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I took the quiz recommended in the sticky but I wanted to generally hear a couple peoples direct opinion on this, so I hope you guys don't mind. I'll be ...
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    Want to try linux, any recommendations for a dumbed down simple distro


    I took the quiz recommended in the sticky but I wanted to generally hear a couple peoples direct opinion on this, so I hope you guys don't mind.

    I'll be honest, I'm not a very tech-minded person. I just need a free OS as I can't afford Windows, and Linux seemed like the best option besides piracy. However, I also know that Linux is for the more technical minded. After all, most people I've talked to say that the command line is what makes Linux distinctly more powerful- but I honestly don't care about that. I don't need/want powerful or quick, I just need something dumbed down to the extreme for derps like me. Which pretty much means that I dread using the command line or even coming close to it.

    Can anybody recommend to me which distro is the absolute most friendly towards people who can't handle anything but point and click? I'd love to learn DOS commands and such, but not at this point. I'd really just love to log in and get around without a hassle.

    I might be spouting BS of course, and I've tried to read up as much as I could on how Linux works and apparently many distro's are in fact mouse friendly...but are their distro's as mouse friendly (or near enough to it) as Windows is?

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    First off.... Welcome aboard!
    You're taking the first step into the realm of the nerds!
    Quote Originally Posted by avatair View Post
    However, I also know that Linux is for the more technical minded. After all, most people I've talked to say that the command line is what makes Linux distinctly more powerful
    Yes and no. The command line does give you more power of your system. But nowadays it's not required. Various versions of Linux are designed to be easy on the new user.
    Can anybody recommend to me which distro is the absolute most friendly towards people who can't handle anything but point and click?
    Yep... Mint, Ubuntu and Fedora would be my first thoughts. Mint includes almost everything you need to start off. Ubuntu is the same way... And they both include the option to use the command line if you choose to do so.
    Fedora is quite friendly, but does require just a touch of command line usage to get it fully up and running for everyday stuff (YouTube, MP3, etc.) But that can be seen as a good thing... since you'll gain a bit of experience right from the start.

    The options are there. So it's really up to you.

    Just try one... let us know what you want to try, and we'll try to help you along the way.
    I'd love to learn DOS commands and such, but not at this point.
    Don't... DOS commands have almost no mutual context with Linux commands. Just start fresh. Trust me... it will be easier that way!
    Jay

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayd512 View Post
    First off.... Welcome aboard!
    You're taking the first step into the realm of the nerds!

    Yes and no. The command line does give you more power of your system. But nowadays it's not required. Various versions of Linux are designed to be easy on the new user.

    Yep... <edited out because unable to post links until post 15> would be my first thoughts. Mint includes almost everything you need to start off. Ubuntu is the same way... And they both include the option to use the command line if you choose to do so.
    Fedora is quite friendly, but does require just a touch of command line usage to get it fully up and running for everyday stuff (YouTube, MP3, etc.) But that can be seen as a good thing... since you'll gain a bit of experience right from the start.

    The options are there. So it's really up to you.

    Just try one... let us know what you want to try, and we'll try to help you along the way.
    Don't... DOS commands have almost no mutual context with Linux commands. Just start fresh. Trust me... it will be easier that way!
    I read about making the GUI more prominent and I was happy about that but I just wanted to honestly make sure, thanks for the reassurance. My main worry is that I really do not want to go over my head with this and end up reading a manual for half an hour and posting constant questions on the forums...which has pretty much been my life story with any and all technology (most of the time it doesn't even help because tech and I...we never mix well. EVER.)

    I read somewhere that apparently Mint is the MOST friendly towards new users?

    I'd love some beginner experience but I honestly wouldn't know where to start. I don't mean I have a beginner knowledge. I mean I have absolutely near ZERO knowledge of terms, and computers in general. Case and point: every term I referenced above was from a few dozen pages I found on google after hearing about Linux. That's kind of discomforting, how complex is it in reality to set up stuff like Youtube, Chrome, etc? Stuff like that. Assuming absolutely no knowledge, how long would it take to figure out the commands for the stuff? Are commands different for different distros? If they're not, could you point out a location where I could find the info (preferably a page which uses no jargon and basically says "Here you idiot copy+paste this for wins").

    Sorry for using DOS, I'm (kinda?) aware that Linux's CLI is way more powerful than MS-DOS's, I just couldn't think of a more simple word for it.

    Thanks for the help, I would really appreciate if I could get some help for those Linux commands to get a browser and youtube and such....please

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    Hi. I am a Linux novice like you. I have tried both Mint and Ubuntu. They are both very user friendly. I like Mint just a little better than Ubuntu. In neither of those operating systems did I ever find any genuine need for using command-line arguments. I did wind up needing it once in Mint because I had the one special need of getting my audio to come out of the HDMI port on my Radeon video card, but if you don't have specialized hardware needs like that, you will probably not need to use the terminal. The OS just works right out of the box.

