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Replacing Windows with Linux, part 1

This is a quick walk-through of my steps to replace Windows 10 with OpenSUSE Linux on my Lenovo Thinkpad. I begin by downloading the linux image and creating a bootable USB drive.

Step One: Back up everything you want to keep

This process will totally wipe the hard drive of the machine so you will lose everything that is not backed up elsewhere. I use OneDrive for most of my personal photos and documents so this step was very easy since almost everything I wanted was already synced to my OneDrive account on the cloud.

Step Two: Download Linux

  1. Go to https://www.opensuse.org/ and select either the "Leap" "Tumbleweed" edition. Leap is more stable but in my experience, Tumbleweed is pretty stable and I prefer to have the lastest newest stuff so I like Tumbleweed.

suse-01

You may be asking "Why openSUSE?" "Why not Ubuntu/Mint/Fedora/???" That question should be answered in an entire blog post of its own. For now I will say that I have found openSUSE to be the most consistently reliable, enjoyable and useful flavor of Linux. I also think that if you are coming from Windows, you will find openSUSE to be a little bit more familiar than some of the other flavors. Maybe another time I will write up my steps for setting up Ubuntu or Arch or something else.

  1. Click to get 'Direct Link' and the 'Checksum' links:

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  1. Meanwhile, install UNetbootin. If you use chocolatey (and on Windows you should) you can go to an Admin shell and type:
    cinst -y unetbootin
    otherwise, just follow the link and download it manually.

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  1. When the Downloads are finished, you can double-check the integrity of the image by getting its SHA256 Checksum. On Windows I was able to do this right in the File Explorer:

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  1. And compare this to the Checksum from opensuse.org:

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Step Three: Create the USB Installation Disk

  1. UNetbootin is a handy little program for creating USB installation disks from Linux disk image files. Be sure to use a USB drive that has nothing on it, or nothing that you care about, because it will be wiped out. Run UNetbootin:

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  1. Select 'Diskimage' and find the .iso file that was downloaded from opensuse.org:

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  1. Let it run. It takes a little while so now would be a good time to put on some water for tea or coffee.

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Note: I'm using two laptops. One is the machine on which I am creating these images and maintaining a generally healthy Windows environment for other types of work. The second is my older, slower, experimental machine that I am going to be installing Linux on. This is an ideal setup, but if you are only on a single machine and are ready to take the plunge, I suggest having a smart phone or tablet nearby in case you get stuck and need to look things up (such as the rest of this post).

Whew! When you are ready, and have some time (like an hour), follow me to the next part of this journey.

Benjamin Rosas

Benjamin Rosas

I am a constantly curious programmer with a background in science. I enjoy open-source software, programming languages, web development and server administration, along with music, travel and snark.

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Replacing Windows with Linux, part 1
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