I will write a post here on What to remember before you install Ubuntu - a famous Linux flavor. Even though I am speaking about Ubuntu here, I will try make it a general post for all Linux flavors.
Let me drag your precious 5 minutes. World's 80% of PC is still running with Windows as major operating system. Google Trend ranks Linux at approximately 0.5 while Windows at 1.8 to 2. What's the reason behind people not opting for a better choice? Well there are few reasons, which may rid off soon (hopefully). First and foremost reason, Not knowing How user friendly, Hardware friendly, Installer friendly and Developer friendly the Linux is than any other OS. If you not aware Why You Need Linux in your machine, really it's time to know it for you.
Second reason might be, you dependent on proprietary software where you paid heavily for it's license and can't let it go. No matter, Linux has a solution for that, Dual boot. You can install Linux in parallel to your Windows and while booting you can choose which OS you prefer to boot. With 100% fail safe, Linux promises, your parallel Windows OS will not be touched at all. That's the beauty of Linux, unlike monopoly strategy of Windows. Ubuntu - Linux for human beings - is one step ahead to it. Yes I forgot to tell, each and every software you install in Linux is totally Free of cost and you will never feel missing your own packages or software environment in Linux what you liked in Windows. It's sad to here if you been charged for softwares which are freely available in Linux.
Other reasons also like, monopoly nature of hardware vendors, there may be hardwares which only support Windows. Are you receiving your brand new lappy with Windows OS installed in it and is your vendor refusing to sell your device if you tell him that you don't want to invest on Windows?
Well, change your mind, we will install Ubuntu in your computer and let's discuss what things you need to take care before you start it.
What options available for me to install Ubuntu
Well, you can install it through CD-Rom or if your CD-Rom not working or you presently don't have it, you can install Ubuntu through your USB stick (is it not amazing to learn?).
How to prepare my CD-Rom for Ubuntu installation
Ubuntu home page itself is best guide to clearly explain it. Follow the link, in 2nd point, chose I would like to create : CD as option and To create it, I will use : Windows/Mac (chose which one you have running) operating system as options and click on Show me How.
How to prepare my USB stick for Ubuntu installation
Here also Ubuntu home page is best capable to explain you how. Follow the link, in 2nd point, chose I would like to create : USB stick as option and To create it, I will use : Windows/Mac (chose which one you have running) operating system as options and click on Show me How.
What about Installation
Well, I will not discuss all the steps here, it's all easy, even a level zero guy could do it. I will share a link, where it is beautifully explained Ubuntu installation with snapshots. Follow that >> HERE <<
Wait, what you should remember before installation
Believe me, most of the people will not go for installing OS because they afraid of data loss when doing partition. Well let me just say, Ubuntu installation is as easy as you install a software in your machine. If you are afraid too much, Ubuntu will install easily into your hard drive without asking for partition, without touching rest of the data. Let me clear some points about Linux - Ubuntu,
Everything is Files in Linux:
Yes, everything is file in Linux. The disk Partition in any OS is not physically dividing your hard disk into different parts, neither there exists a physical partition in your drive. Definitely, who ever used Windows, have been misguided about it. It is just a kind of record kept (in safe) as Boundary for different space in your disk. Once you keep storing data into the drive, OS takes care you just not cross that boundary.
So, today onwards, please think your Drive (Partition) as simple Directory (Folder: windows convention) with just a 'Storage Limit' as one extra property set to it. Any time you can Delete/Create/Format/Resize your drive as if you do it with Directory (Please take care your important data will not be lost before you do all above operations).
Keeping in mind, "partition is a directory", let's move on to Linux Partition (Linux Main Directories Structures). Here is the image for all major directories (partitions) in any Linux (including Ubuntu),
You can see, there is a "/" at the left hand side, which connects to many other directories on the right. That "/" is called ROOT of DIRECTORIES, where your directory structure just initiates.
Don't get confused ROOT ("/") with another directory at the right side "/root/", both are different, I will tell you about that later.
You might be surprised, how this directory structure relate to Partition of a disk? Simple, referring to image above,
ROOT ("/") is a big Directory (or Partition) and consider it occupies your full Hard Drive in size.
Then, all other directories on right are also partitions inside your ROOT and total size they all occupy is what size of ROOT. Remember, you can manually define size for each partitions.
