Installing Ubuntu - The Official Ubuntu Book (2011)

The Official Ubuntu Book (2011)

Chapter 2. Installing Ubuntu

Choosing Your Ubuntu Version

Getting Ubuntu

Installing from the Desktop CD

Installing from the Alternate Install CD

Installing from a USB Key

Installing from within Windows


If you are reading this, it is probably safe to assume that you have decided to give Ubuntu a try. You will find that Ubuntu is flexible and powerful not only as an operating system but also in how you evaluate and install it.

Trying Ubuntu is simple. The Ubuntu desktop CD is a special “live” CD. You can use this disk to run Ubuntu from the CD itself without Ubuntu removing or even interacting with your hard disk. This is ideal if you are already using another operating system like Windows or Mac OS X; you can try Ubuntu by running it from the CD, and you don’t have to worry about it overwriting the data on your hard drive or changing any part of your current operating system unless you intentionally choose to do so.

Choosing Your Ubuntu Version

The developers behind Ubuntu have worked to make the software as easy and flexible to install as possible. They understand that people will be installing Ubuntu on computers with varying purposes (desktops, servers, laptops, and so on) and using different types of computers (PCs and Macs, 32-bit and 64-bit computers, and so on). To cater to as many people as possible, there are two Ubuntu CDs that can be used. The DVD with this book is equivalent to the downloadable desktop CD but with additional packages included for your convenience.

Desktop: The desktop CD is the one recommended for desktops and laptops. With this CD, you can boot Ubuntu from the CD and, if you like it, you have the option to install it to your hard drive. Note that running from the disk without installing directly to the hard drive is the default option to help prevent accidental data loss.

Alternate install: The alternate install CD is recommended for use in any scenario where the desktop version is unusable (e.g., not enough RAM) or for those with more advanced needs (e.g., automated deployments or special partitioning requirements). With this CD, you boot into an installer and then run Ubuntu when the installation is complete.

Ubuntu 11.04 officially supports three main computer types, or architectures, and a couple of additional variations:

i386: This supports all Intel or compatible processors except those that require AMD64. This includes the new Apple hardware. If you are not certain which you need, use this one. It will work on either 32-bit or 64-bit systems, so it is the default choice.

AMD64: If you know you are using a processor based on the AMD64 or EM64T architecture (e.g., Athlon64, Opteron, EM64T Xeon, or Core2), you should choose this version because it will be a bit more efficient on your hardware.

ARM: ARM is a low-powered chip commonly found in cell phones and similar mobile devices. ARM Inc., the makers of ARM, and Canonical have an agreement to build the entire Ubuntu archive on ARM, which makes Ubuntu the first major distribution to support ARM as a standard rather than custom device–specific distribution, such as OpenWRT is for routers. For a list of the current ARM chip version being supported, please see


Where to Download

If you lose the installation disk that accompanies this book, or if you want to use some of the other options available, such as installation from a USB drive (discussed later in the chapter), you will find what you need at


What about PowerPC?

PowerPC and a few other architectures are not officially supported, but do have unofficial builds available. See for current details.

Other Ubuntu Distributions

In addition to the official Ubuntu release, some additional distributions are based on Ubuntu but are slightly different. Here are some examples:

Kubuntu: Kubuntu is Ubuntu, but instead of using the GNOME desktop, Kubuntu uses the KDE desktop. See or Chapter 8 for more information.

Ubuntu Server Edition: Ubuntu Server Edition makes Ubuntu easy to install and use on servers. It initially focused on making certain that the highest quality server applications were available for easy installation and configuration, including MySQL, Apache, and others. The most recent work has improved the cloud computing capabilities of Ubuntu Server via the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. See Chapter 5 for more information.

Xubuntu: The Xubuntu distribution replaces the GNOME desktop environment with the Xfce 4 environment. Xubuntu is particularly useful for those of you who want to run Ubuntu on older hardware as it has lighter system requirements. See or Chapter 10 for more information.

