How To Learn Linux As A Windows User: 5 Step Guide

How To Learn Linux
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Want to know how to learn linux?

Well if you’re currently a Microsoft Windows user then this guide will take you through possibly the easiest way to do it.

When I started learning linux I was around 15 years old back in 1999 and I can honestly say that there has never been an easier time to learn linux than in 2020 and beyond.

 

 

I remember downloading floppy disk images of linux over a dial-up internet connection and booting up into a linux terminal.

Not a graphical interface or desktop environment in sight.

 

Of course I used the internet to learn as much as possible about using the linux terminal as well as reading many manual pages in the operating system itself.

 

 

But that’s not what I’m going to suggest to you here in this post as times have moved on from then!

You Will Need:

You will of course need a few things before we get started:

  • A laptop or PC running Microsoft Windows
  • An empty USB thumb/pen drive (at least 16GB of storage to be safe)
  • A stable internet connection

1. Install Ventoy In Windows & Setup USB Device

Ventoy is a software program that currently works for Windows and Linux. Sorry MacOS fanboys, this post isn’t for you at the time of writing this.

Ventoy will install a linux boot system onto our USB drive.

Get yourself over to Ventoy.net and download the Windows executable file and install it.. go on, I’ll wait.. 😉

Here is the Ventoy setup guide. Just follow the Windows section to get your USB device ready for the next section.

 

2. Download Linux & Copy/Move It To USB Drive (ISO Folder Created By Ventoy)

Next we’re going to need a linux operating system. I’m going to suggest Linux Mint here but Ubuntu could be another option. In fact, you can download lots of linux distributions and try them all!

If you would like a quick 101 on downloading linux then I have just the post for you right here.

TLDR: Most of us will be downloading x86_64 (64bit) linux.

 

If you download the wrong architecture then the world will not end, it simply will not boot up.

Other download options such as desktop environment doesn’t matter for the purpose of this post. Take your pick from MATE, XFCE, KDE, Cinnamon and so on.

 

Also Ubuntu has “LTS” option. This is “Long-Term Support” and this option simply doesn’t matter for the purpose of this post either.

 

Once you have downloaded your linux operating system distributions just check that they have a file extension of .iso which they should, then copy or move these image files over to the ISO folder on the USB device that Ventoy created.

ventoy ISO folder
Screenshot Shows My Ventoy's ISO Folder On USB Device

3. Boot Ventoy, Then Select Linux From USB Drive (May Require BIOS Settings Change)

This next section covers booting up our brand new linux distribution.

Leave the USB device plugged into the PC/laptop and reboot your Windows system.

Next we wait..

 

What we want to happen here is that we want to see the Ventoy boot menu which is running on the USB device.

If the Ventoy boot menu shows up then great! Select your linux operating system and it should start to boot up.

 

HOWEVER.. if Windows boots up again then we will need to perform an extra step once Windows loads back to the desktop.

This extra step is configuring the BIOS boot sequence so it boots our Ventoy USB device rather than Windows from the hard drive.

 

If this sounds complex then don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. BUT make sure you only change the boot priority and don’t touch any other settings.

4. Changing BIOS Settings If Needed

In order to boot up a bootable USB device we need to make it the first priority in the boot sequence.

This is configured in the BIOS settings.

If you’re unfamiliar with the BIOS or how to change the boot sequence then check out my BIOS for beginner’s post.

In section 11 I take you through the process of configuring this setting.

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5. Follow Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC-1) To Gain Foundation Knowledge

Before you freak out about me suggesting that you follow a Linux System Administrator certification course just hear me out on this one.

The Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC-1 for short) is an excellent blueprint to gain all the needed foundational knowledge of working in linux.

 

The LPIC-1 certification is divided into 2 parts. Here is the outline for PART 1 (101) and here is the outline for PART 2 (102).

You can follow along with my LPIC-1 topics where I assume the reader is an absolute beginner.

Another excellent resource is TheUrbanPenguin.com who also covers each LPIC-1 topic in detail.

 

Before starting any Linux LPIC-1 course material however and you’re unfamiliar with the command line then I would suggest that you read my post that explains what the linux command line is.

There’s ONE problem that I’ve found with the LPIC-1 certification outline when teaching beginners.. and this is the order in which each topic is presented.

 

Let me explain for a second:

The 2nd topic in PART 1 is “Boot The System”. However, in order to successfully master this topic would require more basic knowledge such as working on the command line.

And for this reason, here is my recommended order of topics in which to proceed learning through:

Table shows combined exams 101-500 & 102-500 which came into effect summer 2018 and is due for review in summer 2021.
Note: 104.4 has been removed from part 1 of the LPIC-1 exam (101-500)

Recommended OrderTopicsLPIC-1 Orderinstalltekz.com 
1Work on the command line103.1Link
2Basic file editing103.8Link
3Use streams, pipes and redirects103.4Link
4Create and change hard and symbolic links104.6
5Manage file permissions and ownership104.5
6Customize or write simple scripts105.2
7Manage user and group accounts and related system files107.1
8Manage printers and printing108.4
9Find system files and place files in the correct location104.7Link
10Control mounting and unmounting of filesystems104.3
11Determine and configure hardware settings101.1
12Perform basic file management103.3
13Create, monitor and kill processes103.5Link
14Maintain the integrity of filesystems104.2
15Localisation and internationalisation107.3
16Maintain system time108.1
17Change runlevels / boot targets and shutdown or reboot system101.3
18Manage shared libraries102.3
19Use Debian package management102.4
20Use RPM and YUM package management102.5
21Modify process execution priorities103.6Link
22Accessibility106.3
23Automate system administration tasks by scheduling jobs107.2
24Process text streams using filters103.2
25Search text files using regular expressions103.7
26Customize and use the shell environment105.1
27System logging108.2
28Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) basics108.3
29Linux as a virtualization guest102.6
30Securing data with encryption110.3
31Graphical Desktops106.2
32Install and configure X11106.1
33Design hard disk layout102.1
34Create partitions and filesystems104.1
35Install a boot manager102.2
36Boot the system101.2
37Fundamentals of internet protocols109.1
38Persistent network configuration109.2
39Configure client side DNS109.4
40Basic network troubleshooting109.3
41Setup host security110.2
42Perform security administration tasks110.1

I found that one of the greatest ways to learn many linux commands safely while still having fun was editing text.

Yes I realize how geeky that sounds but it’s true.

Practicing commands to perform tasks such as splitting large files and manipulating text is incredibly useful as well as great training.

If you would like more information about text manipulation then I have a post on that subject too.

Conclusion

So this is my guide on how to learn linux as a Microsoft Windows user and I hope you found it helpful and informative.

Studying the LPIC-1 certification will not happen over night and it may even take many years to master it.

That being said though, it’s all laid out here for you. Just put in the hard work and the rewards are sure to follow.

And don’t forget: if you’re not having fun then you’re doing it wrong.

Good Luck with your new-found ninja linux skillz 😉 

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