Hate Windows? Practice Linux in Windows; No Dual-Boot

Ive used all three of the major operating systems: Mac, MS Windows, and Unix/Linux over the past 4 decades. Let be briefly relate why I prefer Linux today over the rest.

My first PC was a Macintosh Quadra 605 with a 80Mb hard disk, 4Mb RAM and a 2400 baud rate modem. I primarily used it for creating spreadsheets, composing lab reports and the like back in college; mostly to use office application software. It was really good for that, and since I had very little end-user experience, it was quite easy to get going on. In fact it took less than 20 minutes from the time I took it out of the box, to the point of booting into the Mac OS. However, as I became more interested and more fluent with computers, I realized how the proprietary nature of Apple hardware hindered the value of their over-priced products. Honestly, I’ve never owned another Apple product since. From then on, I almost always built my own PC’s that often ran MS Windows.

I hated Windows 3.1, but steadily liked each new version up to and including windows 7. Sure, there were some things I didn’t like about Windows, but I had a lot more freedom to customize, and the hardware was by far more bang for the dollar. Software of all types was almost always ported to Windows, especially games. Just after XP became available, I started dual-booting Debian Linux. Linux was not as good then as it is now, and although I practiced with it, I mainly booted into Windows.

Then I upgraded to Windows 8. It was about then where I was really getting fed up with Microsoft. Without going into to much detail, let me simply outline a few of my major gripes that finally let me to all but abandon Microsoft for good after using Windows 10.

Strictly from a security standpoint, even though MS is pretty good at keeping their software up to date, and at present its antivirus is good, it’s just a fact that because of the shear volume of Windows users, a ton more malware is created to affect it.

I spoke of upgrading and updating. As of Windows 8.1, Microsoft has become down-right tyrannical. Many users are all but forced into upgrading to Windows 10 from all other versions. If you don’t upgrade immediately, you are hounded constantly until you do. I know of one person whom was in the middle of playing an online game, when Windows simply took over his machine, and upgraded it to Windows 10 without any notification or confirmation. Honestly, its this kind of aggressive tactic that makes me wonder exactly why Windows 10 is so important to Microsoft, and probably the governments of the world. It’s also why I rarely use Windows anymore.

While I’m on the issue of big companies (Apple, Microsoft, Verizon, Comcast…etc) and governments, I think it’s fair game to talk a little about online surveillance. PRISM and ECHELON are worth looking into if you are not aware of their mission to collect whatever personal data they can gather, often unscrupulously,  and store it on massive databases, which are then shared with intelligence agencies world wide. This leads me back to Windows 10. I wonder if it’s truly even possible to stop Windows from sending data from your PC to Microsoft every time you logon to a session, a session of any sort crashes, or even seemingly at times for no apparent reason. Whats worse is that it’s near impossible to turn it off! I’ve spent hours inside settings and also had to resort to using a couple third-party softwares just to get a handle on it, and even then, something still leaks through occasionally. Good, bad or indifferent, a user should be able to opt-out of such a data-siphon. This leads back to the question of why is it so important people upgrade to Windows 10.

The issue of wrenching you into upgrading to Window 10, and the fact that it siphons data without the option to keep the OS from doing so brings out the conspiracy theorist in me. Is it really only a theory? Honestly, why would an international giant like Microsoft spend months of manpower and resources developing Windows 10, then thank you for taking it for free? Make no mistake of it, nothing is free.

Enough diatribe over my peeves with Microsoft and Windows. The main focus of this article is to explain how you can learn to run Linux, a free and opensource operating system that does not unwantingly collect data, allows the freedom to let you decide when and what to upgrade. For me, I have many issues with both Microsoft and Apple as far as their business ethics, and I simply don’t support them by giving either of them my hard-earned money.

All that being said, now is the time where I tell you how to run a distribution of Linux on your Windows machine without the need to dual-boot. The way you can do this is to run your distribution of Linux, inside a virtual machine, with your current installation of Windows as a host, and Linux inside the virtual machine as a guest. It’s very easy to do this, will cost you not so much as one cent, and will allow you to safely practice using Linux without damaging your Windows installation. Rather than post a buch of written steps with snapshots, it will simply be easier to watch the video I post below, and pause them as needed while you follow along. I only wish it could have been like that for me the first time I performed this ritual.

First, I’ll tell you what you need for software, and where to get it. Then I’ll put up a video, which is clear and well produced. Nothing you do here will screw up the current state of your PC, even if you make a mistake, which you wont, it’s that easy.

You will need the following softwares. You will want to create a folder someplace other than on your desktop fro these (it’s better that you do).

  1. Debian Linux 8.4 Gnome Live iso for 32-bit processor for 64-bit processor
  2. Oracle VirtualBox 5.x (works for both 32-bit and 64-bit processors)

If you want to know why I advise and prefer Debian, you can look why here.

If you want to know more about VirtualBox before you download it, you can have a look here.

Here is the video that will take you step by step through the entire simple process. I advise to watch it first, then again while you perform the procedure yourself, pausing the video when needed.

That’s all there is to it. Now that you have Debian running in a virtual machine on your Windows desktop, you can take whatever time you need to become familiar with it. Use it and learn it at your own pace. It’s not nearly as difficult as many people believe. These days you don’t really even ‘need’ to use the terminal if you don’t want to. After you become fluent enough, you can be done with Windows for good, and install Linux as your main operating system. From there, you can built a truly bullet-proof system which will allow you to reasonably avoid any and all surveillance, something you simply can not achieve under the Windows operating system.

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