Many Windows users never install an operating system. Typically, Windows is already installed on the system the average user buys. In addition, upgrading to a newer version of Windows can also require that you also upgrade your hardware, including your RAM, hard drive, and possibly even the CPU.
Yet, installing Linux can be almost preternaturally simple, especially when compared to wrestling with a Windows upgrade on an old system. If you're new to Linux, any desktop-oriented commercial distribution should work, but we prefer SUSE LINUX from Novell (www.novell.com). No matter which distribution, or distro, you choose (see the "Choosing A Linux Distribution" sidebar for more), you'll follow roughly the same steps outlined in this article to install it.
Before you install Linux, you must choose a PC to install the distribution on. Depending on your inventory of PCs and your financial situation, you have several options, including:
Buy a new PC with Linux preinstalled. Though major vendors such as HP (www.hp.com), IBM (www.ibm.com), and Dell (www.dell.com) are increasingly supporting Linux, you'll have better luck working with smaller online and local Linux-oriented dealers who custom-build PCs.
Recycle an older PC. If Windows 98 can run on that old machine, chances are a modern, graphical Linux distro will, too.
Start The Installation
The following are typical steps for installing a Linux distro. For this article, we'll install SUSE LINUX 9.1.
1.Turn on your PC, and insert the distribution's first installation CD or DVD, depending on the distribution, into the CD/DVD-ROM drive. You'll see a boot menu, as shown in Figure 1, with various options, depending on what's already installed on your system. Choose the option to install Linux on the system.
2.When the installation CD boots, you have about 10 to 20 seconds to select the Installation option before the default option, Boot From Hard Disk, is automatically selected. This prevents...