A home user’s successful migration strategy from Windows to Ubuntu

As a Ubuntu Forums member trying to help new users out for the past two years, I’ve seen it happen too many times: A long-time Windows user hears about how great Ubuntu is, downloads the ISO, burns it to CD (or “burns” it to USB), installs Ubuntu, tries to use it, finds the hardware isn’t configured properly and the applications she needs don’t work on Ubuntu. She gives up and leaves (or attacks Ubuntu as being “not ready for the desktop” then gives up and leaves).

Were she and Ubuntu just never meant to be together? Possibly. But at least one problem may have been the migration strategy she and hundreds (if not thousands) of frustrated potential users have—dive right in!

While I acknowledge that the dive-right-in strategy may work for some people, I don’t think it’s the best one for most potential Ubuntu users (potential ex-Windows users) to adopt. Here’s another approach:

How to migrate from Windows to Ubuntu

  • Examine your motives. Ask yourself why you want to migrate. Is it out of curiosity? Do you want a free version of Windows? Do you want to try something different? Generally, the most successful migrations usually do not expect Ubuntu to be a drop-in Windows replacement and recognize that a little bit of culture shock and learning may occur during the transition.
  • Take it slow. It’s quite possible that you may migrate slowly over a few months or even years and then regret taking it slow (If only I’d just installed Ubuntu and started using it right away…), but, really, what’s so bad about that? It’s a lot worse to accidentally delete your Windows installation, realize Ubuntu’s programs don’t suit your computing needs, and wish you’d just stayed with Windows.
  • Start with open source Windows applications. As a practical extension of the take-it-slow philosophy, don’t even bother with Ubuntu just yet. Ubuntu won’t run all Windows software, and so you’d better see if you like the kind of software that is made with the same Free/open source philosophy that Ubuntu is made with. Switch from Internet Explorer to Firefox. Try OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office. Use GIMP instead of Photoshop. Test out Audacity, Inkscape, and Frostwire. You can find a more complete list of open source Windows applications at .
  • Get to know the live CD. Once you’ve gotten used to using open source applications in Windows (and supposing you have 256 MB of RAM or more—I’d recommend 512 MB), download and “burn” Ubuntu to a USB stick and play around with the live USB (if you have an older computer that won’t boot from USB, you can also do a traditional burn of the Ubuntu CD). The live USB/CD allows you to use a fully functional Ubuntu operating system without affecting your hard drive (it works off the USB/CD itself and your computer’s memory). The live USB/CD has two major benefits for you at this point. It allows you to try out Ubuntu in a noncommital way, and it allows you to get a preview of any hardware recognition problems you might run into (and have to fix) should you later decide to install Ubuntu. I’d say you should play around with the live CD for two to four weeks, if not longer.
  • Consider Waiting to Purchase New Hardware. If you have a difficult ATI card, Broadcom wifi, and a Lexmark printer, your Ubuntu experience may not be that pleasant. You’ll have to spend a lot of time working the command-line to get certain hardware components working properly. You may decide you want to roll up your sleeves and go for it. But I think it’d be best to stay with Windows, and if you are still interested in Ubuntu in a few years, buy Linux-compatible hardware or buy a Ubuntu-preinstalled computer.
  • Set up a dual-boot. If you don’t want to wait on getting compatible hardware or if you aleady have compatible hardware, go ahead and set up a dual-boot with Windows. That way, you’ll be able to customize Ubuntu (the live CD settings don’t get saved) and run it at native speeds (the live CD runs more slowly than a full installation), but you’ll also have access to Windows if you need to run back to the safety of familiarity. The Ubuntu installer is fairly user-friendly, but if you’re still scared of messing around with partitions and boot loaders, there’s a project called Wubi that allows you to install Ubuntu from within Windows. It sets up Ubuntu as a removable application in Windows and uses Windows’ boot loader to pick which operating system to boot into.
  • Set aside some time. If you’re one of those “time is money” people who would rather pay for a translator than learn a new language and would rather eat out than cook yourself, then don’t bother migrating. Even if you buy Ubuntu preinstalled, the Linux desktop experience is so radically different from Windows that there will necessarily be a learning curve (yes, even if you don’t have to configure hardware and even if you don’t have to use the terminal). Software installation is different (some would argue that it’s better). Theming is different. Updates operate differently. The user interface is different. The culture of the community (if you choose to get involved with it) is different.
  • Enjoy the move. If you’ve gone through all these steps in this order, you’re likely going to end up a happy Ubuntu user. If you got stopped at one step along the way, at least you didn’t invest too much time in a futile (and failed) migration.

