If you are having trouble choosing between Windows and Linux for your netbook, here are a few advices to steer you into the right direction:
Choose Windows if you…
- Have plenty of experience with Windows and don’t have time to learn other operating systems.
- Plan on using certain Windows programs that can’t run in Linux.
- Have hardware (scanner, printer, and so on) that doesn’t work in Linux.
Choose Linux if you…
- Prefer free, open-source environment
- Already use Linux for at least a few months and feel comfortable with it.
- Are ready to trade off a couple of quirks for a really secure operating system.
- Are willing to invest more time in learning a new OS. (If you are an experienced Windows user, you can become a good Linux user in just a week or two.)
Each day, Linux is getting closer to become a solid competitor to Windows on desktops and laptops, but it still has a few quirks that can frustrate average Windows users, not to mention the compatibility and hardware support issues.
If you go to retail outlets to look for netbooks, there is a good probability you will find a Linux netbook. But, stores are increasingly stocking only Windows netbooks – a few reports said that netbooks with Linux have a slightly higher return rate; it is likely because the new GUI and compatibility issues frustrate impatient Windows users. If you need a netbook only to go online and do light office works, you should use Linux and spend one or two days learning the new GUI. Ask the retailer to install your devices, for example; USB modem or portable printer, to the netbook, since occasionally installing hardware in Linux requires complicated settings. If you have a netbook with Intel processor (Atom or Celeron), keep in mind that you are not tied to using the pre-installed OS.
That means you are allowed to dump Windows and replace it with Linux.
You should first find a suitable distro. Check out related online forums, often you’ll find a lot of discussions about a popular distro and it is a good idea to ask for the easiest way to install the distro to your netbook.
- Download the distribution and burn it to a DVD or CD. (It is also possible to put the distribution image on a USB flash drive or an SD memory card, but having an external optical drive is usually the easiest route.)
- Back up all important files
- Boot from the installation disc – it typically involves changing the boot-up sequence in the BIOS menu.
- After you run the installation disc, follow the installation instructions.
- Restart the netbook, and Linux will run.
Many distributions have “live” versions; it means you can run Linux from the CD, without reformatting the hard disk and replacing the original Windows OS. It’s a good way to test whether a Linux distro suits your needs or whether it works nicely in your netbook. Some netbook manufacturers provide a copy of the installation package in a separate hard disk partition. It could be easier to reinstall Linux because you don’t need a CD/DVD. But if you format the hard disk and want to reinstall Linux, then you’re out of luck. If a Linux installation disc is not provided with your netbook, contact the seller to see whether it is possible to get one.