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Getting started with Linux isn’t as tough as it might initially seem, but it’s very easy for me to sit here and type that while you’re sweating over whether to choose Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian etc., and trying to work out how to migrate your data across. And that’s before you even consider the learning curve of a new OS.

Well, apart from the good news that Ubuntu and Mint are pretty much interchangeable for beginners, and use a mouse driven user interface not a million miles from Windows and Mac OS X, the problem with data migration is pretty much a non-issue 5 Ways to Share Personal Data on Linux-Windows Dual Boot PCs 5 Ways to Share Personal Data on Linux-Windows Dual Boot PCs You want ability to access data between operating systems so you can use Linux easily. Let's see how we can work around this problem, and get your data where you want it. Read More .

While we’ve given you several guides in the past to help you to migrate to Linux The Best Linux Distros for First Time Switchers from Windows and Mac The Best Linux Distros for First Time Switchers from Windows and Mac Linux has an intimidating image, making it seem like it would be difficult to start using it. But the switch from Windows and Mac is actually pretty easy, if you can ease yourself into it. Read More , reading through a list of steps and believing some random guy behind a keyboard isn’t quite the same as seeing it with your own eyes.

So, let’s do that: we’ll show you five videos that demonstrate how easy it is for a Windows user to get started with Linux.

Install Linux on Your PC

You won’t get anywhere with Linux unless you install a copy on your PC first. Doing this is straightforward, and the steps demonstrated in this video can be replicated with virtually any distro instead of Linux Mint.

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Remember that before installing Linux, you can run the ISO file from DVD or USB flash device as a live environment Live USB Install Puts Linux On Your Thumb Drive With Ease Live USB Install Puts Linux On Your Thumb Drive With Ease Boot one of over a hundred Linux distros from a USB disk. With Live USB, software you can run on both Windows and Linux computers, it only takes a couple of clicks to make your... Read More to spend some time evaluating whether or not you’re happy with the operating system. While you may be missing some functionality, and data cannot be saved, you can at least perform standard tasks like browsing the web, checking email and using a word processor. If you’re happy with these tools, moving forward to a full installation is the next step.

Using Linux for the First Time

Let’s face facts: a new operating system means a whole new way of working. Apps live in different places, access to the settings will not be the same as what you’re used to, and while these new actions are easy to learn, they will take a little getting used to.

This video is a great introduction to Ubuntu, providing a helpful first look at the desktop and giving you a good overview to find all of the tools and features you expect.

Once you have got to grips with the desktop, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with a few key apps, and the way Linux works.

Getting to Grips with the Terminal

While using a mouse-driven user interface is nice and simple, and certainly user friendly, it is less powerful than the command line. These days it is quite possible to get by with Linux without ever accessing the Terminal to input text-based commands, but if you want to become more efficient with the OS, then the command line is where the power lies.

This video introduces the Terminal, and provides some useful information about absolute and relative file paths, useful when browsing directories.

Want to know more? If this video inspires you to find out more, our guide to learning more about Terminal commands 4 Ways to Teach Yourself Terminal Commands in Linux 4 Ways to Teach Yourself Terminal Commands in Linux If you want to become a true Linux master, having some terminal knowledge is a good idea. Here methods you can use to start teaching yourself. Read More should help.

Nautilus Is Not the Only File Manager

There is a good chance that you’re planning on using Ubuntu, which means that by default you’ll have the benefit of the Nautilus file manager Thunar vs. Nautilus: Two Lightweight File Managers For Linux Thunar vs. Nautilus: Two Lightweight File Managers For Linux Is Thunar a better file manager than Gnome's default, Nautilus? Read More . But unlike Windows and Mac OS X, where the proprietary file managers are generally accepted as the only way to browse files, cut and copy folders and documents, etc., (despite there being plenty of alternative Windows file managers The 5 Good Free Windows File Managers The 5 Good Free Windows File Managers Read More ), Linux Ubuntu users have the benefit of various alternatives.

In the video above, you’ll see Nautilus, Thunar and Nemo (the Linux Mint file manager) compared, giving you a good insight into what the alternatives offer.

Reset Your Lost Ubuntu Password

Gaining familiarity with a new operating system can take time. If you opted for a dual boot situation, you may be using the second OS installed on your hard disk drive occasionally at first, which might explain why you have lost your password.

