When it comes to installing popular Linux flavour Ubuntu, there are so many useful snippets of information on blogs and guides all over the internet. If you Google “How to install Ubuntu”, you’ll see what I mean.
Here’s how to install Ubuntu:
How To Install Ubuntu Summary
- Download Ubuntu
- Check if Your Computer will Boot from USB
- Make BIOS Changes
- Try Ubuntu Before you Install It
- Create Bootable USB
- Install Ubuntu
- Create a username, password, and computer name. You will login with this user id after the installation is complete.
For an Ubuntu beginner or curious Windows intermediate user, there’s no single, simple source of information when it comes to getting started. One thing I have noticed is that there’s a lot of technical jargon and sometimes unnecessary terminal commands in lengthy forum posts, but no simple “how to” guides, which I think might put some people off! A shame, when you think about how easy Ubuntu is to install, use and tweak to look really cool!
Here we explain how to install Ubuntu in the three different ways that it is most commonly installed: (1) from a USB drive, (2) in a virtual machine, (3) or running it from a USB drive without installing it.
4. Try Ubuntu Before you Install It
If you want to try Ubuntu before installing that you can run it from the USB drive using UnetBootin (Which we use in the next section to create the bootable USB). Also the Ubuntu installation screens will give you that option too.
5. Create Bootable USB
Download and install UNetbootin and use that to create a bootable USB. This will create a bootable partition on the disk and copy Ubuntu there. Trying to make a bootable USB drive yourself is otherwise complicated.
Enter the location of the ISO file that you downloaded and select the USB drive letter or location.
6. Install Ubuntu
Once you get the bootable USB working follow the screens below to install USB:
Pick your language.
Here click Download Updates while Installing and Install This Third-Party Software. Either way Ubuntu will download the bulk of the operating system from the internet. Look at the next graphic for an explanation.
If you select the download and 3rd party options above then Ubuntu will update the repository, which is the list of servers from which it will download software. You can see those options in the Software and Updates screen after you have completed installing Ubuntu. You can go back later and add those that after the installation if you want.
Notice that in this screen it lists CD as an option. Unselect that as otherwise it will prompt you to plug in the USB after you have Ubuntu running.
Select Erase disk and install Ubuntu. The Something else option would let you create your own partitions, which would be complicated, which you could do if you want to have a dual boot machine to be able run Windows or Ubuntu on the same machine.
But there is no need to deal with that complexity as you can run Ubuntu in a virtual machine as we explain below. The Something else would also let you pick the second, solid state drive in your laptop or desktop to install Ubuntu, but that is a more complicated installation. Plus if you mess that up you can end up with a machine that will not boot at all.
Click continue to commit to erasing the existing partitions on your hard disk.
Select the time zone.
Pick the keyboard type.
Create a username, password, and computer name. You will login with this userid after the installation is complete.
Now the installation is complete. Remove the USB drive and click Restart Now. If you have installed Ubuntu into a virtual machine, the Restart Now option will probably give an error message, so use the virtual machine software to restart the machine instead of here.
Now login with the userid you created.
Create an Ubuntu Virtual Machine
Here we use Oracle Virtualbox because it is free and works well. Creating a virtual machine is easy. The only complicated part is telling Virtualbox from where to load the Ubuntu ISO file, as that is not obvious.
Download and install Oracle Virtualbox. In this example we use Virtualbox version 4.3. You do not need Guest Additions unless you find that the mouse does not work or if the Ubuntu screen does not maximize to fill up your display.
As we said above, if you are setting up a virtual machine then you might have to enable virtualization in BIOS.
In Virtualbox click New.
Enter any Name you want and pick Type Linux and Version 64 bit. (It is not likely that your computer is so old as to be a 32 bit machine.)
You do not need a lot of memory or disk space to run Ubuntu. But the more you pick the better. So pick maybe ½ of your computer’s memory and however much disk space you think you will need. It will not allocate that space right away but will grow the file up to that limit.
Select Create a hard drive now.
Select Dynamically allocated.
Pick the space you think you need.
After the machine is created Virtualbox will return you to the main screen. Right click on the virtual machine you just created and select Storage. Here you will tell it where to find the .ISO file so that it boots from there. Click Settings/storage.
Click on the CD image that says Empty under Controller IDE. You will delete this and replace it with another. Right click and select Remove Attachment Empty.
Then click the + sign to Add the ISO file.
Select the ISO image that you downloaded (You should copy that to some other folder than Downloads for permanent keeping).
Now it should look like the graphic shown above.
Now install Ubuntu following the directions above. As we said above, at the end you might need to force a restart from Virtualbox if the Restart Now option gives and error. Do that by selection the virtual machine, right-click that, and select Settings/Close/Power Off then Start after it powers off.
Note that you can also change the CPU option to cause the virtual machine to use more than 1 physical CPU or logical core.
Steps For Dual Booting Windows 10 And Ubuntu
The steps required for dual booting Windows 10 and Ubuntu are as follows:
Backup your Windows 10 operating system (optional but highly recommended)
- Create a Ubuntu USB drive
- Enable booting from a USB drive
- Shrink the Windows 10 partition to make space for Ubuntu
- Boot into Ubuntu live environment and install Ubuntu
- Amend the boot order to make sure Ubuntu can boot
I have written another guide which shows how to dual boot Ubuntu and Windows 10 on a computer with an SSD. This is largely experimental as it is my first time of doing it but it does work for me and it might give you some ideas when partitioning your SSD.
Back Up Windows 10
In the list of steps above I have put this down as an optional requirement but I can’t stress highly enough that you should really do it.
Let’s imagine for a moment that you have a machine that used to run Windows 8 and you spent the time upgrading to Windows 10.
