From Fedora Project Wiki


Documentation Summary:

Purpose: This is intended to be a special HOWTO to help users who are accustomed with Microsoft Windows operating systems to begin using Fedora quickly. There should be a reasonable about of links and references to established documentation without giving the reader information overload.

Audience: Users that are accustomed to Microsoft Windows who want to start enjoying Fedora quickly with the loving guidance of the Documentation Group.

Assumptions: The user of this document should:

  • Either be using a Microsoft Windows or Fedora operating system
  • Have a way to access this documentation at all times
  • Have access to an empty USB flash drive
  • Be familiar with basic computer hardware terms
  • Have access to a search engine to lookup unfamiliar terms

Lead Writer:Bradbailey

Trademark Notice
Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. This, and all related pages, are independent publications and are not affiliated with, nor has it been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Trademark Usage

For whatever reason, you have finally decided to give Fedora a serious look. Welcome home! There are countless people in the Fedora, and GNU/Linux community as a whole, that will guide and help you on your path to using this amazing operating system, and the programs that run on it. All of us want your migration to be as easy as it can. There will be lots of new and different things for you to discover. It's hoped that this guide will hold your hand as you take the first steps, and teach you how to help yourself as you continue on.

We want to help!
A very important thing to remember, is that we are people, we have compassion and understanding, and we want to help. We make great efforts to write volumes of documentation, HOWTO's and guides for you. If you find yourself lost at the end of a section, go back to where you were doing OK. Then, go through it again untill you find where you got lost. When you find the trouble, contact us with what you were reading, where you are at in the documentation, and what you are wanting to do. Ways to get help will be discussed in the relevent section of this guide.

So, let's dive in! (Be sure to use bookmarks and take notes.)

Getting Help

The Fedora community has a number of ways to get help. Each item here will have a section below the list.

  1. Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ )
  2. Fedora Documentation
  3. Fedora Ask Forums
  4. Internet Relay Chat ( IRC )
  5. Fedora E-Mailing Lists


The FAQ has several categories of the most common questions. As a new user, this needs to be one of the pages you bookmark first. Fedora has been around for a long time, and this compilation of questions and answers has been put together for your use. When you first get to the page, bookmark it. Then, scroll down the page, and click on what peaks your interest. You may not have a need for everything that's there right away, but it's good to know that it's there.

Fedora Doc

The Fedora Documentation Group is always busy quite literally writing the manual. We also write HOWTO's and Guides ( like this one! ) This is also one of the sites that you should bookmark. To use Fedora Documentation, click the category on the left side of the page. As a new user, most of what you are looking for will be in the "Fedora" section. The "Fedora Core" section is for much older versions of Fedora. After you click Fedora, you need to choose your release. You will then see the topics, and a little down arrow icon to the right of the topic. If you hover your mouse over the down arrow, it will give you additional options on how to view the topic. In most cases, just clicking on the topic directly will serve you just fine.

Different Community, Different Terms
"Manual" is our term for help files. A Manual contains extensive information about one particual program. "HOWTO" and "Guide" is our term for step-by-step instructions. You probably know them as walk-throughs. "Release", when in the context of the Fedora operating system, is the way we prefer to identify it's version.

Fedora Ask Forums

This is one of the ways the entire Fedora community can help you. At the top is a search bar for you to type your question. Questions are answered by anybody who has an account. The answers can be voted on to show that the responce was indeed the answer that was needed. You can also sign in to ask your own question. If you need to respond to a person, click comment under their message. Make sure you vote for the people that help you!

General Public Can Answer Questions
In this section, anybody with an account can answer questions. Generally speaking, this is a very good thing! However, sometimes the information in the answer may not be totally complete.
Different Community, Different Terms
There may be a number of abbreviations or acronyms here that you may not have seen before. RTFM means read the friendly manual. IMO means in my opinion. YMMV means your mileage may vary.

Internet Relay Chat (IRC)

About IRC
IRC is one of the first ways people were able to chat in real time across the internet. It works even on the slowest of internet connections. )
Client / Server
Without getting too technical, the entire internet operates because a program on your computer connects to another computer somewhere on the internet. The client is the program you use, and the server is the computer on the internet that serves your client the stuff it wants. An example of one type of client is Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. It shows you webpages that live on servers.

To use IRC, you need an IRC client. There are a HUGE number of IRC clients that are freely available. There are also a huge number of IRC networks that you can connect you. The Fedora community commonly uses freenode. Anytime you see reference to IRC within the Fedora community, you can assume that it's on the freenode network unless it specifies otherwise. For this guide, we will be using kvirc, because it's freely available on both Fedora and Microsoft Windows.

More to the story.
This guide is intended to just get you started. As such, there is a lot that's not covered in detail. Real information about IRC can easily be found on the Fedora Project Wiki. Just look to the left while you scroll down to look for the search box. Then, type in IRC and hit '[enter]'.

