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Installing Linux

As another one of my friends who was trying to install a linux OS asked me how to go about doing it, i decided to write this article. 

One of the major hurdles in a installing linux OS is to decide which type of linux OS to install - 
The more commonly known Ubuntuthe more serious Fedora or the bare bones Debian. I don't guess many of you know about Arch Linux and if you are a noob to linux, i suggest you stay away from it. You can only start dreaming about it after using a linux OS for atleast ~2 months! There are quite a few lesser known versions of linux OS like gentoo linux and then there are enterprise linux OS like CentOS, Red hat linux and so on and so forth. 

As far as i know, if you just want to try out a linux OS, if you do not intend to do any serious work on linux, Ubuntu is one of the best versions of linux OS to install. Almost everyone starts out as an ubuntu user or atleast that's what i think. 

Well, after you've decided the linux OS you want to install, you can download the .iso installer file from the corresponding website. Now there are two ways to go about installing the OS on your system - the more commonly used method is to burn the .iso file onto a CD and booting up using the CD or the better (in my opinion) method of burning the .iso file onto a pen drive and booting from the pen drive. 
If you don't know how to go about changing the priority of boot devices, i suggest you press F2 the next time you restart your system to get the BIOS settings. If you don't want to get into all of that, then you can just press F12 when you are restarting and manually select the device to boot up from temporarily. 

Now, almost everyone knows how to go about burning things onto a CD and most of you won't have trouble burning a .iso file onto a CD. But it is a different thing when you use a pen drive for boot up. You can't just copy the .iso file onto the pen drive and expect it to work. Believe me, i've seen people try this and then wonder why it isn't working. They eventually blame the .iso file calling it corrupt and start downloading a new .iso file! Anyway, coming back to the issue at hand, i personally think that installing a linux OS using a pen drive is a faster way to go about it. 

Most of the people interested in installing linux would've already talked to their local linux aficionado regarding the matter of installing linux. So, the next time you meet someone like this, ask him/her if they know about a program that comes pre installed on most linux systems called "Create Bootable Device". This can burn the .iso files onto a pen drive or a CD. 

If you don't find anyone who has linux around you and wonder how to use a pen drive for boot up, then simply google for "booting up using a pen drive" or "how to make a pen drive bootable". More specifically, there are free programs, like the one on ubuntu, which can be used to create bootable pen drives! One such program that i've used and that i'm used to is UNetBootin. The steps are laid out in front of the user and it's pretty easy to use as well. 

And now that you have decided an OS to use and a way to boot up, you need to make space on your laptop where you can install the OS. I'm not running windows right now and i don't exactly remember the path to follow but you have to look for disk management and then resize/shrink one of the available partitions to make free space. Make sure you have ~10-15 GB of free space to install linux. 

Now you can bootup from the device, boot into linux and install. The ubuntu installer is one of the most user-friendly installers ever! During the installation process, you will be given multiple methods/places to install like install along side windows, replace other linux OS and "other". Choose the 'other' option and you will be shown your partitions. You need to select the free space, format it, make a partition out of it and mount it at the root directory ' / '. You could spare 2 GB of the free space for 'Swap' but that's not something extremely important and if you are unsupervised, i suggest you don't do anything more. 

Other than for the mundane username, password, laptop name and time/date settings, i don't recall anything else serious in the installer process and your install process should be complete in ~10-15 mins if you are installing via a pen drive and ~ 30 mins if you are installing using a CD. I guess the difference is because of the different read speeds from these respective devices. 

And well, that's all i suppose. 
I don't recall anything serious that i'm missing from the installation process and i've double checked everything that I've written over here to make sure that it's not wrong. I hope i haven't skipped any vital steps or committed a major blurb over here. Do correct me if i've written anything wrong and if i've in anyway helped you in installing linux, i want you to know that it wasn't my intention to help you, it was just an accident!

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