Edubuntu: Edubuntu is a derivative of Ubuntu aimed at educational use and schools. To install it, you should first install the default desktop version of Ubuntu. Then use either the downloadable add-on Edubuntu CD or the Ubuntu Software Center in your Applications menu on the desktop to install the Edubuntu environment and applications. See Chapter 10 for more information.


Downloading Edubuntu

You may download the Edubuntu add-on CD and learn more about Edubuntu at

With a range of different distributions and options available, Ubuntu is flexible enough to be used in virtually all situations.

Is It Still Ubuntu?

Some of you may be reading about Kubuntu, Ubuntu Server Edition, and Xubuntu and wondering how different they are from the regular Ubuntu release. These distributions differ mainly in which applications and user interface are included. As such, they may differ quite a bit, especially in the user interface look and feel, but the underlying OS and software install system is the same.

Getting Ubuntu

Ubuntu is an entirely free OS. When you have a copy of it, you can give it to as many people as you like. This free characteristic of Ubuntu means that it is devilishly simple to get a copy. If you have a high-speed Internet connection (like DSL), then go to, and select your country from the list of download sites. You can then select a desktop or alternate install CD and download it.


See the upcoming Burning a CD section for details on how to create your Ubuntu CD from the file you just downloaded.

If you are willing to wait, you can get one physical Ubuntu CD mailed to you for free from You will need an account on the Launchpad site at to use the ShipIt service. If you don’t have one, you will be given an opportunity to create one while you make the CD request.

You can also buy an authorized CD from a number of distributors, details of which can be found at

Burning a CD

When you download an Ubuntu CD, you download a special .iso file, which is the same size as a CD (around 650MB). This file is an “image” of the installation CD. When you burn the .iso file to the CD-ROM, you have a complete installation CD all ready to go.


Which Image?

When you are reading about .iso files, you will often see them referred to as CD images. The term image here does not refer to a visual image such as a photo or picture but to an exact copy of a CD.

You need to use a CD-burning application to burn your .iso file to the CD correctly. Inside the application there should be a menu option called Burn from Disk Image or something similar. The wording and details will vary according to the program that you use to burn the image. You should select the .iso file, insert a blank CD, and after a few minutes, out will pop a fresh Ubuntu installation CD.

To give you a head start, the following subsections present instructions for burning a CD in some popular tools.

In Windows with ISO Recorder

To burn your .iso file with the freely available ISO Recorder, first go to, and then download and install ISO Recorder. To burn your image, follow these steps.

1. Insert a blank CD into your CD writer.

2. Locate the .iso file you downloaded, right-click it, and select Copy Image to CD.

3. Click Next, and the recording process begins.

4. When the image has been written, click Finish to exit ISO Recorder.

In Windows with Nero Burning ROM

To burn your image using Nero Burning ROM, follow these steps.

1. Insert a blank CD into your CD writer.

2. Start Nero Burning ROM.

3. Follow the wizard prompts, and select Data CD.

4. When the wizard finishes, click Burn Image on the File menu.

5. In the Open dialog box, select the .iso file, and then click Open.

6. In the wizard, click Burn to create the Ubuntu CD. When completed, click the Done button to exit.

In Linux with GNOME

To burn your image using Linux with GNOME, follow these steps.

1. Insert a blank CD into your CD writer.

2. In the File Browser, right-click on the file you just downloaded, and choose Write to Disk. The Write to Disk dialog box opens.

3. In the dialog box, choose your CD writer and speed, and then click on Write. The Writing Files to Disk Progress dialog box opens, and File Browser begins writing the disk.

Burning with Mac OS X

To burn your image using Mac OS X, follow these steps.

1. Load the Disk Utility application (found in your Utilities folder).

2. Insert a blank CD, and then choose Images > Burn and select the .iso file.


Use the Right Option

You need to ensure you use the Burn from Disk Image or similar option rather than just copy the .iso image onto the CD to be burned. If you just burn the file directly, you will have a CD containing the single .iso file. This won’t work.

