What to do before switching from Windows to Linux

There are many of you out there who are looking to make a change from your current Windows operating system to the Linux operating system. Some of you may have doubts, many of you most likely have questions before taking the plunge. I’ll try to point you in the right directions before you switch from Windows to Linux.

Back up your important files

You’ll want to back up all important Windows files including documents, media, bookmarks, application settings, etc. Throw everything on a USB key, CD/DVD, or an external hard drive.

Grab a live CD of the distribution you are going to install

A live CD will allow you to ensure that your hardware is compatible with the Linux distribution as well as give you a feel of the desktop usability. You should be able to gather if the distribution you choose is right for you by running the live CD. However, not all Linux distributions contain a Live CD version, so be sure to check if the Linux distro you are choosing has one available.

Determine what functionality you will need

If you are a normal user who mostly enjoys browsing the web, using e-mail, chatting with friends online, and using media, then Linux is a great option. If you enjoy playing popular computer games, you want to check with Cedega to see if your favorite game is compatible before you switch from Windows to Linux.

Check out Distrowatch

Distrowatch has a variety of useful information from user reviews of many Linux distributions as well as the current most popular distros.

Check out Wine and CrossOver Office

Wine is an open source application that allows you to run a variety of Windows applications. CrossOver Office is similar, and built on top of Wine to give the user an easier experience in installing and using the Windows applications on your Linux desktop. Be sure to browse through the compatibility list before assuming your favorite Windows application works with CrossOver Office.

Understand basic Linux commands

You can’t always rely on the beauty of the desktop with most of todays Linux distributions. What if X crashes and you’re sent to the command line? Rather then rebooting, check out this site for a straight forward guide on some of the basic Linux commands.

Read the article Alternatives to Windows Programs

Also check out Open Source Alternatives and The Linux Alternative Project.

Read the article 20 Must Read HOWTOs and Guides for Linux

This article is very useful to new and old Linux users and contains a variety of quality guides gathered throughout the years.

Can you think of any other tasks to complete before making the switch to Linux? Leave your ideas in the comments.

4 thoughts on “What to do before switching from Windows to Linux

  1. You should be checking for hardware compatibility, software options (based on your requirements), and sources of help (guides, wiki, forums, etc).

    This is BEFORE you even download a Linux ISO.

    Spend the time preparing saves you pain in the long run.

  2. Yess. Do it. Try out the switch. You will love it. You will ask yourself: why did I not do it before?
    But what distro to use? There are so many of them!
    I can’t answer that. Ubuntu, untu, tu, tu. will be the chant you will hear in the foreground. And the choir will answer you with alternatives. I’m writing this with Mint. But this computer has Zenwalk and Wolvix also. And my other pc’s have PClinuxOS and SAM, and SimplyMEPIS, and even Puppy. They all have their + and -, but most of all: they release me from WinXP. Thank the Lord.

  3. Unless you are a flash user, switching to Linux is probably an OK idea. Flash is like the one major program in it’s category that has no competition. Aftereffects too I guess, although you can get shake for like 3 grand for linux.

    Most people that post lists to great “alternatives” to commercial apps always name a bunch of cheesy media programs that rarely work good. They also say Flash works for linux, except half of them dont’ realize it’s just the player that works, not the authoring environment.

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