absolute beginner

Can any one suggest a way I can start the experience of Linux? What do I need? where can I find what I need? Simple guidance notes on getting started?
Me: Not a computer buff. My system: Dual core processor, 64bit (do they make 64 bit Linux?), Windows 7, IE 10, 4GB RAM and large free hard drive.

Hello lostandfound, and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

What’s the plan of action here … do you just want a look at Linux, or a permanent installation ?

If a permanent installation, do you want to keep Windows too ?

is the second HDD an internal drive, or USB ?

If you just want a look, you have a couple of options.

  1. Put Live on a CD or USB stick as a LiveCD/LiveUSB

  2. Install Ubuntu or Linux Mint “inside” Windows

Both of those have downsides … but they’ll give you a looksee at Linux, and allow you to test drive it without altering your hard drives.

If you want a permanent “proper” Linux installation, where to ? … the second HDD ?

This would be the best option, but we’d need to work out where’s best to put the bootloader … so we need to know if the second HDD is permanently attached to the PC (as in an internal HDD) or not (as in a USB HDD) ?

Then you need to choose your Linux “Distribution” … ie. do you go for Ubuntu as it has the largest userbase, or Linux Mint because it’s more similar to the Windows interface, or do you want to go for something else … My advice would be to start with Mint 13 Cinnamon or Ubuntu 12.04 simply because you’ll find help and tutorials easier to find, but there are hundreds of other Linux distributions to choose from.


Linux Mint:

YES there are 64bit versions of most Linux distributions … certainly the 2 above.

As I said, my advice would be to go for one of those 2 … added advice would be to first try them BOTH on a LiveUSB, and make up your mind which suits you best before installing to the hard drive.

Be aware, running them from a USB stick will be MUCH slower than running them from a hard drive so don’t draw any “speed” conclusions … but you can check out the interface and see which you like.

Do you want instructions on how to create a LiveUSB stick ?

Just a look/experience and then decide Windows 7 or Linux. And give my mind a new task! Your advice is very helpful to bewildered new comer. Links also very useful.
Just the wording I am getting use to!
Yes, how do you create LiveUSB.
No external hard drive just in built PC.

OK, to create a Mint or Ubuntu LiveUSB stick on a Windows PC …

First (and obviously) you’ll want a 4GB (or larger) USB stick :slight_smile:

Then you’ll need to download Universal USB Installer from here:

and install it in Windows.

Then you’ll need the Mint or Ubuntu ISO image … which you can get from these direct download links:-

Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon (64bit):

Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS (64bit):

Start Universal USB Installer, and at …

Step 1 … In the drop down list, select Mint 13 (Cinnamon) or Ubuntu 12.04
Step 2 … point it at the ISO image you downloaded
Step 3 … Choose your (already plugged in >= 4GB) USB stick … probably best to let it format it too, so backup its contents first.
Step 4 … Set the slider to the largest persistence file it will allow you… so you can save changes. (if you want to test drive it first)

Heres a pic of the Universal USB Installer interface


Click Create … and wait till it’s done … it will take a while, and may appear to have stopped … but just wait till it says it’s “Done” … as in the following pic

Pic of Universal USB Installer … Installing to USB Stick


Once the LiveUSB has been created, click Close.

Now reboot your PC … immediately after turning on your PC keep tapping the “Boot Device Selection Key” usually (but not always) F10 or F12 … then select the USB stick as the boot device.
(your other option would be to set the USB stick as the first boot device in the BIOS)

When asked, select “Try Mint/Ubuntu” not “Install Mint/Ubuntu

You should end up at a fully working desktop running from the USB stick.

Any problems, let us know.

I did all you said - sorry it did not work. Detail: Turned computer off, plugged in USB, computer ON. Response: ‘Remove disk or other media Press any key to continue’ And it did continue to boot Windows. HELP
I did notice in ISOUSB software support for Windows XP/Vista - I have Windows 7?
Also I did tick box for bootable USB.

It seem like it’s not written a bootloader to the USB stick … or your PC cannot boot from a USB stick, which would surprise me if it’s recent enough to have a multi-core CPU.

What is the make/model of your PC ?

and the make/model of USB stick ?

I did notice in ISOUSB software support for Windows XP/Vista - I have Windows 7?

If you mean “does Universal USB Installer work with Win7 ?” … YES.

Sorry don’t have to hand full computer details - except: make-ASUS desktop, 148GB HD, 64bit dual processor, NVIDIA graphic and the usual USB bits. I will find sales paper work out.
USB: EMTEC 8GB that all I know.
I did tick box for bootable USB in ISOUSB software panel. My panel is different to the one you show above.
PS ASUS computer requires DEL key held down at start up to enter BIOS. BIOS does show USB as possible boot up route.
thank you again.

Hold on … I think you somehow got the wrong software.

Is this a picture of what you have ?

Download and install this instead:

That’s the software in my screenshots … then use that to create the LiveUSB


Have you thought about getting some of these guides typed up and put up as tutorials? Might save you some time. Am happy to help out, I have more time than I know what to do with at the moment. Just don’t make me use Ubuntu (sobs quietly into handkerchief).

Yes that’s the screen I have. Will install new link software. Thank again.
Good suggestion to have these notes typed up for Noddy beginner like me.
If people don’t mind the time I find this quite interesting.

We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t enjoy helping out :slight_smile:

I know where most of the stuff is already on here, so I tend to just copy/paste then modify slightly if necessary, which also gives me an opportunity to update any links.

Thanks for the offer of help, and feel free to type up anything you think would be a handy tutorial, to tell the truth this forum could probably do with some less Ubuntu based distro stuff … I’ll even create a “Tutorials” forum (possibly with distro specific sub-forums ?) if you (or anyone else) think it a good idea ?

They could also possibly be featured on Linux.co.uk (?)

BTW, I’d never force you to use Ubuntu … I know I’d never see you on here again :wink:


If you decide you want to type up a tutorial and need some pics uploaded … let me know.

Got the right software - the problem was, when you enter pendrivlinux site they show you ISO to USB software first; scroll down and you find Made USB boots to Ubuntu install screen and BUT no keyboard or mouse function! Couldn’t do anything to progress. Top right of screen shows: sound, keyboard and setting icons, but cant use!
Tried getting into W7 on reboot - booted to W7 password screen and no keyboard! Had to turn mains power off to get W7 and working board.
PS my key board and mouse are wireless - ??
Thank again for help.

What make/model of wireless keyboard/mouse ?

Have you got any wired ones whilst we try to sort it out ?

I think we cracked it, found old USB2 mouse. It got me past login block. Keyboard (wireless) also works. Booted in via LiveUSB, just setting up. Quite slow bootup so I have decided to install along side W7, not quite sure how to switch between OS, but I can find out. First impression of nice clear screen - good.

You can’t exactly switch between them … it should ask you which OS you want to boot into immediately after turning on the PC (actually, just after the POST … Power On Self Test).

Thank you for your efforts so far BUT I need another question answering: Trying to access BBC iPlayer, I need Flash Player 11.2, they ask me to ‘Select version to download’, they give - YUM for linux or .tar.gz for Linux or .rpm for Linux. What are they talking about?? And looking the installation instruction that follow, even if you select the right on!!?? mind blowing.

That’s not really the correct way to install flashplayer

Can you open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) … and run:

sudo updatedb

then send the output from these commands:

locate libflashplayer.so


dpkg -l | grep flash