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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Introduction

Zorin OS 9 takes Linux and makes it accessible to Windows users. With well designed interfaces, a familiar look and feel and the best desktop software pre-installed it really is a good way to dip your toes into the Linux pool.

This quick guide shows how to replace your current operating system with Zorin OS 9.

How to get Zorin OS 9

To read all about Zorin OS 9 visit http://zorin-os.com/.

To download Zorin OS 9 visit http://zorin-os.com/free.html for the free version or http://zorin-os.com/premium.html for the premium version.

There are links available to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version. Make sure you choose the correct one for your machine.

After downloading the ISO file follow this guide to create a bootable Linux USB drive but choosing the Zorin OS 9 file that you just downloaded.

With the drive created reboot your computer with the USB drive still plugged in.

A menu will appear with a list of options. Choose the "Default" option.

How to install Zorin OS 9






















After booting into Zorin OS 9 you should feel pretty much at home if you are a Windows user.

The desktop has been specifically designed to look and feel like Windows. Note that even though the above image looks like Windows 7 there is a setting available that makes the desktop look more like Windows XP if it makes you feel more comfortable.

To install Zorin OS 9 click on the "install" icon on the desktop.






















If you have prior experience of installing any Ubuntu based Linux distribution then this guide will be familiar.

First of all choose the installation language.





















You can now choose whether to connect to the internet or not.

Connecting to the internet makes the installation take a bit longer because it installs updates as it goes along. Obviously this time is offset against having to download and install the updates post installation.

If you have a slow internet connection I would recommend not connecting now but to install Zorin and then connect after the installation is complete and install the updates.

Make your decision and click "Continue".





















Ideally to install Zorin you will have a great internet connection and be plugged in to a power supply.

Realistically though as long as you have enough battery power and enough disk space you will be fine to install Zorin.

I would recommend plugging your laptop in if you are going to replace the operating system, otherwise there is no telling what state your system will be in if the power dies.

The "Preparing to install Zorin" screen shows you how ready you are to install.

Click "Continue".





















The "Installation Type" screen will be slightly different depending on what you already have installed.

In the screenshot above you can see that I already have Netrunner installed and therefore I have the option to install alongside, replace Netrunner or something else.

If you are running Windows then you will have the option to install alongside Windows or replace Windows.

Note that these instructions will not work with Windows 8. That is a guide for another day.

Select the "Replace with Zorin" option to replace your current OS with Zorin OS 9 and click "Continue".





















A big warning message will now appear stating that everything will be wiped. This is your last chance to change your mind.

If you are sure you want to do this, click "Install Now".





















The next screen asks you where you are in the world so that your timezone will be correctly set when you use Zorin for the first time.

Click where you live on the map and click "Continue".





















Select your keyboard layout from the aptly titled "Keyboard Layout" screen by choosing where you are and your language and then click "Continue".





















Finally create a default user and define your machine name.

Simply enter your name, a descriptive name for the computer, a username and a strong password.

Click "Continue".



























The Zorin OS files will now be copied across and the system installed.

When everything is done you will see the following screenshot.











That is it. All you need to do now is restart your computer and remove the USB drive.

Other useful links

Now obviously this guide was quite quick and quite specific.

Maybe you wanted to dual boot Zorin OS with Windows 7 for instance or maybe you wanted to try Zorin OS out in a virtual machine.

Whilst the following links were created for other versions of Linux all you need to do is replace the version of Linux used in these articles with the Zorin OS ISO downloaded earlier.

Summary

This article was created in advance of the upcoming review of Zorin OS 9.

If you have any questions feel free to use the comments section below.

Thankyou for reading.

How to replace your operating system with Zorin OS 9

Introduction

Zorin OS 9 takes Linux and makes it accessible to Windows users. With well designed interfaces, a familiar look and feel and the best desktop software pre-installed it really is a good way to dip your toes into the Linux pool.

This quick guide shows how to replace your current operating system with Zorin OS 9.

How to get Zorin OS 9

To read all about Zorin OS 9 visit http://zorin-os.com/.

To download Zorin OS 9 visit http://zorin-os.com/free.html for the free version or http://zorin-os.com/premium.html for the premium version.

There are links available to download the 32-bit or 64-bit version. Make sure you choose the correct one for your machine.

After downloading the ISO file follow this guide to create a bootable Linux USB drive but choosing the Zorin OS 9 file that you just downloaded.

With the drive created reboot your computer with the USB drive still plugged in.

A menu will appear with a list of options. Choose the "Default" option.

How to install Zorin OS 9






















After booting into Zorin OS 9 you should feel pretty much at home if you are a Windows user.

The desktop has been specifically designed to look and feel like Windows. Note that even though the above image looks like Windows 7 there is a setting available that makes the desktop look more like Windows XP if it makes you feel more comfortable.

To install Zorin OS 9 click on the "install" icon on the desktop.






















If you have prior experience of installing any Ubuntu based Linux distribution then this guide will be familiar.

First of all choose the installation language.





















You can now choose whether to connect to the internet or not.

Connecting to the internet makes the installation take a bit longer because it installs updates as it goes along. Obviously this time is offset against having to download and install the updates post installation.

If you have a slow internet connection I would recommend not connecting now but to install Zorin and then connect after the installation is complete and install the updates.

Make your decision and click "Continue".





















Ideally to install Zorin you will have a great internet connection and be plugged in to a power supply.

Realistically though as long as you have enough battery power and enough disk space you will be fine to install Zorin.

I would recommend plugging your laptop in if you are going to replace the operating system, otherwise there is no telling what state your system will be in if the power dies.

The "Preparing to install Zorin" screen shows you how ready you are to install.

Click "Continue".





















The "Installation Type" screen will be slightly different depending on what you already have installed.

In the screenshot above you can see that I already have Netrunner installed and therefore I have the option to install alongside, replace Netrunner or something else.

If you are running Windows then you will have the option to install alongside Windows or replace Windows.

Note that these instructions will not work with Windows 8. That is a guide for another day.

Select the "Replace with Zorin" option to replace your current OS with Zorin OS 9 and click "Continue".





















A big warning message will now appear stating that everything will be wiped. This is your last chance to change your mind.

If you are sure you want to do this, click "Install Now".





















The next screen asks you where you are in the world so that your timezone will be correctly set when you use Zorin for the first time.

Click where you live on the map and click "Continue".





















Select your keyboard layout from the aptly titled "Keyboard Layout" screen by choosing where you are and your language and then click "Continue".





















Finally create a default user and define your machine name.

Simply enter your name, a descriptive name for the computer, a username and a strong password.

Click "Continue".



























The Zorin OS files will now be copied across and the system installed.

When everything is done you will see the following screenshot.











That is it. All you need to do now is restart your computer and remove the USB drive.

Other useful links

Now obviously this guide was quite quick and quite specific.

Maybe you wanted to dual boot Zorin OS with Windows 7 for instance or maybe you wanted to try Zorin OS out in a virtual machine.

Whilst the following links were created for other versions of Linux all you need to do is replace the version of Linux used in these articles with the Zorin OS ISO downloaded earlier.

Summary

This article was created in advance of the upcoming review of Zorin OS 9.

If you have any questions feel free to use the comments section below.

Thankyou for reading.

Posted at 23:58 |  by Gary Newell

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Introduction

This article will show you how to install Linux Mint 17 side by side with Microsoft Windows 7. The desktop environment that will be installed will be the “Cinnamon Desktop”.

It is imperative that you follow every section especially the part about backing up your Microsoft Windows files. If you fail to back up your system and something goes wrong with the installation you run the risk of losing data.

Don’t let the last paragraph scare you. Installing Linux Mint is not that difficult and the rewards are incredible.

Linux Mint is currently the most popular version of Linux and boasts an impressive user interface and a great range of software and it can be installed and used for free.