Installing KVIrc

On Microsoft Windows:

  1. visit
  2. Hover your mouse over the running KVIrc menu, then choose download
  3. Click "Official release packages"
  4. Click "Windows binary package"
  5. Click "Latest release"

This will take you to a page with the rest of the instructions. You should read though these, and follow them

On Fedora:

More to the story.
Finding and installing software will be discussed in a different section. Here, we are just going to issue a direct command to get the deed done and over with.
  1. Look through your menu system for something that looks like "terminal" or "console". Click it. It should look like a box that you type commands in. You might have seen something similar in the Microsoft world, often called a "DOS box" or "command prompt."
  2. type, or copy and paste:su -c "yum install kvirc"
  3. Enter the root password when prompted.
  4. You may see a LOT of things happen really fast. DON'T PANIC! Simply hit '[y]' then '[Enter]' when prompted.

If all goes well, you will now see KVIrc in your menu somewhere in the internet or communication section of your menu.

KVIrc for the first time

When you start KVIrc for the first time, it goes through a simple 5 step wizzard.

  1. Welcome screen
  2. A question about where to store information. The defaults are fine, so click next.
  3. Choose a nickname. Be mindful that what you select won't offend other people. Try to choose something that probably won't already have been picked. The other information fields are optional. It's suggested that you answer only your gender.
  4. You are asked to apply a theme. For the sake of simplicity, select "Don't apply a theme."
  5. In this last step, you are asked about system integration. The defaults are fine.

After the wizzard, the program then opens as it normally would. There are only a few more steps to begin using IRC.

  1. The first window you see asks you what server you want. Scroll down the list to Freenode. Click the plus beside it and choose any server, preferably one in your country. The giant "Connect now" button lights up. Click it, then click OK.
  2. A join channels window opens. Close this window.
  3. Read through the messages that are in the main window. This is called MOTD (Message Of The Day). Pay very special attention to the last few lines. If you see something there telling you that your nickname is already registered, then change your nickname by typing /NICK new_nickname.
  4. After you have your nickname, register it by typing /msg NickServ REGISTER password Make sure to replace password with something of your choosing.
  5. Freenode IRC will then give you instructions to follow. Be sure you follow them!
  6. After your nickname is registered, click the settings menu, then click Configure KVIrc.
  7. In this window, make sure your nickname is set to the one that you actually registered. Set the username and real name to the same as the nickname.
  8. Click the advanced tab. Set the part and quit message to a fairwell of your choosing.
  9. To actually join a channel, issue /join #channel_name The Fedora help channel is #fedora

The typical usage of IRC is probably quite different from other chatrooms you have used. A good recomended way is to state that you have a question regarding foo and you are reading website bar for help. Like so...

Hey folks, I'm running into problems getting java working. I'm reading and still need some help.

Then, be patient! Someone should respond to you in a few minutes. If you are still waiting after 30 minutes, then you might try again later. Most people leave their IRC open, and only check it every so often.

Mailing Lists

Mailing lists are another very old way of many people communicating together across the internet. In fact, most people agree that the internet as we know it was literally planned, discussed, and built entirely from people communicating using mailing lists.

Fedora hosts a huge selection of mailing lists. That list is found at Before making your first post, make sure you read the Mailing List Guidelines found at These guidelines explains how to use the mailing list.

Any information you send on a mailing list is seen by every member of that list. Also, most mailing lists keep archives available for various reasons. Remember that anything you post to a mailing list is public.

Getting and Installing Fedora

One of the many benefits of Fedora, is we have options! LOTS of them! This section will introduce you to a lot of terms that may be new to you. These terms will be explained. Just read this section all the way through before taking any action.

If this is one of your first times experiencing Fedora, you might want to consider a "Live Image." A Live Image is a functioning Fedora system that can be booted and ran directly from a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive. This is a great way to see first hand what it's like, and check if there will be any hardware problems before you make any changes to your computers hard drive data.

Fedora linux has different "spins." Fedora spins are alternate version of Fedora, tailored for various types of users via hand-picked application set or customizations. The spins that are mentioned here are desktop spins.

When we use our computer in the graphical way most of us are familiar with, we are looking at a "desktop environment." The desktop environment, or DE for short, is what most non-linux users consider the interface to their computers. It's the look and feel of how your programs run, what happens you left and right click, and where you go to get to your programs and settings. A person can apply themes to a desktop environment to change the fonts, colors, and pictures... but the look and feel is the same. The linux world allows a selection of different desktop environments. Each DE will have their own sets of themes.

Fedora has spins for four different desktop environments.

  • Gnome is the Fedora default, a simple uncluttered desktop experience that is remarkably efficient to use.
  • KDE is a more traditional desktop that would be familiar to Windows users, but provides more features and tools.
  • LXDE is a lighter desktop environment, best on machines with low graphics performance. It has less features than KDE, but offers a familiar experience.
  • XFCE is a fairly unique style that most Macintosh or Microsoft Windows users would have never seen before.

To get a better idea, you would be well served to visit the website for each of these. As you look, keep in mind that all four of these can run the exact same programs that you have installed on your Fedora linux system. While looking at these websites, you'll quickly understand what is meant by different look and feel.

You can get your live desktop spins by visiting our Get Fedora - Fedora Desktops at Under the Handy Resources section you will find the Installation guide. This guide is priceless! Each chapter of it has a wealth of knowledge.

  • On the spins download page, you will have to choose your architexture. Chapter 2 helps with this.
  • After you download your choice, you need to make the download usable. Chapter 3 tells you how.

Because installation is throughly documented in the Installation Guide, that information will not be repeated here.