113 replies on “A home user’s successful migration strategy from Windows to Ubuntu”

thank you very much for all this. i’m just getting started and have had to hunt around for which version of wubi is best for my machine, i like 8.04 for speed and functionality, the 9.04 version was almost unusably slow, while the 7 feisty version was amazingly fast, but could not get it to install new stuff.
hardy heron works really well for my 2.4 gz 256 mbram dell desktop.
i’ve installed an old hardrive as a slave and will try setting up ubuntu 8.04 on it and see where it goes from there. i’m still not sure how this will boot but i’ll read your guide.
thanks a whole lot.

Well, well, well. I’m a newbie to Ubie, too; just having installed it on my oldie but goodie Dell Optiplex GX1 (PIII, 498 RAM, 10GB Hdd, etc.) So far, she runs like a charm–can’t wait to dig in and find out more…I’m getting to like this open source idea. Today I burned Kubuntu to CD and will swap WinXP for KDE soon as it no longer boots on my Gateway E3400 (BSOD). Let’s just dive right in and do it, shall we? Nothing like giving old equipt a new lease on life!

i began my ubuntu experience with the release of 8.04. i was 15 years old and had no idea what i was doing. I jumped right into it. Went from no Linux experience to solely an Ubuntu user. and I’m still a user today. I plan to be one tomorrow and the day after. i’ve converted four friends over to Ubuntu and they have been going for about 8 months now and my phone has stopped ringing as much. coincidence?

Probably not. I’ve converted my parents, my father-in-law, my best friend, I’m in the process of converting my brother & his wife, and have gotten interest from my wife’s best friend…

There’s a common thread tying all of them together: They’ve all either had to deal with being “botted” or having their Windows machines grind to halt from malware infestations. And they don’t want to change their surfing habits or have a repeat.

Ubuntu + Wine + VirtualBox and “no surfing the net in Windows, use Linux instead” seems to tip people over to taking a look at it. Knowing that they don’t have to “jump into the deep end” of switching to a strange OS all at once is, understandably, very important to most people.

Having a migration path that lets them “retreat” to Windows as they need seems to be the key thing to making the change. Fear of Windows malware seems to be a powerful motivator to start. Once over that hump, Ubuntu then seems to simply sell itself…

I have used unix and linux flavors back in the day when I was working using network and systems analysis programs not available for Windows. Since retiring I started looking for an alternative OS for use at home and discovered Ubuntu about 2 years ago. I use it regularly because I believe it is much more secure than Windows, easier to monitor and faster. I still have to use Windows for some applications (Not sure if WINE will work with some of these apps), such as my Garmin Golf and GPS updates and Logitech TV control updates. Being retired I haven’t been able to find the time to test these apps on WINE. I really like the GUI interface (Gnome), simple yet effective. Very stable and usable OS. Would like to test the next iteration of the LTS OS but I don’t know which version will be LTS. I also need to find some time to do a bunch of WINE testing. I have a dual boot system for those Win XP apps that I need. I would like to migrate away from XP as much as I can.

For those who want to use Wine to avoid the need for a virtual machine (VirtualBox) or a native install of Windows, here are some tips that may help:

* Install the latest version of Wine, not the version from your distro’s repository (which is likely to be very dated). New versions come out every 2 weeks, and they do fix things, so keep current!

* The latest version of Wine for your distro can be gotten from — some of these will even let you use the automated update feature of your distro (such as Ubuntu’s Update Manager) to keep your version current.

