A Windows User's Guide to Getting Started with Linux
There are countless Windows users who have never once tried using Linux, and in many cases, they are unaware of the benefits they can get from either switching to Linux entirely, or using both operating systems (as I do). The Linux community doesn't tend to focus its evangelism on winning Windows users over, either. However, there are a number of free resources available for Windows users who want to take the Windows plunge. In this post, you'll find several of them worth looking into.
I always like to investigate a new topic with a good book as a guide. Test Driving Linux: From Windows to Linux in 60 Seconds is a free online book that can get you started with both Linux and several open source programs. Beginners will find it approachable, and it covers everything from basic Linux commands to user interface conventions that differ between Linux and Windows. The chapters of the book are online links, so you can just peruse the Table of Contents to go straight to the kind of material you're interested in.
It's always instructive to hear from other Windows users who have immersed themselves in Linux, and there are complete stories about this type of switch available online. In this post, we covered a die-hard Windows user's immersion in Ubuntu, which includes lots of good information about going from Microsoft's OS to Linux.
Along the same lines, MyBroadband has put up a good introductory post specifically about switching from Windows to Linux. It covers the flexible desktop environments that you can use with various Linux distros, running Windows and Linux concurrently, and more.
As Windows users dive into Linux, they may wish for more advanced documentation and the good news is that there is a wealth of it available for free. In this post, we covered free online books and guides that can take the Linux beginner toward more advanced know-how.
If you've been using Windows for years but are interested in Linux, now is the time to experiment. You can run both operating systems if you choose, which means you don't have to ditch favorite applications. Hopefully there are some useful resources here.