Linux is a Unix-like operating system. The kernal (the base of the OS) was created by Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Helsinki in 1991. The kernal was adopted for the GNU operating system, so the real name of the OS should be the GNU / Linux Operating System.
Since 1991 Linux has become the standard OS for web-servers, mobile devices and IOT (internet of things) devices of all kinds. It is arguably the most used operating system in the world.
Linux is a very modular OS. Even the GUI (graphical User Interface) is just a separate program that runs on top of the kernal, therefore each developer can design their own look and fill.
A Linux developer uses the kernal, (still maintained by Torvalds and the Linux Foundation) add a desktop environment, and the free software of their choosing. They rap it all up into an ISO file and they call this a distribution.
There’s maybe thousands of distributions but the one we will be installing is called Linux Mint, but most distributions installs are similar.
Getting Linux Mint
You can find and download Linux Mint for free. We will be downloading the Cinnamon Addition because of it’s similarity to Windows. I usually download the Torrent file because it automatically checks for errors in the ISO file. If you’ve never used a Bittorrent client you can download the ISO file directly.
Creating Linux Install Media
You have your Linux Mint ISO file, now what?
Now you must transfer the ISO to a CD, DVD or Flash-drive.
CD or DVD
At this point it’s a bit old-school but sometimes you need to install from a CD or DVD. To burn an ISO to a disk you must use a program like Infra Recorder. On Infra Recorder click “Right Image”. Select the image file and click “Open” or “OK”. Select the destination drive and click “OK”. It will be similar of other CD / DVD writing programs.
Open Rufus, select the flash-drive. Under Device click select and select the ISO file and click “Start”.
Install Linux Mint
If your computer is less than 7 years old then you probably have UEFI firmware and Secure Boot. You must disable Secure Boot which restricts unknow software from changing your system. This can be done in the setup section at the start of the boot-up. This is usually in the Security Tab.
Boot to the CD, DVD or flash-drive by starting the computers boot-menu. Hit the power-button and start tapping the ESC key on ASUS computers, F9 on HP computers, many others Google it. On old computers change the boot order in Setup (BIOS).
At the prompt it will say *Start Linux Mint 2*.* Cinnamon 64 bit. Hit enter. When started connect to the Internet by clicking the networking icon in the lower right corner. In my case when you hover over it it says “No connection”. Click on your wifi router in the list. If no wifi is available connect an ethernet cable.
After connecting to the Internet double click on Install Linux Mint on the desktop. Select your language and keyboard. Check “Install multimedia codecs. When asked about unmounting disk click yes.
If you want to install alongside Windows select that option. If you want to install replacing Windows or a blank disk. Click Continue. Caution going any further may distroy your current configuration. If you are keeping Windows you can change the amount of disk space each operating system gets by sliding the center bar. Click *Install Now”. Follow the prompts to complete the installation.