* Bookmark and familiarize yourself with this website! There are many helpful insights on how to “make it work”, as well as reviews and tips on what Windows software works and tweaks that may be needed to make them work well.

* Be aware that you can select the version of Windows + DLL overrides + graphics configuration for a Windows application on an app-by-app basis. Some apps work best in a WinXP environment, others in Win98, etc. Wine is very flexible — but how this works in ‘winecfg’ is not particularly intuitive, so read up on it first.

* If you screw something up, you can just rename your ‘.wine’ directory and re-run ‘winecfg’ to “make a new Windows environment” and try again. (Would that Windows was that fast to re-install!)

* Sometimes, a bit of experimenting is needed — but the more you “play” with it, the more you’ll learn how Wine works and how to make your apps work/work well.

* If you want support, want to run Windows games, want to help support Wine financially, or would like the latest Wine with GUIs & extra features, then consider ‘CrossOver’ from Code Weavers. They lead Wine development, so they have “the latest”, and so they charge a small fee for the extras they provide.

hi, i have a ubuntu 8.04 live cd. when i want to install it, it asks for the size of installation, like: 4GB, 6GB, 10GB and so on. what’s the difference? what should i choose? thank you

@ yo

I’m guessing you’re speaking of partitions. that’s how much of you’re HDD space you want to give to Ubuntu… the choice is completely yours. It all depends on how much you want to use it.

installed ubuntu. right over the top of vista. asta la vista windows hello ubuntu. it just works. waiting to see what 10.4 will do. only thing i worry about is installing 10.4 and not losing my /home on the other partition. 2 partitions. / and /home

If you perform an *upgrade* to 10.04, your /home will not be affected.

If you *re-install* to 10.04 (i.e., “wipe out” your ‘/’ and replace it with 10.04), then your best bet is to backup & then restore your /home partition.

A wipe/re-install while preserving a separate /home partition requires extra admin steps and some planning ahead. Not for beginners! (Backing up in this case is still recommended anyway.)

Good question… I haven’t downloaded a Lucid build yet, so I don’t know. I expect most people upgrade in situ, but I prefer the “clean slate” of a fresh install.

So, with one exception, I always rebuild a new root when I install a new version of Ubuntu. I have scripts that re-install apps, etc. to restore my system customizations.

I keep my /home on separate drives from my root (on RAID 1 sets), so I go through the process of re-connecting after a clean install.

My worries are that an upgrade on a RAID 1 system with a separate /home “might not go so smoothly”. And I haven’t wanted to find out the hard way if that’s the case…

i need help on these issues: to back up data files from Ubuntu to usb.
2.while migrating from 8.04 to 10.04 how to ensure already installed programs like audacity/pidgin etc continue to work.(i don’t want to again download)
please help

i have downloaded the lucid lynx in my usb,tell me how to install the same over 8.04 on my dual boot Desktop PC.
of course i expect solutions for my earlier query too from your experience with linux. please.
i installed lucid lynx as dual boot in my laptop, it was easy due to wubi-installer.also this was the first ubuntu installation in the lap top.

I would like to learn as much as I can about this operating system. like installing a program,getting hardware to work.
and learning the commands to use to get things done.I’ve installed frespire with ubuntu os. and need to know all that I can about it.what I have tried hasn’t worked. I’ve joined 2 forums to find out things but to no avail.I use the same password but it is always denied.Why I do not know.Can you put me in the right direction to get the facts?
i’m trying to install a program but haven’t succeeded.I need to know what I need to do that.
Donald Spaulding–

I remember when I was planning my migration from Windows to Linux (almost 2 years before Ubuntu even debuted LOL), I too began using all the open-source free software equivalents I could find to whatever I was using at the time. That was back in late 2002/early 2003.

It took me a while, but only a few days into 2005, I ran into a hardware problem where I kept getting an error message every few seconds in Windows 2000. Thinking it was a virus, I backed up everything and re-installed Windows 2000 — I STILL kept getting that stupid error message every few seconds!

