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Beginner’s Guide: Run Linux like any other program in Windows

Beginner’s Guide: Run Linux like any other program in Windows
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    There are many reasons people are hesitant to try Linux. The biggest of these reasons is that installing Linux generally requires people to do a list of difficult and unfamiliar tasks. However, I am going to introduce “virtualization” which is a fancy term for running Linux like any other program in Windows. The following article will guide you through the process of setting up Linux so you can run it like any other program in Windows. Don’t be intimated, these directions are designed for the absolute beginner and will not require you to do anything unfamiliar, threatening, or permanent to your computer. When you are finished you will be able to run Linux like any other program in Windows and share files between Linux and Windows.

    The first step is to install VMWare Player. This is a free program and it installs just like any other Windows program. You can go to the VMWare player homepage and download it. You will have to answer a short survey.

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    The second step is to download Linux. There are many different kinds of Linux with varying programs and setups. Understanding this can be difficult if you have never tried Linux. You can compare the different versions of Linux to Windows XP. There is Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, and Windows XP Media Center Edition. When you download Linux, it will be in the format of .ISO. Don’t worry if you have never seen this file type before. I will list several different versions of Linux below. You need to download only one version. The different flavors of Linux differ in size and thus, how long they will take to download. For the remainer of this tutorial, I will be using a version of Linux known as Fedora. However, it is 682MB in size and can take a long time to download. If you do not want to wait for Fedora you can complete the remainer of this tutorial equally well with any other version of Linux. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive and there are hunderds of other versions of Linux available. I wanted to compile a short list to make choosing easier:
    Fedora (682 MB)
    Ubuntu (698.4 MB)
    Suse (679.3 MB)
    Damn Small Linux (50.8 MB)
    Puppy Linux (84 MB)

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      The third step is to setup VMWare to communicate with Linux. You need to do this by downloading a file from Wolphination.The following is the direct link: OS.zip. After you download OS.zip extract its contents to your C: drive. You should now have C:OS. Inside the OS folder I want you to put your version of Linux. So on my computer, inside C:OS I have OS.VMX, OS.vmdk, and FC-6-i386-livecd-1.iso (this is shown above). We are almost ready to run Linux for the first time.

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      The fourth step is to setup your VMWare configuration file. This file is called OS.VMX you need to right click on this file and select “Open with…” and choose Notepad. On the line that says ide1:0.fileName “C:Your file” you need to change this to point to the Linux version you downloaded. So in my case it would get changed to C:OSFC-6-i386-livecd-1.iso. Now resave the file and you are ready to go. Click on OS.vmx and VMWare will open and Linux will start. It may take a minute or two for Linux to fire up (depending on how much RAM your computer has).

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        Congratulations, you can now run Linux like any other program in Windows! In order to create a shortcut to put on your desktop, right click OS.VMX and choose Create Shortcut. Drag the shortcut to your desktop (or the location of your choice) and Linux will launch when you click it. My shortcut is shown above.

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        Sharing files between Linux and Windows
        Using Linux on Windows will be much more helpful if you can share files between Linux and Windows. This process is really easy to set up. The first thing you need to do is to create a “New Folder” on your Windows desktop. Right click on the folder and choose “Sharing and Security…”. On the following screen, choose “Share this folder on the network” and “Allow network users to change my files.” This will let Linux read and write to the folder.

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          In Linux, go to Places >> Network Servers and you should see your computer. Double click on your computer and you will see all your shared folders. Any data you would like to be used in both Linux and Windows should be saved into this folder.

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          Please feel free to pose any questions in the comments. We will walk you through any portion of this process if you get stuck. Enjoy!

          Notes: the following notes are somewhat technical in detail:
          1. The download links listed above are for “Live CDs.” Live CDs allow you to use Linux without installing anything on your hard drive.
          2. If the mirrors linked to above are very slow, you can find alternative download links on the homepage of each version of Linux.
          3. Since Linux will be running as a Live CD, if you powerdown and exit the virtual machine (exit VMWare) you will lose your information. However, there is a way around this. Simply choose “suspend” and VMWare will suspend and exit your virtual machine state. This will not take any memory and will allow you to “save” data to your virtual machine.
          4. The above steps work equally well on Linux and Mac.

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          Last Updated on September 18, 2019

          How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

          How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

          Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes.

          I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

          One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

          Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

          The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

          And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

          What to Write Down

          Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

          Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

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          Dates of Events

          Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

          For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

          Names of People

          Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

          Theories or Frameworks

          Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

          Definitions

          Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

          Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

          Arguments and Debates

          Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

          This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

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          Images

          Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

          Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

          Other Stuff

          Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

          I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

          Your Own Questions

          Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

          3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

          You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

          1. Outlining

          Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

          Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

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          For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

          2. Mind-Mapping

          For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

          Here’s the idea:

          In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

          The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

          If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

          You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

          3. The Cornell System

          The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

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          About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

          You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

          In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

          You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

          The Bottom Line

          I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

          I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

          More About Note-Taking

          Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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