Its very common for a person to lose data, while installing linux for the first time on his machine. People dont read the manual prior to the installation, and in the end, lose all their primary data. I am writing this article, as a friend of mine took some free advice from me, tried to install linux, and got his machine completely "F.U.B.A.R"-ed. So, I hope you read this article, before you embark on this perilous but exciting journey. Few pointers :- 1)Linux cant damage your hardware, contrary to some beliefs. 2) Linux is not responsible for the loss of your data:- You have to be careful, while selecting the partition. If you select the partition containing data, for formatting / change of Filesystem, you will invariably lose data. 3)Without getting your hands dirty, you cant become an expert at Linux installation. No amount of literature will help you. So lets get down to business. Okay, so first things first, you need to select a distro you are going to get started with. You will be spoilt for choices here! You can check out some preliminary information on distros here:- DistroWatch.com: Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD. Generally for a newbie, the community recommends:- Ubuntu - I won't recommend his. Bit complex Kubuntu - More Info- Ubuntu (operating system) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Linux Mint- More Info- Linux Mint - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Another important read :- Desktop Linux - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia It should be clear in your mind that it doesn't matter which distro / desktop environment you are using because, ultimately, all of it boils down to a personal preference. So once you have finalized a distro, your next task is to get it's installer on a bootable medium.This is an easy step as its generally an iso file, and you can either download it, or you can browse through utility software dvd of various Tech - magazines like Linux For U or Digit. Use this to create a bootable flash drive UNetbootin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Now , as you have a bootable installer, you can easily boot from it. If after restart, its not working(installation media is still plugged in), have a look at this :-http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/bootorderchange.htm After the restart, the things are as easy as a cakewalk. Next important task is creating a partition for the OS, in which the installation will take place. For more info on a detailed directory structure and filesystem of Linux go here:- Tech Blog » Linux file system Pointers:- One primary partition for windows. Extended Partitioning:- NTFS formatted partition to be used as your D drive. ext journaling filesystem for / (root) on linux. ext partition for /home swap partition The partition creating process is in GUI and is installer dependent. It is extremely easy, and self explanatory. Some important links:- Linux Know-How: Newbie Guide http://www.tldp.org/LDP/intro-linux/html/index.html Portal:Linux - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia I hope now you wont make any errors. All the best.!