To me, that was the last straw. I then installed some CDs of Mandrake that I had downloaded from a computer lab, and VOILA — no more stupid error messages! From that day forward, I’ve had nothing but Linux on my computer here at home. :-) That, however, was several months before I had even HEARD of Ubuntu. To be honest, since Mandrake was my first introduction to Linux, I naturally became hooked on the KDE desktop, and in fact, I tried Kubuntu once, but didn’t care for it.

However, when KDE4 came out, I did NOT like what I saw, so I gave GNOME and Ubuntu a try and liked what I saw. I have since moved on to Xfce plus I found a distro this past spring (PC/OS — Ubuntu-based, BTW) that is one of VERY few distros I have ever tried that comes with the drivers for a Broadcom wireless card in my wife’s laptop. This is a HUGE plus in my book, so PC/OS and Xfce (the default desktop in PC/OS, BTW) is what I’m running now. :-)

Over the past few years I have tried and followed Ubuntu many times. I also slowely migrated (on windows) from commercial software to open source. I am currently using firefox, gimp, blender and open office. All of which I now prefer over their more expensive counterparts.
Today I downloaded Ubuntu 10.04 and installed it on a flash drive to test it. I like it, so I am contemplating making the switch next week when 10.10 comes out. However, there are a few remaining hurdels I am fearfull of.
Indeed, installing software is radically different in ubuntu as opposed to Windows, and that scares me the most (I remember from a previous try-out 3 years ago I messed up my Ubuntu install bad time). I fail to see how the package manager gives me flexibility. For example, I see in Ubuntu 10.04 that the Gimp version in the manager is 2.6.8 whereas the latest version on their website is 2.6.10.
I use Blender 2.54 but that is also not in the package manager.
Downloading the latest version and simply running the install like in windows most certainly it ain’t. I have yet to find a good visual tutorial on downloading and installing software manually without using the package manager.

Also, I usually do all my file related stuff in windows explorer (NOT internet explorer!) with all the (system) files and extensions visible. Nautilus is a poor replacement for that.

And then of course I use a Wacom intuos 4 because I have a bad case of RSI and the pen actually is much better for me than the mouse. And yet despite years of (no doubt) hard effort, the linux wacom drivers are rubbish.

I started getting interested in linux 4 or 5 years ago. And I really WANT to make the switch, but really, how long must I wait for some basic stuff like easy software installing and popular hardware support?

Any help/advice that will make me decide to make the switch is greatly appreciated.

@Pentasis; I guess a bit of anxiety is understandable but all the issues u raise are easily solveable in linux. One of the interesting/challenging/frustrating things for newbies is that there are many ways of doing things and that is certainly true of installing software which is now a walk in the park. On nautilus there is an extension u can add or u can install another file manager of choice. Yr last two points about easy installation and popular hardware unsupported are simply wide of the mark. As usual Google and the Ubuntu forums are yr friends. Good luck.

I’ve tried at least four or five times to migrate from Windows to Linux, and every time I’ve get frustrated and leave it despite I feel myself as geek and love to dig in. I’ve tried few versions of openSuSe, then few Ubuntu releases. Every time I get stuck with problems it was impossible to use it as comfortably as Windows… It was nice to read these steps, because I’ve realized that I made almost all these steps unintentionally: opensource/free Windows apps (quite hard to find right apps), Linux under VM(struggling performance), dual boot… And finally with Ubuntu 10.10 it seems like a break through for me… There are still few concerns, but I feel very comfortable to manage it. So, thank you for a good post, now I see I’m on a good way to the happy end :)

Having attempted to use and broken ubuntu over the last three or so years it seems that with Lucid things are really coming together. I had discovered tomboy notes and love it, I have been a long time user of OpenOffice though the different syntax compared to Excel is awkward. Firefox, Chrome and Opera flew until I broke 10.04. So I’m here finally learning. The information about Wubi is likely to be one of the keys to solving the problem I created for myself. I’m now hunting ways to get my precious data copied before I plunge back into terminal. Thank you for taking the time to make the ubuntu experience better for all of us who choose to stay the course! AJ

