So... I did a web search, and I wasn't surprised when I found quite a few places I could download the OS from.
Now, knowing computers as well as I, I can't just go to any site and download what they say is an OS (because it really could be just about anything) so I would like to know:
Where can I get an official copy of GNU/Linux?
How can I intall GNU/Linux on my computer which runs on W8? (i know the BIOS, but I have never intalled an open source os, and I have never had more than 1 OS on a single machine before...)
I know having more than 1 OS on a single machine is possible. I had a friend in High School who could boot up with Linux, Windows 7, IOS, and Unix. I also know that MSCONFIG supports booting into another OS that is installed on the HDD. You don;t have to give me the instructions if there is an official link to them.
Thanks for your time!!
Note: I'm NOT REPLACING my OS, I want to install Linux onto my computer alongside W8.
There is no official version of linux, different organizations develop and package distributions (distros) that end users install. The main differences between distros is package management (how and where software is installed) and the desktop environment used (KDE, Gnome, XFCE, etc...). For a first time user I would suggest Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/ and also to install into a virtual machine rather then dual boot.
I suggest trying it out with a live CD/USB first too, to see if you are comfortable with the interface. Removing linux isn't as easy as deleting its install partition (if it is installed on the same hard drive as windows, otherwise no problem).
If you go with ubuntu there are also other versions (kubuntu, xubuntu, etc) where the only difference is the interface.
GRUB works just fine as a bootloader, and you can install it during the installation of linux (on ubuntu at least). Microsoft bootloader doesn't recognize other OSs.
A VM is nice for seeing what a distro looks like, but performance will be significantly worse than it would be on a real install. At least in my experience. I recommend Ubuntu (the latest 13.04 release is super nice) as a starter. It has a nice GUI to mess around with, and of course comes with all the *nix terminal strength.
Setting up a dual boot is as simple as shrinking the windows partition (I recommend allowing at least 40GB), booting a live CD of Ubuntu, running gparted and format the unallocated partition. Then install Ubuntu into that partition.
For dual boot you need to burn the iso disc image reboot, change the boot order setting dvd drive to first to boot from the disc. For installing in VM just set the drive to mount the image in the settings.
And it seems to be non-bootable. I have been able to run it as an installer as if it was just another program. It installed onto C:\ alongside windows (no partition) and Windows 8 recognized it as an OS, but failed to boot up on it.
I have shrinked my windows partition and formatted 40Gb and am currently installing Ubuntu into there right now...
Also, I do have a boot-flash-drive-maker (whatever... im a bit tired right now...) so I have the option of creating a bootable flash drive, but that doesn't allow me to install alongside Windows on my HDD (tell me if I'm wrong about that).
windows 8 (pre-installed)
tell me if you need more...
Right click the iso file select open with>windows disc image burner. Insert blank disc and burn it. Reboot computer and change boot order, you may have to enter the bios setup to do it. Follow instructions the install has.
I have the BIOS set up, I've had it set up since the beginning: way way way back... back when I got this infernal machine (the V5 touch... not as splended as the hype suggests) I had to figure out the BIOS and become best friends with it in order to create a recovery image for my OS. I got that all set up to check everything before checking the HDD.
Also, thanks for helping me.
found some good instructions online. Hopfully this will be good experience for me. :)