Before you start
Objectives: Learn how to install Ubuntu on a new computer. Step-by-step installation process.
Prerequisites: no prerequisites.
Key terms: installation, ubuntu, partition, case, choose, computer, install, select, button, free, swap
Getting the ISO Image
In our example we will install desktop version of Ubuntu which can be downloaded from official Ubuntu download page. So, the first thing you have to do is download the latest ISO image and burn it to the DVD. When you have the DVD, put it in your computer, and make sure that you have enabled booting from the DVD drive in your BIOS. Most new computers support booting from the USB drive, so you can use it as well.
When you power on your computer you should see a welcome screen like this one.
Notice that we can try Ubuntu without installing it (without making any changes to our computer. In our case we will select the English language and choose to install Ubuntu. On the next screen we will be prompted for several things. In the first place we should ensure that we have about 5 GB of free space on our computer. We should also ensure that we are connected to the Internet. This will enable the installation to download the latest updates, which is recommended. We will also choose to install third-party software.
When we click Continue, Ubuntu will check if there are some other systems already on our computer. If there were other systems, we would be able to choose to install Ubuntu along those other systems. In our case our disk is empty, and we will only have Ubuntu installed on our computer.
In our case we will choose “Erase disk and install Ubuntu” option. Advanced users can choose “Something else” option and create partitions, resize partitions, or choose multiple partitions for Ubuntu themselves. On the next screen we simply have to confirm our selection. When we click the Install Now button, installation will begin.
During the installation we will be prompted for our location. In our case we are located in Zagreb, Croatia.
We will also be prompted for our keyboard layout. In our case we will select Croatian.
On the next screen we have to enter our information. Notice that we can choose to log in automatically. As you know, this is not recommended if this computer will contain your sensitive information. We can also choose to encrypt our private data (my home folder).
On the next screen you can get to know about some of the features available in Ubuntu. And that’s basically the final step. After the installation finishes we will have to restart our machine, after which we can use our computer.
Learn More Window
As you can see, the whole installation can be performed by using our mouse. When it comes to Ubuntu, installation is actually similar to the Windows installation, or even easier. Some other distributions will have different steps then presented here. For example, Red Hat installer will prompt us to choose the installation type during installation (desktop, workstation, server).
When it comes to drive partitioning, in our example we have chosen that Ubuntu does it for us automatically. Let’s see how this looks like when we want to do it manually. To do it manually, during the installation we have to select the “Something else” option on the “Installation type” window.
Notice that in our case we only have single device which actually presents our disk. On this window will select our device and click the New Partition Table button. When we do that we will get a warning that all current partitions will be removed. This is OK with us since in our case we have an empty disk.
Notice that now we have a free space on our disk.
We will select that free space and click the Add button. The type of our new partition will be Primary. The size will be 15000 MB. Location will be the beginning. We will use Ext4 journaling file system, and the mount point will be /.
In the next step we have to create a boot partition, so we will select free space again and click the Add button. This time the partition will be Logical, the size will be 500 MB, and the mount point will be /boot.
In the next step we also have to create a swap partition. To do that we will select free space again and click the Add button. The partition will be logical. The size of the partition should be at least twice the size of the RAM in our computer. In our case we have 512 MB of RAM, so we will use 1024 MB for our swap partition. Note that in this case we have to select the use as “swap area”, and that there is no mount point for swap.
Having swap partition is optional. For example, it can be used for hibernation feature. It will also speed up the installation process. So the final result of our partitioning is shown on the picture below.
Result of Partitioning
Notice that we can also choose the device for boot loader installation. In our case we will simply leave the default selected device. If we leave the default option, it will be installed on the Master Boot Record portion of the first partition. Now we can press the Install Now button, and the installation will begin.