Please recommend a good Linux distro for my laptop

By Arkrothe
Oct 28, 2010
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  1. I have a Toshiba Laptop with Windows 7, specs are listed in my system specs, and would like to try tinkering and spending time learning new stuff. I want to be able to dual-boot and it would be nice if the OS is stable enough that it won't destroy my windows 7 to the point of having to reinstall everything.

    P.s. - I have no experience with linux, but am ready to learn and spend some time on it.

    Thanks in advance :)
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,014   +716

    Most people consider "Ubuntu" the most polished Linux distro; http://www.ubuntu.com/

    That said, you won't destroy your Windows installation installing it either. This assumes that your HDD is much closer to empty, than it is to full, so there won't be any problem creating a small Linux partition. Ubuntu reads NTFS, all you files would be accessible with it.

    Now, there are problems if you decide you no longer want Linux on the machine. "GRUB", the Linux boot loader, sets Linux as the default OS and Windows must be chosen at startup. Attempting to remove Linux trashes GRUB, and there must be repairs made to the Windows install, or it no bootie.

    I haven't dealt with LInux in a while, the novelty kinda wore off for me.
  3. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    As above, but:

    Use Ubuntu 10.10 as a Live version running from a memory stick. (1GB is fine).

    The reason I suggest that is because you can test it beforehand, running in live mode via the memory stick, and see good performance as USB is faster than a CD, whilst making no physical changes to your hard disk.

    That way you can try it before commiting. :)
  4. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,014   +716

    I'm guessing, "memory stick" British slang for, "flash drive". (If not, feel free to correct me). The only reason I ask is that, "Memory Stick", is Sony's proprietary term for their own flash memory camera cards.

    That said, you can also run most Linus distros "live", right off the CD also. (But you knew that). That said, there do seem to be many issues reported here, attempting to boot OSes off flash drives.
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TechSpot Evangelist Posts: 4,378   +97

    Yeah, memory stick pretty much refers to any memory stick, whether, Sony MS, SD, MicroSD, USB (flash drive) etc. I even have flash drives labelled as memory stick as well.

    I recommended using a "flash drive" because its considerably faster running the OS in live mode through USB2 connections than via the CD. You can also use the Live mode with storage on bigger flash drives, and therefore its like using the computers real hard disk where you can save changes, install and try software and it will keep settings.

    I've never had any problems with using memory sticks, as long as the live distro is correctly installed to it, it will behave exactly like the live distro CD does. So if the CD won't work, neither will the memory stick. Quite a few people recommend uNetBootin for installing the live distro to the memory stick, but I much prefer Linux Live USB creator instead - If the OP is interested I actually have a guide here that explains how to install it all using the USB memory stick installer I recommend above.

    Obviously, using the memory stick method assumes the computer in question is capable of booting from USB based/memory card based devices. If this isn't possible, I would recommend trying it in live mode using a DVD with the Ubuntu 10.10 installation installed on it. I find using a DVD makes the whole experience quicker than using a typical CD-R instead.
  6. daniellehudges

    daniellehudges Newcomer, in training

    Linux is unpredictable for me. I've tried it once I think 4 months ago but unfortunately it slows all the operation in my pc. As much as I want to use it since it is advanced according to my friends I was rushed to go back to XP for that reason. Right now, I am still an xp user and I've no plans to tried linux again although I'm still willing maybe the next year.


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