DSL Tips and Tricks :: Preparation for starting Linux (from Windows)

From my web site at http://www.jasonhsu.com/linux-prepare.html

Windows Programs For Burning CDs
BurnCDCC: burns CDs
ISO Buster: used to verify that CD was properly burned
MD5SUM: used to verify that files downloaded properly

Burning the CD
  1. Go to www.damnsmalllinux.org. Note the current version of Damn Small Linux.
  2. Scroll down and follow the link to the list of download sites.
  3. Download the file with the filename dsl-.iso to your hard drive or USB storage drive. Also download the accompanying MD5SUM file, which shows you the proper MD5SUM value of the file you downloaded.
  4. To verify the quality of the downloaded file, obtain its MD5SUM value, which should match the MD5SUM value you downloaded.
  5. Once you have verified that the downloaded file has a matching MD5SUM value, burn the ISO file to a CD at a speed of 1x. (Higher speeds increase the risk of errors.)
  6. Use the ISO Buster program to verify that the CD you burned has the proper MD5SUM value. Enter the ISO Buster program, right-click on the CD, and select MD5 checksum file -> create MD5 checksum -> for image file with 2048 bytes/block.

Changing the Computer's Boot Order
  1. Turn on the computer. When the splash screen for the brand of computer (Dell, IBM, etc.) appears, you will see a brief note telling you what key to press to get into the Configuration/Setup utility. This note may flash VERY briefly, so you need to be quick. The key may be F1, F2, Delete, or something else. Whatever this key happens to be, keep pressing it until you reach the Configuration/Setup Utility. If you don't get in, you'll have to reboot and repeat this step.
  2. Go to the Start Options and then go to the Startup Sequence. You should now see the boot order.
  3. Change the boot order so that the computer boots from the CD-ROM drive first and the hard disk drive second or later.
  4. Save the new settings. Insert the Damn Small Linux CD into the CD-ROM drive, and the computer will begin to boot up the OS.

original here.