Backup Windows 7

Whether you intend to continue installing Linux Mint or not it is very important for you to back up your system regularly.

Your computer may well be equipped with the best Antivirus software and the best Firewall software but one careless click on a link in an email could cause Malware to be installed on your computer which may trash your system rendering it useless.

Sometimes things go wrong. What would you do if your hard drive failed? First of all you would lose access to Microsoft Windows and more importantly all of your photos, videos, music files and documents would be either lost or very difficult to recover.

Before installing Linux Mint it is imperative that you backup Windows 7 in case something goes wrong with the partitioning of the hard drive or the installation of the “GRUB” bootloader which enables your system to dual boot between Microsoft Windows and Linux Mint.

Create a recovery disk

The recovery disk is used when you don’t have access to Windows 7 at all. It provides a way to boot so that you can recover from your system image.

To create a recovery disk:

  1. Click the “Start” button.
  2. Click “Control Panel”.
  3. In the “View By” drop down in the top right corner select “Large icons”.
  4. Click the “Backup and Restore” icon.


  5. There are three options in the left hand pane. The first option if you have never created a backup before is to set up backups. The second option is to create a system image and the third is to  create a system repair disc.
  6. Click “create a system repair disc”.

  7. A screen will appear asking you which drive to use to create the disc. Select your DVD writer.
  8. Click “Create disc”.


  9. After a short period a message will appear telling you to label your disc which is a good idea.
  10. Now place this disc somewhere safe and memorable

Create a system image

The system image will take a full copy of your Windows partition (and any other partition you decide to backup)
  1. Click the “Start” button.
  2. Click “Control Panel”.
  3. In the “View By” drop down in the top right corner select “Large icons”.
  4. Click the “Backup and Restore” icon.
  5. Click “Create a system image”.

  6. The “Create a system image” dialog will appear and will ask you where you want to create the image. You should choose the location you wish to save the image. Make sure you have enough disk space.  Read the section “Backup Media” if you are unsure where to backup.

    The options available are “on a hard disk”, “one or more DVDs” or “On a network location”.
  7. Once you have chosen where you want to create the image click “Next”.

  8. You will now be shown a screen asking you which drives to backup. You should leave the C drive and the System partition checked.

    You can optionally choose to backup other partitions if you have any.

    Note that in the screenshot above I have chosen to backup to a different partition on the same machine and I am warned that this is not a good idea.

    Ideally you should backup to an external hard drive or network drive or at very least DVDs.
  9. Click Next to continue.
  10. You will see another screen which asks you to confirm your backup. Click “Start” to backup the image.

Backup files and folders

You should consider backing up important documents and family photos to another device just in case the system image has not been created correctly and the more copies you have of something the less likely it is to be lost forever.

Copy the images and documents to a DVD, USB, external hard drive or via a service like dropbox.
If you have an iPod synchronise your music so that all your music is both on your computer and on your iPod.

Consider backing up your music to a series of DVDs, USB drives or an external hard drive.

For videos you will also need to back them up to DVDs, USB drives or an external hard drive.

Summary

Before continuing it is definitely worth trying your recovery disk out to make sure it loads to the recovery screen. Simply reboot with the DVD in the disc drive.

System Requirements

The following is a list of requirements that your computer must meet in order to be able to run Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop.
  • x86 processor (32-bit) or x64 processor (64-bit)
  • 512 megabytes RAM (1 gigabyte recommended)
  • 10 gigabytes disk space
  • DVD or USB support

How to get Linux Mint

The options available are as follows:

1. Download Linux Mint and burn to a DVD or USB drive
2. Buy a Linux DVD or USB drive

Downloading Linux Mint

If you have a good internet connection, a DVD writer or a USB drive, and you have no download limits on your internet connection then you can get Linux Mint for free.

The best place for information on downloading a Linux Mint image is the Linux Mint website.

Linux Mint comes in a number of varieties.

First of all you can choose to install a 32 bit or 64 bit version of Linux Mint.

Obviously you should only choose the 64 bit version if you have a 64 bit computer. You can however choose to install the 32 bit version on a 64 bit computer if you wish to do so. I'm not sure why you would want to do this though.

There are also a number of different desktop choices such as MATE, Cinnamon, KDE and Xfce.

Ideally you should choose the Cinnamon desktop as this is the ultimate desktop for Linux Mint. It has all the whizzy effects, gestures and style required of a top operating system.

If your graphics card is not up to running Linux Mint Cinnamon or you need something a bit more lightweight then you should consider the MATE desktop as an alternative as this will run on pretty much any machine.

This guide assumes that if you are running Windows 7 then your computer is probably more than capable of running Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop.

Another thing you will notice on the download page is the option for no codecs and this goes hand in hand with the “Multimedia Support+” heading.

Basically whilst Linux is free some of the components that are installed aren’t. If you want to use Flash or play MP3s then these require non free components to be installed. This doesn’t mean that you have to pay for them but some people would prefer not to have proprietary software installed on their machines.

Personally I think it is a good idea to install everything you need to get the job done and in that regard I would choose the option to have multimedia support.

As mentioned before this guide is written for Windows 7 and Linux Mint with the Cinnamon Desktop so find that option and click the link (either 32 bit or 64 bit, depending on your machine).

The next screen provides two ways to download Linux Mint. The first way is to use a bittorrent. Many people think that torrents are only used for downloading illegal software but torrent software is just as useful for distributing legal software such as Linux Mint.

You can either choose to download from a download mirror or from a torrent. A download mirror will give you the download speed made available by the server that it resides on at that download mirror.

A torrent will enable you to download the file from as many people as are serving the software. If there are 100 users with the Linux Mint software available as a torrent then you can download from all 100 people.

If you do not know how to use torrents then it might be a good idea to just choose the mirror that is closest to you geographically. 

Burn the Linux Mint image to a DVD

If you would prefer to use a USB drive skip to the next section as this section deals with booting and installing from a DVD

To burn the Linux Mint image to a DVD you will need a CD/DVD disc burning application such as Nero Express.

It is highly likely that you will already have a disc burning application on your computer but if not you can download a 15 day trial copy of Nero from http://www.nero.com/enu/downloads/.

This guide assumes you are using Nero Express. If you know how to use another application already feel free to use that application to burn the image to a DVD. If you don’t have Nero Express download it from the link above.

To burn the image to a disc:
  1. Open Windows Explorer (Press Windows button on keyboard and E on the keyboard or press “Start” and type “Explorer”, then click “Windows Explorer”).
  2. Navigate to the folder where you downloaded the Linux Mint image. 
  3. Right click the image file with the mouse and select “open with” and then “Nero Express”.
  4. Place a DVD into the disc drive.

  5. Check that the “Current Recorder” dropdown list is set to your DVD drive.
  6. Check that the “disc type” is “DVD”.
  7. Check that the “Image File” is the Linux Mint image that you selected.
  8. Click the “Burn” button.
  9. When the process has finished, click the “Next” button and then click the “Close” icon.

Make a bootable USB Drive

If you have already created a Linux Mint DVD to boot from then you can skip this section.

To burn the image to a USB drive you will need:
  1. A blank 2gb USB drive (or larger)
  2. UNetbootin
If you have a USB drive but it is not blank first of all make sure that there is nothing you need on the drive. If there is something you need on the drive copy it to another drive or a disk.

IMPORTANT: Remember that if you back up your USB drive to your Windows partition that your backup image will not contain these new files and so if something goes wrong you will lose these files. You should either copy the files to another drive, to a service like Google Drive, Dropbox or to a DVD.

Formatting the USB drive

  1. Insert the USB drive into your computer.
  2. Open Windows Explorer (Press Windows button on keyboard and E on the keyboard or press “Start” and type “Explorer”, then click “Windows Explorer”).
  3. Find the removable device that relates to your USB drive.
  4. Right click with the mouse on the drive and select “Format”.

