Just recently, I got my T420 Thinkpad (For a cool $150 because I really am a cheap guy and love a damn good deal; got it off eBay but originally paid for a T410 but got this one instead) and part of the reason was because I did some research that this model could dual boot operating systems and the one I wanted to use was Ubuntu. Why this distribution of Linux? Well, as a Linux beginner, I wanted a painless distribution and also it would be a neat skill to have as I add to my tech skill set for a sweet job. Besides, it’s free (although the download size is a fat 1GB so have a good connection).
I really wished I took screenshots of the steps but ah, doing stuff between two laptops is too much for a blog post that no one may not read. So, first you will need some space to install the OS. It will be to your advantage if you allot a good amount of hard drive for the installation. When I got the Thinkpad, I found out it had approximately 600 big ones (or GBs to those who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about), so I created a new 100 GB partition to install Ubuntu on and left the rest for Windows (which I really don’t plan to utilize the space for much except programming). The documentation for Ubuntu states a minimum of 4GBs, but who the hell works with that little space (A few episodes of my HD Chinese cartoons exceed far more than that)? I didn’t realize until later when installing Ubuntu this way was really all for naught. At least for Ubuntu, the creation of a partition will be done for you through the installation wizard, so don’t do what I did.
Next, you should do is get a flash drive with at least 2GBs, do this part (as you can’t do jack with just the ISO you get from the download unless you want to burn it to a disk but some laptops don’t have an optical drive), configure your BIOS such that it boots from the flash drive, and you should be prompted to a nice installation wizard that will take you step-by-step (By the way, a terrible TV show) to installing Ubuntu. I didn’t include too many screenshots but you can see how nice and refreshing Ubuntu looks. Yeah, it wasn’t too difficult of a process to get it installed, just a lot of waiting. Be sure to do your own research and see if your BIOS on your hardware will allow you to do dual booting as my Thinkpad does. It’s cool because it brings up a purple screen after the BIOS loads and I’m given options to load Ubuntu, Windows 7 and two other advanced options for Ubuntu that are more for booting in safe mode.
Also, if you interested in learning Linux, I would highly recommend this FREE course that’s available on edX. However, you should be taking the course running a Linux distro (likely Ubuntu or Mint, which are the entry-level distros) as you’ll soon find that sipping your $10 sugar and whipped cream beverage while on a Macbook isn’t going to be effective.