I generally recommend Linux Mint for beginners because its stable, and simple use. Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu and comes preloaded with most all the applications that we use regularly such as, Firefox for web browsing, Thunderbird as email client, Gimp alternative to Photoshop, LibreOffice alternative to MS Office, and a file manager… etc.
The Mint installation is very easy, and there is nothing complex in setting up. You can boot the setup from the Live USB or DVD, and Linux Mint 18 is fully UEFI supported. Best of all for new users whom want to try Linux on their Windows PCs without damaging their current Windows Installation, can run Mint as a virtual machine on Virtual Box.
Mint 18, code named ‘Sarah’ uses the Cinnamon desktop environment, which was developed by and created for Linux Mint, by default. It also comes in XFCE and MATE, as well as KDE. New users are generally quite comfortable using the Cinnamon desktop. It includes animations and transition effects, applets that appear on the panel, a settings editor for easy customization, and comes in light and dark themes.
Linux mint is as secure as other Linux distributions like Ubuntu but also implements settings for improved system stability. The update manager allows you select updates that don’t break the system. Setting the system to ‘Secure & Stable’, the update manager won’t download and install any beta updates but will provide other security updates. There are two additional options: allowing you to download only updates that don’t harm stability and the option to download each and every update which could harm system stability by installing initial stage updates, such as Alpha or Beta.
If you are aware of the increasingly insidious surveillance technologies implemented in Microsoft Windows, and would like to install Linux Mint as a virtual machine running under your current Windows installation, the below video tutorial shows how to install Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon on VirtualBox step by step. This video also helps if you install Linux Mint 18 Sarah on physical hardware. A virtual machine is also the most ideal way to try out any Linux distribution, and practice using it. Here is an outline of the tutorial itself:
1- Visit Linux Mint website and download Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon ISO
2- Create Virtual Machine for Linux Mint 18 on VirtualBox
3- Start Linux Mint Installation
– Set Disk Partition Layout
– Set Time Zone
– Create User
4- Perform post installation tasks for Linux Mint 18
– Check IP Configuration and Network Connectivity
– Update Linux Mint
– Check VirtualBox Guest Additions features