How do I switch to Linux?

I really want to. How do I make my switch as smooth as possible? I am aware about stuff like games and software compatibility. Anything else I should be aware of?


Graphics, keyboard, mouse, and motherboard.

Some firmware just don’t vibe with the kernel. Gigabyte motherboards have given me issue, four generations apart (roughly).

If you have a Corsair keyboard or mouse, there is a handy software for it, but I’ve noticed that sometimes, rarely, the keyboard and mouse will “lock”, requiring either a reboot or unplugging. Sometimes unplugging does not always work. I have not experienced this issue in a month or two, so who knows if it got fixed.

NVidia graphics are really inconsistent. It’s a lot easier to setup than it used to be, but there are days when I go “Hm…” because something seems off.

Firefox will not behave the same it will on Windows. I’ve never had an issue with scrolling on Windows or OS X, but, in order to rid myself of screen rippling, I have to disable smooth scrolling on a Linux operating system. Distro/DE doesn’t matter, always happens. Chrome and Chromium are solid. Tried Vivaldi once, didn’t notice any graphics anomalies.

Despite the hype, AMD has sucked for me on Debian and Fedora. Screen tearing when scrolling, moving windows, minimizing and maximizing, it didn’t matter what I was doing.

Last, I’ll say that overall functionality is a major concern. It’s not always the case, and it really depends on the DE, but somethings that take you seconds in Windows or OS X, will take hours or days in Linux. Or, maybe not even hours, but the amount of effort you will have to exert completely ruins the experience.

Beware the hype. The novelty wears off pretty quickly. I use it because I have uses for it. If you want to hobby or learn something new, go for it. If you’re going after it for security/privacy concerns, a lot of those are largely overblown and Linux out of the box will not solve those problems for you.

All that being said, I love Linux, use it every day, plan on contributing some day, and can’t imagine life any different. But, I struggled for years to get a healthy attitude about it. Even then, on days where I’m at my lowest, I don’t have time and I use OS X or Windows.

Link to the Corsair software (if relevant or anyone is interested. I absolutely love it. Works on Mac too):

  1. Start with the huge mainstream distros like Ubuntu LTS, Opensuse (not the rolling one), or Fedora. You end up leaning on the community a lot, so the bigger, the better- at least in the beginning.

  2. Don’t get an attitude about it (Linux vs whatever, distro vs distro, etc.), and don’t let others’ get to you. An OS is just another tool. Actually, I’d liken it to a workbench, but I’ll stop here, and let you imagine the rest.

  3. Personally, I find myself customizing things in Linux because I can. Things that I feel are important become less important when using mac os/win, due simply to unavailability, which shows me that I never really cared that much about it anyway. Reevaluate your priorities during the transition, and aim for stability and conduciveness to what you’re actually doing.


from my jump on Linux as my main os in sept i learned you can do everything on any linux distro the level of effort will be different. i jumped because of features being removed on newer versions of windos. with linux i can keep the features i need around. if you need any rgb support and use razer things there are open drivers

debian based distros is where games are “easy” to get running
ubuntu lts is very nice to jump into and learn and get comfortable with the command line
don’t be afraid to ask questions but also don’t be afraid to nuke a system

things with more users tend to have easier support and more information made by the community as @khaudio said ubuntu lts has a great library of information just a google search away


Unpopular opinion:

Just do it, jump straight to it. Smooth change won’t let you experience what linux is. All you’ll achieve is a new UI you’re now familiar with. If you just jump feet first, you’ll actually learn new things.

Linux is different from WIndows, that’s the point, why would you switch otherwise.


I would at least look into software support. There is a high chance some of your software won’t run natively. But its worth checking out if you are interested in what non-native games will run.

Just remember if you have any issues. Reddit, and level1tech forums are more than happy to help you out.

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Here’s my path towards linux:
I started making a switch by creating a bootable usb image. This allowed me for a couple days to play around in a non-persistent environment to get used to linux and experience how to set up and deal with wifi or driver issues. After a few days of enjoying the experience, I decided I would dual boot and keep the windows partion around “just in case.”(in retrospect, I think dual booting can be more trouble than it’s worth, but it worked well for me) Over the next few months, the amount of times I felt like I needed to switch back to windows for a task dropped off quickly as I got used to the software available in linux. My hard drive felt cramped at some point, and I no longer used windows, so I removed the partition and I never looked back.

I wouldn’t say it’s a smooth process as there’s lots to learn, but it can be fun depending on how you interact with technology.

Welcome to the Cult…Club…Whatever.


Switching to linux isn’t hard by any means. Theres a basic list of stuff you need to look at when you switch though:

How complex of a system do you want?
What sort of experience are you after?
What apps do you use?
Are you likely to get apps off of github or ones that you’d have to compile by hand?
Seeing as you mentioned games, what games do you play?
What hardware are you using?
AMD, Nvidia, or intel GPU?

ONce you got answers for all those, you can narrow an OS pretty quick. And I will highly recommend you stay with base systems only. Don’t do anything wierd like ExE linux or anything like that. Ubuntu, Debian, Arch (or antergos / manjaro), just the basic systems slash harmless extensions of them like for arch. The more nitpicky and hand crafted artisan well of an OS you get, the more problems you’re likely to find, and if you aren’t experienced it might be hard to find help.

