Hey Windows fans, would you like to take Linux for a spin to see what everyone's buzzing about? It's easy to do in just five easy steps. You can test Linux for yourself without having to setup multibooting, worry about partitioning or installing over your current Windows system. That's right, you can. Try out that Linux power and coolness for yourself using these five easy steps. Don't worry, you'll never have to leave the comfort of Windows to do any of them--not even to a command line. Let's get started!
1. Download Virtual PC 2007 - Virtual PC 2007 allows you to install various operating systems as virtual machines and run them simultaneously with Windows. No rebooting required. Download this free application from Microsoft, install it and then proceed to Step 2.
2. Download Ubuntu 9.10 - Everyone agrees that Ubuntu Linux is the great Windows contender, especially for those who are new to Linux. Go to the Ubuntu Downloads page to download your free copy. The download is large (~600MB) so it might take a while, so be patient.
3. Create a New Virtual Machine - To install Ubuntu Linux, you'll need to setup a new virtual machine (VM) for it. This is just like building a PC on which to install a new operating system except that the hardware is virtual.
Open Virtual PC, click the New button, click Next, Create a Virtual Machine, name the new VM something like Ubuntu and click Next, select Other for operating system, click Next, Adjusting the RAM, change the 128 to 256 and click Next, A new virtual hard disk, click Next, change 16384 to 4000 (Hopefully you have 4GB free space--if not, change the location to a drive where you do), click Next to finish. You should see your new Ubuntu VM listed in the Virtual PC console.
4. Boot the ISO Image - The file that you downloaded in Step 2 is delivered to you as an ISO image, which means that it is an entire CD image in a single file. You do not have to burn the image to CD disk and boot from it. You can boot directly from the ISO image file.
With Virtual PC still open, click Start. A black box opens. This is your VM booting up. While the screen is still black, click CD on the menu bar, click Capture ISO image, browse to the Ubuntu ISO image that you downloaded in Step 2, select it, and click Open. Your VM will now boot to the ISO image.
5. Install - Ubuntu installation is easy. Press the ENTER key to begin. Follow the prompts to install your new system. If you come across something you don't understand, just accept the default value and click Forward to continue. When Ubuntu is finished installing to the new VM, there is a prompt to restart, click Restart. This will reboot your VM and bring it up to the desktop or the desktop login. If you are presented with a login prompt, type in the username and password you used during installation.
Congratulations, you just installed Ubuntu Linux into a virtual machine! What you have in that VM is a fully-functional desktop operating system that compares favorably to Windows. Go ahead, give it a try.
You'll find that it works almost exactly like Windows and is loaded with all kinds of software. You don't have to pay for Ubuntu or any of the programs that you use.
Next, check out the Linux forums here on DaniWeb to ask questions and find out how powerful your new system is and what you can do with it.
Write back and let me know how you like your new Ubuntu system.