Real Install prep tips
Solo install / Dual Boot (these are essentially the same, the only major differences occur around "partitioning" part)
- Make sure you have at least 10 Gigabytes of free space on your hard drive
- Make sure your computer stays plugged in for the duration of the install.
- If possible, have a wired connection to the Internet.
- Dual Boot w/Windows. Defragment your harddrive. Scroll down to "3. Speed up access to data" and follow the given instructions. This may take a LONG time, up to an ENTIRE DAY, you've been warned.
Determine your computer's architecture, i.e. whether your computer has a 32bit (i386) or 64bit(amd64) processor. To determine this, you may have to look up your computers specs, (e.g. google the name and model of your computer, or look on the box if you have it around.) Weirdly enough, "x86" means "32-bit," while "x64" refers to 64-bit. Newer computers tend to be 64bit --but bug me if you can't figure it out. If we STILL hopelessly can't figure it out, go with 32-bit, most everything is backwards compatible.
You may use nearly any distribution (or "distro") of linux you like. I'm recommending Lubuntu (a variation of the extremely popular Ubuntu) because it is lightweight and should feel familiar to most. Linux Mint is another good option, or perhaps even regular Ubuntu if you'd like to try their new unique interface. Poke around http://distrowatch.com/ if you'd like to see what else is out there.
Download the Lubuntu ISO (CD-Rom image) appropriate for your system. It's pretty big, so make sure you have extra time or get it while at school. (From home, Bittorrent may be faster, and helps contribute to the community)
Be sure you get the version that corresponds to your computer. The first (Intel x86) will work on most older PCs and should be the default. The second (AMD64) will work for most newer ones. The 3rd is for macs.
Now, you may need to get the ISO image onto a physical medium. Simplest way is to burn it to a CD -- remember to use the "burn from ISO" option. *You cannot simply drag and drop the ISO image as if it were regular data.* Consult your program for details on this.
If you need a burning program for Windows - http://cdburnerxp.se/
Some newer computers do not have CD drives. In this case, you will need to "burn" the image to a USB thumb drive. If you have a free flash drive, you can make one as well - Make sure it's at least one gigabyte, and backup everything on it; this process destroys all data present on the drive. This is somewhat of an extensive process. I won't list all the steps here, but here is a guide to getting it done.
Additionally, you may have to boot into your computer's "BIOS" (that thing where you have to hit F(something) to enter setup right when your computer turns on) to change the "boot order" -- i.e. tell your computer to try booting from USB first. Again, message me if you have trouble with this.
If you're using the default Lubuntu installation, you'll soon see a startup screen. Select the language of your choice, and you will be presented with the Lubuntu startup menu. Select "Install Ubuntu." The installation will begin.
From here, it is relatively straightforward. A few notes.
"Preparing to install Lubuntu"
- You should be "connected to the Internet," but if not, we can fix this later. Continue regardless.
- Feel free to install third-party software, especially if you might play music or watch video in your install.
Select "erase disk and install" -- remember, it's not talking about your REAL hard drive, but the virtual 8gb one you created a few minutes ago; it's okay to "erase" it.
Time zone and keyboard ought to be self explanatory.
"Who are you"
What you choose for a name and password is mostly up to you, though you should choose a decent password in case you begin to use this installation frequently. I recommend requiring your password to log in, but not encrypting your home folder. While entering your password frequently in Linux might be annoying at first, it's like that for good reasons.
Watch the install screens; you can get a sense of how the formerly "technical/geeky" Linux has become rather user-friendly. You'll also be introduced to some terms we will learn more about in class, like "desktop environment." Note that Lubuntu is designed to be as lightweight as possible, and the default programs reflect that. I'll recommend different day-to-day software instead of Lubuntu defaults, e.g. Firefox instead of Chromium and Libreoffice instead of Abiword/Gnumeric. But we can worry about that later.
Once finished, remove your CD-ROM or Usb stick (and change your BIOS back if needed) and restart your machine. If you did dual boot, you'll presented with a menu that will allow you to choose your preferred operating system. Go ahead and fire up Linux!