    The fact of the matter is that modern versions of Linux are becoming easier to use than Windows, especially when it comes to installing new software. You just launch the package manager, search for the kind of software you need, make a choice, and the software installs. For basic, standard, everyday computer needs, all of this happens without a glitch, at least it does for me.

    Unfortunately, you might need to make sure that you have a good understanding of what hard-drive partitions are and how they work in Linux because they do work a little differently in Linux than they do in Windows.

    Also keep in mind that all of the major distros are providing live disks. This means that once you boot a live CD or DVD, you can just check out how the OS works and feels on your computer without installing it. Then you can decide what you like. Hence, try downloading Fedora, Mint, and Ubuntu live image files, burn them to disk, and boot each one to see which one feels right for you. This is a pretty cheap way to check it all out. Also, if you partition your hard drive correctly, you do not actually need to commit to any particular one. You could have all of them right on top of Windows as well all booting from the same hard drive. So maybe something works better for you in Ubuntu that doesn't work right in Mint and vice versa. No commitment necessary. Just choose your OS on the GRUB list at boot time and enjoy computing.

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    Partitions...uh oh. I don't know what those are at all, Windows or not >.<.

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    Quote Originally Posted by avatair View Post
    Partitions...uh oh. I don't know what those are at all, Windows or not >.<.
    Okay. Partitions. Inside your computer is a hard drive (HDD). It stores information, including the OS. When you are starting your system fresh, it needs to be partitioned, divided into parts. Operating systems can then treat each partition (part) as a separate drive. Most pre-built computers come with the HDD set up as only one partition, which is really not a very good way to do things. Windows assigns a drive letter to each partition (like C. Linux typically assigns "hda" to each partition (e.g., "hda1", "hda2", etc.). Usually in a prebuilt Windows system, when you see C:, it just is the whole hard drive, but if it is partitioned multiple times, the same device could show up as C: and D: and E:, etc.

    Why would you want to do this? Well, let's take the fact that Windows get hosed all of the time. Most users keep their data on the same partition as the operating system. This becomes a problem when the OS gets messed up, and you have to reinstall. I solve this problem by keeping each OS on its own partition and all of my data on another partition. This means that if I have to completely blow away an OS and install from scratch, my data is untouched.

    Patitioning is not difficult. Each partition has its own file system. Windows uses NTFS. Linux can read data on NTFS partitions, but it installs to EXT partitions. There are different kinds of EXT partitions such as EXT2, EXT3, and EXT4. Each distro will have its own preference for which of those EXT types is preferred. Don't worry about this. The better distros that are more popular will make a recommendation to you when you install and partition the drive (which will be offered as part of the install). There is also the Linux swap partition. You may or may not be aware of what is called virtual memory. This is when the OS uses part of the HDD as RAM. The actual RAM gets filled up, and the OS copies parts of what is in RAM to a part of the HDD that it is using as virtual RAM. Windows and some version of Linux do this with a simple file, but many versions of Linux need a swap partition to do this. You don't absolutely need a swap partition to install Linux, but a swap partition can speed up your system.

    First off, the few distros I have looked at upon install use a nice little piece of partitioning software called GParted or something similar. It is very user friendly and not difficult to use. I am going to assume that you are going to start with a used hard drive that has old data on it that you already have backed up and also that you are only going to install one OS onto your system. First, you are going to basically blow away all of the partitions making the data on those partitions inaccessible. you will not be able to access the data. If you cannot afford to lose the data on the HDD, then DO NOT FOLLOW THIS PROCEDURE.

    When you boot the live disk and choose to install, usually you will be asked to partition. The partitioning software will show you what partitions are already on your HDD. Delete all of them. This will make the data on those partitions inacessible. Apply the changes.

    Let's start making new partitions starting with the swap partition. The rule of thumb for a swap partition is to make it twice the size of the RAM, so if you have 2GB of RAM installed, make it 4GB (4096MB). Actually, set it to twice the maximum possible RAM your motherboard can handle just in case you add more RAM later (It's getting pretty cheap!). Select the empty space on the HDD. Select "make". Make it a primary swap partition of the correct size. Apply the change.

    Next, you'll want an EXT partition for your OS. The size will be up to you. Linux systems typically need a lot less hard drive space than Windows. You'll want to do some digging for the OS of your choice. I have read that 8-12GB is sufficient for most heavy distros. Maybe you'll go 20GB just so that you'll have some room on your desktop to temporarily store data. For this operation, make it primary EXT? with the number being whatever the OS recommends. If you have a fairly large HDD, I would do this one more time just so that in case you decide to install a second OS, you'll already have the space set up to do it. Do not worry too much about the exact file structure since you can change it later easily if you need a different one for a different OS. For the remainder of the space, make a primary NTFS partition. This will be for data, and it will be readable by all Linux and Windows Operating Systems. That means that if for some reason you needed your data in another computer, you could physically pull out the hard drive, stick it into any other computer that boots to its own OS, and that computer could read your data.

