If you are new to Linux

In this forum, I see a lot of questions regarding post-install boot problems and I realized that, despite having used Linux for more than 20 years now, I am not really able to provide any useful advice the reason being that I never encountered such problems. I guess that might be because I always followed a few simple rules:

1st: I always had a bootable recovery medium at hand in order to restore the Master Boot Record. I did not always make a proper backup, but you should! (Do as I say, not as I do! :wink:)
2nd: I always chose a major Linux Distribution with a large community and a stable Long Term Support version, at least since these existed.
3rd: I always followed the provided instructions carefully step by step.
4th: I always made sure, I understood what every step meant. That is: Whenever I reached a step, I did not understand, I aborted the installation and read everything about it before continuing.

I truly believe that these rules avoid 90% or more of all installation problems. If you are really new to Unix style operating systems, I would also recommend installing it on a virtual machine first and to familiarize yourself with the way it works. @abhishek wrote a dummy safe guide about how to do it.

cum grano salis


Hi Mina,
I too have used Linux for years and the only boot gripe I ever had was when, we all had to install via CD’s as back then USB sticks were expensive. Now you can get them really cheaply. I concur with everything you say, but mostly I think it is hardware issues and partitioning mistakes that are the biggest causes of boot failure, especially picking the right partition that Grub has to be installed to. G-Parted is a brilliant tool, but can be confusing for new users. Patience is also key to success. Knowing your hardware too helps is it Legacy only or both Legacy and EFI.


Hi Mina,
Well, I completely agree with item 1 and 2 in your post. I worked in IT for 30 years and item #1 was the “Golden Rule” of data processing.
Always have a backup of your system and a way to restore it. And for a business be sure to have more then one backup.
Now items 3 and 4 are good rules, but I suppose I was a little careless when I first started Linux 2 years ago. Knowing I had a solid backup of Windows that included the Boot records and a solid way to restore my Windows partition, I would / could experiment with the installation of Linux. I must have install Linux 6 or more times. Did I wipe out Windows a couple times? Yes. Did I learn a lot ? Yes.

And before I switched over to Linux as my operating system I may sure I follow the Golden Rule. I made sure I could use a stand-a-lone program to backup and restore not only root but also the Boot partition.

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Thanks for the good advices.

I work a lot with live Linux pen-drives. Whenever I want to try a PC or check if the Hardware is working, I boot from a Live Linux pen-drive. When I want to test a new distro - guess what - I use a Live Linux pen-drive…
And I have several ISOs to do different tests.
Backups… None! I have a /home partition where I have everything I need with replication on the cloud.
Mistakes?.. A lot.
When I was taking my first steps in the Linux world I tried to install it into a USB drive with a lot of very important information in it… Boom!
It took me 2 days to recover (about) 99% of that information.
What I’ve learned? Always be sure of what you’re doing.