What are your top tips for a Newbie?

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Matthew Paul » Sun May 10, 2015 1:04 am

I've been a Newbie to Linux for about 7 days now. Been doing lots of reading, reading and more reading. I find it interesting to read what a person has chosen to write in their signature. May be important, may not be. None the less, READ it.

If this is your debut to Linux Mint, just registered to this Forum and haven't posted one thing yet, I'd like to suggest the following. In those signatures I mentioned, I came across a couple good links in Pjotr's. BEFORE GOING ANY further, please take the 30 to 60 minutes of time to read this introduction and follow the simple steps. You won't be disappointed.

Here's a good analogy. You just got your first car! You're excited and anxious to get in it, fire it up and go show it off to all your friends. Remember Dad telling you, "I'm so proud of you." Then giving you that big hug, ...followed by, "Okay... before we take it for a drive, let's check some things. The oil in the engine, the amount of gas in the tank, the brake fluid level and the air pressure in the tires." ??

Best thing to do with a new toy, ...correct? Make sures it's fully functional and ready to hit the streets? In a nutshell, ...that is basically what the "10 things to do first in Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon" is all about. Assuming you are starting out with the latest version. Get familiar with some of the most simple procedures to get started. While you become comfortable as the author takes you through the journey. Step by step.

Before doing this, make sure and bookmark this site for future reference. If no one is around in the Forums and a question is on your mind, I bet you will find the information somewhere on this site. Easy to read instructions and written in terms for the person who may not be the most computer savey to understand.

Hats off to the Author for the time and effort put into this. And... a BIG Welcome to YOU in your New adventures with Linux!! :D

Edit Thanks, John! I've come to learn that every site has their own way of doing as you suggested with the link. I know TinyURL is not the most popular and the only choice I had at the moment. ...again, Thanks and ....edited :wink:
Last edited by Matthew Paul on Sun May 17, 2015 3:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by JohnBobSmith » Tue May 12, 2015 7:29 pm

Hello Matthew Paul,

I dont like the idea of having to click on tinyurl links. The biggest reason is that I have no way of knowing where the link will take me. Thankfully, there is a solution built-in to the forums. You can use URL tags! For example, the following code

Code: Select all

[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_science]Visit Wikipedia's CS page[/url]
will turn into the following link: Visit Wikipedia's CS Page. I'm pretty sure you can have very large link names, probably until you hit the forum's character limit. I feel that using the built-in URL tags feature over tinyurl would help those who do not wish to use tinyurl (myself included) still be able to visit relevant links.

Hopefully this helps. :)
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Ryu945 » Sun May 17, 2015 2:12 pm

I made this guide to help new people coming to Mint. It contains a lot of information that would take awhile for your to piece together on your own searching the forums.

http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=157681
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Matthew Paul » Wed May 20, 2015 2:38 pm

Hello, Ryu945

I read it. An interesting piece of writing that I know took hours to put together, organize and finally post. I'm sure that editing the same followed a few times.

In the post above, I think you need to keep in mind the progression that takes place before your eyes. Pointing that out I would say the post you refer to is a little outdated. I'm not saying it can't be of use or helpful to someone stepping over the line. Making that transition from Windows to Linux.

After reading it I came to the conclusion that 70% of it was written for someone younger. Video games? Netflix? SilverLight? I have no interest in any of them. Avast? I became quite the fan of this unique piece of anti-virus software over the last 4 or 5 years using Windows. However, it's been made clear to me that there is no reason or need for downloading or using an anti-virus program while using Linux. Why would I want to add "Wine" to this system? The whole point of moving to Linux, for me at least, ...is to leave Windows and anything Microsoft in the past. Becoming dust in the wind. :wink:
Last edited by Matthew Paul on Wed May 20, 2015 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Habitual » Wed May 20, 2015 4:04 pm

Patch your system regularly.
If there is nothing on the hard drive to 'save' and you happen to be installing, for the Love of God, ACCEPT MOST DEFAULTS.
chmod 777 never fixed a thing.
When troubleshooting something, filter out the stuff that does work.
Where you read something is every bit as important as what you are reading. Find authoritative sources for your References.

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Ryu945 » Fri May 22, 2015 11:21 am

Matthew Paul wrote:Hello, Ryu945

I read it. An interesting piece of writing that I know took hours to put together, organize and finally post. I'm sure that editing the same followed a few times.

In the post above, I think you need to keep in mind the progression that takes place before your eyes. Pointing that out I would say the post you refer to is a little outdated. I'm not saying it can't be of use or helpful to someone stepping over the line. Making that transition from Windows to Linux.

