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Ubunutu is very good for an "It Just Works" distribution, if you don't want to get involved with the guts of it Ubuntu is great for just seeing what it's all about. There's lots of support and a big community based around it too.

You can download and burn the CD, then boot from it to try it out without risking damage to anything already on your computer.
 

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que clarkson.......
 

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Personally I think what people regard as the best starting point for a newbie is a personal choice, there are so many different distributions to choose from, I can only give you my personal views of the distros I've used. :)

You'll find out lots of information on the different distributions of Linux here: http://distrowatch.com/

I run OpenSuse on my systems, I have tried others but for me it works how I want it to, I started on OpenSuse and despite trying others I always come back to it. You'll also need top choose a desktop environment, the main 2 are KDE & GNOME, I prefer KDE & think it's easier for a newbie to find their way around and to configure, but other people will have different opinions :) Clarkson swears by GNOME as his personal favourite for instance :) but I have never got on with it at all :lol: When you install a distro you'll usually be asked what desktop you'd like, but some default to one or the other. It a bit like beer, some people like Lager & some like Bitter :incheek:

I hear that Linuxmint is good for a newbie but I have never tried it.

You can boot a Live disk that runs in RAM memory of quite a few of the distros, which can give you an idea of the different desktops and how it all works. This is also a good way of seeing if your hardware is compatible with a particular flavour of Linux.

At the end of it all, it really depends on what you expect from your computer, you won't be able to run windows programs unless they can be run in an emulator, but there is a linux alternative for most things now. A good idea is to make a list of all the things you do on a day to day basis in windows & what programs you use, then look to see if there's a Linux alternative, for example, if you use MSOffice then you'll find that OpenOffice should meet all your requirements, it can read and write in all the usual windows formats & had the added advantage of being able to make a PDF file from any of your documents if you require it.

There are countless forums for all the distributions and it's a good idea to find your local Linux User Group or LUG, http://lug.org.uk/ there's a wealth of help out there :D

It's fast, secure & virus free, sit back and enjoy :D
 

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Thanks for that . another thing is I've got a removable hard drive that if NTFS formated. Can i load it on that?
You can access external drives from Linux (although the complication of NTFS may need some tweaking) but it will depend on your PC if you can boot from the external drive...

Personally, I wouldn't recommend it, I'd resize my existing internal drives (maybe move some data off) so I could fit Linux on the internal drive, dual booting with Windows if required. Booting from a USB drive is one added complication you don't need when you're learning a new system.

My personal take on what makes a good beginner distro isn't necessarily what will be easiest to pick up straight away, since KDE, Gnome etc mean anyone who's used to Windows will find the Linux desktop a "comfortable" place.
I feel it's more important that there's an easy method to solve problems as quickly and easily as possible, and with nearly 6 million posts http://ubuntuforums.org is a pretty good place to find solutions!

If you're based in Droitwich I'd join a couple of local LUG mailing lists, Redditch and Bromsgrove (very quiet and a small group) and Birmingham (much bigger and busier) are both pretty good.
 

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Thanks for that . another thing is I've got a removable hard drive that if NTFS formated. Can i load it on that?

JIm
You should be able to use that hard drive the same as you can in Windows. Linux Mint is indeed a good distro for a noob, if you download the main edition it come with all of the 'non-free' software preconfigured, things like Flash, Java, all the video and sound codecs. IIRC it comes with all the correct modules for NTFS pre installed too. So you don't have to bother. LinuxMint is based on Ubuntu 8.04. I have recently converted my Dad to Linux and he is 62, he uses LinuxMint and found it easy. The thing you have to remember when getting started on Linux is that it is not Windows, so you will have to accept that things will be done differently, once you have got used to it, it'll be second nature, like Windows is now.

www.linuxmint.com
 

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i have tried ubuntu and mandriva, and of the two i preferred ubuntu; i still want to give linuxmint a go, and will need to do that (when i can get my arse off here) :lol: and physically install it...
 

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I use Ubuntu on the PC i found in the bins.

Its sweeeet.

I did have SUSE with a KDE front end, but I found it too fiddly. MOre for your deep matrix geekazoids
 

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I use Ubuntu on the PC i found in the bins.

Its sweeeet.

I did have SUSE with a KDE front end, but I found it too fiddly. MOre for your deep matrix geekazoids
Yep, Linux is great on older hardware. It'll zip along on a machine that makes Windows crawl.

I too find KDE to be a bit fiddly, GNOME is much simpler, IMHO.
 
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