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To Linux or Not Linux--LinuxLive USB Creator Tutorial

Posted 12-31-2014 at 04:44 PM by BeardedSonOfNel
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Trying Linux on your machine without installing it!

So, you want to try Linux, but don't want/have an extra computer, or you're afraid you'll mess something up when creating a dual boot... Well I've got you covered, or I should say Linux Live has you covered.

Getting Started
On your Windows computer head over to http://www.linuxliveusb.com/ and downloaded the their application, and install it.

Here is the app before completing the below steps

Step 1.
Once installed you'll need a usb thumb drive/pen drive. You can either use windows to format it to FAT 32, or allow the Linux Live Creator to do it for you by checking the format drive check box. So, with your drive plugged in you can select it from the top drop-down box. If you launched the App before inserting your drive, you'll have to click on the blue refresh button to the right of the drop-down box.

Step 2.
You'll need to choose your Linux source. This could be an ISO you downloaded, A CD/DVD, or you can use the download option. If you select download a list of distros will show up, and you can select it from the list and have the App automatically download it for you (very slick). On a side note you may have a new version of a disto (ISO) that the app doesn't fully recognize, but I've found that 99% of the time it can still build a good boot image. For example I downloaded Peppermint 5, and the most current version the App knew of was 4, but it was still able to create the “Live usb”

Step 3.
many distros allow for something called persistence. If the distro allows it, and your thumb drive has extra room on it after Linux has been installed you can allocate space on the drive that acts like a hard drive. This space can allow you to install other packages, and save document, pictures, and other files directly to the thumb drive. It will also remember any customizations you may have made to the environment. How much space you give it is your call, but the cap is 5GB. I like to give it around 100MB for testing. If the distro doesn't allow for persistence; step 3 will automatically be skipped.

Step 4.
Options... You have three to choose from. The only one I ever check is “Format the key...” if I haven't already used Windows or another app to format the drive to FAT32

Step 5. Click the lightning bolt to install Linux to the drive. Once done it will launch a web page letting you know it's done. The page also provides other info, and links.

All Steps complete, and I'm ready to click the lightning bolt

You're now ready to start playing with Linux. Either using the machine you used to create the bootable drive, or another computer; you'll have to make sure it can boot from usb. Check your BIOS settings. Once that is complete and your machine is set to boot from usb insert your thumb drive, and power up the computer.
if you are running Windows 8, and you're having problems booting from the thumb drive, and you have check you BIOS several times then you'll want to do the following... First boot back into Windows. This time when you shutdown before clicking shutdown hold down your left shift key, and keep it held down during the shutdown process. Why? To help with boot times Windows never fully shuts down. Holding down the Shift key tells it to.

Each distro Boots a little differently, but here are some of the options you'll see.
  • Some will ask you you want to boot into Live Mode. Your answer should be YES
  • Others will ask if you want to “Try It”, once again YES.
  • Other options that will show are recovery mode, safe mode, and all of them (give or take) will have an install option.
One last thing before I give you a list of some distros you should try... Please remember you are booting and running off of a flash drive. Depending on the drive, and you system, things may load slowly. Some drives are faster than others, and you will see a difference between usb 2.0, and 3.0 sockets.

Distro you should try...

Linux Mint
(Mint for short):
If you're coming from a Windows environment this will feel very familiar. It is also one of the best “Out of the box”, or “It just works” distros. It comes with a large set of codecs for playing movies, and music. A nice set of office tools. Fire Fox web browser, and many more apps. I've seen this listed as the 4th most used desktop OS in the world, just following Ubuntu at 3rd.

Mint isn't the lightest weight distro on the list, but it does run very well even on aging systems, and it is faster than Windows running on the same hardware.

The most current version of Mint is 17.1. This is the Long term support release (LTS), and will be supported until April 2019.

I have downloaded the ISO, and the Live Creator was able to build me a good key!

This is the most popular distro within the general Linux community, and the 3rd most used desktop OS in the world. It uses the Unity desktop, and if you use a Mac, it will feel better than Mint. Lots to like about this distro, and is a must try for anyone taking the dive into Linux

Zorin OS 8
Zorin is designed for people who are looking for a windows experience. It looks a lot like Windows 7, and comes with Zorin Look Changer that can make your environment look similar to other versions of windows or even Mac OS X. If you're looking for a Win7 replacement this is the distro for you.

Pinguy OS 14.04 LTS
This distro comes with a ton of preinstalled software. It also feels like Mac's OS X. Due to the extensive list of software that comes with this distro it can be a bit of a resource hog. I suggest using this on a more modern machine.

Peppermint OS 5
Built to be light and fast, this distro works great on older hardware and netbooks. What really sets this distro a part from others is its focus on web/cloud based apps. It has a cool app called Ice that will allow you to launch web app, and web pages in windows that look like normal app, and not web a browser. It's a very good looking desktop, and has access to tons of software.

This is often refered to at the most beautiful distro, and it is also lightning fast. It uses the Enlightenment desktop which is concidered a niche in the Linux community. The desktop is highly customizable, and did I say fast? That being said it isn't the easiest distro to use in my list, and you'll probably find yourself looking into its documentation. I included it in my list because it's one everyone should try once.

So what do I use...
I've got to say I love, and use Mint daily, but we're all different, and that's what is really cool about Linux.. choice!

My Desktop...
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