What is a Swap File?

May 23, 2009

For those new to Linux you are going to hear the term swap partition or swap file.  In very simple terms a swap partition or file is a temporary place to hold data & memory on the hard drive.  Windows has a similar system called a page file.

Please follow installation instructions for your Linux distribution, but a general rule of thumb is making your swap partition two times your RAM memory.  It should be noted I’ve heard that 2GB is the limit for PC computers.

256MB RAM=512MB Swap partition

You will normally setup a swap partition when installing Linux so get ready with the size you want to use.  Many Linux installations now have automatic partitioning routines, so if you are just test driving, let it do the work for you.

WARNING:  Partitioning your hard drive can erase ALL data, be very careful if you are using your main computer.  Backup important files before partitioning.


Which Linux?

May 22, 2009

OK, now you are ready to choose which Linux to test drive.  You may already know there are many distributions of Linux.  Distrowatch  is a great place to keep up with all the versions.  My personal preference is to start with Ubuntu.  I found Ubuntu easy to install and there’s lots of easy to understand support.


Check Your Hard Drive

May 19, 2009

If you are going to install Linux along with Windows or other operating system, make sure to discover your hard drive partitions.  Write down the name (label) and size of each used partition (i.e.;  “c: Windows 120GB NTFS, d: Recovery 20GB FAT”) .  Knowing the partition details will make it easier when it comes time to create Linux partitions and less likely to accidentally overwrite your existing files.


Check Your Hardware

May 19, 2009

One piece of advice before installing Linux in any form is to make a list of your hardware details.  Although most Linux distributions now easily find your hardware, there may be the need of knowing what you have.   In most Windows systems, you will need to go to the Device Manager.  Write down the details of your sound card,  network card, and mouse.  In some cases you may have to open the box and visually read the card name and model.  Also write down the monitor name, size, and model number, as well as your printer details.


What is Linux?

May 18, 2009

Linux is a computer operating system.  Linux is free.  Check here  for more information.    
If you want to test drive Linux it can be installed on most common x86 (PC) computers.  If you have an old spare computer laying around it makes a great Linux test box.  You can also download a live CD version to check out Linux without installing to your computer.  I have Linux installed and isolated on an external laptop drive, so I can still use Windows Vista or Linux.  See About this site.


Welcome to Linux Tips

May 17, 2009

Welcome to my blog about Linux.  First check out my page “About this site”.  Come back often as we progress from beginner to a novice Linux user.