In the last post I listed a series of websites for the different various Linux distros. If you’ve never used Linux before and want to use it then I’d recommend Linux Mint because it’s made for beginners. Unfortunately installing Linux is both easy and hard.
It’s easy if you have some technical skills and it’s almost effortless if you’ve installed Linux before, but it’s not possible to list out what buttons to press, because each computer model has a slightly different way of installing Linux.
There’s simply no way to write a single article detailing how to deal with every possible thing that might come up purely because there are too many different models of computers out there. The steps tend to be nearly identical for each one, but it will take some technical skills to do this.
Also it’s possible to screw things up in such a way that you can’t boot up your computer, but Linux Mint tries to make it harder to do that.
You may want to do this on an old laptop that doesn’t contain any files that you care about.
In order to install Linux you’ll need to download an ISO file from the website for whichever one you choose.
The next step is to download and install this free software program: https://rufus.ie/en_US/
Then plug in a USB stick into your computer. All the files will be wiped from this USB stick, so make sure it doesn’t contain anything important.
If you want to use Linux alongside Windows then you should also defragment your hard drive, and if you’re low on disk space then you may want to back up and/or delete any large unwanted files from your computer.
Next use Rufus to burn the ISO image to the USB stick.
Next reboot your computer with the USB stick still in. If you’re on a laptop then make sure that your computer is fully charged and plugged in. If the power goes out during the installation process then it might break Windows and/or Linux.
Now comes the hardest part. It used to be as simple as simple as rebooting with the USB stick in your computer for every computer, but computer companies changed the default settings to boot to Windows instead.
If your computer doesn’t automatically boot to Linux then reboot again, and press F12 and then select the USB stick to boot from. Some computers may require you to press F2 and go into some settings to tell it to boot from USB, others might have you press some other button.
Most computers will flash the logo of the company that made the computer at boot up and have a message saying which button to press to go into settings or which one to press to bring up a menu of options for things to boot from. You want it to boot from the USB drive, and not the internal hard drive.
Once you’re in these settings you can’t use the mouse. You’ll need to move around with only the keyboard. You might want to disable quick boot, and secure boot, and you might want to change the boot priority so that USB devices are booted to first.
Once you’ve booted up to Linux most distros (including Linux Mint) will have an interactive prompt that will guide you through how to install it.
If you want to keep Windows alongside Linux then that’s called “dual booting”, and you’ll need to tell Linux to do that at some point in the installation process. Many distros will by default erase Windows and install over it, so you’ll need to keep an eye open for when it asks you how to install it.
Once you’ve done that you should check out this free pdf book: http://linuxclass.heinz.cmu.edu/doc/tlcl.pdf which will teach you how to use it better.