Unix/Linux OS/Installing Linux

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QUESTION: Hi John. Firstly I am COMPLETELY IGNORANT on Linux systems so here goes with my question.
I have downloaded linuxmint-15-cinnamon-dvd-32bit.iso to a dvd on my Win7 laptop. Subsequently transferred this to a usb pen drive so now have 2 copies on differing media.
I want to use this from the disc (or usb pen drive) only at the moment on my desktop running WinXP SP3.
This is to gain experience before dropping Win XP completely before April 2014.
I dont know how to do this so my obvious question is HOW DO I GET THE DVD OR USB PEN DRIVE OR BOTH to operate as soon as I plug them in?.
Please take it easy with me as my knowledge of Linux is Zero.
Thank you

ANSWER: The question isn't clear.  It sounds like you want to run Linux by plugging a device (that has Linux on it) into a running system.  This won't happen.

Once Linux is installed a device you need to boot from that device.

Either, please clarify or does this answer the question?
- John

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: You are partly correct. It was my understanding that Linux could be run from DVD or installed on a computer as a fixed program. At the moment I don't want a fixed program on my computer but wish to try out Linux from a disc. I do understand that I may have to change the bios settings to make it boot from dvd instead of hard drive so the file that I downloaded is it READY TO ROLL or does it need any further work to unzip or anything else like that. Also why do giveaway discs on magazines say that program can be run from disc or installed which infers that after Windows has started you can then put a Linux DVD into your dvd drive and run it from there if that is not possible?

Answer
Yes, it should be ready to roll.  I'd expect it to be.  There's a slight difference between an ISO file, which can be burned byte-wise onto a CD or DVD, and an image that goes on a USB.  .img is a file extension I've seen that will go byte-wise onto a USB drive but I think some Apple files may also use it.

Incidentally, if Ubuntu interests you, that distro has a file called wubi.exe.  It runs from Windows and installs Linux (Ubuntu) next to it.  You can remove it just as cleanly.  If you're interest ends at it;s value as a desktop or server you should be good to go.

What the mags are telling you is that the OS on disk will start-up and ask you if you want to run the OS from the disk or if you want to install to the hard drive.   The big difference between installing Linux and installing Windows is, Linux will not overwrite Windows unless you tell it to whereas Windows won't ask; it will overwrite.

Since Microsoft has the attitude they're known for, there isn't a Windows that runs and installs as does Wubi.exe.  So you always will need to boot from the Linux optical or USB device unless you put in on a disk drive.  (Of course, if you run VMware you can run Linux inside Windows).

Have fun with this!

Unix/Linux OS

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John Crout

Expertise

Answers about hardening, command-line operation,boot/start-up, reconfiguring the kernel, debugging, installing/removing packages. Interfacing with Windows. Most questions about building from source.

Experience

Been learning how to do these things since 1982.

Organizations
Association for Computing Machinery, Information Systems Security Association

Education/Credentials
BSEE, Electrical and Computer Engineering

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