How to Use Linux (And Love It)




This is my first instructable.

Linux is a great operating system -If you know how to use it-, and most people don't really want to be bothered installing, and whatnot, but it's really not hard to install, and if you use it often, it'll start being extremely easy to use.

The picture is my current desktop configuration, and I'll go through the programs I used to do that.

Step 1: What Is This "Linux"?

You've got many choices with linux. What do you want to use it for? Video-editing? Music-editing?

These different Linux options are commonly called "distros", and some of the most popular are Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, and Linux Mint.

These "distros" can be downloaded in .iso form, which I'll go into detail about later.

I'll be using Linux Mint for this instructable, so I'd recommend if you did too, but you're free to pick whichever you want.

(I'd recommend for looking for a certain type of linux distro)

Step 2: Downloading and Burning

Okay, now we really start!

To download, pick the distro of your choice, and if you know that you have a 64-bit processor, download the x64 edition, but if not, just download the universal (32-bit) edition.*

After a few hours of downloading, you'll wind up with an approximately 699 megabyte .iso file.
What you need to do is burn that to a disc.** To do that, you can use MagicISO, and the process is pretty straightforward. If you need help, feel free to ask me in the comments section.

*The 32-bit (aka x86) works with x64, however, the x64 does not work with 32-bit
**You can use a program called "Unetbootin" to boot off a flash drive. I won't go into that in this instructable, I might do it later though.

Step 3: First Boot!

Now, we need to shutdown the computer, and get into the BIOS.

The BIOS (in addition to many other things) tells the computer what to boot off of when it starts up.

To do this, hit the F9 key, DEL key, ESC key, or the F10 key, it'll only be one of these, but it differs on many computers.

Now, try to get to a page labeled "Boot options", once you're there, you need to put "CD/DVD drive" to the top, and the hard drive in second.

Now, hit F10, or ESC, and goto "Exit saving changes", and hit enter.

Okay, halfway there!

Now, you need to put the CD in the drive, and it should boot to the Linux boot screen.
Click try "without installing". Wait.

....And it should boot without any errors.

Step 4: Playing Around

Okay, now, as any person would, feel free to play around, but keep in mind, this is much, much slower than it will be when you really have it installed.
(Keep in mind, anything you do now, won't be saved)

Now, when you're done click "Install" on the desktop.

Step 5: The Install Process

I don't have the install dialogue box in front of me, but it should be pretty self-explanatory from here.

When you get to the hard drive partitioning stage, make sure you pick the right options, as the wrong one will erase the whole hard drive!

"Install alongside *windows, or whatever operating system you have*" will keep everything.

Now, more waiting. (We're almost there!)

*Your menu box will look different than the one in the picture.

Step 6: Base System

Okay, if you've made it this far, good job!

Now, you've got to have a basic understanding of the terminal.

To install programs, you'll be using sudo apt-get.
However, I'll just paste the whole thing to make it easier.

Connect it to your network, either with wireless, or with a wired network.
Run the update that it's probabally suggesting, while it's doing that, right click on the bottom menu bar and click new panel, than delete the one on the bottom.

I'd recommend adding the Ubuntu menu to the bar. (Similar to what I have)

Step 7: Customize It!

Okay, now you're pretty much done.
Open the terminal.
Run "sudo apt-get install gnome-do gnome-do-plugins" (without quotes)  and set it to "docky" mode to get the menu bar.

Step 8: Any Questions?

If you have questions, put them in the comments section.




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    29 Discussions


    6 years ago on Step 3

    can u install it using a software like on a usb instead of a disc?

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Step 5

    I'm trying to install Puppy Linux on my Compaq cm200 1255 laptop. It seems to boot like it should until it says "unable to boot - pleas use a kernel appropriate for your CPU" pleas help, and get back to me as soon as you can.

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I just switched over to ubuntu on my net-book, which incidentally, I was just about to sell because it was getting riddled with spyware and viruses with windows, plus I had no virus protection. This was just days after I had a computer guy clear out the viruses, but they came right back a few days later. Everything is better now with Linux! It's really not hard at all to figure out and if you worry about the dreaded command line terminal, here's a suggestion that helped me. 