If you follow this process and for whatever reason it doesn’t work and your machine is left in an undesirable state then without a backup the minimum it will cost you is the time it takes to reinstall Windows 8 and then upgrade to Windows 10.
Imagine now that you don’t have the Windows 8 media and you don’t have a viable recovery partition. You now have no way of getting Windows back without buying either the Windows 8 disk which costs around £90 or a Windows 10 disk which costs £199. You would also have to find and download any required graphics, audio and other drivers required for Windows to run properly.
I have written a guide (linked below) which shows you how to backup all of your partitions using a tool called Macrium Reflect. There is a free version of the tool available and the most this tutorial will cost you is time and if you don’t have one an external hard drive or a spindle of blank DVDs.
Click here for my guide showing how to backup Windows 10.
There are many tools out there for creating a Ubuntu USB drive including UNetbootin, Universal USB Creator, YUMI, Win32 Disk Imager and Rufus.
Personally the tool that I find most useful for creating Linux USB drives is Win32 Disk Imager.
I have written a guide showing how to create a Ubuntu USB drive.
It shows you how to do the following things:
- How to get Win32 Disk Imager,
- How to install Win32 Disk Imager.
- How to format a USB drive.
- How to create a Ubuntu USB drive
- How to set the power options in Windows 10 to allow booting from USB
- How to boot into a Ubuntu live environment
You will obviously need a USB drive for this purpose.
Click here for a guide showing how to create a Ubuntu USB drive.
If you would prefer to, you can buy a USB drive with Ubuntu already installed on it.
If you want to get the USB drive back to normal after installing Ubuntu follow this guide which shows how to fix a USB drive after Linux has been installed on it.
Boot Into Ubuntu Live Environment
Make sure that the Ubuntu USB drive is plugged into the computer.
If you backed up your computer using Macrium and you chose to create the Macrium boot menu option then you can simply reboot your computer.
When the above screen appears click on the “Change defaults or choose other options” link at the bottom of the screen.
If you chose not to create the Macrium boot menu option boot into Windows, insert the Ubuntu USB drive, hold down the shift key and reboot your computer. (Keep the shift key held down until a screen similar to the one below appears).
Each manufacturer has a different version of UEFI and so the menu options may be different.
The important thing is that a blue screen with white writing appears.
You are basically looking for the option to boot from the USB drive and this may take some finding.From the image above I chose the “Choose other options” menu item which produced the screen below.
I then clicked on the “Use a device” option which as you can see has the subtext “Use a USB drive, network connection or Windows recovery DVD”.
A list of devices will now appear.
This isn’t the first time I have installed things on this computer and my EFI partition still has links to old Ubuntu versions.
The important link on this screen is the “EFI USB Device” option.
Choose the EFI USB Device option and Ubuntu should now boot from the USB drive.
A boot menu will appear.
Choose the first menu option to try Ubuntu.
A large dialogue window will appear with options to install Ubuntu or to Try Ubuntu.
Click on the “Try Ubuntu” option.Ubuntu will now be loaded as a live session. You can try out all of the features of Ubuntu but if you reboot all the changes will be lost.
To start the installation click on the “Install Ubuntu” iconon the desktop.
After clicking on the “Install Ubuntu” option the followingscreen will appear:
This is the beginning of the installation process and youcan select the language which is used to help you through the process.
Choose your language and click “Continue”.
The installer has changed a little bit for Ubuntu 16.04. The pre-requisites screen has been removed as has the option to connect to a wireless network prior to installing.
The preparing to install Ubuntu screen now simply lists the option to download updates (which is only available after you have an internet connection) and the option to install third party software for playing MP3 audio and watching Flash.
If you have a decent internet connection then you might wish to install updates during the installation.
To connect to the internet click on the network icon in the top right corner and a list of wireless networks will be listed. Click on the network you wish to connect to and enter the security key when prompted.
You will need to click the back button on the “preparing to install Ubuntu” screen and then click continue again when you are back at the welcome screen.
If you have a poor internet connection then I would choose not to connect to the internet. You can update your system after it has been installed.
You can choose to install the third party tools for playing MP3 audio as part of the installation process now by checking the box or you can do it after the system has been installed.
The “Installation Type” screen lets you decide whether youwant to install Ubuntu alongside Windows or over the top.
Choose the “Install Ubuntu alongside Windows Boot Manager”option.
Click “Install Now”.
A window will appear showing you what is going to happen toyour disk. By default the Ubuntu installer will create an ext4 partition forUbuntu and all of your personal files and a swap partition used for swapping
idle processes when memory gets low.
A map of the world will appear. The purpose of it is to makeit possible for Ubuntu to set the time on your clock correctly.
Click where you live on the map or start typing it into thebox provided and then click “Continue”.
Almost there. Just two more steps before Ubuntu isinstalled.
You now need to choose your keyboard layout. Select yourkeyboard’s language in the left pane and then the actual physical layout in the
Alternatively click on the detect keyboard layout option andit will more than likely do it for you.
Test out the keyboard layout that you have chosen by typinginto the box provided. Specifically try out symbols such as the dollar sign,pound symbol, hash tags, speech marks, slashes and other special characters as
these are the keys that tend to move around on a keyboard.
The final step is to create a default user.
Enter your name and give your computer a name.
Enter a username into the box provided and choose a passwordand repeat it.
Click on the “Require my password to log in” option. I don’treally recommend anyone letting their machine log in automatically unless it is
a virtual machine used for test purposes.
Finally click “Continue”.
The files will now be copied to your computer.
When the process has finished you will have the options tocontinue test or to restart now.
Choose the “Continue Testing” option.