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If you dont mind please..humbly looking for direction

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Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
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September 15, 2011 5:01:48 AM

Hello, Im an experienced windows user (7 currently) looking for change. Not change in the sense that i am looking for something in particular, just that what Ive researched says Linux may be a viable answer to that very change.

Ive been researching vehemently, frantically maybe (adhd) in order to understand Linux a bit better than what you hear about from bickering opposites.

Here is what Ive gathered. Linux will require me to take my above average MS comprehension and put it aside in order to become an OS newb again. Which Im more than happy to do. I guess the only thing I dont understand is the user interface Linux utilizes (commands) or such. Not the point of this thread. Ive found that the UI on many distros negates the need for advanced comprehension of linux, but then again, I dont even know what Im talking about, lol.

Im interested at least in running Linux on my w7 laptop (Acer aspire 5552) but am slightly confused on the hardware compatibility. I guess this is what I need to know, if anyone can help, I know it sounds like a pain, but Id like to think Im a fast learner. Ive had my notebook for a week, and all ive done is install a fresh w7 from an iso to get rid of the crap, and installed a SSD.

1. Will the hardware on my notebook work with say ubuntu or fedora?
2. I have a single partition on my SSD, but im not sure how to create another, or if I need a program that can do this for me. Ive read about shrinking? my windows partition, but not sure what that does.
3. Is this (at least for installation purposes) as easy as downloading the Linux OS and letting install on my notebook? If so, what should I start researching to get the ball rolling?


Im just tired of MS (feel trapped by software designed for the happy family) and feel Linux may or may not be what im looking for. Im a guy who likes lots of choices, Im not a big gamer, and reserve no loyalty to MS other than the obvious reasons why I know the Win OS so well, I grew up with it of course! But what I thrive on outside of personal computing is customization and options. I like to have them, and I dont exactly have them with windows. Heck, I may not even like linux, but the thrill of abandoning everything I know to learn something new is enough for me.

Any tips or pointers on where to start would be great, Not looking to get my hand held, just some direction to run a recommended distro inside my W7 OS and how to start that process. Fedora sounds up my ally (high tech, edgy? sounds good) but Im open to insight.

srry for the book, just very interested in Linux, VERY...

thanks in advance!
September 15, 2011 6:10:41 AM

Linux distro will run on machines that windows 7 won't. So you don't have to worry about the hardware. You can always use a live distro like Ubuntu, Fendora, or Mint to test out your system before you install. You can resize your windows partition its perfectly safe. You can use EASEUS Partition Master its free, on your windows OS to do it. Or you can use a live CD to resize using linux. Which is better for you, because you could mess up and have to reinstall every thing all over again...You can use GParted or Disk Utility to resize it. Once you resize the partition all you have to run is the installer and follow the instructions very easy it does every for you. You have two options. Option 1 is get your feet wet by installing a virtual machine on the windows host and run linux or Option 2. Dive right in by installing linux on to your system. GL

Also get very familiar with the "man" command plus get some Linux+ or LPIC ebooks.
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a b 5 Linux
September 15, 2011 6:49:53 AM

Welcome, chemdoctor, welcome!

I certainly appreciate someone who's done a bit of research before stopping by and asking a question and who's not afraid to err on the side of over-exposition to make sure they communicate what it is that they are after. That being said, let me try to field each question/concern/statement in turn.

I think mu33rto did a fine job of covering the details of partition resizing and hardware support, as well as the fine option of testing via a virtual machine first (since partition massaging can sometime necessitate reinstallation of the existing OS)

If you'd like to try it out on actual hardware, I have seen the best luck on Vista and 7 by using the in-Windows disk manager to resize the partition to free up some space to be used by the Linux you plan to use.

As far as HW compatibility, again, as mu33rto pointed out, pretty much everything supported by Win7 is supported by Linux, but you could always try the "LiveCD" (an OS install that lives completely on a CD or DVD and doesn't touch your internal storage unless you tell it to install) to check for hardware issues (if you see any, either Google to find an answer or stop by here and let us know)

All of the installers of modern distributions ("distros") are extremely accessible and walk you through the installation process (including: shrinking the Windows partition and setting up the disk (however, this resize will usually necessitate running a disk check next time you boot Windows, hence my suggestion above), a general selection of programs/services/applications to install, timezone, user account setup, etc.) Some examples of the install process are: Ubuntu (and kin), Fedora (and kin)

Judging by your needs and expectations from your computer, I have a feeling that you will enjoy Linux (you've already accepted that, while many things are similar to Windows, there are differences, which this realization alone is a major hurdle for new users). In the time you spend getting used to the changes, Google or your search engine of choice is your best ally (you are not the first person to run into the issue you are seeing :) )

Fedora is a fine choice, but beware that once you start digging in and adding new software, the SELinux framework may start getting in the way (SELinux is a rough equivalent to UAC, but covers more aspects than just program access privileges, it can be modified to allow what you need or disabled altogether).

Life Hacker put together a pretty good beginner's resource in a series of articles titled, aptly (pun most definitely intended) Getting Started with Linux

So, just to wrap up: My first suggestion is to try out a VM to get accustomed to the look and feel and the installation process (so it's less of a surprise later). If you want to install to actual HW, then I suggest using Windows itself to resize the partition to make way for Linux, if that doesn't work then you may use either the installation media itself (as you see in the install walkthroughs, most distros give you a chance to resize the existing partition) but note that Windows may complain and force a disk check. And finally, of course, feel free to stop by and ask questions when they come up (if you can't find something via searching online), chat about what you like/dislike about it, etc.
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September 15, 2011 1:49:13 PM

Best answer selected by chemdoctor.
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September 15, 2011 2:05:11 PM

Ive been on this site for a short time but I gotta say, no shortage of help! Ok, so since my op, (impatient) lol, I decided what do I have to lose. I downloaded the ubuntu windows installer which pretty much turned the install into the easiest thing ive ever done on a pc. I think I clicked the mouse 3 times and I was running 11.04.

Havent configured my wireless yet so I havent exploited my new playground and it was late but today is a new day.

From what Ive seen so far, It appears that the functionality im looking for has been embodied by linux for a long time, but im just getting started.

Hardware wasnt an issue apparently, ubuntu sees everything so I guess I just needed to dive in head first.

Bmouring, you hit the nail on the head. Once I get my wireless configured, and I can browse for answers from ubuntu, I think im golden, the gui is simple enough, but Im not looking for "simple" and want to exploit some of the things ive been reading about.

Ive found a font of knowledge in the ubuntu forums and good ol google never lets me down. (its funny, I tell people that google for me is like the movie "the matrix". Sure, i dont know how to fly a helicopter, but I can find out anything I need to know with a quick search, if not, I delve deeper until I do!)

Thanks again guys!

Ill def post any questions if Im confused or lost, but Im really gonna try and explore this new world with an open mind, I know it wont be easy, but If i can replace windows with something better, well, then that is what has to happen, I cant control that.

It means a great deal you guys took the time to reply, I sincerely appreciate your time.
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a b 5 Linux
September 15, 2011 3:38:56 PM

Glad to hear the installation went well and no issues thus far. Wireless support is much improved from years past; you have to be fairly unlucky to have a card that isn't supported out-of-the-box, so it's just a matter of configuring the connection with the easy-to-use NetworkManager framework.
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September 15, 2011 6:52:34 PM

Some wireless cards have a problem with rfkill . Even if the linux distro reads the hardware. My intel 3945ABG had that problem & my alfa network card did not.
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