    Go over to U-tube and watch every Linux terminal tutorial you can find and take a few notes... (I made a basic command cheat sheet as I went) I got the basics down by noon one morning after I did this! You'll learn quick this way. 

    Another tip a Linux guy taught me... Linux can, and will, break being a newbie. He said to keep breaking it, over and over... The more you break and reinstall Linux, the more you will learn what it can and can't do. As long as ya got a boot disk it isn't a big deal... It only takes about 10 minutes to reinstall it on my net-book! I'm so glad I switched over... I like my PC again!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    better idea: keep a disk image of a working install (you can make it with dd, find a tutorial for that), and when you break it, boot from the liveCD, put in the external disk that the disk image is on, then dd it back onto your hard drive.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    i tried linux mint before, but I was having wireless internet problems, even after I installed the correct propritary drivers.  I would have to re instal them every time i reebooted the machine, and it couldn't connect to my router evan after i checked the WEP ket three times.  It would just not connect, the wired ethernet adapter worked great, but on a laptop, thats not of much use.  and ideas? 

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Depends on which wifi card you're using. I have a Samsung N130, which uses a Realtek card, and though the Lucid (10.04) Ubuntu was said to support it out of the box, I still had to use wired, until I found Alan's blog.

    He gives links and instructions, but you have to read the readme file included, notice that you have to download updated files and THEN run Tried it several times before I really noticed he said check for updates and replace the updated files, then it worked like magic! I used to run XP/Ubuntu dual, with ethernet in ubuntu, until my XP partition got a trojan, which when removed, took a system file with it. I figured, rather than re-install windows, just get wifi running in Ubuntu and haven't looked back! I still have all my documents available from the XP partition, and much less vulnerability to trojans and malware.
    By the way, if someone tells you there ARE no such risks in Linux, smile and nod, but protect your system, as there is no invulnerable system. I worked with disabled kids at our local high school, and the "Computer Operations" teacher was a Mac fanboy who insisted that "Macs don't get viruses!" I tried very hard to convince the student to take that with a grain of salt, to realize that hackers write for macs too, as their market share is increasing. Don't know how well it took.
    Anyhoo, enjoy the link, and hope it works for you!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I actually figured it out in the end it was very simple, I needed to re install the driver so it would work


    9 years ago on Step 7

    i need a little help how do i set it to docky mode? i have downloaded the files but i don't know how to change it to docky


    9 years ago on Introduction

    The only thing that's holding me back from ditching Windows completely is drivers and management software.

    Digital cameras, GPS systems, e-readers, and printers can often be really hard to get their specific software and drivers running in Linux.  Yes, there's ways to do it without the software, but it's so much easier to do with.  Example: TomTom HOME makes keeping your TomTom updated really easy, but there's not an easy way to get the same functionality.  Yes, wine is wonderful, but there's so many kinks and bugs in the software when you run it.

    Don't get me wrong, I love linux.  There's just not currently enough support for me to move completely to it.

    5 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    NDISWrapper can be used to run Windows drivers on Linux, and Linux alternatives can be found for almost any Windows program. example: replace iTunes with Amarok (assuming you use KDE as your desktop environment).


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, Amarok is great, but the syncing with iPhones and some iPods is a bit broken.  Regular iPods can get working with a bit of tweaking, but iPhones/iPod touches are pretty muck kaput with Amarok.

    I've never heard of NDISWrapper.  It sounds interesting, so I'll have to look into it.

    BTW, I'm about ready to put Ubuntu as a dual boot with XP.  Mostly because GIMP and Blender run smoother on it, and because I can use the 64-bit capabilities of my processor.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    In my post I said that wine works sometimes, but usually there's usually bugs, depending on the software.  Ever tried using iTunes in wine?  A lot of functionality is lost.  I also mentioned drivers, and wine doesn't work for that.  (Or at least as far as I know it doesn't)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     Sorry, I didn't notice that. Mostly it has only taken a few Google searches to get the drivers that I have needed.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    Very nice instructable.
    Maybe an extra word on the partition naming. There not called C:\ or Disk0 like in that OS... what's it called again, can't remember the name.
    Linux uses letters for drives and numbers for partitions.
    hda1 = harddrive 1 partition 1
    hda2 = harddrive 1 partition 2

    In the screenshot I see 'sda', is that because it's a virtual drive or it's SCSI?