When we talk about safe ways to test Linux, we don't mean that the other ways are unsafe. We refer to those that allow you to test Linux without making permanent modifications to the hard disk. That is to say, quite the opposite, to what I did when I started. I started to install a Linux distribution without knowing too well what I was doing and without having a means of reinstalling Windows. Of course, the installation failed in the middle.
Fortunately, the technology has advanced quite a bit. Linux installation is done in most cases using graphical environments. Most of the time, the role of the user is limited to completing their data and clicking Next. But, in case you don't dare to install it on your main computer yet, there are other alternatives.
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Safe ways to test Linux without installing it on your hard drive
It should be mentioned that none of the ways mentioned provide a similar experience as install on the hard drive. However, by combining them, we can have a rough idea of what can happen.
Did you pay attention the day the prepositions were explained to you at school? It's because I need you to understand the difference between installing Linux from a pendrive or installing it on the pendrive. In the first case, the pendrive is the source medium of the installation, in the second case it is the destination of the installation, that is, it fulfills a function similar to that of a hard disk.
Many Linux distributions have a so-called live mode. With live mode pYou can have an experience similar to the operating system once installed with some caveats.
- Response speed will not be the same
- The modifications you make will be lost when you turn off the computer.
In live mode Ram memory functions as hard diskhence the speed and space limitations. Although in a modern computer you can use it without appreciable loss of performance.
I have to make a clarification. I said that in live mode data is lost when turning off the computer. Actually, some distributions allow you to reserve a space on the pendrive to save the modifications. Those modifications are loaded into the Ram when you log in again. But it all depends on the storage capacity of the installation medium.
This way of testing Linux is great for getting familiar with your desktop and for testing hardware compatibility.
Storage on external disk or pendrive
Here we come to why I was so insistent on the difference between "install from" and "install to." Linux can be installed on a 16gb or larger pendrive or on an external disk. The great advantage of this proposal is that you can use your Linux on any other computer. Major distributions will find and download the necessary drivers.
An external hard drive has the same capacity as a normal hard drive, so the only problem is that if you move it a lot you will end up making it useless. In the case of using a pendrive you will have a significant space limitation.
This form gives us la more similar experience to having Linux installed on our computer.
A virtual machine is a program that pretends to be a computer. The great advantage of this method is that you do not have to modify anything on your computer. The big drawback is that you will not know if there is any incompatibility with your hardware.
If you use Windows 10, this operating system includes Hyper-V, a virtual machine software which allows you to download and test the Ubuntu Linux distribution.
Another good alternative, in this case multiplatform, is Virtualbox. Virtualbox it allows you simulate the Linux installation experience from a pendrive or from a cd / dvd player. In addition, it brings the programmed configurations for the main distributions. As far as these are concerned, you have to download them manually.
This is more of a curiosity than something really functional. There are two ways we can experience something like the Linux experience
- JSLinux: It allows us test the operating system using a graphical interface or in text mode.
- Ubuntu Tours: In this site you can try the experience of using the Gnome desktop and opening and installing programs.