I have tried Wubi for a month or two now. On one hand it’s great, much faster than Windows. But then again. I thought Microsoft sucked on software quality but this is so much worse. It boots somewhat randomly, maybe nine times out of ten if you’re lucky. And now after installing some updates it won’t boot at all. Maybe I should pay Microsoft to get an operating system that actually works instead of using this free thing that don’t really work at all? Well, I think I will give it another try after all and try to reinstall the damn thing…

Dipped a tie and then jumped in. Had a major problem with a mate’s Packard Bell and the notrious tattoo in the bios. To cut a long story short I just could not get XP back on to the thing and all he wanted was to use it for music, photos, iPlayer and browsing. Ubuntu 10.10 went on and he is a happy man.
Daughter needs a laptop next Christmas so her old desktop is going to be my new media centre with Ubuntu and XBMC. Can’t wait.
Welcome to freedom!

Hehe, that’s almost all the steps I’ve done so far. Looks very natural, don’t know why somebody does it differently.
I only did not use open source software before switching to Linux. I tried opensource there first, and then installed OOo, GIMP and VLC in my Windows.
And yes, I am still in dual-boot mode. Mostly not because of my own preferences! ;)

Ok, Im the guy who dove right in, trashed my Vista and have not regretted it for one second. Well, except for when I realized I couldn’t use my encrypted 1 TB NTFS drive. Luckily, I have other resources at work to get at the data on it.

I used opensource programs because they where free, then tried dual-booting. I spent so much time in ubuntu I got rid of windows. I still use windows on a new pc for about 6 months before jumping to linux. I tend to change wallpapers, window managers, and operating systems frequently.

Suppose my reason for trying Ubuntu is necessity? My Windows installation (illegitimate) is so screwed (don’t ask) that the only alternative to trying Ubuntu would be to reinstall same illegitimate XP, losing my data anyway. How much license would that give me for ‘diving’?

I think I’m patient enough with new systems, though, and would be willing to try the open source software you mentioned (besides the ones I’m using already). I kinda hate Windows. It’s been long enough on one OS.

Very good advice. I have been using Linux for years, and am a very strong advocate for open source software, but I’m very careful to tell people to be careful and try things out first, and take things slowly. It doesn’t help the open source movement to have a bunch of angry people going around saying “Linux sucks — it can’t even do wireless networking” or “I tried installing Linux and it deleted all of my files!”

The UbuntuCat is wise! :)

I recently loaded ubuntu 10.10. I must admit I have had some difficulty understanding some of the concepts that are VERY different from my windows vista or win7 machines. I have been using windows going all the way back to windows 3.1 so my windows programmed brain does hit the occasional hiccup. I have forced myself to use my ubuntu for about a week now, and things are beginning to make sense now.

I still find myself wanting to reboot and load my windows partition from time to time, but now that I have discovered that picky little application called Wine, I have a reason to keep trying to accomplish my tasks in Ubuntu rather than loading up windows again.

By the way does Ubuntu offer a 12 step program for Windows-a-holics? lol

Hi my name is Nate… and I’m a windows-a-holic! HELP!!!!

Great Blog btw lots of great info :)

Hey gang:

If there was a word to describe a new Linux user that
actually transends being a noob then that title would
apply to me. I’ve recently become a convert to the
entire philosophy of Open Source.

Now a lot of people equate free/open source as being
no cost. I do not. I would gladly pay for Ubuntu and
as a matter of fact did through donation.

I am grateful for UbuntuCat and its wisdom. I am still
conditioned to think like a Windows Zombie, so even the
easiest task in Linux takes some time to master. Your
efforts have eased my transition and for that I am
grateful and still marginally sane. ;)

another way to try out is installing ubuntu in vmware to examine as much as needed and then if it fits your needs, you can replace it totally.