  5. Make sure the file system is set to “FAT”.
  6. Check “Quick Format”.
  7. Click “Start”.
  8. A warning will appear telling you that the data on the drive will be deleted. If you want anything on the drive copied off then you should cancel and backup the data otherwise click “OK”.
  9. A message will appear telling you that the format is complete.

Get UNetbootin

UNetbootin is a free application that enables you to create bootable USB Linux drives.

To get UNetbootin:
  1. Open your web browser and navigate to http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
  2. Click the “Download (for windows)” link.
  3. The sourceforge downloader will start and UNetbootin should start downloading.
  4. If you have a download blocker installed then you may need to authorise the download by clicking the yellow bar at the top of the page and allowing downloads from this site.

Burn Linux Mint to the USB drive using UNetbootin

To burn the image to the USB drive:
  1. Run UNetbootin by double clicking on the executable that was downloaded.
  2. If you have user account control set to on then you will have to authorise UNetbootin.

  3. The UNetbootin application has two ways to burn an image to a USB drive.

    a. Select a distribution from the list
    b. Select an image from your computer

    I think it is always a good idea to download the image from the place that the distribution links to as you are guaranteed to get the latest version and you can be sure that it is a good image.
  4. Click the “Disk Image” radio button.
  5. Click the button marker with “…”.
  6. Navigate to the folder with the Linux Mint image and select it.
  7. Ignore the “Space used to preserve files across reboots (Ubuntu Only)” as this install is for Linux Mint and not Ubuntu.
  8. Make sure the “Type” dropdown is set to “USB Drive”.
  9. Select the drive letter that corresponds to your USB Drive. Be careful to get this right so that you don’t accidentally overwrite the wrong device.
  10. Click “OK”.
  11. After a while the process will complete and you will have a bootable USB drive with Linux Mint.

Buy a DVD or USB drive online

You may not want to download an image of Linux Mint because you have download limits set by your internet service provider or because you have a poor download speed.

You may also prefer to buy a USB drive or DVD as you are then guaranteed to get media that works.

Click here to buy a Linux Mint USB drive or DVD visit

Try Linux Mint in Live Mode

Linux Mint runs in Live Mode.

What this means is you can test Linux Mint out by running it straight from the DVD or USB drive.

There are two real advantages to this:
  1. You can make sure the DVD/USB drive works correctly
  2. You can test all the features to make sure that you can connect to the internet and play music/videos etc.

Boot from a DVD

  1. Put the DVD into the DVD drive.
  2. Reboot the computer.
  3. A message will appear stating that Linux Mint will boot in 10 seconds.
  4. If you press “enter” on the keyboard the boot will start straight away.
  5. If everything is ok then after a minute or so Linux Mint will have booted.

Boot from a USB Drive

  1. Put the USB drive into the drive.
  2. Reboot the computer.
  3. A menu should appear with options to try Mint or install Mint.
  4. Choose the default option which loads Linux Mint from the USB drive without installing anything.
  5. If everything is ok then after a minute or so Linux Mint will have booted.
  6. If your computer booted straight to Windows 7 then your hard drive is set to boot before a USB drive.

    If this is the case you have two choices.

    The first choice is to boot from a DVD and the second is to go into your computer’s BIOS and change the boot order of devices.

    You will need to read your computer’s manual or search online to determine how to change the BIOS settings as they are different for each make of computer.

Install Linux Mint

If you are happy that you have adequately backed up your Windows files and any other important files and you are suitably pleased with the Linux Mint live run then now you can install Linux Mint.
  1. Boot into the live version of Linux Mint 17.
    Click on the install icon on the desktop.



  2. Choose your installation language and click "Continue".


  3. You will be asked to connect to your wireless network. This is optional and to be honest I always choose not to connect.

    The installer will use your internet connection to download updates as it goes which means when you boot Linux Mint 17 for the first time after installation it will be completely up to date.

    If you have a slow internet connection this can take ages and if your connection drops then it is hard to know the state of your installation. I prefer to get the installation done first and then apply updates later.

    Select your preferred option and click "Continue".


  4. The next steps shows you how well prepared you are for installing Linux Mint. If you have three green ticks then you are good to go. (The only one you really have to worry about is disk space and if you are not using a power source make sure your battery is charged).

    Click "Continue".
  5. The next step is very important. You basically get three choices when it comes to installing Linux Mint:

    a. Install Linux Mint alongside Windows
    b. Erase disk and Install Linux Mint
    c. Something else

    For this installation I will be advocating choosing the option “Something Else”.

    The “Something Else” option allows you to choose how to partition your disks and because of this you can choose how much disk space to give over to the operating system and how much to keep for your own personal data.



    Look at the image above. This is an image of my disk before I installed Linux Mint. As you can see I have 4 partitions.

    The partition called “/dev/sda1” is a Windows system partition and should not be touched. The partition called “/dev/sda2” is the actual Windows partition and again should not be touched. When you run the Linux Mint install these are likely to be the only two partitions you see.

    In my case there are two other partitions. The partition called “/dev/sda3” is a backup partition. I use this to store a system image. It is not the only place I store the system image but it gives me instant access in case something goes wrong. If I happen to lose this partition then I can always go to my external hard drive to restore the image.

    The fourth partition on my drive is a data partition. I learned a long time ago to separate the operating system from the data on a drive and as such I created a data partition for storing documents, images, photos and videos.

    What you will also notice if you look at the image above is that there is a lot of free space. Over 100 gigabytes worth. This is the space I managed to retrieve by shrinking the Windows partition and this is where Linux Mint will be installed.

    At this stage it is important to talk about disk partitions. Each hard disk within a computer can have 4 primary partitions. Windows needs to run off a primary partition. Each primary partition can have logical partitions. Linux can run from logical partitions.

    If you look at the disk layout on my computer you will have worked out that I already have 4 primary partitions set up. The plan therefore is make logical partitions within the 4th partition.

    The setup will be as follows: Partitions 1 and 2 are for Windows and are primary partitions. Partition 3 will also be a primary partition and will remain as a backup partition. Partition 4 will be an extended partition and will contain 4 logical partitions.

    The logical partitions will be the existing data partition, a partition for Linux Mint, a partition for storing data and a swap partition.

    In your case you might only have 2 primary partitions set up as you may not have the backup or data partitions. This does not matter. You will be creating your logical partitions in the 3rd primary partition.

    Creating the root partition

    Select the “Free Space” and click “Add”.

    A screen will appear asking you to create a partition. In this step you will create the partition that will be used by Linux Mint.

    Initially the box marked “New partition size in megabytes” will show the full amount of free space. Realistically you only need around 20 gigabytes for the operating system allowing for software installations and so overwrite this field with 20000.

    Leave the radio button for “Location for the new partition” as “Beginning”. This will place the Linux Mint partition at the beginning of the disk.

    The “Use as” dropdown allows you to choose the file system that will be used by Linux Mint. The most commonly used file system in Linux is EXT4 and so I would always recommend using this type of partition.

    Change the mount point to / to make this the root partition. 

    Click “OK” to continue.

    Creating the home partition



    Now we are going to create the data partition or as it is called in Linux, the home partition. Consider the home partition to be the same as “c:\users\username” in Windows.

    Select the free space and click the “Add” button again from the “Installation Type” screen.

    The data partition will use up the rest of the disk space minus the amount you plan to use as a swap partition.

    How big should your swap size be?

    Now that is a really good question and everyone has differing opinions. If you plan to hibernate/suspend then consider using at least as much disk space as RAM.

    In the box marked “New partition size in megabytes” enter a value which is at least the mount of RAM less than the amount of remaining disk space.

    Again set the “location for the new partition” to “Beginning” and set the “Use as” to “EXT4”.