After reading it I came to the conclusion that 70% of it was written for someone younger. Video games? Netflix? SilverLight? I have no interest in any of them. Avast? I became quite the fan of this unique piece of anti-virus software over the last 4 or 5 years using Windows. However, it's been made clear to me that there is no reason or need for downloading or using an anti-virus program while using Linux. Why would I want to add "Wine" to this system? The whole point of moving to Linux, for me at least, ...is to leave Windows and anything Microsoft in the past. Becoming dust in the wind. :wink:

I am not sure what you mean by outdated so please explain that. I don't think you realize how many adults play video games and Netflix is used by anyone. Also, anti-virus will always be useful as long as files get moved between linux and windows computers. You don't want your linux to be a repository for windows viruses waiting to get transferred to a windows computer. Finally not everyone can completely abandon windows programs even if they wanted to. There is still a huge gap in program availability.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by InkKnife » Sun May 24, 2015 11:50 pm

Pjotr wrote:
InkKnife wrote:
FCh3n wrote:Use the software manager to install new packages.
(or,

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install [i]program[/i]
in terminal)

Use this site (Do only the FIRST 10 ACTIONS!)

Mint(Cinnamon)(17.1): https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... amon-first

Mint(XFCE)(17.1): https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/8

Mint(MATE)(17.1): https://sites.google.com/site/easylinux ... mate-first
Those links lead to some really quite terrible advice.
Would you care to explain that? I happen to be the author of that advice, and I'm always open for constructive criticism which might enable me to improve my how-to's. :)
Sorry to take so long to answer.
Basically I think it is not wise to encourage newbies to change system defaults.
Mint is crafted to be very safe. That may mean that it is not fully optimised, a sacrifice to safety.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Pjotr » Mon May 25, 2015 4:16 am

InkKnife wrote:
Pjotr wrote:Would you care to explain that? I happen to be the author of that advice, and I'm always open for constructive criticism which might enable me to improve my how-to's. :)
Sorry to take so long to answer.
Basically I think it is not wise to encourage newbies to change system defaults.
Mint is crafted to be very safe. That may mean that it is not fully optimised, a sacrifice to safety.
Safety is also a matter of great importance to me.... Can you indicate which of my tips, in your opinion, diminish safety? I'm very much interested in potential possibilities for further improving them. :)
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by killer de bug » Mon May 25, 2015 4:58 am

Pjotr wrote:Safety is also a matter of great importance to me.... Can you indicate which of my tips, in your opinion, diminish safety? I'm very much interested in potential possibilities for further improving them. :)
I'm sorry but I also consider this set of advises as dangerous. I think these links should never be placed in the hands of new users. Not necessarily for safety reasons.

First of all you wrote this:
Apply all available updates
This has been so widely discussed on the forum... I will not comment again.

Then:
Enable security updates for level 4 and 5 [...] Beware: if you're unlucky and your system does get messed up because of these updates, a clean re-installation is often the only solution...
The guy is brand new. He was told Linux is cool, rocking solid... You advise him to go unstable, he breaks his computer and... oh sorry, just reinstall. Best way to disgust him from using Linux. Very nice piece of advise...


I don't comment the script for the update manager or how a simple setting becomes a nightmare with code for a new user. Linux is simple they said :lol:
Install kernel updates
It's best to check for kernel updates every month or so. Tip: make it a structural item in your agenda.
Why? Why? Why? :shock: If it's working why do you want to break it? Why? Seriously? And you said this is for newbies?
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Pjotr » Mon May 25, 2015 5:54 am

killer de bug wrote:Then:
Enable security updates for level 4 and 5 [...] Beware: if you're unlucky and your system does get messed up because of these updates, a clean re-installation is often the only solution...
The guy is brand new. He was told Linux is cool, rocking solid... You advise him to go unstable, he breaks his computer and... oh sorry, just reinstall. Best way to disgust him from using Linux. Very nice piece of advise...
That's debatable. Remember that security updates for level 4 and 5 are being shown by default, although not preselected.... Which is confusing for a beginner. Nearly all beginners are puzzled by that and seek a way to deal with it.

In my tip, I explain what's the matter and I also point out the potential risk of breakage. So I think it's a reasonably balanced tip...
"Install kernel updates. It's best to check for kernel updates every month or so. Tip: make it a structural item in your agenda."
Why? Why? Why? :shock: If it's working why do you want to break it? Why? Seriously? And you said this is for newbies?
Some people (including some beginners) wish to have kernel updates, for a variety of reasons. Again, I explain both the risks of kernel updates and the way to undo them easily (how to boot from the previous kernel), if a problem should arise. I can't see much wrong in that....