Thank you so much for all of the work/information provided on this site. It’s been very helpful and I’ve told friends about it. I dove right in, went for the live CD install (and with incredible zeal and glee) hit the install 11.04 ONLY button after years of micromuck torture. It’s been the usual learning curve with CLI language(was already familiar with the cmd: line) however, love this system and greatly appreciate all of the work people have put into it.

You really cannot say that the experience is radically different.

Radically different is android-symbian, car-motorcycle, etc.

I would even dare say ubuntu is the closest u can get to windows…

I agree that it’s a big change, but it’s definitely not radical.

ABSOLUTELY good advice. Particularly, the Wubi install when you get to that point, can help, as Window is only a reboot away on the same machine if absolutely needed, or to learn to use Linux/Ubuntu in your spare time while keeping your Windows untouched for normal, everyday use until you are ready to switch for good.
What’s more, using this approach, if drivers are not supported, etc, or something messes up, you can reboot into windows and simply remove Ubuntu from there and try again.
Thumbs up to the article, and to Wubi!

Great advice. Eventually you will need new hardware, please do yourself a favor and ONLY PURCHASE from a LINUX hardware VENDOR. You can search them out, but my suggestion is ZaReason. (I do not work for them, nor make money from them, just buy their excellent Linux/Windows compatible hardware)

I have personally met the family that runs the company at SCaLE (best Linux trade show in the world and the least expensive) in Los Angeles. I have purchased multiple PCs, netbooks from them and have been surprised that even with shipping their solution is often cheaper than others. And everything just works out of the box!

If you buy hardware from ZaReason, it will run Windows if you want too. However if you buy hardware from a big box store the opposite may not be true. Especially with cell phone vendors (ie. Handheld smart devices) best to just avoid them and find hardware that is NOT vendor-locked in. They purposefully use proprietary chip-sets in their dumb phones so that you can NOT configure/install software on them. Any phone/handheld/tablet that will not let you have full root access is DUMB! Without full root access you will be limited and prevented from installing something that you want to use on the device.

So get the best of all worlds, open hardware that will run both open and proprietary software. Just say NO to all other solutions ~ its smart!

Hint: There are both Linux tablets and Linux handhelds available that are open, fully root-able (smart devices) that will enable you to configure the device to suit your needs. Hey you bought it, you should be able to configure and install software on it, right? Right!

Another thought, Proprietary vendors will NOT buy their vendor-locked-in hardware back from you when they decide to stop supporting it will they. Why fill up the dump, open hardware can be donated to organizations for use in other areas…again its smart. After all there are Linux distros that will run in less than 512MB of RAM, even as low as 256MB of RAM and lower. (More RAM memory for software applications to run faster.) Thankfully even Windows 7 will run in 2GB of RAM, unlike Vista.

Remember: No Root ~ not Smart ~ NO PURCHASE.

Thanks for the tutorials.

I switched to Ubuntu 2 years ago and dove right in.

There was some pain along the way but it was well worth it to break the Windows velvet chains.

I now use Ubuntu 10.10. I find the Unity interface really irritating. I just want to get to get to my tasks at hand. I’ll keep trying it when I have the time.

Speaking of “tasks at hand” I love the workspace set up in Maverick. I often have all 4 in use and can switch back and forth with one click.

I have developed a website to encourage people who want to switch to Ubuntu. My target is people who are in about the same place I was 2 years ago.

That want to try Linux but are put off by the process and need a little push. I listed your site as a resource. Hope that’s OK. I’m not quite clear on the copyright/trademark policy yet.

Thanks again for the resource.
Love the cat picture.

Wow! Now why can’t I get all this info from Ubuntu? I am so pleased I ‘stumbled’ across your tutorials. I was just about to blindly partition my net book hd which, I am sure, would have caused all sorts of havoc! I feel much more informed, now, and will be able to make good choices because of your website. Thankxs, psychocat :)

I switched to Ubuntu at the beginning of the year, since I decided to try to learn as much as I could about computers. I took an old computer sitting in my attic, and installed Ubuntu 10.10 (the latest version at the time). After that, I uninstalled Windows ME and installed Ubuntu. Everything worked right away. I completely stopped using Windows and installed Ubuntu on all my computers. Now that computer’s hard drive has failed, but just diving in worked fine for me when I decided to try Ubuntu, and I uninstalled Windows and installed Ubuntu on all my computers (though I’ve now switched to Kubuntu).