    You should set the mount point to “/home”. 

    Click “OK” to continue.

    Creating the swap partition

    The final partition to be created is the “Swap” partition.

    Select the free space and click the “Add” button again from the “Installation Type” screen.

    Enter the remaining disk space in the “New partition size in megabytes” box.

    This time change the “Location for the new partition” to be “End”.

    Within the “Use as” dropdown select “Swap area”.

    The “Swap area” is used when your machine has memory hungry tasks.

    The memory hungry tasks will start using disk space to store and swap memory. This is of course inefficient and if you hear a lot of disk activity when doing simple tasks then it probably means you don’t have enough memory in your machine.

    The “Swap area” is used by Linux Mint for hibernation purposes. If you don’t care about hibernation then you can make this partition a lot smaller.
  6. Now that all the partitions have been created the last thing to do from the Installation Type screen is to choose where to install the bootloader. This usually defaults to the correct place and should say “/dev/sda”. It is important to make sure this does not have any numbers at the end. (for example /dev/sda2).

    The bootloader determines the boot order of operating systems.


  7. The rest of the steps are very straight forward. Choose your location.


  8. Choose your keyboard layout.


  9. Create a default user and a name for your computer.


  10. Wait for the installation to complete which for me took less than 10 minutes

Test it out

Before booting into Linux Mint for the first time it is worth checking whether the Windows partition is still working properly.

To boot into Microsoft Windows reboot your computer (remember to remove your installation media) and a menu will appear with various options including “Linux Mint”, “Linux Mint (Recovery)”, “Windows 7 (sda1)” and “Windows 7 (sda2)”.

Press the down arrow until “Windows 7 (sda1)” is highlighted and then press “Enter” on the keyboard.

If everything has gone successfully Windows 7 should boot up without any errors. If Windows 7 doesn’t boot up then reboot and try the “Windows 7 (sda2)” option on the menu and press “Enter”.

If Windows 7 refuses to load then there is a problem and it is not now worth continuing with booting into Linux Mint until the issues have been resolved. Feel free to leave a comment and I will try and troubleshoot your problem. The worst case scenario would be reverting to the backups you made earlier.

if you are reading on it is assumed that you have a working Windows partition. Now it is time to try Linux Mint.

Reboot your computer and from the menu press the down arrow until “Linux Mint” is highlighted.

Now press “Enter” on the keyboard.

After a short period the Linux Mint login screen should load.

Logging in to Linux Mint

If you chose not to login automatically then a login screen will appear.

You can login by clicking the username at the top of the screen.

Enter the password that you set up during the installation phase and press “enter” again to login.


Summary

If all has gone to plan you should now be able to boot into Windows 7 and Linux Mint.

I hope you have found this guide useful but if you spot issues along the way please leave a comment so that I can update the guide and so that other people can see how you worked around potential problems.

Thankyou for reading.

If you found this guide useful consider using one of the share buttons below to share the article so that other potential Linux Mint users will know where to go.

How to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 7

Introduction

This article will show you how to install Linux Mint 17 side by side with Microsoft Windows 7. The desktop environment that will be installed will be the “Cinnamon Desktop”.

It is imperative that you follow every section especially the part about backing up your Microsoft Windows files. If you fail to back up your system and something goes wrong with the installation you run the risk of losing data.

Don’t let the last paragraph scare you. Installing Linux Mint is not that difficult and the rewards are incredible.

Linux Mint is currently the most popular version of Linux and boasts an impressive user interface and a great range of software and it can be installed and used for free.

Backup Windows 7

Whether you intend to continue installing Linux Mint or not it is very important for you to back up your system regularly.

Your computer may well be equipped with the best Antivirus software and the best Firewall software but one careless click on a link in an email could cause Malware to be installed on your computer which may trash your system rendering it useless.

Sometimes things go wrong. What would you do if your hard drive failed? First of all you would lose access to Microsoft Windows and more importantly all of your photos, videos, music files and documents would be either lost or very difficult to recover.

Before installing Linux Mint it is imperative that you backup Windows 7 in case something goes wrong with the partitioning of the hard drive or the installation of the “GRUB” bootloader which enables your system to dual boot between Microsoft Windows and Linux Mint.

Create a recovery disk

The recovery disk is used when you don’t have access to Windows 7 at all. It provides a way to boot so that you can recover from your system image.

To create a recovery disk:

  1. Click the “Start” button.
  2. Click “Control Panel”.
  3. In the “View By” drop down in the top right corner select “Large icons”.
  4. Click the “Backup and Restore” icon.


  5. There are three options in the left hand pane. The first option if you have never created a backup before is to set up backups. The second option is to create a system image and the third is to  create a system repair disc.
  6. Click “create a system repair disc”.

  7. A screen will appear asking you which drive to use to create the disc. Select your DVD writer.
  8. Click “Create disc”.


  9. After a short period a message will appear telling you to label your disc which is a good idea.
  10. Now place this disc somewhere safe and memorable

Create a system image

The system image will take a full copy of your Windows partition (and any other partition you decide to backup)
  1. Click the “Start” button.
  2. Click “Control Panel”.
  3. In the “View By” drop down in the top right corner select “Large icons”.
  4. Click the “Backup and Restore” icon.
  5. Click “Create a system image”.

  6. The “Create a system image” dialog will appear and will ask you where you want to create the image. You should choose the location you wish to save the image. Make sure you have enough disk space.  Read the section “Backup Media” if you are unsure where to backup.

    The options available are “on a hard disk”, “one or more DVDs” or “On a network location”.
  7. Once you have chosen where you want to create the image click “Next”.

  8. You will now be shown a screen asking you which drives to backup. You should leave the C drive and the System partition checked.

    You can optionally choose to backup other partitions if you have any.

    Note that in the screenshot above I have chosen to backup to a different partition on the same machine and I am warned that this is not a good idea.

    Ideally you should backup to an external hard drive or network drive or at very least DVDs.
  9. Click Next to continue.
  10. You will see another screen which asks you to confirm your backup. Click “Start” to backup the image.

Backup files and folders

You should consider backing up important documents and family photos to another device just in case the system image has not been created correctly and the more copies you have of something the less likely it is to be lost forever.

Copy the images and documents to a DVD, USB, external hard drive or via a service like dropbox.
If you have an iPod synchronise your music so that all your music is both on your computer and on your iPod.

Consider backing up your music to a series of DVDs, USB drives or an external hard drive.

For videos you will also need to back them up to DVDs, USB drives or an external hard drive.

Summary

Before continuing it is definitely worth trying your recovery disk out to make sure it loads to the recovery screen. Simply reboot with the DVD in the disc drive.

System Requirements

The following is a list of requirements that your computer must meet in order to be able to run Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop.
  • x86 processor (32-bit) or x64 processor (64-bit)
  • 512 megabytes RAM (1 gigabyte recommended)
  • 10 gigabytes disk space
  • DVD or USB support

How to get Linux Mint

The options available are as follows:

1. Download Linux Mint and burn to a DVD or USB drive
2. Buy a Linux DVD or USB drive

Downloading Linux Mint

If you have a good internet connection, a DVD writer or a USB drive, and you have no download limits on your internet connection then you can get Linux Mint for free.

The best place for information on downloading a Linux Mint image is the Linux Mint website.

Linux Mint comes in a number of varieties.

First of all you can choose to install a 32 bit or 64 bit version of Linux Mint.

Obviously you should only choose the 64 bit version if you have a 64 bit computer. You can however choose to install the 32 bit version on a 64 bit computer if you wish to do so. I'm not sure why you would want to do this though.

There are also a number of different desktop choices such as MATE, Cinnamon, KDE and Xfce.

Ideally you should choose the Cinnamon desktop as this is the ultimate desktop for Linux Mint. It has all the whizzy effects, gestures and style required of a top operating system.

