Beginner’s Guide: Run Linux like any other program in Windows

By | January 31, 2007

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There are many reasons people are hesitant to try Linux. The biggest of these reasons is that installing Linux generally requires people to do a list of difficult and unfamiliar tasks. However, I am going to introduce “virtualization” which is a fancy term for running Linux like any other program in Windows. The following article will guide you through the process of setting up Linux so you can run it like any other program in Windows. Don’t be intimated, these directions are designed for the absolute beginner and will not require you to do anything unfamiliar, threatening, or permanent to your computer. When you are finished you will be able to run Linux like any other program in Windows and share files between Linux and Windows.

The first step is to install VMWare Player. This is a free program and it installs just like any other Windows program. You can go to the VMWare player homepage and download it. You will have to answer a short survey.

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The second step is to download Linux. There are many different kinds of Linux with varying programs and setups. Understanding this can be difficult if you have never tried Linux. You can compare the different versions of Linux to Windows XP. There is Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, and Windows XP Media Center Edition. When you download Linux, it will be in the format of .ISO. Don’t worry if you have never seen this file type before. I will list several different versions of Linux below. You need to download only one version. The different flavors of Linux differ in size and thus, how long they will take to download. For the remainer of this tutorial, I will be using a version of Linux known as Fedora. However, it is 682MB in size and can take a long time to download. If you do not want to wait for Fedora you can complete the remainer of this tutorial equally well with any other version of Linux. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive and there are hunderds of other versions of Linux available. I wanted to compile a short list to make choosing easier:
Fedora (682 MB)
Ubuntu (698.4 MB)
Suse (679.3 MB)
Damn Small Linux (50.8 MB)
Puppy Linux (84 MB)

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The third step is to setup VMWare to communicate with Linux. You need to do this by downloading a file from Wolphination.The following is the direct link: OS.zip. After you download OS.zip extract its contents to your C: drive. You should now have C:OS. Inside the OS folder I want you to put your version of Linux. So on my computer, inside C:OS I have OS.VMX, OS.vmdk, and FC-6-i386-livecd-1.iso (this is shown above). We are almost ready to run Linux for the first time.

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The fourth step is to setup your VMWare configuration file. This file is called OS.VMX you need to right click on this file and select “Open with…” and choose Notepad. On the line that says ide1:0.fileName “C:Your file” you need to change this to point to the Linux version you downloaded. So in my case it would get changed to C:OSFC-6-i386-livecd-1.iso. Now resave the file and you are ready to go. Click on OS.vmx and VMWare will open and Linux will start. It may take a minute or two for Linux to fire up (depending on how much RAM your computer has).

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Congratulations, you can now run Linux like any other program in Windows! In order to create a shortcut to put on your desktop, right click OS.VMX and choose Create Shortcut. Drag the shortcut to your desktop (or the location of your choice) and Linux will launch when you click it. My shortcut is shown above.

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Sharing files between Linux and Windows
Using Linux on Windows will be much more helpful if you can share files between Linux and Windows. This process is really easy to set up. The first thing you need to do is to create a “New Folder” on your Windows desktop. Right click on the folder and choose “Sharing and Security…”. On the following screen, choose “Share this folder on the network” and “Allow network users to change my files.” This will let Linux read and write to the folder.

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In Linux, go to Places >> Network Servers and you should see your computer. Double click on your computer and you will see all your shared folders. Any data you would like to be used in both Linux and Windows should be saved into this folder.

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Please feel free to pose any questions in the comments. We will walk you through any portion of this process if you get stuck. Enjoy!

Notes: the following notes are somewhat technical in detail:
1. The download links listed above are for “Live CDs.” Live CDs allow you to use Linux without installing anything on your hard drive.
2. If the mirrors linked to above are very slow, you can find alternative download links on the homepage of each version of Linux.
3. Since Linux will be running as a Live CD, if you powerdown and exit the virtual machine (exit VMWare) you will lose your information. However, there is a way around this. Simply choose “suspend” and VMWare will suspend and exit your virtual machine state. This will not take any memory and will allow you to “save” data to your virtual machine.
4. The above steps work equally well on Linux and Mac.

Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 35 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

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Table of Contents

  1. For Getting Things Done
  2. For Building Habits
  3. For Files Organization
  4. For Improving Security
  5. More Recommended Productivity Tools

For Getting Things Done

1. OmniFocus

This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

Download it here.

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2. Forest

Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

Download it here.

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3. Things

Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

Download it here.

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4. Any.Do

A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

Download it here.

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5. PocketLife Calendar

This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

Download it here.

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6. Asana

We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

, and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

Download it here.

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7. ToDoist

This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

Download it here.

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8. Calendars 5

This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track, and complete your to-dos.

Download it here.

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9. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

Download it here.

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10. Due

A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

Download it here.

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11. Checkmark 2

I use this app

for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

Download it here.

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12. TeuxDeux

Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — TeuxDeux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then TeuxDeux will be right up your alley.

Download it here.

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13. Nirvana

For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

Download it here.

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14. Priorities

An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

Download it here.

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For Building Habits

15. Productive

With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day, and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

Download it here.

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16. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

Download it here.

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17. Streaks

This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

Download it here.

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18. Remember The Milk

Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

Download it here.

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19. Day One Journal

When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

Download it here.

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For Files Organization

20. Evernote

Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote is an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

Download it here.

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21. Pocket

You can save an article, video, or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

Download it here.

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22. Sync.Me

This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Download it here.

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23. Droplr

One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

Download it here.

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24. Dropbox

Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive on your iPhone. A must-have.

Download it here.

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For Working Smarter

25. Captio

A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

Download it here.

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26. Drafts

A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things, and more.

Download it here.

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27. NoteShelf 2

This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

Download it here.

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28. Doodle

This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

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Download it here.

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29. TextExpander (Legacy)

I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

Download it here.

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30. Launch Center Pro

A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

Download it here.

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31. GoodReader

This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

Download it here.

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32. LogMeIn

Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

Download it here.

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For Improving Security

33. 1Password

There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

Download it here.

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34. LastPass Password Manager

You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass auto-fills web browser and app logins for you.

Download it here.

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35. Truecaller

Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers, and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

Download it here.

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There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

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Reference

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[1]Ciara Conlon: Top Productivity Bloggers Share their #1 Tip
[2]The Next Web: Get the Right Stuff Done with Priorities