Find out what hardware you are running. Especially for notebooks.
Having probably used Windows (or even MacOSX) for any period of time has probably shielded you from the pain of having to deal with hardware issues. That is unless you've done a clean install of your OS, or maybe you've seen a glimpse of this frustration by trying to connect a printer to Windows Vista. =]
At first you may be thinking something like this: Windows takes care of that for me so it must be better.
Wrong. When was the last time you installed Windows from scratch? Well I got news for you. Windows didn't take care of that hardware compatibility for you. Do a little research and find out what an OEM is. Yeah, the people that put the computer together for you, they're the one who resolved the hardware issues. Just think, if there were more OEM's that would sell a linux OS out of the box how little then would these hardware issues be?
So, dig in and find out what you are running. A few of the most common gotcha pieces of hardware is:
- wireless adapter (whether built in or external)
- video card
- sound card
Ways to find out your hardware:
- from the distributor (toshiba, hp, compaq, dell, lenovo... etc.)
- in Windows look under the Device Manager
- if you're already in linux then just google it for your distro, some have simple ways, just don't be afraid to use the command line