If your graphics card is not up to running Linux Mint Cinnamon or you need something a bit more lightweight then you should consider the MATE desktop as an alternative as this will run on pretty much any machine.

This guide assumes that if you are running Windows 7 then your computer is probably more than capable of running Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop.

Another thing you will notice on the download page is the option for no codecs and this goes hand in hand with the “Multimedia Support+” heading.

Basically whilst Linux is free some of the components that are installed aren’t. If you want to use Flash or play MP3s then these require non free components to be installed. This doesn’t mean that you have to pay for them but some people would prefer not to have proprietary software installed on their machines.

Personally I think it is a good idea to install everything you need to get the job done and in that regard I would choose the option to have multimedia support.

As mentioned before this guide is written for Windows 7 and Linux Mint with the Cinnamon Desktop so find that option and click the link (either 32 bit or 64 bit, depending on your machine).

The next screen provides two ways to download Linux Mint. The first way is to use a bittorrent. Many people think that torrents are only used for downloading illegal software but torrent software is just as useful for distributing legal software such as Linux Mint.

You can either choose to download from a download mirror or from a torrent. A download mirror will give you the download speed made available by the server that it resides on at that download mirror.

A torrent will enable you to download the file from as many people as are serving the software. If there are 100 users with the Linux Mint software available as a torrent then you can download from all 100 people.

If you do not know how to use torrents then it might be a good idea to just choose the mirror that is closest to you geographically. 

Burn the Linux Mint image to a DVD

If you would prefer to use a USB drive skip to the next section as this section deals with booting and installing from a DVD

To burn the Linux Mint image to a DVD you will need a CD/DVD disc burning application such as Nero Express.

It is highly likely that you will already have a disc burning application on your computer but if not you can download a 15 day trial copy of Nero from http://www.nero.com/enu/downloads/.

This guide assumes you are using Nero Express. If you know how to use another application already feel free to use that application to burn the image to a DVD. If you don’t have Nero Express download it from the link above.

To burn the image to a disc:
  1. Open Windows Explorer (Press Windows button on keyboard and E on the keyboard or press “Start” and type “Explorer”, then click “Windows Explorer”).
  2. Navigate to the folder where you downloaded the Linux Mint image. 
  3. Right click the image file with the mouse and select “open with” and then “Nero Express”.
  4. Place a DVD into the disc drive.

  5. Check that the “Current Recorder” dropdown list is set to your DVD drive.
  6. Check that the “disc type” is “DVD”.
  7. Check that the “Image File” is the Linux Mint image that you selected.
  8. Click the “Burn” button.
  9. When the process has finished, click the “Next” button and then click the “Close” icon.

Make a bootable USB Drive

If you have already created a Linux Mint DVD to boot from then you can skip this section.

To burn the image to a USB drive you will need:
  1. A blank 2gb USB drive (or larger)
  2. UNetbootin
If you have a USB drive but it is not blank first of all make sure that there is nothing you need on the drive. If there is something you need on the drive copy it to another drive or a disk.

IMPORTANT: Remember that if you back up your USB drive to your Windows partition that your backup image will not contain these new files and so if something goes wrong you will lose these files. You should either copy the files to another drive, to a service like Google Drive, Dropbox or to a DVD.

Formatting the USB drive

  1. Insert the USB drive into your computer.
  2. Open Windows Explorer (Press Windows button on keyboard and E on the keyboard or press “Start” and type “Explorer”, then click “Windows Explorer”).
  3. Find the removable device that relates to your USB drive.
  4. Right click with the mouse on the drive and select “Format”.

  5. Make sure the file system is set to “FAT”.
  6. Check “Quick Format”.
  7. Click “Start”.
  8. A warning will appear telling you that the data on the drive will be deleted. If you want anything on the drive copied off then you should cancel and backup the data otherwise click “OK”.
  9. A message will appear telling you that the format is complete.

Get UNetbootin

UNetbootin is a free application that enables you to create bootable USB Linux drives.

To get UNetbootin:
  1. Open your web browser and navigate to http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
  2. Click the “Download (for windows)” link.
  3. The sourceforge downloader will start and UNetbootin should start downloading.
  4. If you have a download blocker installed then you may need to authorise the download by clicking the yellow bar at the top of the page and allowing downloads from this site.

Burn Linux Mint to the USB drive using UNetbootin

To burn the image to the USB drive:
  1. Run UNetbootin by double clicking on the executable that was downloaded.
  2. If you have user account control set to on then you will have to authorise UNetbootin.

  3. The UNetbootin application has two ways to burn an image to a USB drive.

    a. Select a distribution from the list
    b. Select an image from your computer

    I think it is always a good idea to download the image from the place that the distribution links to as you are guaranteed to get the latest version and you can be sure that it is a good image.
  4. Click the “Disk Image” radio button.
  5. Click the button marker with “…”.
  6. Navigate to the folder with the Linux Mint image and select it.
  7. Ignore the “Space used to preserve files across reboots (Ubuntu Only)” as this install is for Linux Mint and not Ubuntu.
  8. Make sure the “Type” dropdown is set to “USB Drive”.
  9. Select the drive letter that corresponds to your USB Drive. Be careful to get this right so that you don’t accidentally overwrite the wrong device.
  10. Click “OK”.
  11. After a while the process will complete and you will have a bootable USB drive with Linux Mint.

Buy a DVD or USB drive online

You may not want to download an image of Linux Mint because you have download limits set by your internet service provider or because you have a poor download speed.

You may also prefer to buy a USB drive or DVD as you are then guaranteed to get media that works.

Click here to buy a Linux Mint USB drive or DVD visit

Try Linux Mint in Live Mode

Linux Mint runs in Live Mode.

What this means is you can test Linux Mint out by running it straight from the DVD or USB drive.

There are two real advantages to this:
  1. You can make sure the DVD/USB drive works correctly
  2. You can test all the features to make sure that you can connect to the internet and play music/videos etc.

Boot from a DVD

  1. Put the DVD into the DVD drive.
  2. Reboot the computer.
  3. A message will appear stating that Linux Mint will boot in 10 seconds.
  4. If you press “enter” on the keyboard the boot will start straight away.
  5. If everything is ok then after a minute or so Linux Mint will have booted.

Boot from a USB Drive

  1. Put the USB drive into the drive.
  2. Reboot the computer.
  3. A menu should appear with options to try Mint or install Mint.
  4. Choose the default option which loads Linux Mint from the USB drive without installing anything.
  5. If everything is ok then after a minute or so Linux Mint will have booted.
  6. If your computer booted straight to Windows 7 then your hard drive is set to boot before a USB drive.

    If this is the case you have two choices.

    The first choice is to boot from a DVD and the second is to go into your computer’s BIOS and change the boot order of devices.

    You will need to read your computer’s manual or search online to determine how to change the BIOS settings as they are different for each make of computer.

Install Linux Mint

If you are happy that you have adequately backed up your Windows files and any other important files and you are suitably pleased with the Linux Mint live run then now you can install Linux Mint.
  1. Boot into the live version of Linux Mint 17.
    Click on the install icon on the desktop.



  2. Choose your installation language and click "Continue".


  3. You will be asked to connect to your wireless network. This is optional and to be honest I always choose not to connect.

    The installer will use your internet connection to download updates as it goes which means when you boot Linux Mint 17 for the first time after installation it will be completely up to date.

    If you have a slow internet connection this can take ages and if your connection drops then it is hard to know the state of your installation. I prefer to get the installation done first and then apply updates later.

    Select your preferred option and click "Continue".


  4. The next steps shows you how well prepared you are for installing Linux Mint. If you have three green ticks then you are good to go. (The only one you really have to worry about is disk space and if you are not using a power source make sure your battery is charged).

