separately.
- Some components require proprietary drivers to work correctly with Linux. Most often this applies to video cards. Usually a standard driver will suffice, but in order to take full advantage of your graphics card, you will need to download proprietary drivers from the manufacturer.
- On Ubuntu, you can download proprietary drivers from the system settings menu. Click the Additional Drivers tab and select your graphics card from the list. In other distributions, additional drivers are installed in other ways.
- You can also find other drivers in the list, such as Wi-Fi drivers.
Step 9. Start using Linux
After completing the installation and verifying that the hardware is working, you can start using Linux. Most distributions already have popular programs installed by default, and you can download any others from reliable and trusted sources.
Method 2 of 2: Seperate Linux Distributions
Step 1. Ubuntu
Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions available. There are two versions: with long-term support and without long-term support. They differ in the presence of software support.
Step 2. Fedora
Fedora is the second most popular distribution after Ubuntu. Fedora is more common in the corporate and business segment.
Step 3. Debian
Debian is a popular Linux distribution for enthusiasts. It is believed that this version of Linux has the fewest bugs. There are also many different software packages available for Debian.
Step 4. Linux Mint
Linux Mint is one of the newest Linux distributions and is rapidly gaining popularity. It works like Ubuntu, but contains many useful custom tweaks.
- Make sure your computer is directly connected to the internet during installation.
- Be patient; any process takes time.
- Your old operating system will be removed. All data on your computer will also be deleted. Be careful.
- If you do not partition your hard drive, all of your data will be deleted.