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The pain-free guide to switching Linux distros

The most recent official count of Linux distros put the number at 'one hell of a lot'.This is good because it gives us plenty of choice, and choice provides freedom and freedom is good, right? Maybe it can feel as if there's a little too much choice at times, but there's no doubt that the huge variety of distributions makes Linux more interesting.

However, trying different distros isn't as easy as experimenting with a new web browser, word processor or even desktop environment.

Switching to a different distro means formatting at least part of your hard disk and starting again with configuration of your system. It could also wipe out all of your personal files, depending on how your disk is partitioned.

You can use a virtual machine like VirtualBox to try new distros, but when you find one you like, it's time to bite the bullet and install it for real.

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