I even precede these tips by the following general information:
1.2. The default settings of Update Manager are very cautious; that's a characteristic of Linux Mint. Stability first and foremost.

In itself that's good, although Ubuntu (on which Mint is built) is less cautious with updates. And Ubuntu is also stable and reliable.

It's worthwhile to make Mints Update Manager a little less cautious: that gives you the advantage of extra bug fixes and extra security updates.

Note: if you'd rather change nothing in Update Manager, that's OK, too. Without any changes you still have a secure system. Much more secure than Windows, for example....

It's therefore not strictly necessary to change things, but it is important that you understand these aspects of Update Manager. That's why this is listed among the essential things to do.


If you don't want to change the settings of Update Manager, you can simply proceed with item 1.3.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Pjotr » Mon May 25, 2015 7:43 am

@killer de bug: as a follow-up to my previous answer: although I believe the advice that I give to be essentially sound, upon re-reading it I think that the wording can be improved....

The text pushes a little too much in the direction of installing level 4 and 5 security updates and also of kernel updates (for which my Ubuntu background is probably the cause). Whereas it should be only an incentive to *consider* installing them.

I'll improve the text accordingly. Thanks for your feedback. :)
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by killer de bug » Mon May 25, 2015 10:31 am

Pjotr wrote: although I believe the advice that I give to be essentially sound,
Don't get me wrong, it is!

Simply it is not for new users but more for users with already a small background that can handle a few breaks! :wink:
If it ain't broke, fix it until it is.

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by arunarmstrong » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:49 am

TAKE YOUR TIME!!!!!!! :D NO mater how frustrating it is. :D

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by vanpe » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:06 am

Hello!

I have been on a tear, trying out different Linux distros. I like them all, so it can be difficult to decide. However, I am still such a newbie. My advice is to make a good back up of files you want to keep. Linux is great for experimenting, so you will want to have a good backup in case something goes wrong.

Have fun and enjoy!

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Compass » Sat Jun 06, 2015 4:36 pm

Personally, I would only accept updates through the Update Manager on levels 1,2 and 3.
I would stay away from using the "Terminal". This can get you into ALOT of trouble if you are not SURE what you are doing or what trickle down effect those changes may have on the rest of your system.
Only install software from the Software Manager or Drive Manager.
Just my opinion.

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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by sadhu » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:49 am

My advice to the newbie: separate your data from the OS.

At installation time, I create at least two partitions -- one (or more) for the operating system(s), and the other for data. I've been doing this since Windows 3.1. (In the old days I had two HDDs, one for Windows, the other for data. Later I started using partitions instead.)

Set the Linux partition to mount point "/".

I call my Linux data partition "/ddr"-- a throwback to Windows "D-Drive" where I used to keep my data. In windows I would set My Documents, My Videos, as shortcuts to folders on the 'd-drive' partition or HDD. Anyway, with this setup I could easily reload the OS without having to worry about backing up data. (On my 1 TB HDD, I have four 20 GB partitions for various Linux distros, a 200 GB /ddr partition for data, and the remainder as a huge repository for movies.)

Nowadays I have symbolic links ("shortcuts") defined for all of my major data areas:
  • downloads/Videos
  • downloads/books
  • documents
  • pictures
  • music
  • movies (which points to the huge partition)
  • etc etc.
So the trick is to set up your data partition with all of your special folders.

Then open a terminal window (which should open in your home directory) and enter

Code: Select all

ln  -s /[data directory]/[subdirectory] ./
Do this for each of your special data folders. The file manager will show the new folders in your home directory.

There are lots of tweaks like this that you can make to suit yourself.

Like I said, this is nothing new. I've been doing this for years. Decades even. Never had to back up data when reloading the OS, as the OS went into drive C, and drive D was untouched during installation.

ALSO, i follow most of the instructions in those sites called "20 Things To Do After Installing ...."

One other thing: I created a special document where I record or copy/paste the tricks and shortcuts I find on Stack Overflow. It's usually faster to read the answer there than look them up on Google. Also it aids learning.


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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by mehimu » Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:19 pm

Well, i'm also trying to learning to learn the linux for the computer networking. Hope that this discussion may help me. There are somany people, who give so much information for the new users. Thanks to all.
I am learning linux and computer networking more and more. I've a blog related to computer networking. If you are interested may visit there. Thanks
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by Matera » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:14 pm

Hella lotta good stuff in this thread. I'll add my two small coins worth anyway. :)

Read.
Try out some live disks. This will also help you learn how to boot from a disk if you haven't been there yet, and you can see what your computer will run comfortably. You can do whatever you like and not break a thing!
Read.
Heck, run a few virtual machines if you can.
Read.
Take it at your own pace.
Read.
You will know when you're ready.

