Need help installing Linux from ISO file

Montana Ed

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Feb 19, 2018
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I think this is the correct thread site to start from. Forgive me if not correct. It appears that my problem is even more fundamental than any other thread or anyone else has ever started from. When I downloaded Linux, I used Ubuntu from this site. It downloaded (uploaded) to my computer and was delivered to my downloads files (MS), and I never even received any of the questions as shown in that detailed and pictured in the Tutorial as painstakingly re-printed in that detailed pictorial. The file is an ISO file exactly as mentioned in the tutorial, and I downloaded a bunch of them the version 16 and 17 as shown. They were both about 1.5Gig. However, I could do nothing with them except finally I found some "iso" extraction file that did extract the numerous files and they were just as useless apart as they were altogether in that one download file. So I guess I am starting at the very beginning, moreso than anyone else---or should I say leastso.
So, I cannot even reach the starting line. I have spent hours trying many of the threads on this site, but it seems no one has this problem or ever experienced it.
As I am totally exasperated with MS and it's total mindless control and what I have always seen from Jobs and his Apple creations, I know I don't ever want to go there, and Linux is my last chance, and I would like to make Linux my home----especially reading up on the history of Linux as shown here and living it , residing in Sunnyvale, the original silicon valley, back in the 70's, 80's, 90's and seeing that ???Gates make piles on totally horrific and illogical "software".---I had better stop here and leave that for another time and PLACE. Hopefully, you get the point.

What I could use is some help to get up and going and to get my 62 year old Engineer brain learning something finally useful again. I want to be able to make contributions here in the future, and for whomever reads this to help me with the ultimate fundamental problem of

"Not to be ABLE to even download the LINUX software"!

How can I translate the iso file to something that is executable and of fundamental use?

I cannot believe I am the only one that has this problem.

Best regards to all who will read and listen and thanks in advance for any help.

Montana Ed

Hi Ed, and welcome to the site! The "correct" thing to do is start your own new threads as needed so we can focus on your problems. This keeps other people's threads focused on their problems, and we don't get things all convoluted that way. As you discover new problems, open new threads.... it makes for much easier reading and searching. So, I moved this thread here into the "Getting Started" forum since that seems to be right where you're at with Linux... trying to get started. Note that using the thread Title is the first place to let others know what kind of help you're looking for, and you can see how I named this thread for your benefit.

So, you are indeed "right at the beginning" but you've missed the directions somehow on what to do with that .iso file you downloaded. Let me apologize... I write (and talk) a lot.... and you'll soon meet my friend, @wizardfromoz, and he writes/talks a lot too. Grab a beverage and bear with us! :D We (and others too) will all do our best to help you get going. But these directions are also all over the web... you will probably want to practice and improve your Google skills.

The first thing we advise people (who will listen to us)... is that you should "verify" that the downloaded .iso is complete and not corrupted. If you try to install a corrupted operating system, what do you think you might get? (Answer: Trouble) It is a rather simple thing to "verify" the .iso, and you should always do this with any new Linux that you download. Where you get the .iso files, they will also provide a "checksum" text file... this may be identified like "md5sum" or "sha256sum". MD5 and SHA256 are just different methods of calculating a checksum on the file, and you need to check whatever the Linux people provide to you. When the checksum of the file you downloaded matches that which you get from the Linux people, then your file is whole, uncorrupted, and ready to move forward.

So, how do your verify that checksum? Linux has built-in tools for this, but since you must be on Windows, you will need to download a free tool to help you for now. A nice simple program is here. When you run this, the File that you browse to is your .iso file. You need only check the box for the checksum value that you need (MD5 or SHA256 usually). Then, from the md5sum.txt or sha256sum.txt file that you will get from the Linux people, you will highlight and copy that long string of similar characters and paste it into the checksum program at the bottom where it says, "Hash" and then click the Verify button below. You can visually compare these strings, but obviously it is tedious, and the program works well to confirm the match. Be careful with the text files that you copy the character string from the correct version.... the Linux folks often produce many different versions that are distinguished by their "Desktop Environment" and also whether they are 32-bit or 64-bit versions. If you have a relatively modern computer, you should download 64-bit Linux .iso files unless you confirm that your computer CPU actually is an old 32-bit. Don't go by a "32-bit Windows" as they often installed that on machines that actually have 64-bit CPU's.

OK, an example for you: Linux Mint MATE. (Linux Mint is the distribution, or distro. MATE is the Desktop Environment.) You would download the latest version (18.3) at this website You click on the 64-bit version for MATE, it takes you to another page where you can choose the download mirror that is closest to you. Click on your download mirror, and it will begin the transfer of a file named linuxmint-18.3-mate-64bit.iso. On that page, you may have noticed a link, "Don't forget to verify your ISO." The page it takes you to describes a more complicated process... I'm just giving you the easier method (though slightly less "secure"). Anyway, on that page, it links to sha256sum.txt as I mentioned before. That text file gives 8 different checksums, so you want to carefully choose the right one for MATE 64-bit, and paste that long string into the free Windows program (don't include the filename info, just the character string).