    Click "Continue".
  5. The next step is very important. You basically get three choices when it comes to installing Linux Mint:

    a. Install Linux Mint alongside Windows
    b. Erase disk and Install Linux Mint
    c. Something else

    For this installation I will be advocating choosing the option “Something Else”.

    The “Something Else” option allows you to choose how to partition your disks and because of this you can choose how much disk space to give over to the operating system and how much to keep for your own personal data.



    Look at the image above. This is an image of my disk before I installed Linux Mint. As you can see I have 4 partitions.

    The partition called “/dev/sda1” is a Windows system partition and should not be touched. The partition called “/dev/sda2” is the actual Windows partition and again should not be touched. When you run the Linux Mint install these are likely to be the only two partitions you see.

    In my case there are two other partitions. The partition called “/dev/sda3” is a backup partition. I use this to store a system image. It is not the only place I store the system image but it gives me instant access in case something goes wrong. If I happen to lose this partition then I can always go to my external hard drive to restore the image.

    The fourth partition on my drive is a data partition. I learned a long time ago to separate the operating system from the data on a drive and as such I created a data partition for storing documents, images, photos and videos.

    What you will also notice if you look at the image above is that there is a lot of free space. Over 100 gigabytes worth. This is the space I managed to retrieve by shrinking the Windows partition and this is where Linux Mint will be installed.

    At this stage it is important to talk about disk partitions. Each hard disk within a computer can have 4 primary partitions. Windows needs to run off a primary partition. Each primary partition can have logical partitions. Linux can run from logical partitions.

    If you look at the disk layout on my computer you will have worked out that I already have 4 primary partitions set up. The plan therefore is make logical partitions within the 4th partition.

    The setup will be as follows: Partitions 1 and 2 are for Windows and are primary partitions. Partition 3 will also be a primary partition and will remain as a backup partition. Partition 4 will be an extended partition and will contain 4 logical partitions.

    The logical partitions will be the existing data partition, a partition for Linux Mint, a partition for storing data and a swap partition.

    In your case you might only have 2 primary partitions set up as you may not have the backup or data partitions. This does not matter. You will be creating your logical partitions in the 3rd primary partition.

    Creating the root partition

    Select the “Free Space” and click “Add”.

    A screen will appear asking you to create a partition. In this step you will create the partition that will be used by Linux Mint.

    Initially the box marked “New partition size in megabytes” will show the full amount of free space. Realistically you only need around 20 gigabytes for the operating system allowing for software installations and so overwrite this field with 20000.

    Leave the radio button for “Location for the new partition” as “Beginning”. This will place the Linux Mint partition at the beginning of the disk.

    The “Use as” dropdown allows you to choose the file system that will be used by Linux Mint. The most commonly used file system in Linux is EXT4 and so I would always recommend using this type of partition.

    Change the mount point to / to make this the root partition. 

    Click “OK” to continue.

    Creating the home partition



    Now we are going to create the data partition or as it is called in Linux, the home partition. Consider the home partition to be the same as “c:\users\username” in Windows.

    Select the free space and click the “Add” button again from the “Installation Type” screen.

    The data partition will use up the rest of the disk space minus the amount you plan to use as a swap partition.

    How big should your swap size be?

    Now that is a really good question and everyone has differing opinions. If you plan to hibernate/suspend then consider using at least as much disk space as RAM.

    In the box marked “New partition size in megabytes” enter a value which is at least the mount of RAM less than the amount of remaining disk space.

    Again set the “location for the new partition” to “Beginning” and set the “Use as” to “EXT4”.

    You should set the mount point to “/home”. 

    Click “OK” to continue.

    Creating the swap partition

    The final partition to be created is the “Swap” partition.

    Select the free space and click the “Add” button again from the “Installation Type” screen.

    Enter the remaining disk space in the “New partition size in megabytes” box.

    This time change the “Location for the new partition” to be “End”.

    Within the “Use as” dropdown select “Swap area”.

    The “Swap area” is used when your machine has memory hungry tasks.

    The memory hungry tasks will start using disk space to store and swap memory. This is of course inefficient and if you hear a lot of disk activity when doing simple tasks then it probably means you don’t have enough memory in your machine.

    The “Swap area” is used by Linux Mint for hibernation purposes. If you don’t care about hibernation then you can make this partition a lot smaller.
  6. Now that all the partitions have been created the last thing to do from the Installation Type screen is to choose where to install the bootloader. This usually defaults to the correct place and should say “/dev/sda”. It is important to make sure this does not have any numbers at the end. (for example /dev/sda2).

    The bootloader determines the boot order of operating systems.


  7. The rest of the steps are very straight forward. Choose your location.


  8. Choose your keyboard layout.


  9. Create a default user and a name for your computer.


  10. Wait for the installation to complete which for me took less than 10 minutes

Test it out

Before booting into Linux Mint for the first time it is worth checking whether the Windows partition is still working properly.

To boot into Microsoft Windows reboot your computer (remember to remove your installation media) and a menu will appear with various options including “Linux Mint”, “Linux Mint (Recovery)”, “Windows 7 (sda1)” and “Windows 7 (sda2)”.

Press the down arrow until “Windows 7 (sda1)” is highlighted and then press “Enter” on the keyboard.

If everything has gone successfully Windows 7 should boot up without any errors. If Windows 7 doesn’t boot up then reboot and try the “Windows 7 (sda2)” option on the menu and press “Enter”.

If Windows 7 refuses to load then there is a problem and it is not now worth continuing with booting into Linux Mint until the issues have been resolved. Feel free to leave a comment and I will try and troubleshoot your problem. The worst case scenario would be reverting to the backups you made earlier.

if you are reading on it is assumed that you have a working Windows partition. Now it is time to try Linux Mint.

Reboot your computer and from the menu press the down arrow until “Linux Mint” is highlighted.

Now press “Enter” on the keyboard.

After a short period the Linux Mint login screen should load.

Logging in to Linux Mint

If you chose not to login automatically then a login screen will appear.

You can login by clicking the username at the top of the screen.

Enter the password that you set up during the installation phase and press “enter” again to login.


Summary

If all has gone to plan you should now be able to boot into Windows 7 and Linux Mint.

I hope you have found this guide useful but if you spot issues along the way please leave a comment so that I can update the guide and so that other people can see how you worked around potential problems.

Thankyou for reading.

If you found this guide useful consider using one of the share buttons below to share the article so that other potential Linux Mint users will know where to go.

Posted at 07:30 |  by Gary Newell

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Introduction

This is the year of Linux for the everyday user.

I have already written reviews for Ubuntu 14.04 and Linux Mint 17 and they are both exceptionally good for the average computer user.

This review is about Netrunner 14.

There are two versions of Netrunner available. This article looks at the Standard Release which is based on Kubuntu 14.04. The other version is a rolling release based on Manjaro.

System Requirements

I am listing the requirements as stated on the FAQ - Installation page on the Netrunner website.

It appears the requirements have been set from the fact that they were tested on a netbook.

  • CPU - 1.6ghz Intel Atom
  • RAM - 1 gigabyte
  • Hard Drive Size - 10 gigabytes
  • Graphics Card - Intel GMA 945
  • Video Memory - 128 megabytes
I tested on a more powerful machine:
  • Intel i5 quad core 
  • 8 gigabytes RAM
  • 2 terabyte hard drive
Needless to say it worked like a dream on my computer.

How to get Netrunner

To download Netrunner visit http://www.netrunner-os.com/download/

There are 32 bit and 64 bit versions of both the standard and rolling release.

To create a bootable USB drive I used UNetbootin.

If you have a poor internet connection or you are unsure about creating a bootable USB drive you can always click here to buy a bootable DVD or USB drive.

