How do I get started?

I’m brand new to Linux and not very tech savvy. Over a year ago I tried installing first Ubuntu and then Mint, but couldn’t. It turns out the old computers I tried to use didn’t have enough gig, or whatever! (Really not techy!) So we got one of the kids’ old computers fixed and cleared and we’re ready to try again but I completely forget where to get the programs and how to download them onto a flash drive and then upload them! I remember the website having pretty good instructions, so if anyone could please send the appropriate links for the best version for people who only know Windows (last I tried to figure this out, it was Mint) I would appreciate it. Since I downloaded over a year ago, the version I have is probably old and needs updating. Thank you!


Linux loves old computers! And it does require a bit of saavy to get started. Knowing a mouse from a keyboard or monitor will be required.

A good place to start is with Linux Mint.

Linux Mint Install Guide

This will help you learn about the different Desktops and features.

Personally I believe the Cinnamon Edition is the place to start. Looks great and is familiar to the Windows and Mac Desktops.

There are lots of YouTube videos that will help you as well.
Search for “Installing Linux for beginners”

It is worth the time and effort. Once you are up and running you will wonder what you waited for.

Good Luck!


Welcome to the light.

You’ll find that the Linux and FOSS communities are great and helpful.

You can start with this thread:

Arch is a more advanced user base and typically “upity” about helping newcomers so I would avoid most anything on that side. Sticking with Debian based or any of the many flavors of Ubuntus would be a good place to start.

Rufus, Balena Etcher are the most prominent ones for writing the ISO files to a USB to make it a bootable thumb drive.

First, if you have a model of the intended recipient, that would help us to help you start in the right direction choosing a compatible distro.

If it is “old” it could be that it may not support 64bit and we would have to run down a list of 32bit distros, there are still plenty out there. They may not be useful for video editing etc, but they would be fine for basic internet, video watching, mail…


Thank you so much, NorseMan! I will definitely dive into this.

Thank you, MrD! :wink: As I get into it, I’ll check back to your post.

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I havent begun yet, but before doing so, Im wondering if Im going to get interruptions in interfacing with anything else. e.g., printer, Telegram, Zoom usage. also How would I remove Chrome, Google Microsoft edge etc.

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I don’t zoom so I’m not of much help there, though in the Channels people refer to zoom use in browser instead of application.
Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are not in Linux unless you put them there.
Depending on your install selection (dual boot or full replacement) they would remain in the Windows side.

I use Telegrams direct Linux Desktop program with out issue, it updates inside itself from your user /home dir. Extract and run.

Most Printers work with little or no fuss, some take a lil work. I use and Epson Wi-Fi print/scan/copy ink jet, worked right out of the box on Debian 11(as well as Ubuntu’s 16 - 18, yep it’s older printer. even the ink level notifications work under Debian 11 and Xfce Desktop. Excellent spot to check Printer compatibility.


When you install Linux, you create a brand new computer operating system. You are not interrupting the current system, you will be recreating a new system in a private, secure, and really fun new system.

You control your process, building a new system that will stand alone from any current Operating System you currently work with. This means you will be creating a replacement for everything. You can bring your settings and data over to the new Linux system once you get comfortable with the environment.

Back-up and don’t erase your hard drive to install Linux over a system you need/use daily.

To start your journey you can:

  • find an old machine to install to
  • create a dual boot on a current machine
  • create a virtual machine to test without changing your current set-up

Before you do anything make sure you have an excellent back-up of your current system

Once you are up and running you will be able to customise your new system to your hearts content. Linux is so AWESOME you will be amazed with what you create.

There are lots of information to help you.


This is all super helpful.

Laptop solely dedicated to Linux exploration is.arriving soon:
SSD 255, 8gb, Intel 2127u, 1.9ghz, 17.3 screen for these weary eyes…

Is my best initial foray Linux Mint?

Please advise.

Also: where do I find the :Linux for Beginners: course link?

Thanks in advance y’all!


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I believe you send an email to about the Linux for Beginners course though i am not certain, possibly one of the @admins can chime in with correct details.

Mint should be a good start as well. great support in their forums and chats.


Thanks @NorseMan
Been looking at linux (and ubuntu some time ago). Never realized that all I had to do was take the plunge. Luckily I had an old Dell Optiplex computer dropped in my lap and Linux was the perfect solution to eliminate the auto loading management workstation software it had. So I jumped in. It worked like a charm. A little bit of a learning curve but here I am. I think I am hooked.
I haven’t actually been this exited about computers, since I first learned to program the Commodore 64. My image of the lotech scenes in “Johnny Mnemonic” can finally come to life. :grin: This is gonna be so much fun. Now I can use the usb stick to play with all the other toys in the house. And they thought I was crazy before.
You see,I’m one of the kids who had to take a day trip with the high school to go visit THE COMPUTER at Waterloo University in the sixties. And my kids used to talk about how their mom built computers for fun.
The journey has begun.


Hi. I paid for a conversion of an old HP laptop to Linux - Ubuntu. It worked great for a few weeks, then every time I turn it on and try a browser (I have Brave and another one) the screen fades and flickers, and will mot function.
I have to hit the power button and shut down the laptop.

What can I do?
How can I delete the browsers and install a better one?

I have been able to get zoom to work for meetings, but I wanted to use thunderbird for my emails, and am afraid to open that up.

Please advise!

If you start the laptop and let it sit, without logging in, does the screen flicker/fade and remain black after tapping something on the keyboard? If you log in and don’t start anything does the same thing occur? What’s the model of HP you are using?