Ever Wanted to Try Linux? How to Install Linux on Windows 10 Step-by-Step (Beginner-Friendly!)

Curious about Linux but unsure how to take the plunge? If you're a Windows 10 user, you have a fantastic option: dual-booting Linux alongside Windows 10. 

This allows you to experience the world of Linux without completely replacing your existing operating system. This blog provides a step-by-step approach for a beginner-friendly install Linux on Windows 10 experience.  

Choosing Your Flavor: Popular Linux Distributions

The exciting part! There are many Linux distributions (distros) available, each with its own strengths and target audience. Here are a few popular choices for beginners:

Ubuntu: 

Renowned for its user-friendly interface and vast community support, Ubuntu is an excellent choice for beginners. 

Linux Mint: 

Based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint offers a familiar desktop environment similar to Windows, making it a smooth transition. 

Elementary OS: 

Known for its clean and elegant design, Elementary OS is another beginner-friendly option that prioritizes ease of use. 

Important Note: Before proceeding, back up any important data on your Windows 10 drive. Installing Linux will create a partition on your hard drive, so allocating some free space beforehand is important. 

Step 1: Downloading Essential Tools

Linux Distribution ISO: 

Head to the website of your chosen distro (e.g., Ubuntu, Linux Mint) and download the latest LTS (Long Term Support) version. This ensures software stability and support for an extended period. 

Rufus: 

This free tool helps create a bootable USB drive for your chosen Linux distro. Download Rufus from its official website: https://rufus.ie/

Step 2: Creating a Bootable USB Drive

  • Run Rufus as administrator.
  • Select your downloaded Linux ISO file using the "SELECT" button.
  • Make sure your USB drive is chosen under the "Device" list. 
  • Keep the default settings for the most part. You can adjust the "Partition scheme" to GPT if your system uses UEFI firmware (most modern systems do).
  • Click "START" and wait for Rufus to create the bootable USB drive.

Step 3: Booting from the USB Drive

  • Restart your computer.
  • During bootup, press the key to enter the boot menu (often F12, Del, or Esc – consult your motherboard manual for specifics).
  • Select your USB drive from the boot menu options. 
  • Your chosen Linux distro will now boot from the USB drive. 

Step 4: Installing Linux (Dual Booting)

Most distros offer a "Try Ubuntu" (or your chosen distro) option. This lets you test the OS before installation.

Once comfortable, proceed with the installation process. The installation wizard will guide you through creating a partition for Linux alongside your existing Windows 10 installation. You can allocate the desired amount of space for your Linux partition. 

Follow the on-screen instructions, create a username and password for your Linux system, and wait for the installation to complete. 

Step 5: Restarting and Choosing Your Operating System

The installation will notify you to restart your computer once finished. 

Upon restart, you'll encounter a boot menu where you can choose between Windows 10 and your newly installed Linux distro. Congratulations! You've successfully installed Linux on Windows 10 in dual boot mode. 

Additional Resources:

While this guide provides a general overview, referring to the official installation guides for your chosen Linux distro is recommended. These guides offer distro-specific instructions and troubleshooting tips:

  1. Ubuntu Installation Guide: https://ubuntu.com/tutorials/install-ubuntu-desktop
  2. Linux Mint Installation Guide: https://linuxmint-installation-guide.readthedocs.io/
  3. Elementary OS Installation Guide: https://elementary.io/docs/installation

WSL: A Linux Option Within Windows

If you're not keen on dual booting, consider WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux). WSL allows you to run a Linux environment directly within Windows 10. 

This is a great option for trying out Linux commands and tools without modifying your system's partitions. Access the Windows Features settings to add WSL.   

Welcome to the World of Linux!

By following these steps, you've successfully installed Linux on Windows 10 (or set up WSL). This opens doors to a vast ecosystem of open-source software, customization options, and a vibrant online community. 

Remember, the Linux community is generally welcoming to beginners, so don't hesitate to ask questions and explore further!


365Bloggy April 3, 2024
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