How to install Netrunner 


First of all boot into the Live version of Netrunner by inserting either a live USB or live DVD into the drive and turning on your computer and then click on "Install Netrunner 14 LTS".

The Netrunner installer is linear, making it very easy to follow. You can see the steps that the installer is going to take you through.

The first thing you have to do is choose the installation language and click "Continue".























You can now set up your internet connection if you so wish. Setting up the internet automatically chooses your timezone, installs third party software and downloads updates.

It is an optional choice whether to connect or not. My preference, because I have a poor internet connection, is to not connect and download the updates later. The third party software is installed by Netrunner anyway.























The third screen shows how prepared you are to install Netrunner. As long as your computer is plugged in (or has enough battery life) and it has enough disk space you are good to go.























The disk setup screen isn't as easy to follow as the one provided with Linux Mint. If you read the options carefully though it is quite straight forward.

The options above are basically saying

1. Install Netrunner alongside Linux Mint (I had Linux Mint installed previously)
2. Replace Linux Mint with Netrunner (use entire disk)
3. Replace Linux Mint with Netrunner and use LVM
4. Replace Linux Mint with Netrunner and use encryption with LVM
5. Perform a manual installation and setup the disk layout yourself

I chose option 2 to replace Linux Mint.























Now you have to choose your timezone by clicking on the map or selecting from the drop downs.























Choose your keyboard layout.























Finally create a default user by entering your name, a username, a password and a name for your computer.























The files will now be copied and your hardware will be detected and setup.

First Impressions





















Netrunner boots into a plain looking desktop. As with Linux Mint everything should look familiar to most people who have used computers before.

There is a panel at the bottom with a menu and quick launch icons in the bottom left and a system tray in the bottom right.



There are also some icons on the desktop. The "My Computer" icon shows you details about your computer such as the processor, memory, disk usage and operating system. The "Network" icon lets you connect to network drives. Finally the "Readme" takes you to the Netrunner website which contains some useful tutorials.



The quick launch part of the panel has an icon which brings up the menu, access to the file manager and an icon for the Firefox web browser.



The system tray has a multitude of icons which by default are as follows:
  • a terminal window
  • audio settings
  • software updates
  • contacts
  • clipboard manager
  • bluetooth
  • network settings
  • clock
  • search bar
  • notifications
  • activities
The menu is crisp and clean with useful icons on the left and categories on the right. Hovering over a category brings up the applications within that category.

To add icons to the favourites list, right click on them in the menu and select "Add to favourites".

Customising the desktop

The KDE desktop is highly customisable and there is just too much to discuss for including in this review.

Starting off nice and easy though you can change the desktop wallpaper. Simply right click on the desktop and select "Netrunner Desktop Settings".


































There are a number of wallpapers available with Netrunner and they all appear to have a very blue theme to them.

You can choose your own wallpaper by clicking on the "Open" button and finding the image you wish to use or you can click the "Get new wallpapers" button to search online for more.





















You can adjust the items that appear on the panel by right clicking on the panel and clicking "add panel items". You can also add new panels to the display.

The KDE desktop also has the concept of activities which is like a new play on the virtual workspaces concept.





















The choice of activities isn't as expansive in Netrunner as it is for openSUSE but you can download more if you need to.

The above image shows the photos activity.

Connecting to the internet





















As long as you have a fairly standard network card, connecting to the internet should be as easy as clicking on the network icon in the system tray and choosing your wireless connection.

You will need to enter the security key if one is required.

The default web browser in Netrunner is Firefox.

Flash and MP3



























Netrunner has everything you need to get started installed by default and as such Flash videos work and you can play MP3 audio without installing any further software.

Applications

Netrunner has a really good set of applications installed at the outset.

Games


  • Burgerspace
  • Chess
  • Duckhunt
  • Frozen Bubble
  • glTron
  • GNUDoQ
  • KBreakout
  • KDiamond
  • KMahjongg
  • KDiamond
  • KMines
  • KPatience
  • KSnake
  • KDuel
  • STEAM
I have written an article previously about the default KDE games but Netrunner includes some extras that I never covered.

More importantly is the inclusion of STEAM. I think the thing that annoys me with STEAM (and this is the same with every distribution that includes STEAM) is that as soon as you click the icon it downloads 200+ megabytes of updates.

STEAM is the best thing to ever happen to Linux gaming and provides 500+ games for the Linux desktop.

Graphics


  • GIMP Image Editing
  • Gwenview Image Viewer
  • Kamoso Webcam Viewer
  • Karbon Vector Graphics Drawing Application
  • Krita Digital Painting
  • KSnapshot Screenshot
  • Skanlite Scanning Application

Internet

  • FireFox Web Browser
  • Kontact Address Book
  • Pidgin Instant Messenger
  • QTransmission BitTorrent
  • Skype
  • Telepathy Instant Messenger
  • Thunderbird Email Client
It is interesting that Netrunner has a mix and match approach to the applications installed as opposed to choosing all the default KDE applications.

Skype is a good default choice.

Multimedia 

  • Clementine Audio Player
  • KDenlive Video Editing
  • KMix Audio Mixer
  • Qmmp Audio Player
  • VLC Media Player
  • Vokoscreen Screencasting
The default audio application in Netrunner is Clementine. I mentioned in my review of Linux Mint that Linux has a plethora of music applications. Clementine is a great example of how an audio player should work.

I wrote an article not so long ago comparing Clementine with Amarok in which I mentioned the virtues of a clean easy to use interface. Clementine really is the best that KDE has to offer.




























For watching videos there is the VLC media player, which allows you to watch videos that are local to your PC or online.

Netrunner also includes a video editor and screencast tool which is something you don't see in many other distributions but which are welcome inclusions.

Office





















  • LibreOffice Writer
  • LibreOffice Calc
  • LibreOffice Impress
  • LibreOffice Base
  • LibreOffice Math
  • Okular
The full LibreOffice office suite is included with the excellent LibreOffice Writer and the very competent LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet package. For presentations there is LibreOffice Impress and LibreOffice Base is a clone of MS Access.

Okular is included as a PDF viewer.

Installing Applications

































For package management, Netrunner 14 uses MUON.

The MUON graphical package manager is fairly straight forward and isn't unlike the Mint package manager.
































If you know the name of the package or you have a particular type of package you can search by keyword or name.

If you just want to browse then you can select the category you wish to view and scroll down the list.
































Double clicking on one of the items brings up a description of the application, reviews and the file size.

To install the package all you have to do is click "Install".

If you prefer a more powerful package manager, Synaptic is available as well.

Issues

I used Netrunner 14 for a week before writing the review and I never really came across any issues.

Audio, video and basic functionality behaved themselves nicely.

Summary

For the Everyday Linux User the future is bright. Netrunner is another great example of how good Linux can be.

Users can get up and running with Netrunner in about 15 to 20 minutes. Most computer users should be able to perform the most common tasks such as browsing the internet, watching videos and listening to music without too much thought.

The most challenging aspect will be customising the KDE desktop and learning the finer points about activities. How much effort each user puts into this is up to the individual concerned and is certainly not mandatory.

All in all, Netrunner is definitely worth checking out.


Netrunner 14 - KDE for the Everyday Linux User

Introduction

This is the year of Linux for the everyday user.

I have already written reviews for Ubuntu 14.04 and Linux Mint 17 and they are both exceptionally good for the average computer user.

This review is about Netrunner 14.

There are two versions of Netrunner available. This article looks at the Standard Release which is based on Kubuntu 14.04. The other version is a rolling release based on Manjaro.

System Requirements

I am listing the requirements as stated on the FAQ - Installation page on the Netrunner website.

It appears the requirements have been set from the fact that they were tested on a netbook.

