Installing Ubuntu

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Installing Ubuntu


This tutorial goes over the option of installing a traditional dual-boot. If there is any chance you might want to remove Ubuntu and return to Windows exclusively, do not set up a traditional dual-boot. Instead, I would recommend you start migrating to open source Windows applications in Windows, playing around with Ubuntu virtually inside Windows, and then use a dual-boot between Ubuntu and Windows.

If you are using Mac OS X, the community documentation may help you out here.

This tutorial features screenshots from Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin). The screenshots may be different, but the installation process is similar in older versions of Ubuntu. For Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal), the screenshots are almost exactly the same as 12.04, except there are no graphical icons for Installation Type screen.

Installing Ubuntu

Now that you have the Desktop CD, you'll need to reboot your computer to use Ubuntu.

Your computer's BIOS must be set to boot from CD first; otherwise, Windows will just load up again. To get into the BIOS settings, you usually have to press one of these keys during boot-up: Escape, F1, F2, F12, or Delete. Usually your computer will tell you which key to use.

When you boot up, you'll see this blank screen with tiny logos on the bottom. If you happen to press a key (by accident or on purpose) when these logos are displayed, you'll get the following pop-up:

When this appears, select your preferred language.

If you have at least 512 MB of RAM, you may want to select Try Ubuntu, as it will allow you to do other things (check your email, browse the web) while you're installing Ubuntu.

If you have only 256 MB or 384 MB of RAM, you should select Install Ubuntu. This will give you the same installation screens you see below, but you won't have the rest of the Ubuntu live session running as well.

If you have less than 256 MB of RAM, you should use the Alternate CD to install Ubuntu, or do a barebones installation.

If you choose to install Ubuntu directly, the installer will launch immediately. If you choose the Try Ubuntu option, you'll be in the Ubuntu live session. From there, click the Install Ubuntu icon on the desktop.

Select your language.

Now, if you didn't touch any keys while the earlier logo displayed, you'll get this instead:

So pretty much the same thing.

There is an option that asks if you want to install closed source third-party software for MP3 playback and Flash, for example. I would strongly suggest—unless you know who Richard Stallman is—that you check (or tick) this option. This option will require a working internet connection, which may mean you have to connect the computer via wired ethernet if Ubuntu does not detect your wireless connection immediately (though you may be able to later install drivers to get wireless working).

On the next screen you may be prompted to connect to a wireless network (if you aren't already). This step isn't necessary and will make the installation process longer (since Ubuntu will try to update packages before installing them), but if you selected to have the proprietary codecs install, you will need a working internet connection for that. You may also want to connect to a wireless network to, say, browse the web while waiting for the installer to finish later.

If you want to erase Windows completely and install Ubuntu over it, select to replace Windows.

Select the third option if you know a lot about partitions and want to manually configure stuff yourself. If you know enough to select the third option, you don't need a tutorial telling you what to do.

If you want to install Ubuntu next to Windows so you can choose which operating system you want at boot-up, select the first option. As mentioned before, do this only if you don't anticipate even a small possiblity of returning exclusively to Windows. A traditional dual-boot can be undone but it's not easy.

If you do select the first option, you can use your mouse to drag the slider in the middle and pick the relative sizes on your hard drive that Windows and Ubuntu will take up respectively.

This is the no-turning-back point. If you decide to do this, your hard drive will be repartitioned and part or all of it will be formatted. Before you click this button to continue, make sure you have everything backed up.

While Ubuntu is preparing files to copy over for installation, it'll ask you some questions. They're self-explanatory.

After the obvious questions, you'll just wait, basically. You'll see a slow slideshow introducing you to the features in Ubuntu.

Eventually, the installation will finish (the whole thing can take anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour, depending on the speed of your computer). You can either Continue Testing if you want to shut down your computer later or Restart Now if you want to restart your computer now.

After you shut down or reboot, Ubuntu will eject your DVD (or prompt you for when to remove your USB stick, if you used UNetBootIn instead of a DVD burning program). The next time you boot up, you should have a working Ubuntu installation!

Note: if you resized your Windows partition for a traditional dual-boot with Ubuntu, the first time you boot into Windows, Windows will prompt you to do a disk check. You do not need to do the disk check, but it's a good idea, just to be safe.

Last updated 04/27/13 05:14

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.