So, you have that old computer that was running Windows, and you’re finally ready to upgrade. Maybe it’s just running slowly, or you don’t want to catch some computer virus; maybe you want to run some cool new program that’s only available on Linux, or your old machine won’t run Windows 8. Whatever your reasons; here’s the briefest, least “techie” set of instructions I can put together.
Step 1. Back up your files and passwords.
Imagine that you are throwing your old computer in the trash and will never see it again.
Do not use a fancy “backup and restore” program. Burn your files to a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray, or move them to another computer, or put them on SD cards or USB memory sticks, or even use DropBox if you must.
Step 2. Get a Fedora installation “image” file.
Go to http://FedoraProject.org/ and click Download Now. You should get a file named something like “fedora-blahblah.iso”
If you have an older (4+ years) computer or low memory (less than 3 GiB / 3,072 MiB of RAM memory) you might want to use LXDE version instead, from http://spins.fedoraproject.org/lxde/. You can always decide to change later (see Hints at the end)
Step 3. Create an installation disc.
For USB, you can use Image Writer … see these instructions: https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_create_and_use_Live_USB
(or, the more detailed instructions at http://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/Fedora/20/html/Installation_Guide/Making_USB_Media.html)
This will wipe out a USB memory stick to use as a boot device. (Follow the Windows quick start (direct write) directions.)
If you have a DVD-/Blu-Ray player on the computer, you can use the older style (which is sometimes easier) by burning a boot-DVD from the ISO file. docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/Fedora/20/html/Installation_Guide/sn-making-media.html#sn-making-disc-media
Step 4. Boot the installation disc.
This part is “fiddly” and model-specicfic to your PC. Basically: Plug in your boot stick (or insert your bootable DVD) and then shut down the computer and power it off. Turn it back on. Now, right away, immediately, before it starts up, you’ll need to do “something” to tell the computer to start up the Fedora installer instead of Windows. Some machines will do this automatically. Most, though, make you hit a special key — usually F12, DELete, or ESCape. If you’ro lucky, a little footnote will appear before the machine tries to start Windows to tell you what key.
This part, unfortunately, will be “up to you” to figure out.
Step 5. Install the core Operating System.
This is pretty easy.
A full step-by-step walkthrough is here: http://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/Fedora/20/html/Installation_Quick_Start_Guide/Fedora_Live_Desktop.html
Once the installation program starts up, (you might have to click “Install to Hard Disc” or similar first) you’ll reach a screen like this:
You should click on each icon to adjust your settings. For Storage, you probably want to let it use Automatic Partitioning of your entire drive.
This will wipe out all traces of Windows and all your files. Forever.
When the installer is done, restart the computer without the installer disc.
Step 6. Common Add-ons.
Some things don’t ship with Fedora for various reasons. Come back to this page once you’re logged in to your new system.
Once you log in for the first time, you’ll see some quick video intros to show off how to navigate the Desktop, reach tho Activities Overview, and so forth.
You’ll also be prompted to link up your Online Services, like Google. For example: If you link up your Google account, you’ll get your Gmail, Google Hangout chats (text only; video requires a little more work), and Google Calendar events without doing any further set-up.
Click these two links to download and install “Repository” files for RPM Fusion, which provides additional software components you might want:
You’ll be asked for permission, and your administrative password, for each file to install.
Adobe Flash Player
Sadly, you’ll probably want Adobe Flash still to reach some web sites and games and things. For that, go here:
Pick “Yum for Linux” from the drop-down and click Download.
In order to verify Google’s software, you need to set up their “signing key” first.
From Activities Overview, open Terminal. (Hit the Activities key or click the Activities label on the top-left of the screen and type Terminal into the search box, is one way to get there.)
Then, copy this text below, and right-click in the Terminal window and click Paste from the pop-up menu. (Control+V won’t paste in Terminal; but Control+Shift+V does work.)
sudo rpm --import https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub
That You’ll probably need to enter your password again.
You can now get, if you’d like:
- Google Chrome (pick 64 bit .rpm (For Fedora/openSUSE) — unless you have an older, 32-bit computer)
- Google Earth
- Google Music Manager: First, sign in to your Google account in your browser (e.g. Gmail) and go to https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=1#/manager; click the Gear Wheel settings icon under your name in the top-right corner, and pick Upload Music, then
- Google Hangouts — You can chat in text without this, but this is needed for voice or video.
This is stupid, but there are some complicated reasons why it’s necessary. If (and only if!) playing a DVD gives you an error about not being able to find a necossary system library (CODEC); then install:
Step 7. Customize!
On the Personal menu in the top-right corner of the screen, pick Settings.
The top row of buttons are Personal. They affect only yourself. Adjust them any way you like!
The next section are Hardware settings. You might want to adjust some things here. Some of these settings will apply to other users of your computer; some won’t.
The System row includes the Sharing settings, Universal Access (which has settings to make the computer easier to use for individuals with disabilities, for example), and the Users panel where you can add accounts for family, friends, roommates, &c.
- Add a Guest account (not an Administrator!) so visitors won’t have access to your personal files
- Make sure you have an alternate Administrator account whose password is long, complicated, and written down in a safe place away from the computer. When you’re setting a password, you can click the little “gears” in the password box to let the computer create a random password for you; try clicking it a few times until the “strength” bar fills up.
- Never install software by downloading it and running it on your computer through the web unless it’s from a brand you know well and trust. Instead, use the program Software which is in your Activities Overview.
- To share files to a Windows computer, you might need to install the program Samba. You may be interested to install system-config-samba if you want to set it up with a custom configuration.
- Interested in trying a different Desktop style? Here are some packages that provide alternative desktop “Sessions.” You can install these via Software, then log out. When you start logging in, click your name, and before you enter your password, click Session under the password box to pick a different session type. Remember, the “normal” layout is the Gnome session.
- You can remove software using Software, too! Just be careful to see if the system you’re removing is used by any others. The system will tell you if removing one program will require you to remove also any others.
- Since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re probably a friend of mine, and might want me to connect to your computer and fix a problem some day. In that case, install the package openssh-server as well, and enable it in Settings → Sharing → Remote Login. If you have a router or something between you and your Internet link (e.g. a wireless router or something) you might need to set it up to allow remote connections as well. As an alternative, I can give you a special command to “reverse a route” through the Star-Hope.org server to let me in that way, instead.