Thank you for all your work and good reading!
I’m a noob and inexperienced and lazy. Also I do not have any burn cd’s or usb close by. I’ve used daemon tool to mount the ubuntu iso and it’s just like a cd. Also I have both windows and ubuntu. Just used a whole day to get the new Ubuntu working. Had a black screen issue. And though it may be that I should have given up I lay here with my comouter feeling proud for dealing with the annoyance myself. Thanks for good tips!

I might have said this before (I don’t temember), but I did everything you said not to do. I burned the ISO (back when Ubuntu was still on 10.10) and replaced Windows on the first day. Then I aggressively started learning BASH scripting.

I would recommend your approach, though. It seems much more beginner-oriented than mine.

I want to test out using Linux & Ubuntu as this has been recommended to me as a good alternative to a windows server for running my forex trading software.
I have a barebone server and need to know how to load firstly wine or a suitable windows emulator and my MT4 trading software.
The challenge seems to be loading from the command prompt.
Anyone able/willing to help me?

@durango – this is probably not the best place for this discussion, but long story short:
To load ‘wine’ type:
sudo apt-get install wine1.2

…which gets you a recent version, but not the beta version which was ‘wine1.3’ last time I looked.

To run (eg) a Windows angrybirds.exe program in a folder called ‘angrybirds’ in your home directory:

cd ~/angrybirds
wine angrybirds.exe

Let’s hope your MT4 trading software works as well with Wine 1.2 as AngryBirds does.

Due to circumstances, I followed part of your advice. I started using OpenOffice 6-7years ago, mostly because MS had enough bugs that I figured it was easy and cheap to try open source.

When I tried to make 1 working machine (move hard from broken machine to other PC with no HD), MS had multiple rationales why I had to pay them for a new OS (would not honor license on either machine), but couldn’t promise to make anything work quickly.

Ubuntu (LST 10.4) doesn’t seem to be a radical change from the user’s perspective. Some procedures are different,but instruction is pretty clear. (Admittedly I started using PCs at work shortly before DOS took over.)

Basic installation was easy; getting music and DVD has taken more time than makes sense for most people

Haha, I did completely the opposite of this. I took a complete leap of faith and simply formatted my entire hard drive and installed Ubuntu 12.04 over it. I decided that if I was really going to switch I would have to isolate myself from Windows and force myself to find work arounds. 3 weeks into it,so far so good. I use your website a lot, thank you for writing it.

I did the same thing as Valera. Only problem was, wireless drivers for my computer(Dell Inspiron 1012)didn’t work in 10.04. I proceeded to swear loudly and frequently. It eventually kind of worked in 10.10, and fully worked in 11.04, so I was okay. I now have an HP Pavilion dv6 dualbooting Mint and Windows, but that original experience did teach me a huge amount. I would not be the same person without that, it taught me so much about the Terminal, it taught me to both love and hate Linux. Now that it’s (almost-the display driver is a bit wonky, and the fingerprint reader doesn’t work) fully working on my HP, I can’t believe how much better it is.

It took me about 3 years to migrate to linux. I started with a Suse dual-boot, but eventually drifted back towards Windows again.

A new box and I installed a dual-boot with ubuntu, but still sticked with windows for some applications though I used ubuntu more frequently for daily stuff like surfing and mailing.

Finally, on my notebook I still have a dual-boot setup but ubuntu is running 95 percent of the time. Windows resides there for occasional gaming only.

So, a switch to ubuntu – or any other linux – might become a process because the way we use computers is tied to habits how to get things done. ubuntu and its set of applications are not more difficult than – let’s say – Microsoft Word or Outlook which can be quite awkward and unintuitive.

The most important advice is I think to start using open source applications under Windows. When you have learned to use them in a familiar context, the final switch to ubuntu becomes just a small step.

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