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I want to try linux on a spare hard drive...help?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Ok, so I have an extra crucial m4 256gb drive that I would like to start experimenting with linux. I have a "vague" understanding of what linux is but zero understanding of the ins and outs. My biggest experience with it is the occasional fiddling with parted magic every once in a while. What should I put on this drive? How do I install it? What version will give me the biggest bang for the buck? I have an SLI setup so what kind of weird driver issues will I notice? Can anyone point me to a good place to get started?
post #2 of 18
Hey,

There are many Linux distros out there and most of them are free. If you want to play around with a few distros you don't even have to install them on a hard drive. You can create a bootable USB stick by burning an image of the OS onto it and then just boot from USB on startup. This would allow you to run a Live distro off the USB stick so you can experiment with it. Some popular distros are Ubuntu (or the lightweight Lubuntu), Debian and there are many others.

If you want to install Linux on the drive, just boot a USB stick with your linux distro on it and then you can choose to install it through the installation wizard where you can chose which drive to install it on. Then you can dual boot. Graphics drivers are available for Nvidia and it should work by default, but I am not sure about SLI or compatibility with specific distros.

I would start by downloading some distros and creating a live USB stick.
http://www.ubuntu.com/
https://www.debian.org/distrib/


Hope this helps!
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post #3 of 18
I find Linux MINT to be the easiest to learn and work with. Very intuitive and lots of support. GPU drivers were a breeze, the update software is easy to use, the software repository is easy to use.

I tried probably 15 distributions over a few month period and Linux MINT was the easiest to use in my opinion. I had no trouble using it as my daily OS. All the others had some niggling issues or I kept finding that I had to research things left and right. MINT just worked for me being a Linux novice at the time.

Edit: MINT was also quite fast using an ssd. Some distros, I didn't notice much difference between using an hdd or ssd. A few, like MINT, were very fast on an ssd.
Edited by Depauville Kid - 10/31/15 at 9:43am
post #4 of 18
If you really want to learn for constructive self development purposes I recommend you use gentoo. That will really cut your teeth. You have no choice but to learn. Thrown right into the deep end. Trial by fire.

If you just want to screw around and waste time not understanding much, use ubuntu, or mint or whatever.
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post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd mcclendon View Post

If you really want to learn for constructive self development purposes I recommend you use gentoo. That will really cut your teeth. You have no choice but to learn. Thrown right into the deep end. Trial by fire.

If you just want to screw around and waste time not understanding much, use ubuntu, or mint or whatever.

Can you elaborate on your choice of Gentoo? What makes it so good for "cutting your teeth"?
post #6 of 18
Take a look at how it's installed. There's no graphical stuff. You type commands and build everything up as needed for your system. It's a lot more involved than clicking next 14 times. You have to read and understand what you're doing as you go. Nobody does much for you.

Then once installed you have only what you need and continue building up from there. Total control and total choice over what you include or not. You'll end up preferring the command line.

At the risk of turning into a distro contest, I'll exit this thread and leave it at that. Just my opinion ... based on daily continuous Linux experience since 1999. wink.gif
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post #7 of 18
Download Linux Mint 17 from the official site. You don't even need to install Linux on separate drive, just use the built-in partitioning tool to separate a piece from your main HDD (where your other OS is), and install it there. Voala, dual boot. There are no guides on How To Linux, it is pretty much self learn. It is different from WIndows so you gotta give it a try. Fiddling with Terminal is always cool - thats the Linux equivalent of Command Prompt (CMD)/PowerShell. If a command is not present in the current installation, you can search for a package that has the command and just download it with the said Terminal. It offers big amount of built-in support (okay, lets say it "help" when you want to do something). Really hard to explain it actually.
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post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd mcclendon View Post

Take a look at how it's installed. There's no graphical stuff. You type commands and build everything up as needed for your system. It's a lot more involved than clicking next 14 times. You have to read and understand what you're doing as you go. Nobody does much for you.

Then once installed you have only what you need and continue building up from there. Total control and total choice over what you include or not. You'll end up preferring the command line.

At the risk of turning into a distro contest, I'll exit this thread and leave it at that. Just my opinion ... based on daily continuous Linux experience since 1999. wink.gif

I was mainly asking since it sounds like a good way to jump into the "deep end". Thanks for the explanation! thumb.gif
post #9 of 18
The "Deep End" philosophy is one way of teaching/learning. Also consider that the difficulty could be such a turn off that it leads to frustration.

Another philosophy is to relate something new to something familiar by building on prior knowledge. As you learn, continue adding new ideas and new challenges.
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ku4eto View Post

Download Linux Mint 17 from the official site. You don't even need to install Linux on separate drive, just use the built-in partitioning tool to separate a piece from your main HDD (where your other OS is), and install it there. Voala, dual boot. There are no guides on How To Linux, it is pretty much self learn. It is different from WIndows so you gotta give it a try. Fiddling with Terminal is always cool - thats the Linux equivalent of Command Prompt (CMD)/PowerShell. If a command is not present in the current installation, you can search for a package that has the command and just download it with the said Terminal. It offers big amount of built-in support (okay, lets say it "help" when you want to do something). Really hard to explain it actually.

I created a bootable parted magic usb like 2 years ago and forgot what I used to create it. Can someone point me to the easiest tool to create/steps to do so?
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