When the big day comes, there are a couple of things I've learned to watch out for.

1. Partitioning -- It is wise not to put everything in one partition. As long as system files and home are separate, you can re-install after a bork-up without losing your personal stuff and configs. It comes back just the way you left it, wallpaper and all. Just try doing that with Windows, LOL. My favorite setup is a simple 3-way -- root, swap, home.

1-A. If you do it that way, give root enough space. It's hard to guess exactly how much you'll need, and hard to fix if you don't leave wiggle-room. Once you start diving in and finding oodles of wonderful awesome irresistible free software to install, the bytes pile up fast. So be reasonably generous (I suggest 20GB minimum). You'll thank yourself later.

2. If you are dual-booting Linux and Windows on separate hard drives, make sure GRUB installs on the Linux drive; it should be the first drive. This saves you a lot of trouble if you ever have to boot the Windows drive alone. It doesn't hurt to keep a Super-GRUB disk on hand anyway. If you plan on booting multiple Linux flavors, make sure that the one you love best keeps control of the bootloader.

3. Have fun! Dig around, explore, make yourself at home, rearrange the furniture. And don't worry about breaking it. Everything I know about computers today, I learned from fixing my own mistakes. It's a game that feels good to win because the rewards are real and lasting.

Find a distro and desktop environment that you can love, and it will return your love.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by brainout » Sun Jun 28, 2015 10:45 am

I am still a newbie, so what follows is what worked for me. I might know up to 12 Linux terminal commands, if that, so obviously you don't need to know the Terminal to benefit from Linux. Especially, Mint: it's the easiest of all the distros aka Linux OS programs, to learn as a newbie. Again, I am one, so that's how I know. (I've maybe tried 20 distros by now.) :mrgreen:

First top tip: google on anything you don't understand. There's a Linux manual called 'man' but it's really hard to search and use. So just type in Google what you want to know using some long string, like 'how to put Linux on a usb stick' (answered next), not just 'linux stick'. Google is trained for long search posts, and the longer, the sooner you'll find what you seek. Also, it's faster to search in Google and better, versus any forum or website's own search. I don't know why. And what I typed YESTERDAY, can be searched today, in Google (but not here or within whatever site I was typing in, yesterday). So use Google! Or, to help the folks here in linuxmint, use Yahoo or DuckGoGo (I've had little luck with those engines, but your results may vary).

My next top tip is to ignore all those folks who tell you to use LiveUSB or Unetbootin to put Linux on a stick. Instead, install Linux (i.e., Mint) directly to stick or external drive, via the 10 steps here: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=197956 The same procedure works with any distro I've tried, not only Mint. I first learned it two years ago, made a video about it (but the 10 steps' link is easier to use). Just Google on 'brainout' and 'Linux' and 'Youtube' to see the vids. The descriptions are all outdated now, the 10 steps are better.

Install your favorite flavor of Linux to any size external hard drive or stick, and as a newbie all that talk about dual-booting and vm's, you can just ignore. Best of all, you can plug it into any computer you have with at least 512 MB of Ram, and you can function (2-4GB and up, is better). Use an external drive or stick of 60 GB or more, my fav sticks are 3.0 Kingston Data Traveller at Amazon. But Patriot Axle is nice too. Avoid slider sticks, the slider gets stuck.

Okay, but should you use 32-bit or 64-bit? If your favorite programs are over 10 years old, use 32-bit. If you are savvy about 64-bit, then by all means use it, but it needs emulators to run old programs, and you'll need them if you run old programs.

If you're on Windows, you need a Linux distro. It can write to and format DVDs, which XP cannot do, it can copy files which XP and Win7 won't do (mass copying in Windows is a pain, but fast in Linux). Linux can do whatever Windows cannot do well, so just plug a Linux external drive or stick in your Windows machine and you have full access to your Windows stuff.

So what flavor distros? Alway pick at least two, so that using one you can repartition the other. But don't pick them in the same family. So Mint and Fedora, or Mint and PCLinuxOS are different enough. I'm no fan of Ubuntu, but if you are, then Ubuntu and Mint might be your buddies of choice.

