Wubi may be the world's least painful Linux installer

screenshot of Wubi

Okay, so you've been reading all about Linux, and you've decided maybe you'd like to try it on for size. You've got a huge investment—money, sweat, and tears—in your Windows system and don't want to kill it just to try Linux, but you don't have a spare box lying around to load it on either. Maybe you should give Wubi a try.

Wubi is a Linux installer for Windows systems. Rather than having to reformat your hard drive—and lose all your applications and data—Wubi will let you install a fully functioning Ubuntu Linux system on your machine without having to mess with your current partitions and data. Instead of a separate partition, Wubi puts the entire Linux into a file in your Windows filesystem. It simply adds a Linux entry to the Windows boot menu. At any point, just reboot your system, choose Linux, and you're off and running. It comes with all the goodies you'd expect on a Linux system.

As a simple installer, you just run Wubi like any other Windows app—there's no need to burn ISO disk images to CD, or anything else like that. And at the end, if you decide you don't want to keep it on your system, you can use Windows' own uninstaller to remove all traces from your system.

Wubi is a free download for Windows, and supports all flavors from Win98 and later.

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