  • CPU - 1.6ghz Intel Atom
  • RAM - 1 gigabyte
  • Hard Drive Size - 10 gigabytes
  • Graphics Card - Intel GMA 945
  • Video Memory - 128 megabytes
I tested on a more powerful machine:
  • Intel i5 quad core 
  • 8 gigabytes RAM
  • 2 terabyte hard drive
Needless to say it worked like a dream on my computer.

How to get Netrunner

To download Netrunner visit http://www.netrunner-os.com/download/

There are 32 bit and 64 bit versions of both the standard and rolling release.

To create a bootable USB drive I used UNetbootin.

If you have a poor internet connection or you are unsure about creating a bootable USB drive you can always click here to buy a bootable DVD or USB drive.

How to install Netrunner 


First of all boot into the Live version of Netrunner by inserting either a live USB or live DVD into the drive and turning on your computer and then click on "Install Netrunner 14 LTS".

The Netrunner installer is linear, making it very easy to follow. You can see the steps that the installer is going to take you through.

The first thing you have to do is choose the installation language and click "Continue".























You can now set up your internet connection if you so wish. Setting up the internet automatically chooses your timezone, installs third party software and downloads updates.

It is an optional choice whether to connect or not. My preference, because I have a poor internet connection, is to not connect and download the updates later. The third party software is installed by Netrunner anyway.























The third screen shows how prepared you are to install Netrunner. As long as your computer is plugged in (or has enough battery life) and it has enough disk space you are good to go.























The disk setup screen isn't as easy to follow as the one provided with Linux Mint. If you read the options carefully though it is quite straight forward.

The options above are basically saying

1. Install Netrunner alongside Linux Mint (I had Linux Mint installed previously)
2. Replace Linux Mint with Netrunner (use entire disk)
3. Replace Linux Mint with Netrunner and use LVM
4. Replace Linux Mint with Netrunner and use encryption with LVM
5. Perform a manual installation and setup the disk layout yourself

I chose option 2 to replace Linux Mint.























Now you have to choose your timezone by clicking on the map or selecting from the drop downs.























Choose your keyboard layout.























Finally create a default user by entering your name, a username, a password and a name for your computer.























The files will now be copied and your hardware will be detected and setup.

First Impressions





















Netrunner boots into a plain looking desktop. As with Linux Mint everything should look familiar to most people who have used computers before.

There is a panel at the bottom with a menu and quick launch icons in the bottom left and a system tray in the bottom right.



There are also some icons on the desktop. The "My Computer" icon shows you details about your computer such as the processor, memory, disk usage and operating system. The "Network" icon lets you connect to network drives. Finally the "Readme" takes you to the Netrunner website which contains some useful tutorials.



The quick launch part of the panel has an icon which brings up the menu, access to the file manager and an icon for the Firefox web browser.



The system tray has a multitude of icons which by default are as follows:
  • a terminal window
  • audio settings
  • software updates
  • contacts
  • clipboard manager
  • bluetooth
  • network settings
  • clock
  • search bar
  • notifications
  • activities
The menu is crisp and clean with useful icons on the left and categories on the right. Hovering over a category brings up the applications within that category.

To add icons to the favourites list, right click on them in the menu and select "Add to favourites".

Customising the desktop

The KDE desktop is highly customisable and there is just too much to discuss for including in this review.

Starting off nice and easy though you can change the desktop wallpaper. Simply right click on the desktop and select "Netrunner Desktop Settings".


































There are a number of wallpapers available with Netrunner and they all appear to have a very blue theme to them.

You can choose your own wallpaper by clicking on the "Open" button and finding the image you wish to use or you can click the "Get new wallpapers" button to search online for more.





















You can adjust the items that appear on the panel by right clicking on the panel and clicking "add panel items". You can also add new panels to the display.

The KDE desktop also has the concept of activities which is like a new play on the virtual workspaces concept.





















The choice of activities isn't as expansive in Netrunner as it is for openSUSE but you can download more if you need to.

The above image shows the photos activity.

Connecting to the internet





















As long as you have a fairly standard network card, connecting to the internet should be as easy as clicking on the network icon in the system tray and choosing your wireless connection.

You will need to enter the security key if one is required.

The default web browser in Netrunner is Firefox.

Flash and MP3



























Netrunner has everything you need to get started installed by default and as such Flash videos work and you can play MP3 audio without installing any further software.

Applications

Netrunner has a really good set of applications installed at the outset.

Games


  • Burgerspace
  • Chess
  • Duckhunt
  • Frozen Bubble
  • glTron
  • GNUDoQ
  • KBreakout
  • KDiamond
  • KMahjongg
  • KDiamond
  • KMines
  • KPatience
  • KSnake
  • KDuel
  • STEAM
I have written an article previously about the default KDE games but Netrunner includes some extras that I never covered.

More importantly is the inclusion of STEAM. I think the thing that annoys me with STEAM (and this is the same with every distribution that includes STEAM) is that as soon as you click the icon it downloads 200+ megabytes of updates.

STEAM is the best thing to ever happen to Linux gaming and provides 500+ games for the Linux desktop.

Graphics


  • GIMP Image Editing
  • Gwenview Image Viewer
  • Kamoso Webcam Viewer
  • Karbon Vector Graphics Drawing Application
  • Krita Digital Painting
  • KSnapshot Screenshot
  • Skanlite Scanning Application

Internet

  • FireFox Web Browser
  • Kontact Address Book
  • Pidgin Instant Messenger
  • QTransmission BitTorrent
  • Skype
  • Telepathy Instant Messenger
  • Thunderbird Email Client
It is interesting that Netrunner has a mix and match approach to the applications installed as opposed to choosing all the default KDE applications.

Skype is a good default choice.

Multimedia 

  • Clementine Audio Player
  • KDenlive Video Editing
  • KMix Audio Mixer
  • Qmmp Audio Player
  • VLC Media Player
  • Vokoscreen Screencasting
The default audio application in Netrunner is Clementine. I mentioned in my review of Linux Mint that Linux has a plethora of music applications. Clementine is a great example of how an audio player should work.

I wrote an article not so long ago comparing Clementine with Amarok in which I mentioned the virtues of a clean easy to use interface. Clementine really is the best that KDE has to offer.




























For watching videos there is the VLC media player, which allows you to watch videos that are local to your PC or online.

Netrunner also includes a video editor and screencast tool which is something you don't see in many other distributions but which are welcome inclusions.

Office





















  • LibreOffice Writer
  • LibreOffice Calc
  • LibreOffice Impress
  • LibreOffice Base
  • LibreOffice Math
  • Okular
The full LibreOffice office suite is included with the excellent LibreOffice Writer and the very competent LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet package. For presentations there is LibreOffice Impress and LibreOffice Base is a clone of MS Access.

Okular is included as a PDF viewer.

Installing Applications

































For package management, Netrunner 14 uses MUON.

The MUON graphical package manager is fairly straight forward and isn't unlike the Mint package manager.
































If you know the name of the package or you have a particular type of package you can search by keyword or name.

If you just want to browse then you can select the category you wish to view and scroll down the list.
































Double clicking on one of the items brings up a description of the application, reviews and the file size.

To install the package all you have to do is click "Install".

If you prefer a more powerful package manager, Synaptic is available as well.

Issues

I used Netrunner 14 for a week before writing the review and I never really came across any issues.

Audio, video and basic functionality behaved themselves nicely.

Summary

For the Everyday Linux User the future is bright. Netrunner is another great example of how good Linux can be.

Users can get up and running with Netrunner in about 15 to 20 minutes. Most computer users should be able to perform the most common tasks such as browsing the internet, watching videos and listening to music without too much thought.

The most challenging aspect will be customising the KDE desktop and learning the finer points about activities. How much effort each user puts into this is up to the individual concerned and is certainly not mandatory.

All in all, Netrunner is definitely worth checking out.


Posted at 07:30 |  by Gary Newell

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