Linux Linux help

Updated: 16 Mar 2019

Linux Installation

0. Where can I get Linux?

You can get Linux from most Linux web sites including:
a) Centos
b) Chrome OS
c) Debian
d) Fedora
e) Knoppix
f) Linux Mint
g) Mageia
h) ROSA Linux
i) Scientific Linux
j) SUSE Linux
k) Ubuntu
l) SmoothWall
m) OpenSUSE

If unsure of which version of Linux to use, visit DistroWatch for news and reviews.

1. How do I install Linux?

Linux is provided as an ISO image, so it can be used to install Linux on virtualised systems, but if you want to install on a phsyical box you will need to burn the contents of the ISO to a blank DVD disc. For linux systems you can use a tool such as Brasero and use the 'Burn Image' option. For Windows systems, you can use tools such as Nero or a free tool called ImgBurn tool.

There are two ways to install: a clean or fresh install or an upgrade from an older version of Linux. For a clean installation you need to have a blank hard disk, boot off the Linux DVD and then follow prompts on screen. To boot from DVD, you may need to change the Boot Sequence in the BIOS to make DVD ROM boot before the Hard disk.

How to install Linux Mint
How to Install Ubuntu
How to install Mageia
How to install Chrome OS
How to install CentOS
How to install Debian

2. What are the requirements for Linux?

The minimum requirements are:

3. How do I uninstall Linux?

You cannot uninstall Linux but you can reinstall your old version by booting off the Linux DVD and reinstalling it on the boot partition, you should format the boot parition first to remove older OS before installing the old version.

4. Where do I find out if my hardware is compatible?

Visit the Linux Hardware Compatibility How to page.

5. Do I need to 'activate' Linux like Windows?

You do not need to 'activate' Linux and you can install it on as many machines as you like.Linux is free to use and distribute, due to its open licenses like the GNU License. Some distributions may have their own licenses which you should read before installating it.

6. Which software will I probably need to install?

Most linux distributions will come with most of the software you will ever need. Additional software can be installed via the Software or Package Manager programs. If using the command line, you can use tools such as yum and apt-get to download and install, remove or upgrade software.

Software manager

7. What steps should I take before upgrading from older versions of Linux to latest version?

First do a backup of all your data, favourites and Email files to Zip, CD etc. Make sure that the backup program will work on the newer version of Linux esp. if its a different distribution.
Make a note of programs you have installed and use often, as you may need to install those again.

8. Where are my Documents stored in Linux?

In Linux Mint, they are placed in \home\username\Documents. In other Linux distributions, the location may be slighltly different e.g /export/home/username etc.

11. How do I modify the boot files in Linux?

The boot files can be found in /boot which will contain the linux kernel and grub boot loader tools.
You should not modify the Grub configuration files directly but use the supplied commands such as update-grub, grub2-mkconfig and grubby.
To boot direct to the Grub menu, keep the Shift key pressed down during boot, and use the e key to temporarily edit the configuration. For example, you can add the text option to boot into text mode, or single option to boot to single-user mode.

If you are dual booting with Windows, esp. Windows 8, 10, OS X or later with SEcure boot and UEFI/BIOS/EFI firmware, then use REFIND boot manager instead.

12. What file systems can I use in Linux?

Linux supports a number of file systems or disk formats including ext3, ext4, ufs and vfat. The most common one in Linux is the Extended File System (ext) which was created specifically for Linux. Ext4 supports volumes upto 1 exabyts, files upto 16 terabytes, 32000 subdirectories, checksums and journalling for reliability and extended timestamps.

13. How do I format disks in Linux?

Normally, to format disks you can set up partitions and format them in Disk preferences (in Linux Mint). For the command line, you can use tools such as fdisk, parted, mkfs, mount and umount. Details of mounted disks are stored in the /etc/fstab (filesystem table) configuration file.

14. How can I read stuff written in Japanese, Chinese or Korean languages?

Linux includes many more languages and do not to need to be installed seperately, you can change language by opening the Language Support preferences and select Install/Remove Languages and add the language you require.

15. Can I use Remote Desktop in Linux?

Linux machines can be accessed via a Secure Shell (SSH) using PuTTY, with cygwin X Windows tools or XMing from Windows machines.
On other Linux computers or Apple Mac OS open the terminal and enter the 'ssh hostname' command.

16. How can I tell which version of Linux I have installed?

Depending on the version of Linux, the process may be different. On Linux Mint, try the menu, Preferences, Welcome Screen to view the version of Linux. See also System Monitor tool.


17. How do I move a Hard disk form my old computer to a different computer?

If moving a hard disk from one computer to another, then to make changes to the hardware drivers, then you may need to detect and install new hardware devices. In Linux Mint you can use the Control Center, Device Manager so sort some of the drivers. On the command line, you can use tools such as lspci (list PCI devices), ifconfig (interface configuration). Changing graphics drivers depends on the distribution and graphics driver required.

18. How do I deploy Linux to multiple computers with one image?

If deploying an Linux image to multiple computers then you can use Kickstart for RPM based systems or Preseed files to answer questions at OS installation time. For example, to deploy Ubuntu-like distributions you can use DHPC, PXE boot, TFTP servers, and pre-seed files. See this article on how to set it up. To restore to identical hardware use the dd comand to do a straight copy to disk.

19. I am the only user of the computer, how do I auto-login?

If security is not an issue, then you can enable auto-login. Go to menu, Administration, Login Window tool and select Auto login tab and tick 'Enable Automatic login' and select a user from the list.


If using Putty to access servers, you can use PuttyGen to generate SSH keys. Make sure you load Pageant on your PC to load your private key, then install the
public key on your Linux server in your home folder in /.ssh/authorized_keys file. Configure Putty with your auto-login userid and it should auto login next time
you connect to your Linux server (NB: You still need your password when sudo'ing).

20. Can I deploy linux to multiple computers from a server?

Try the FAI - Fully Automatic Installation project to deploy Linux installations.