Getting Ubuntu

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Download the disk image
Get a computer with Ubuntu preinstalled
Get Ubuntu from a Linux Users Group

Download the Disk Image

You can go to the Ubuntu download page and download it just as a very large file, but I would recommend using the following procedure instead.

First, make sure you have a BitTorrent client. BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer download application with several advantages (for both you and the Ubuntu community at large) over a straight download through the web browser:

  • BitTorrent downloads pieces of a file from other users' computers, easing up the load on Ubuntu servers—this kind of download consideration is particularly important the first few days after a new release. Do unto others and all that.
  • BitTorrent downloads also can be stopped and resumed without affecting the integrity of the download, unlike regular web browser downloads. This may come in handy to you, seeing as how the ISO files for Ubuntu are 700 MB or larger in size.
  • BitTorrent is more likely to leave you with an uncorrupted download. You don't want to spend all that time downloading a 700+ MB file only to find out, after half an hour to three hours of waiting, that the file is no good to you.

If you find stand-alone BitTorrent clients confusing, you can also use the Opera web browser, which has torrent downloading built into it.

Go to the Ubuntu releases website instead of the download page of the Ubuntu website. Yes, the download site appears more "user-friendly" (click the edition, click or skip giving a donation, and then download the file), but we're going to go the BitTorrent route instead (for the reasons outlined above). I've linked to the releases site for 12.04, but if you go to, you can get other release versions (12.10, 11.10, 10.04).

When you first arrive at the releases site, you'll see a couple of download links for the Desktop CD. Don't click those download links. Instead, scroll down the page until you get a list of links with dates, sizes, and descriptions.

Download the appropriate link with the .torrent extension. In this example, I want the Ubuntu Desktop CD, so I'm clicking on ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso.torrent

You would do the same similar thing for Ubuntu 12.10, 11.10, 10.04, or the Alternate CD of any version. (Note: the Alternate CD has been discontinued as of Ubuntu 12.10.)

If you're using Opera to download a torrent for the first time, you'll have to confirm you want Opera to be your preferred BitTorrent client.

You'll then be prompted for a download location. Just pick one where you can find the file again afterwards—the Documents folder, the Downloads folder, or your desktop.

Then wait for file to download.

Warning: If you have WinRar installed, WinRar will associate itself with the .iso file and give you the option to "extract" the .iso. Do not extract the .iso or use WinRar at all for this process!

Now that you have the .iso, you want to make a bootable USB from it. That's the next step.

Get a computer with Ubuntu preinstalled

Some hardware vendors sell Ubuntu (or other Linux distros) preinstalled, saving you the trouble of downloading Ubuntu, figuring out how to install it, and wondering whether or not it's compatible with your hardware. You can find a list of vendors here. At least in the United States, two popular Ubuntu vendors are ZaReason and System76. A little less talked about in recent years, Linux Certified also seems to have some Ubuntu-preinstalled laptops.

Get Ubuntu from a Linux Users Group

Find a Linux User Group in your area and ask someone to install Ubuntu for you. LUGs often have what are called Installfests, where you can bring your computer and get free help installing Linux on your computer and troubleshooting problems. Linux users are very giving and willing to help new adopters of Linux.

Last updated 06/12/13 06:05

If you have suggestions or corrections for these tutorials, please post in this Ubuntu Forums thread or leave a comment on my blog.

I will not give help to people posting in the above places. If you require technical support, start a support thread on the Ubuntu Forums. That is the appropriate place to ask for help.