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Last Post by rubberman
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Start by reading some reviews and picking a distribution that might be a good fit for you. For example, these latest reviews, or these, or these. Also, you should know that often what matters most to a casual user is the eye-candy, i.e., the look and feel of the interface, which is not so much dependent on the distribution as much as it depends on the "desktop environment" (most distributions give you a choice of alternatives). So, check out some reviews of that too.

Then, go to the distributions webpage, and download the ISO image to install it.

Then, decide how you want to setup your system. You have roughly 3 choices (with links for Ubuntu, but you can easily find instructions for other distros):

  • Run Linux within Windows (or Mac) in a virtual machine, i.e., it's like having the OS running inside a Windows application. This can be a good option at first, especially if you want to try out different distros. See here.
  • Dual-boot between Windows and Linux. This is the most typical thing. You have to be a bit careful when re-partitioning and especially about the Boot Manager (I recommend using EasyBCD). See here (notice the remarks on Boot Managers).
  • Replace existing OS. This is by far the easiest installation process, but, of course, it means that afterwards, you will have Linux only on your system (and it will wipe out all your data). This is mostly suitable if you are sure you only need Linux, or if you are doing this on an old / secondary computer. The instructions are the same as for dual-boot, except you wipe out the Windows partition and install Linux in the created free-space.

Sadly, it's not always guaranteed that it will just work out-of-the-box, depending on your hardware. So, it might require some tweaking and troubleshooting before everything works (things like wireless cards and graphics drivers tend to cause some trouble). There are plenty of good resources on the internet (e.g., bug-reports and forums) that usually have the solutions you want.

Once you have a working installation of Linux, learning to use it is mostly just like learning to use any other new operating system. Check out the applications that come with it, check out online resources to figure out what additional software you might want to install, and start using it. If you want to gain "expert knowledge", just start playing around in the terminal. It generally takes a bit of time to develop an automatism and intuition for the commands, but there are tons of online instructions and example commands, so if you don't know how to do something, just google for it and chances are you will find, otherwise, post a question here (or some other Linux-specific forums). It's not rocket science, it's just a gradual learning process (at first, you search for almost everything you do, but gradually, you can do more and more without google's assistance).

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Hello Impressive...
First of all which version of Linux are you using and what you want to learn please specify your requirement because basic working of linux is as simple as Windows and you can easily operate the Linux also.
So please be specific and describe your requirement that on which particular platform you want the help.

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Another option (though I generally recommend the virtual machine method mentioned by Mike2k) is to use the tool unetbootin to create a bootable live thumb drive of various distributions and try them out. It will let you boot/run a live Linux system from USB, and not take up any system disc space, require repartitioning, install a virtual machine manager (such as VirtualBox), etc. You can get unetbootin here: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

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