So after reading Zoltans "What if I want everything?" thread, I wanted to try linux. I've heard about it here and there, but only knew it was an OS that tech minded people used. I've been using various versions of windows pretty much all my life without much issue (I spent more time on wikis than "insert computer infecting site here"). I have been planning to switch from my aging thinkpad to a macbook for the OS and the build quality. However, reading through that thread (which was mostly over my head) definitely sparked an interest in trying one of these "distros".
This is where I ran into trouble. First, I tried loading sabayon using unetbootin which couldn't recognize my external drive. Figured out I needed to change the file type to fat32, did that, and still nothing. Next I tried lili usb, which recognized my drive and installed the virtual box with sabayon. I opened it and tried to load sabayon. Tried. Apparently even though I'm running 64 bit windows 7, it thought I was running 32 bit. I downloaded the 32 bit version and although it would try loading, it always ran into a problem.
After searching on the sabayon forums and google for a solution I came back here to see what I might find. One of the first threads that came up was XDroidie626 taling about manjaro being a good beginner distro. So I figured trying a different distro would be easiest path forward. Interestingly, manjaro also wanted me to use the 32 bit version, which opened up without issue. My computer was not happy at all though. Some stupid windows protectedfontblablabla.exe that I've never seen before, opened while I was using the virtual box and was using 50% of my cpu. Yikes.
I decided this would be the good project for my old desktop. I had built it back in 2008ish and it has been sitting unused for years. So I pulled it out, did the wire hunt for those dam weird video connector cables and eventually got it started up. It only took about 5 minutes before the first crash though. Heading into the bios revealed the cpu was running at 85c. Not good.
Back in the day when I had put the stock intel cooler on (I didn't know any better), I used the stock patch of thermal paste as well (facepalm). Big mistake on my part. Not only had that barely spread out, there was corrosion on the copper plate on the back of the heatsink. I cleaned that up, got some new thermal paste from nearby microcenter (Open on a sunday = hell yeah) and put it back together. Now running stable at 45c I continued.
If you've read this far then here's a pretend internet Elysian Dragonstooth, you've earned it.
At the moment I've got manjaro installed and am trying to update it. I had to get into the mirrorlist and change the primary mirror to get it going (was just getting 404 errors at first, outdated mirror was listed for some reason). Now I'm 180mib into a 500mib update bundle. But it is working!
and that's it. Thanks for everyone who posts here. I truly appreciate you sharing your expertise with interested, but not super tech oriented people.