    Through all of this, keep in mind that you can only have a maximum of four primary partitions on one HDD. If you want more partitions than that, you will need to make your last partition an extended partition instead of primary, which will allow you to continue to subdivide that extended partition into pretty much as many logical partitions as you like, but that's really more information than you probably need right now.

    Using most partition editors is basically a straightforward process provided you have a clue about what the partition software is asking you to do. I've done my best in the information above to explain what it's all about.

    If you follow the instructions above, you should wind up with an HDD patitioned in the following way:
    hda1 Linux swap
    hda2 EXT? (for your primary Linux OS)
    hda3 EXT? (just in case you want to install a second Linux OS)
    hda4 NTFS (for data storage readable by Linux and Windows)

    Please keep in mind that this is just my advice. Others with more experience with Linux may have other (better) advice. However, I insist that for the most enjoyable computing, KEEP YOUR DATA OFF OF ANY PARTITION THAT CONTAINS AN OS. That way, if you don't like an OS or it has problems, the fix is simple. Just blow away the partition containing that OS and either reinstall or install something different without having any effect whatsoever on your personal data.
    Last edited by alanwescoat; 07-06-2013 at 09:02 AM.

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    Woah woah woah! Thanks for all the information, really appreciate it ! Makes a lot more sense than I could make of it by reading the wikipedia page !

    I actually have two Hard Drives on my system at the moment, and I had recently formatted my smaller 60gb SSD just for Linux (which I'm really glad is smaller by the way). The other hard drive 150gb and holds an unregistered copy of Windows 7. In terms of partitions and ahrd drives and all that stuff, is there any benefit towards keeping OS's on different hard drives over different partitions? From what I could (loosely) tell is that partitioning a drive makes the partition act completely independent from the rest of the software on the drive, right?

    I'll look into GParted, so it's essentially a software that makes the steps towards making a partition...easier? Great to know .

    I've actually booted up Linux mint from a USB stick now and am posting on it, but I've run into a bit of a snag. Hope this doesn't sound weird but you said you've had experience with mint, so would you happen to know where the "full install" button or whatever it might be called is for mint? I used Unetbootin to make a live USB, but did not provide my own ISO as Unetbootin seemed to have its own version of mint 15 available. O_o

    However mint is a lot less intimidating and smoother than I could have hoped for and very much like windows which gives me some relief of course the next hurtle I would assume is figuring out what the terminal might be used for and working my way somewhere but right now I just want to get this thing installed and get comfortable XD any ideas on where that button is, in a menu somewhere? The only icons on my desktop are "Home" and "Computer".

    Again thank you so much for the detailed reply and I wish I could say more about it besides "awesome, now I know what partitions are"; I really appreciate the help!

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    No problem. Glad the info was helpful.

    Sorry that I can't recall where the full install is on Mint.

    As for GParted (or something like it), just do your install, and it will be made available. I'm pretty sure Mint uses GParted for partitioning, not that it matters. No matter what GUI partitioning you get, as long as you understand what the software is doing for you, you'll be fine.

    Since you're using a 60GB HDD, I would partition in the following way:
    hda 1 swap
    hda 2 EXT? about 8GB (10? 12?)
    Leave the rest of the drive alone for now. Once you figure out what you want to do with the space, you can run a partition manager from within your OS to take care of it any way you like. It is okay to leave unallocated space on a hard drive. You can allocate it later.

    Basically, you're right that the partition keep portions of the drive independent of one another.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to booting to different physical disks. Mint's boot manager (GRUB) should detect the Windows install and then give you that option to boot to either OS so as long at the drive where you install Mint is set in your computer's BIOS to be the drive the system boots to, you should get a little menu as soon as you start from a bootloader program called GRUB that will give you the option of booting either to Mint or to Windows every time you turn, which is pretty nice.

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    Awesome then, I didn't get it overly tangled then . Question- currently I have about 16gb of RAM on the mobo (which covers all four slots) - does the whole double rule still apply? Especially since it can handle 32 GB and that would mean making the partition potentially bigger than the HD itself O_o. Or would a lower number be safe for the partition, like as you said making it like 12 or something near that.

    I've had some experience dual-booting (I think?) before hand, but with two windows copies (no clue as to why), so wouldn't the windows bootmgr pop up first or would GRUB do so? Would they interfere with one another?

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    Uh...oh...

    Well I tried to download Linux Mint...not only was it a resounding failure, I think my computer doesn't even see my 60 gb ssd anymore. I tried to set up some basic partitions but now I can't do anything with the drive as neither does loading on the HD take me to Linux Mint but to windows boot mgr (which for some reason still shows two copies of windows despite me formatting the D drive before), but now when I log onto windows, there is no D drive.

    ...crap.

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