Fortunately you can use this video to reset your lost Ubuntu password…

Password recovery in Linux depends on the OS, but is more or less the same as demonstrated here, although the method used to get to the command line may differ.

No Need to Fear Linux!

These YouTube tutorials have been chosen to help you gain familiarity with Linux, whether you’re using Ubuntu, Mint, or another distro. Speaking as a relatively recent convert, the ease with which Linux can be adopted is surprising…

Have you reservations about switching to Linux? Share your fears and concerns below, and we’ll help you put them right.

  1. Eivydas Petryla
    August 21, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Personally i thinl there is too much fidelling with linux distros if you're coming from windows (old pc), also tried to setup linux properly on an inspiron 1520 once, almost had it setup, but could't find proper wifi drivers at the time, so went back to xp. Also i'm better of with windows (basically because i hate looking for coding mistakes :/).

  2. fcd76218
    August 21, 2015 at 1:27 am

    OK, I did forget Raspbian. Mea culpa. However, the articles on Raspberry Pi and Raspbian have started appearing only recently and about as often as those on Fedora which is not too often.

    Whenever any examples are given, they apply only to Ubuntu and its derivatives. Occasionally Fedora commands are provided. There are 200+ other distros that do not use PPAs. Even Debian and its derivatives other than the *buntu family do not use PPAs.

    What "internal fiction?" That there are distros besides Ubuntu? Is it rumor mongering that as of Monday there were 280 active distros and 800 total distros in the DistroWatch database? How about every once in a while throwing in an article on any of the DistroWatch Top 10 by the number of downloads, other than Mint and Ubuntu? Or are your Linux experts capable of speaking only *buntu?

  3. Leo Keil
    August 20, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    I've been wanting to run Linux on my netbook for years, but every time I install it, it doesn’t connect to my Wi-Fi, because it doesn’t recognize the Wi-Fi card in the computer. None of the articles I've read about Linux deal with this issue. Windows-XP, running on that computer, has no problem connecting to my Wi-Fi.

    • Frank Klett
      August 20, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      I had a similar problem on an old Gateway laptop I wanted to install Mint on...after a few frustrating days of trying various things I had a surge of genius (sort of) ..I had an old wi-fi dongle in my junk collection so I plugged it into the USB and was online almost immediately...if you have one you might tey it..or $10 at Newegg gets you one. Good luck with it!

    • Gregory Coe
      August 21, 2015 at 1:37 am

      Leo, one of my laptops has a Broadcom wifi card, most likely yours does also. They never play well with Linux/Ubuntu. Do what I have done for that one, just go to eBay or Amazon and purchase a USB wifi wireless dongle that works with Linux/Ubuntu, most can be purchased for around $10.00 plus or minus. When it comes just slide it into a USB slot and let it install its platform and then install a distro, I really like Zorin OS, it is built to look and operate just like Windows 7 and is an all in one OS, look at reviews of it on Youtube, then with the wifi dongle in look for your wifi system at home, it will be there, type in your wifi pass code and you are off and running. It works for me and I'm sure millions of others that use Linux/Ubuntu and in my case Zorin OS. zorin.com .

  4. amcnally
    August 20, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Does all of the above apply even if you are using a mini Linux OS like Slax?
    I've recently downloaded it on a flash drive to use on an old laptop.

    • fcd76218
      August 20, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      While the general information applies to all Linux distros, the specifics apply only to Ubuntu and/or Mint. MUO staff is of the opinion that, since Ubuntu and Mint have the most downloads, all other distros do not count and should not be mentioned. Although, I must admit that every once in a while somebody slips and writes something about Fedora.

      • Christian Cawley
        August 20, 2015 at 8:58 pm

        "MUO staff is of the opinion that, since Ubuntu and Mint have the most downloads, all other distros do not count and should not be mentioned."

        Well, that saved me a job.

        Utter nonsense, of course. We cover what we're using. Theres a considerable volume of Raspberry Pi content on this site, the large majority of which is using Raspbian.

        Making a criticism over our coverage of Linux distros is fine. We need to do better.

        Trying to rationalise it with your own internal fiction, however, is just rumour mongering.

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