Setting up a Linux Laptop

Experiences of a Newbie!

Getting Linux on your laptop

Installing Linux on your Laptop is usually straightforward, but there are options to consider.

Installation media

You can either use an installation CD (Live CD) with Linux pre-installed (or create your own). These are often bundled with Linux publications. This method asumes that you have a built in or external CD/DVD drive. Alternatively you can boot from a formatted (Live) USB stick. This is my preferred approach.

Making a bootable USB

The easiest way is to use UnetBootIn – a “Donationware” application that will run under Windows, MacOS or Linux. Instructions are available on the Unetbootin web page.

If you already have access to a Linux machine you can use USB Image writer. In this short clip I am creating Boot USB from an ISO of the POP OS distro.

Once you have created your USB you need start up your laptop in Boot mode with the USB inserted. How to start in Boot mode differs between PC’s and manufacturers. With the Dell Inspiron you need to press F12 as the laptop starts up until the Boot screen appears.

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In this case Ubuntu is my installed system and Sandisc is the USB drive with my new installation. Selecting the USB boots into a Live session with the system installed on the USB. In this live session you can try out the software before committing to a full installation onto your hard drive. The limitation of the Live session is that any changes that you make will be lost on shutdown.


You can choose to wipe your hard drive and install Linux as a sole operating system, or to Dual Boot, choosing Windows or Mint ar boot time.

Instructions on how to set up dual boot can be found here. (External link)

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