The Burn from Disk Image function takes the .iso file and restores all the original files from the installation CD onto the disk. This ensures you have a proper installation CD.

Installing from the Desktop CD

So let’s assume you are playing with Ubuntu running from the desktop CD, and you decide you like it. You decide you like it so much, in fact, that you want to install it on your computer. This does not mean you need to get a separate CD and install it. Ubuntu lets you install to the hard disk by simply clicking a single icon and following the instructions.

If you don’t already have the desktop CD running, pop it into your DVD/CD drive, and reboot your computer. If your computer does not boot from the CD, you should enter your computer’s BIOS and change the boot order to ensure that your CD-ROM drive is tried first and the hard disk is tried next. Save your BIOS changes, and then restart again. The disk should boot now.


BIOS Problems

If you have problems configuring your BIOS to boot from the CD, you should consult the manual. If you don’t have the manual, visit the manufacturer’s Web site, and see if you can download the manual.

After a few seconds, the Ubuntu logo and boot screen appear and then you are presented with a list of languages on the left of the screen and two options on the right. Use your mouse to select your language. Then decide whether you want to Try Ubuntu 11.04, which allows you try out Ubuntu without making any changes to your computer and install it later if you decide you want to, or whether you want to Install Ubuntu 11.04, which will jump straight into the installer. Select the first option, and Ubuntu will begin to boot. After a minute or so, the Ubuntu desktop will appear, and you can use the system right away. Under this scenario, the system is running from the CD and will not touch your hard disk. Do bear in mind that because Ubuntu is running from the CD, it will run slower than if it were installed to your hard disk.

If you decide you want to install the system permanently on your computer’s hard disk, you can either reboot and click on the Install Ubuntu boot menu option or you can double-click the Install icon located on the left side of the desktop. An installer application appears that walks you through the different steps to permanently install your Ubuntu system. We will run through each of these pages in turn now.


It is recommended that you back up any important files before you perform the installation. While the vast majority of Ubuntu installations can safely resize Windows partitions, installations can still result in data loss, so it is wise to be careful.


If you choose to install from the live cd while running Ubuntu, you can continue to use the computer while the install is happening. If you choose to install from the cd after a reboot, the install will be faster.


The first screen you are presented with when you boot the computer introduces you to the installation program and asks you to select your language, as shown in Figure 2-1, and whether you want to Try Ubuntu (run the operating system from the CD without changing anything on your hard drive, which we suggest for first time users before you commit to an installation) or whether you want to Install Ubuntu.

Figure 2-1 Pick your language.


Ubuntu supports a huge range of different languages. Select your language from the list, and then click Install Ubuntu to continue with the installation.

Preparing to Install Ubuntu

You will be informed of the install requirements as in Figure 2-2. We strongly suggest selecting the option to Download updates while installing as this will end your installation with a up-to-the-minute current system that includes any existing security updates or bug fixes. A nice feature is that these updates will be downloaded while installation is in process, in parallel to other operations, so this happens with great efficiency.

Figure 2-2 Preparing to install Ubuntu


You may also choose to Install third-party software to enable your computer to play certain media files immediately after installation. This will also save you time later, although some users may not want to install closed-source software and will choose not to enable this option. Click Forward after making your selection(s).

Allocate Drive Space

To prepare your hard disk to store the Ubuntu system and your files, hard disks are divided into partitions. Each partition reserves a specific portion of the hard disk for use by a particular operating system. As an example, you may use the entire hard disk for your new Ubuntu system, or you may share the disk so that both Windows and Ubuntu are installed. This shared scenario is known as dual-booting. In a dual-booting situation, your hard disk typically has Windows partitions as well as Linux partitions, and when it boots it gives you a menu so you can select whether to boot Windows or Linux.

In this part of the installer you create the partitions for your new system. This can be the trickiest part of the installation and can also be the most dangerous. If you have existing partitions (such as a Windows installation) on the disk, it is highly recommended that you back up your important files.


Seriously, We Mean It

Really, really, really do back up any important files. If you make a mistake in this part of the installation, you could lose your files and stop your system from booting.