Whew! The description above may seem hard, but its not. We highly recommend that you do this verification.

Then, the next step is to "burn the ISO" to a DVD or USB. I see that @arochester has already steered you to another site with instructions for that, so I'll take a break and see if you then get through that step. It is a special technique to burn the ISO... your DVD software may or may not support it... it's called "Burn Image". Or you can use USB and you will need another special program (free) to put the .iso to USB. The reason these special techniques are necessary is because they will make your DVD or USB into a BOOTABLE media. And that is required to install Linux. You cannot just "copy" the .iso file to a DVD or USB because it will not be bootable.

This is all easy stuff when you get the hang of it, and the big thing about learning Linux (in my opinion) is to try to not get frustrated with the new things that you will encounter, beginning with the installation itself. There are other new terms and jargon that start to get thrown at you, like Linux does not refer to hard drives or partitions as "C:" or "D:" and you may need a basic understanding of that when you are ready to install. It's actually easier if you will let Linux install to the entire hard drive and erase Windows, but we'll cross that bridge later too.

Good luck!
I cannot believe I am the only one that has this problem.

@Montana Ed ... nor can I ... in fact thousands walk in your footsteps :p

Mate, I am from DownUnder and if we can work it out standing on our heads upside-down you can too.

What I could use is some help to get up and going and to get my 62 year old Engineer brain learning something finally useful again. I want to be able to make contributions here in the future, and for whomever reads this to help me with the ultimate fundamental problem of...

Check that text or check your Profile ... 62 or 67?? Doesn't matter, I am the 4th person in your Thread whom is 60 or more, so you are in good company :)

... and I love that rant about MS and Macintosh - a man after my own heart.

With the link @arochester provided, above - it, too, mentions verification such as @atanere has mentioned above with his Linux Mint example. These hash algorithms (checking) are not an invention of Linux, they are also in Windows and Macintosh but 99.99% of users are blissfully unaware of their existence, so in part that accounts for buggy software and malware getting onto their systems.

If you are interested and keen, when you finish the "burning iso" article go back to the top of that page and click Community Help Wiki. That in turn leads you to Official Ubuntu Documentation and finally to a Manual or Installation guide, I would suggest the .pdf format is more easily readable, but brace yourself, it is 149 pages long.:eek:

Maybe with a rum and milk and cookies if you have cold winter's nights?

Included in that volume is reference to Ubuntu's relationship with Debian (pronounced like the given names Deb and Ian after its founder Ian Murdock and his then girlfriend Deb). So Ubuntu is based on Debian, and Linux Mint, in turn, is based on Ubuntu. All of this heritage will become familiar to you over time.

It is safe practice or best practice to download isos from either the official website (as you have done via the link from here:D) or from reputable websites such as SourceForge or DistroWatch. In that way, you leverage your chancs of getting The Real McCoy without bundled software you did not ask for, and you reduce your risk of a compromised outcome to the scrutiny of a hash check.

The PageHit Ranking at DistroWatch may amaze you, it includes around the 200 or so most popular Linuxes, and you will see Ubuntu and Mint highly placed, with others. The rule of thumb many use is that if a Distro is in the Top 100 or better, Top 50, then it will likely have more support, more documentation. That is not hard and fast, but it is as good a guide as any. :rolleyes:

The Developers (devs) of each Distro use their own numbering system, some of these numbers can tell you when they were released, as with Ubuntu, but others differ.

You have likely downloaded ubuntu-16.04.3-desktop-amd64.iso, which is Ubuntu 16.04.3 'Xenial Xerus', with the Unity DE (desktop environment), and your other is likely ubuntu-17.10.1-desktop-amd64.iso, which is Ubuntu 17.10 'Artful Aardvark' with the GNOME DE.

The first was released 20th April (hence 16.04) 2016, and it is the 3rd minor update to the original. It is an LTS (Long Term Support) and has support for 5 years, until 20 April 2021.

Your 2nd one is a "Point Release" with a limited support shelf life, of 9 months only. It was released in October last year (hence 17.10), and thus runs out of support in July coming up. But if you wish to install it, it can still be a good way of seeing the future of Ubuntu. And I have both, if you need help.

20th April approaching will see a new LTS (they issue a new LTS every even-numbered year), which will be Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME codename 'Bionic Beaver'.

I hope all of the above has helped rather than hindered, and that I have not bamboozled you further :cool:


Chris Turner

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