Windows to Linux: A Beginner's Guide
By Mark Rais, author of Linux for the Rest of Us 2nd Ed. and senior editor for

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If you have prior experience using Microsoft Windows, the switch to Linux will be relatively simple. Truly, the biggest challenge is to find the tools and applications you need in Linux. This beginner article will hopefully give you plenty of ideas how to access those key tools and how they relate to Windows.

The All Important File Manager

Let’s begin by examining one of the important Windows related tools. If you spend a moderate amount of time in the Windows environment, you will be familiar with the file manager called Windows Explorer. Don't get this mixed up with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Often, Windows Explorer is actually buried beneath the Accessories submenu, from the main Microsoft start menu. It is a vital Windows tool for managing files, finding programs and more.

So, how do we access the all important Linux File Manager? The name of the file manager may vary from flavor to flavor, but it is always found on the main menu. In the Fedora flavor, it is simply an icon labeled Browse File System.

This is consistent with the Gnome interface. Why? Gnome is the default desktop environment for some Linux flavors such as Fedora. You even have the option to select a different environment such as KDE, something that Windows does not offer. Another means to access the Gnome File Manager, called Nautilus, is to use a “terminal prompt” and type this command:
nautilus --browser

Many other Linux flavors instead use the KDE desktop interface. For KDE you would find that the file manager is located under the main menu, and simply named Home. You can also access the KDE file manager (named Konqueror) any time by typing the following command into a Konsole prompt:
konqueror --profile filemanagement

Both Gnome’s file manager and KDE’s file manager allow you to perform many essential tasks. For example, you can use the tool to copy files either by drag-and-drop or manually. You can also rename files, check files sizes, and alter the permissions of files.

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