Deciding How You Would Like to Set Up Your Partitions Before You Create Them

If you have a clear idea of how your hard disk should be partitioned, it is easier to get everything up and running quickly.

These are the most common methods of partitioning.

Only Ubuntu on the disk: If you are only installing Ubuntu on the disk and are happy to wipe the entire disk, your life is simple. Ubuntu can do all the work for you.

Dual-booting: If you are installing to a computer that will have multiple operating system options.

Regardless of whether you will install only Ubuntu on the disk or you will dual-boot, you will need to either confirm that Ubuntu may use the entire disk or enter your desired partitioning scheme, beginning in Figure 2-3.

Figure 2-3 Allocate all drive space to Ubuntu


Ubuntu Only

If you are happy to erase your entire hard disk, select erase the entire hard drive and install Ubuntu. If you choose this option, skip ahead to the next section of the book, Installation Begins.

Manual Partitioning

If you will install only Ubuntu or will dual-boot with an existing operating system but want more control over the process, you must set the partitions manually. To do this, select Manual configuration (advanced) and click Forward to continue. You will see the screen shown in Figures 2-4, 2-5, and 2-6.

Figure 2-4 Erase disk and install Ubuntu


Figure 2-5 Allocate drive space another way


Figure 2-6 Create partitions manually


The main part of this screen displays available drives and configured partitions. Clicking on a drive or partition will change the actions available to you below the list. Select the relevant disk to add partitions to. The disks are listed by device name in the order they are connected within your computer.

Quick Tip

The name of the device indicates how it is connected to your computer. For example, hda is the first IDE drive, and sdb is the second SCSI or SATA drive.

Before you begin, you should prepare the disk for your partitions. If you want to completely wipe a disk, right-click on the name of the device (/dev/sda in Figure 2-6), then click New Partition Table. You’ll be asked if you’re sure, so click Continue. The disk is now filled with unallocated data. Now you can add your Ubuntu partitions.

To add a partition, click a free space entry in the list and then click the New button. A new window appears like that shown in Figure 2-7.

Figure 2-7 Configuring a partition


Set the values according to your requirements. The Use As combo box lets you select which one of the many filesystem types you want the partition to use. The default filesystem included with Ubuntu is ext4, and it is recommended that you use ext4 for any Ubuntu partitions. Although ext4 is a good choice for Ubuntu, you cannot read an ext4 partition in Windows. If you need to create a partition that is shared between Windows and Ubuntu, you should use either the FAT32 filesystem or NTFS.

Use the Mount Point combo box to select one of the different mount points, which tells Ubuntu where the partition should be used. You need to have a root partition, which has a mount point of /. Click OK to finish configuring this partition.

Once you’ve completed configuring all your partitions, click Forward to proceed with the installation. Please note that if you have read all of these comments on partitioning and feel a bit overwhelmed or confused, you don’t need to worry. You may simply use the default settings given by the installer and all will work well.

Installation Begins

At this point, the installation begins. While it progresses, you will be asked some questions to customize your installation appropriately. Doing this concurrently saves time and is a new innovation for 11.04.

Tell the installer where in the world you live (Figure 2-8).

Figure 2-8 Click the map to select a location.


You can select your location in one of several ways. First, you can hover your mouse over the time zone on your part of the world map to select your location. When you are happy with the time zone selection, click it, and select the city nearest to you. Alternatively, use the Selected City drop down to find the city nearest to you.

When you are done, click Forward to continue.

Configuring Your Keyboard

The next screen (shown in Figure 2-9) configures your keyboard.

Figure 2-9 Select the correct keyboard to ensure the symbols on the keys work correctly.


The installer will suggest a keyboard option for you based on your location choice, but you may choose a different one if you desire. You can also use the box at the bottom of the window to test whether your keyboard layout works. Try typing some of the symbols on your keyboard (such as “, /, |) to make sure they work. If you press a symbol and a different one appears, you have selected the wrong keyboard layout.