Then its just… Install and tada! And then you dump all your problems on us XD

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Did you enable DRI 3 and the TearFree option when using Xorg? The bug people were having problems with got fixed in mid 2015. That and iirc it was an Intel only bug having to do with their iGPU. Don’t know how Fedora is setup to work but Debian you have to set that up manually.

switching to linux can be easy or it can be difficult depending on how far you want to jump!
my switch to linux happened in 1996
there were many things i wanted to do but the software was not available for windows and mac (and if it was it was more expensive than what i could afford at the time (young father of 2 kids at the time).
switching to linux was definitely a learning experience then.
today’s distros are certainly a lot easier to install and learn but they are no means turn on and run with no training.
installing a distro is easy and you can just use default choices and it will work.
learning how to configure and customizing your distro is not that difficult but it does require some planning and research.
research by means of livecd/dvd or live usb!
you can download the distros and burn them to cd/dvd using infra-recorder (free iso burner for windows) and unetbootin (bootable usb stick maker)
or you can purchase the install media from the developers site all ready to run.
be aware that a live cd/dvd and usb stick will run a lot slower than and actual install but you can get used to how the distro looks and works.
I will not specifically recommend any specific distro because I do not know your mindset or capabilities.
but i do have to say you need at least a small desire to explore.
running a live distro will not change anything on your systems hard drives unless you specifically start the hdd install process, and for most distros like ubuntu its often a 6 step process.
you can always find alternatives to windows and mac software in linux, you just need to learn how to find it and install it.

@thegai02 i used to have a shirt that said welcome to the cult of the mad penguin that got me in hot water a few times during the cult fiasco about 8 or 10 years back (police didn’t think it was very funny though):rofl:


You will need to be willing to drop applications that are not available and maybe adopt new applications to do the job as a replacement

Linux can do these things just fine:

  • web (firefox/chrome both available)
  • mail (mostly web these days anyway)
  • casual gaming (steam, heaps of indie stuff available)
  • some AAA gaming (check steam and GOG for compatibility)

Linux is great at:

  • network diagnostics
  • network routing/firewalling/etc.

Linux is less good at these things:

  • video editing
  • audio processing/music editing

Network file sharing is a bit awkward at times. Less hassle free than Windows.


Other’s have already answered you, but it’s important to note how self important and elitist you shall become.

Of particular note will be the effortless puff of pretentious laughter you shall expel every time you see a person with a windows update error.

Pray you never fall ever deeper into distro hell culiminating in that first Arch install at which point you’ll have exclaimed ‘Lo! My PC doth do as I ask!’


If you’re looking for a distro that is ‘similar to windows’ to ease the transition, I’d recommend Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon. The muscle memory from windows will somewhat carry over to that OS.

Moreso, it depends on what you want to DO with the OS. Like, if you just want to use chrome/firefox, play some games, watch some movies, then it should work well enough (assuming your games play well with linux or can via Proton or something).

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Easiest way is to buy a new SSD (boot drive sized so money dependant 120-240G) and put it in your machine and dual boot. Nothing is lost and you get your feet wet with actually using it.

You can plan all you want. When you jump in the deep end the sink and swim issues show up quickly.

If your a gamer start with Ubuntu. If you have a AMD GPU then use the tool ukuu to update the kernel. Because the kernel has the AMD driver build in.

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That, 100%.

There will be things you need windows for until you figure your way out. And, some things just have no linux solution (e.g., some games with anti-cheat features).

That may take months, so having a Windows install around for the interim will be a good thing. I still have a windows install, but it hasn’t been booted in several months. But, it’s there if i need to say, fire up PubG or whatever.

Just to be a contrarian, I would like to give a different opinion.

I make some basic assumptions in this opinion, so this opinion is not universally applicable.
But if OP has decided and committed to switching to linux, are willing to change their mode of thinking,
and are ready to find new ways to handle tasks they would have already known how to do in their previous environment…

I would say it is far better to jump right in, wipe that windows partition straight of their drive and start.
There will be problems, and it is by solving those that you actually learn the workings of Linux.

In short:
Humans are lazy, and as such it is easier to learn when we are forced to. Don’t give yourself an easy out.
If you need to use {{X}} piece of windows software, and there is literally no other way to do what you need, install a VM and run it in.


Most of the windows-only stuff is not VM compatible… things like firmware updates, high end gaming (without looking glass, and even then… that’s not practical on all hardware), etc.

I’d suggest that having to dual boot is more of a pain than just spinning up a VM. If you’re going to go spinning up VMs as a solution you’re less likely to bother figuring it out, than having to reboot…

These people typed far too much. All you need to do is create an Ubuntu LTS usb with Rufus in Windows, install it, then google any issues that come up with the keyword “ubuntu” in the search query. It’s so easy.

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Valid points!
Tho I still stand by my opinion, provided that OP is not under the delusion that high end gaming will just work on Linux.

I still think the dual boot option is suboptimal, because it is far easier to power up in windows mode and then just stay there since it is nice and familiar. But that depends on how dedicated one actually are about making the switch.

So far I seem to have been blessed and never owned a system on which I could not update the firmware without switching over to windows, but YMMV.

Linux is a dellightfull system to use and work with, but it is unlike windows in many ways.
The biggest of which I would say is how a user should approach it. Whilest using windows is a passive act, you just do it without thinking about it, using Linux or any other unix-like system, bar osX, requires a bit of commitment.
One needs to actively make choices, and think about whats going on.
But very quickly that becomes second nature, so it really is not that big of a deal apart from the first transitionary period.

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