Next big question is desktop aka GUI aka what you see as the screen and menuing system. If you like XP or Vista or Win7, pick a KDE desktop or Mate. The former offers more customization but uses more resources, too: have at least 4 GB of RAM if you want to use it. As its 'desktop theme', click on 'Install Themes' if you are online, then search for and install 'Aya', which makes the task bar aka panel, the same colors as you've customized in Application Appearance.

KDE does NOT play well with other desktops, so you can't have it and some other desktop at the same time. PCLinuxOS offers a desktop wardrobe, go to their forums to ask how to use the wardrobe, as I had a bad experience and I guess someone there didn't like me complaining about it, so now I can't post there. Good folk, good OS, compatible with Mint but different enough as a 'buddy'. So maybe whatever I did wrong, you won't do, and you'll have a happy experience.

I like Debian but it's always buggy, so I don't know how well LXDE will play.

Next issue, how to play your windows stuff in Linux. Answer, download Wine from Synaptics package manager. Every file that says 'wine', except those really covering the drink, are the Wine program, meaning Windows Is Not Emulated. It's a translator, not an emulator, for Windows programs. How to install or use Windows programs in Linux, is best explained here (example is MS Office 2007, but the procedure is the same for using or installing anything on your Windows machine, maybe won't work all the time): http://www.howtogeek.com/171565/how-to- ... -on-linux/

Oh, and DOSbox if you run DOS programs like I do (or games). Read the username/.dosbox/dosbox-0.74.conf file on how to tweak the DOS window, after you've downloaded it (make sure Caja View is set to display hidden folders, else you can't see the username/.dosbox folder). You can download DOSbox via Synaptic or other Software manager, just type 'dosbox' in Search and it should show up.

Finally, how to best backup your stuff? Don't merely backup, CLONE. A 'clone' is a BOOTABLE exact replica of your internal hard drive. Linux programs called Knoppix ( http://archive.cs.stedwards.edu/knoppix/) and Clonezilla (which you can also buy in Amazon, link here use Windows Method B: http://clonezilla.org/liveusb.php) will CLONE your entire hard drive, a stick, an external drive, quickly. Example: I use Clonezilla to clone my XP and Win7 machines (19 of them). When Windows crashes, I just clone the clone back to the internal hard drive, and in 20 minutes or so I'm back up and running. Trick with cloning, is that you must clone TO a drive or stick which is larger than what you're cloning FROM. So if my internal hard drive is 120 GB, then the drive I clone to is bigger than that. It is bootable, but Windows maybe won't boot because Microsoft doesn't want you to do that. Even so, you can clone your internal drive and then when Windows crashes due to some Windows update (which is often), you just clone the clone back to that internal hard drive, and you're a happy camper again. Weirdly, when I plugged a Windows 7 clone by mistake into one of my XP machines at boot, it automatically created a dual boot of that machine in like 30 seconds, so now I can use EITHER Win7 or XP on that machine. :P

Later on, after you get used to the desktop grapical interface ('GUI'), it will start to annoy you just as Windows is annoying. At which point, you'll be interested to learn how much faster the Terminal can be, to get the same things done. But if you hate arcane gibberish commands and you hate typing, this won't be something you'll want to learn for a long time. Even so, you will want to learn some commands. For example, I downloaded Crossover in maybe 10 seconds from the Terminal (they tell you how at their website); had I instead been able to use Synaptic, it would have taken 15 minutes. Big difference.
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Re: What are your top tips for a Newbie?

Post by in-gold » Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:54 pm

cra1g321 wrote:WHEN THERE'S A PROBLEM, DONT RUN AWAY BACK TO WINDOWS!!!

Some people (including me) expect to be able to install linux, login and expect to be able to know how to use everything, just because they've been using a pc for years. What i didnt realised at 1st was that i had been using Windows all those years, meaning i only had experience and knowledge about windows.
So spend sometime using it and learn ! google is your friend !!
You dont have to switch completely i run linux alongside windows 7. Meaning that if i evr need to use a certain program like itunes or something i can always run it on my Win7
You don't have to switch cold turkey. For about a year I ran Mint with other distros on a virtual guest machine under Windows host. If you find distros you like, run them from live USB's. Then go to a dual boot. That's where I am now. The more I use Mint, the less I use Windows. Maybe the day will come, I just install a stand-alone linux distro.

Next piece of advice: Have fun with those phony windows technical department calls! When your phone rings when one of these guys tell you that you have malware on your computer, boot up in Linux and try to do what they say (like press the "windows key" and "R"" and run msconfig) and just laugh your face off when it doesn't do what they think it should do! You can decide yourself when to tell them you don't use windows and laugh when they insist you do. Now, that's entertainment!

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