The next step is to enter some details about you that can be used to create a user account on the computer (Figure 2-10).

Figure 2-10 Enter your personal details to create your user account.


In the first box, enter your full name. The information from this box is used in different parts of the system to indicate who the user is behind the account.

Enter a computer name in the last box. Also called a “hostname,” this is a single word that identifies your current machine. This is used on a local network so that you can identify which machine is which.

Hostnames can be great fun. Many people pick themes for their hostnames, such as superheroes, and name each computer on their network after a superhero (Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and so on). Think of a fun hostname theme you can use. For many people, this ends up being the hardest part of the install!

In the next box, set a username for yourself (the installer will provide a suggestion based on your full name). Your username should be something easy to remember. Many people use either their first name or add an initial (such as jbacon or jonob). Each username on your computer must be unique—you cannot have two accounts with the same username. Usernames must begin with a lower case letter only lower case letters and numbers are permitted after that.

In the next two boxes, add a password and then confirm it. This password is used when logging in to your computer with the username that you just created. When choosing a password, follow these simple guidelines.

• Make sure you can remember your password. If you need to write it down, keep it somewhere secure. Don’t make the mistake of putting the password somewhere easily accessible and known to others.

• Try not to use dictionary words such as “chicken” or “beard” when choosing a password. Try to input numbers and punctuation and to not use “real words.”

• Your password should ideally be longer than six letters and contain a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers. The longer the password and the more it mixes upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols, the more secure it is.

When you have added all the information, click Forward to continue.

To learn more about the cool things in your new operating system, view the slide show that appears as installation finishes (Figure 2-11).

Figure 2-11 Slide show users can watch as installation finishes to find out more about Ubuntu.



Ubuntu also provides a migration assistant, which aims to ease your transition to your new OS. If a supported OS is found during installation, you will be presented with a list of accounts and the features that can be migrated. If you choose to migrate anything, you will need to provide details for the new user to whom the features will be migrated.

Finishing Up

From here, as the Ubuntu software continues to be installed on your computer, you will be shown a slideshow containing useful and interesting information about the operating system. At the end of this process, you are asked to reboot your computer. You are now finished and can skip ahead to Chapter 3 to get started with using Ubuntu.


Better Use of Your Valuable, Valuable Time

One of the great benefits of the desktop live CD installer is that while the files are being copied from the disk, you can still use the system. Instead of sitting at your computer staring at the progress bar, you can play a few games to while away the time.

Installing from the Alternate Install CD

Although the desktop CD is ideal for installing Ubuntu, you may want to use the traditional installer method to install the system. This method involves booting the alternate install CD, running through the installer, and then starting the system. This kind of installer is ideal for installation on older hardware.

To get started, put the CD in the drive, and restart your computer.

Select the Install Ubuntu option with the arrow keys, and press Enter. After a few moments, the installation process begins by asking you to choose a language. Select from the different languages by using the up and down arrow keys, and then use the Tab key to jump to the red buttons to continue through the setup.


Installing a Server

You can obtain a third version of Ubuntu that is especially tailored for server environments. For more information about this version, see, or read Chapter 5 for more details about running Ubuntu as a server.

Choosing Your Spot in the World

Next you are asked to specify your location. First you need to choose your language.

Then you need to pick which country you are in, again pressing Enter to accept your choice.

Now you need to select your keyboard layout. Keyboard layouts vary across the world to take into account the many and varied symbols and letters used in different countries. Even if you are using the typical Latin character set (as used in most European countries, America, Africa, and Australia), there are variations and additions (e.g., German umlauts). You can let Ubuntu detect your layout for you, or you can choose from a list of options. If you want your layout detected, you will be asked a series of questions until a guess can be made. If the guess is wrong, you can repeat the process. Otherwise, choose your keyboard layout from the options available.


Next, the system will attempt to load the rest of the installer and to detect hardware. In most situations, this happens without prompting you for anything, although sometimes you might need to provide input such as choosing a primary network device. Once this is set up, your computer will also configure itself with your local network—if possible. If it cannot configure itself with a local network, it will tell you this and you’ll have the option of configuring it manually or choosing to not configure it at that time. You can always come back and change things later once the installation is done.

