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!

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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!

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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.

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.