So if you have allotted complete Hard Drive for your ROOT, you can create all other directories (partitions) by giving them with each of them a better size limit. Else if you had plan to allot only some part of free space in your Hard Drive for Linux installation, ROOT will have a size of free space you allotted and inside ROOT all other partitions will occupy quite less space. I mean to say bigger the space you allocate for Linux installation, bigger will be your partition sizes; quite obvious, isn't it.
Now, let's look into child partitions on right hand side,
The /root/ directory you have seen at the right hand side is a 'User Specific' directory for Administrator. In Windows you might have seen there possible to create different users and one among them is Administrator also who is the master user in machine. The same Administrator is called "root" in Linux terminology. He will have all the access in his computer and what so ever you operate as 'root' will be reflected in /root/ directory.
Then what about other users I create? Other users you create (like if I have created a user with name Kiran), they will allotted space at different Directory, that is under "/home/" directory (like /home/Kiran/).
Well, now, /Kiran/ directory inside /home/ is not exactly a partition, it doesn't have size limit, but /home/ is a partition and it has size limit (So, obviously, if you have created only /Kiran/ directory under /home/ and if you keep storing data, you will be limited by /home/ partition size, since /Kiran/ can't carry data which exceeds it's parent size).
So, all are Directories in Linux, all have size limits and sub directories will carry only their parental size data.
You can specify Partition (Directory) Size while installing Linux:
Yes, you can manually specify what size your ROOT and other Directories (partitions) will follow. While installing, in "Allocate Drive Space" screen, choose "Specify Partitions Manually (Advanced)" option.
I will explain here what method I follow normally, it is not mandatory you should follow same. And I will introduce one special partition called "Swap" in between my discussion, (which you have not seen in above directory structure image), for that you should have information about what is your computer RAM size in terms of GB?
Let me take an example and explain. Consider, you have 15GB free space, which you want to allocate it for Linux installation; or you can consider your Hard Drive size itself is 15GB, which you use for Linux installation. Let's jump to partition making process in Linux installation.
While partitioning your 15GB, you can specify
[*] "Partition Size" in terms of MB (1GB = 1024MB),
[*] its "File System Type" (like ext2, ext3, ext4...) and
[*] its "Mount Point".
where 'File System Type' is a partition type, just like what you choose FAT32 or NTFS in Windows, it's ext2 or ext3 or ext4 etc here in Linux;
and Mount Point is exactly the Directory structure (ROOT or /home/ or /boot/ or /bin/ or /root/ etc) what you are specifying.
Now, let's divide out of 15GB,
[step A]. Create 2GB, ext2 partition type. However, "Ext2" is not mandatory. Mount it for /boot/ directory. So 15GB - 2GB = 13GB left.
[step B]. Create One and Half times or Two times your RAM size Swap partition. That is, if your RAM size is 512MB, then its two times, create 1GB Swap partition. Remember, there is No Mount point for Swap partitions, hence it's not shown under ROOT. Swap partitions helps to hold memory pages that are inactive in RAM (read more about Swap). So now, 13GB - 1GB = 12GB left.
[step C]. Create 5GB, ext4 partition type. Mount it for /usr/. In general, this /usr/ directory is where Linux will install many of the softwares and packages. So you can choose, if you are not installing much of the softwares or games in your Linux, make partition size less. But I have taken it as 5GB in my example, so 12GB - 5GB = 7GB left.
[step D]. Create rest all 7GB space, ext4 type partition. Mount it for "/" (ROOT).
I know you are confused at this step, where all other partitions gone? Don't worry, Linux will automatically create them for you under ROOT. I know you have question, where did I specify other directory's size? Don't worry, Linux has calculated their size and allocated.
What happened in overall is, ROOT ("/") is total 14GB (except Swap 1GB), under which lies /boot/ of 2GB, the /usr/ of 5GB and rest of 7GB will be shared by Linux to different directories according to their priority and usage. Remember, if you are still not satisfied, you want to manually allocate size for each and every directory under ROOT, you can go ahead and do it. Follow the "step C" and mention Partition Size and Mount Point for each directory you wish to create. Probably, you may wish to refer link, Linux Filesystem Structure or may be this or may be this.
Well that's all about pre installation tips you need to keep in mind. If you still facing difficulty in installation, don't worry, just start the installation and in Allocate drive space screen just choose "Install alongside other operating systems" and move further; Ubuntu will take care of it all and will get install successfully side by side to your Windows, without harming any stuffs in your machine.
Hope you enjoyed.