Setting the Hostname and Time Zone

You are next asked for a hostname for the computer.

Use the text box to add your own hostname, or use the default Ubuntu hostname if required. Feel free to let your imagination go wild, and create a theme for your hostnames (such as superheroes).

After choosing a hostname, you will be asked to select your time zone. Choosing this should be a fairly straightforward operation.

Creating Partitions

The system will then read your disks to find out the current partition information. You will be asked to create or select partitions for Ubuntu to install on to. Creating partitions is the most challenging part of the installation routine. Before you partition your disk, think about how your partitions should be organized.

You are given a number of partition options:

• Guided—Use Entire Disk

• Guided—Use Entire Disk and Set Up LVM

• Guided—Use Entire Disk and Set Up Encrypted LVM

• Manual

In most cases, you probably want to use the Guided—Use Entire Disk option. This will erase everything on the hard drive in your computer and set everything up for you. The second option, Guided—Use Entire Disk and Set Up LVM, allows you to use the Logical Volume Manager (LVM). The third is identical to the second option but also employs disk encryption, which will make your data safer and more secure in some circumstances. Finally, if you want to set up specific partitions, use the Manual option.

Let’s look at each of these options in turn and how they are used.

Guided—Use Entire Disk

When you select this option, your entire disk is partitioned automatically. The installer will tell you that a primary and logical partition will be created, and then it asks if you want to go ahead and create the partitions. Click Yes, and you are done.

Guided—Use Entire Disk and Set Up LVM

Configuring LVM is covered in Chapter 5.

Guided—Use Entire Disk and Set Up Encrypted LVM

Configuring LVM is identical to the previous option except that it also uses a secure encryption layer to provide additional security and protection for your data. If you choose to do this, during the process you will be asked to provide a passphrase. Be very careful to choose one that is impossible to guess and which you will also remember. You will need to use this passphrase to access your data every time you boot the computer, and if you lose or forget the passphrase, all your data will be permanently inaccessible. There is no way to recover a lost or forgotten encryption passphrase.


Disk Encryption

You may also decide to encrypt specific partitions manually. Simply choose “Use physical volume for encryption” in the “Use as:” option. Note: You never want to encrypt the boot partition.


Select this option if you want to create your own partitions manually. Here you can create a number of different types of partitions, set their sizes, and configure their properties. Creating these partitions is not done in the same graphical way as the live CD installer, so it is a little more complex. However, doing so is still largely a process of selecting something and pressing Enter.

Depending on your configuration (and the options you selected), you are given a number of options from which to choose:

• Configure Software RAID

• Configure the Logical Volume Manager

• Guided Partitioning

Quick Tip

Discussion of software RAID and the Logical Volume Manager is covered in Chapter 5.

Your disk is listed below these options, and it may display a few existing partitions. If you want to delete the existing partitions, select each one, press Enter, and select Delete the Partition. When you have deleted some partitions, you should see a FREE SPACE line. The FREE SPACE line is used to create new partitions. If the disk was empty already and you don’t see a FREE SPACE line, select the hard disk, and press Enter. When it asks if you want to create an empty partition table, click Yes. You should now see the FREE SPACE line.

To create a new partition, select the FREE SPACE line, and press Enter. In the next screen, click Create a New Partition, and press Enter. Now enter the size the partition should be. You can use gigabytes (GB) and megabytes (M) to indicate size. For example, 4.2GB is 4.2 gigabytes, and 100M is 100 megabytes. You can also use a percentage or just add max to use the entire disk. Add the size, and then press the Tab key to select Continue. Press Enter. You are next asked whether the partition should be primary or logical. It is likely that you will want a primary partition. Make your choice and continue.

If this is the first partition, you are asked if the partition should be at the beginning or end of the disk. It is recommended that when creating the root partition (known as /) on older computers, it should be placed at the beginning of the disk. This gets around some potential BIOS problems on older hardware. On newer computers, this is no longer a problem, and you can put the partition where you like on the disk.

