Is Linux right for you?

Each distribution has a totally different setup routine. We aren't talking apples and oranges here - more like apples and Orcas. Way different. Accordingly, here are a few precautions:

Get the hardware low-down

Before you commit to a particular Linux distribution, check the vendor's Web site for a hardware compatibility list. Make sure all of the peripherals and components you need to use are listed. If one is not listed, check to see whether another distribution supports it. If you already have Windows running on the PC on which you would like to install Linux, go into the Device Manager (right-click My Computer, click the Device Manager tab, and click the Print button). Choose to print out "All devices and system summary". This data can be useful if your distribution's setup program asks for specific information about your hardware.

Free - almost

If you have a high-bandwidth connection and don't think you'll need tech support, you can download many Linux distributions directly from the vendor and use a CD-R or CD-RW drive to burn a setup disc. If that's not an option but you'd still like to save some cash, online resellers like Linux System Labs (www.lsl.com) will sell you copies of certain distributions (including Mandrake and RedHat) for less than $US10. Of course, at that price, the OS comes with neither support nor bundled extras.

Test the waters

If you have an extra PC with no critical programs or data on it, you might want to use it as your Linux guinea pig.

Know your resource needs first

Make sure you have enough hard disk space, RAM, and CPU speed to accommodate and handle a Linux install - either on its own or in separate hard disk partitions on your Windows PC. Check the Linux distribution you plan to install, and ascertain its hardware resource requirements; then see what your PC has available.

Scare up a spare floppy

Most distributions will prompt you to create a rescue disk installation. Have a blank floppy ready so you won't have to skip this important step.

Safety first

Installing a new OS is no walk in the park for your hard drive. To be on the safe side, back up all your important data on removable media before beginning the Linux installation.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Newton

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?