How to Install GNU/Linux on Computer

(Tired of the lagginess, bugginess, proprietary/expensive nature of Micro$oft Windows? Or hate the new Metro User Interface? Tired of viruses? Want to see what the big deal of free- and open-source software is? Want to run your computer more efficiently and safely?)

Here is a quick walkthrough that a certain someone (you know who you are, MJ) asked me for on how to install GNU/Linux on a computer and make it run  dual-boot (Windows and Linux on one computer).

I will be using the user-friendly Linux Mint distro (distribution/flavor) for this instruction. Ubuntu is also a good starter. When you’re ready, you can always try Debian testing.


  • somewhat new (Windows?) laptop (or desktop) –> it must be able to run Cinnamon (have enough memory) and should be 64-bit compatible (unless you have a dinosaur computer, you should be okay).
  • be willing to expect that your wireless card may not work (if it is broadcom, you can always try “sudo aptitude install firmware-b43-installer” . . . that’s for another time).
  • a blank DVD disk and DVD burning software
  • willingness to try something new (and better and superior)
  • WARNING: if you have any sensitive files, it is always good to back them up! If you have a smaller hard drive, it may be nice to defragment your drive. Either use Microsoft’s built-in defragmenter (under Accesories –> System tools for XP), or download MyDefrag. Use System Monthly disk for your C drive. If you already have partitions and want to be safe, maybe you can use D drive. But if you have a big C drive, I’d stick with it for max newb friendliness…
  • for more help, comment below, contact me, or check out message boards.


  1. Go to Linux Mint’s (LM) website,, and choose Linux Mint 16 (Codename “Petra”) Cinnamon (modern-desktop environment) 64-bit (can use more memory than 32-bit) –> found here.
  2. If you have a torrent client (like Bittorrent, etc.), use the torrent link (hyperlink named “torrent” – found under Release Notes | Annoucements | Torrents). Otherwise, search/scroll down for a nearby mirror (in this case, likely US primary download mirror).
  3. Wait until it’s downloaded.
  4. Take the ISO image and burn it to the blank DVD disk. You may have to choose the option of direct disk image burn. Do not use data disk or music disk.
  5. Once it burns properly, restart computer. NOTE: When it boots, if it doesn’t automatically load the disk (and newer Windows computers are known not to do so), you will have to open up boot menu or something. Usually on your initial boot splash screen, you will see instructions on how to get there. It is usually something like “Press F2 – Boot Menu” or “F12 to enter setup” –> then go to boot order, and make sure you make it boot first from CD/DVD drive.
  6. Once you do so, your computer should load into a Linux environment (running off your CD).
  7. Then you can play around. If you have working wireless, great –> connect to your WiFi network. If not, maybe an wired ethernet connection is good. This is not mandatory, however.
  8. When ready, click on “Install Linux” on the Desktop.
  9. Follow instructions.
  10. For what you want, choose install Linux Mint ALONGSIDE Windows (or whatever operating system (OS) you have).
  11. Then drag as much space as you need. Unless you want to load a lot of music and movies on your OS, 30-40 GB of space will suffice, or even less if you have a smaller hard drive.
  12. Everything else will fall into place, hopefully.
  13. Once install is done, you can just restart (follow computer instructions).
  14. Enjoy.

If some things don’t work. Simply turn off and restart. Also, if you’ve partitioned your hard drive, the first time you boot into Windows, it may ask to rescan because it sensed a change in your hard drive. You can choose to check or not. Most likely nothing is wrong, but it simply realizes that it is using less storage than it had before (because some of the disk is now reserved for Linux Mint).

Thanks for trying Linux.

Join the Dark Side! Stick it to the man! 🙂

Did I miss anything? Tips, questions, comments? Comment below.


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