On the next screen to display, you can configure some settings for the partition.

Table 2-1 describes the settings.

Table 2-1 Partition Settings


When the partition is configured, choose the Done Setting Up the Partition option.

You can now select FREE SPACE again (if there is free space left, of course) to create another partition. When you have finished partitioning, click the Finish Partitioning and Write Changes to Disk option.

The system will now install the Ubuntu core to your newly partitioned disk. Depending on the speed of your computer and your CD drive, this installation could take some time.

Configuring a User

The next part of the installation routine configures a user for the computer. This user role is important because it not only can be used as a normal user but also has the ability to use sudo to perform system administrator tasks.

You are first asked to enter a full name for the user (such as Matthew Helmke). Next you are asked for a username, or one will be picked for you from your full name (such as matthew). If you want another username, enter it there. Finally, you are asked to enter a password for the user and asked to repeat the password for verification.

Quick Tip

A good password will have at least eight characters, will use both uppercase and lowercase letters, will use at least one number, will use at least one nonletter character like & or @, will not spell a word that can be found in a dictionary, and will also be easy for you to remember while being difficult for others to guess. A modified phrase can work well, something like Gimm1e@x3ss could work well, although that one may still be a bit too obvious (“give me access” is not much better than “password”).

Finishing Up

At this point, the installation routine will install the full system for you. After this, the computer will reboot, and the installation will be complete.

Installing from a USB Key

Some computers lack CD drives, especially in the recently popular Netbooks. USB keys are also more flexible, allowing you to save your files and configuration and to update the key to the latest version of Ubuntu.

As with a CD, you need to get Ubuntu onto the USB key first. Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this in Ubuntu. Under the System > Administration menu, find the USB creator tool. Upon starting, you will see a window asking for an ISO file and a few other options.


You will need to have administrative privileges on your computer to use the USB Startup Disk Creator.

If there is an Ubuntu CD already in the CD drive, it will be automatically detected and used. If you have downloaded the ISO, click the Other button and select the ISO you want. Any mounted USB keys will be shown in the second window for you to select.

Now, you must choose whether or not to have persistence. This means that you can save your files and configuration to the USB key. Finally, click Make Startup Disk.

Another way to create a bootable USB key is to use a program called UNetbootin, which has versions and instructions available for both Windows and Linux from

Once the disk has been created, you must restart your computer and boot off the USB key. This might involve holding down a key at startup to select from a boot menu or might involve changes to your computer’s BIOS. Consult your manual for how to do this.

Once you are booted, your USB key will work exactly like a Live CD and allow you to use Ubuntu from the key or to install it on the computer.


Once the size of the persistence section has been selected, it cannot be changed, so think carefully.

Installing from within Windows

Another way to install Ubuntu is to use Ubuntu Windows Installer, or Wubi. This is perhaps the easiest of all methods. Go to and download the program and run it within Windows. Then answer the questions that come up and wait. The process can take a long time because it will download the entire installation .iso, but once finished, a dialog box will appear telling you that you need to reboot. When you do, you will find that you will boot to a menu giving you the option to boot into either Windows or Ubuntu. More detailed information is available at the link above.


Congratulations on your new Ubuntu system. Whether you used the desktop CD or the traditional alternate install CD approach to get Ubuntu on your computer, you now have a powerful, extensible, and easy-to-use OS with a huge array of available software. Unlike other operating systems, Ubuntu includes a complete end-to-end software selection with a range of tools for office productivity, system configuration, Internet access, e-mail, and more. In addition to this impressive array of desktop software, your new system also includes an incredibly powerful underlying architecture that can be heavily customized. Those of you with a fondness for code and programming will also get a kick out of the millions and millions of lines of code that are freely available and spread among the different applications included. Ubuntu also provides extensive development tools for creating desktop applications, Web applications, and more.

You are at the start of an exciting journey, so let’s get going.