This page is the working area for a new Ubuntu installation guide. At this stage, it's text only. Side notes are shown in italics.


Getting Ubuntu

Before you can get started with Ubuntu, you will need to obtain a copy of the Ubuntu installation CD. Some options for doing this are outlined below.

Downloading Ubuntu The easiest and most common method for getting Ubuntu is to download the Ubuntu CD image directly from Head to the website and click the “Download Ubuntu” link at the top. Select the nearest download location to you in the drop-down box (to ensure maximum download speed), then click “Begin Download.”

  • Many companies (such as Dell and Sys-tem76) sell computers with Ubuntu pre-installed. If you already have Ubuntu installed on your computer, feel free to skip to Chapter 2: The Ubuntu Desktop.

32-bit vs 64-bit

You may notice the words “Ubuntu Desktop 10.04 (64-bit)” underneath the default download buon on the website. If you are unsure what 32-bit means, don’t worry. 32-bit will work on most computers, so if in doubt, simply pro- ceed with the download. However, if you know that your computer is capable of using 64-bit software, you may wish to try the 64-bit version instead. To do this click on “Alternative download options” and make your selection.

  • 32-bit and 64-bit are types of processor architectures. 64-bit is newer, and most recent computers will come with a 64-bit capable processor. See Chapter 9: Learning More for more information.

Downloading Ubuntu as a torrent

When a new version of Ubuntu is released, sometimes the servers can get clogged up with large numbers of people downloading or upgrading at the same time. If you are familiar with using torrents, you may wish to download the torrent file by clicking “Alternative download options,” and obtain your copy of the CD image this way instead. You may see significant improvements to your download speed, and will also be helping to spread Ubuntu to other users worldwide. Again, if you are unsure how to use torrents, you can use the default download options on the website.

  • Torrents are a way of sharing files and information around the Internet via peer-to-Peer file sharing. When a new version of Ubuntu is released, the Ubuntu servers can become very busy. If you know how to use torrents, we recommend that you download the CD image this way to take the load off the servers during periods of high demand.

Burning the CD image Once your download is complete you will be left with a file called ubuntu-10.04-desktop-i386.iso or similar (i386 here in the filename refers to the 32-bit version. This will be replaced with amd64 if you downloaded the 64-bit version instead). This file is a CD image—a bit like a “snapshot” of the contents of a CD—which you will need to burn to a CD disc. To find out how to burn a CD image on your computer, refer to your operating system or manufacturer help. You can also find detailed instructions at

Ordering a free CD Alternatively, a free CD can be ordered from Canonical. This option may be preferred if you don’t have access to a CD burner, have limited bandwidth, or a slow Internet connection. There are no shipping costs or other charges when you order an Ubuntu CD. Simply visit to request your free Ubuntu Desktop Edition CD.

The CD usually takes two to six weeks to arrive, depending on your location and the current demand. If you would rather start using Ubuntu sooner, you may prefer to follow the instructions above for downloading the CD image, and then burn it to a disc instead.

The Live CD The Ubuntu CD functions not only as an installation CD for putting Ubuntu onto your computer, but also as a Live CD. A Live CD allows you to test Ubuntu without making any permanent changes to your computer by running the entire operating system straight from the CD.

The speed at which your computer can read information from a CD is much slower than reading information from a hard drive. Running Ubuntu from the Live CD also occupies a large portion of your computer’s memory, which would usually be available for programs to access when Ubuntu is running from your hard drive. The Live CD experience will therefore feel slightly slower than it does when Ubuntu is actually installed on your computer.

However, running Ubuntu from the CD is a great way to test things out and allows you to try the default applications, browse the Internet, and get a general feel for the operating system. It’s also useful for checking that your computer hardware works properly in Ubuntu and that there are no major compatibility issues.

To try out Ubuntu using the Live CD, insert the Ubuntu CD into your CD drive and restart your computer. Most computers are able to detect when a “bootable” CD is present in your drive at startup—that is, a CD that will temporarily take precedence over your usual operating system. As your computer starts, it will run whatever information is stored on this bootable CD, rather than the information stored on your hard drive which your computer usually looks for.

Once your computer finds the Live CD and after a quick loading screen, you will presented with the “Welcome” screen. Using your mouse, select your language from the list on the left, then click the button labeled Try Ubuntu 10.04. Ubuntu will then start up, running straight from the Live CD.

Once Ubuntu is up and running, you will see the default desktop. We will talk more about how to actually use Ubuntu in Chapter 2: The Ubuntu Desktop, but for now feel free to test things out, open some programs, change settings and generally explore—any changes you make will not be saved once you exit, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally breaking anything.

When you are finished exploring, restart your computer by clicking the “Power” button in the top right corner of your screen (circle with a line through the top) and then select Restart. Follow the prompts that appear on screen, including removing the Live CD and pressing Enter when instructed, and then your computer will restart. As long as the Live CD is no longer in the drive, your computer will return to its original state as though nothing ever happened!

  • You will be required to create a free online account with Launchpad before you can place your CD order. Once you have Ubuntu installed and running, you will need this account again for use with all Ubuntu One services. See Chapter 3: Working with Ubuntu for more information on Ubuntu One.

    It is possible to purchase Ubuntu on CD from some computer stores or online shops. Have a look around your local area or on the Internet to see if someone is selling it near you. Even though Ubuntu is free software, it’s not illegal for people to sell it.

    In some cases, your computer will run as normal and appear not to recognize the Ubuntu CD is present as it starts up. This is okay, generally it means that the priority given to devices when your computer is starting needs to be changed. For example, your computer might be set to look for information from your hard drive first, and then to look for information on a CD second.

In order to run Ubuntu from the Live CD, we want it to look for information from a CD first. Changing your boot priority is beyond the scope of this guide. If you need assistance to change the boot priority, see your computer manufacturer’s documentation for more information.

Minimum system requirements

Ubuntu runs well on most computer systems. If you are unsure whether it will work on your computer, the Live CD is a great way to test things out first.

  • The majority of computers in use today will meet the requirements listed here, however, refer to your computer’s documentation or speak to the manufacturer if you would like more information.

For the more technically minded, below is a list of hardware specifications that your computer should ideally meet as a minimum requirement.

  • 700 MHz x86 processor
  • 256 MB of system memory (RAM)
  • 3 GB of disk space
  • Graphics card capable of 1024×768 resolution
  • Sound card
  • A network or Internet connection

Installing Ubuntu

The process of installing Ubuntu is designed to be quick and easy, however, we realize that some people may find the idea a little daunting. To help you get started we have included step-by-step instructions below, along with screenshots so you can see how things will look along the way. If you have already tested out the Ubuntu Live CD, you should now be familiar with the initial “Welcome” screen that appears (refer to The Live CD section above for more information). Again, select your language on the left-hand side, then click the button labeled Install Ubuntu 10.04. At least 3 GB of free space on your hard drive is required in order to install Ubuntu, however, 10 GB or more of free space is recommended. That way you will have plenty of room to install extra programs later on, as well as store your own documents, music and photos.

Getting started

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

The next screen will display a world map. Using your mouse, click your location on the map to tell Ubuntu where you are. Alternatively, you can use the drop-down lists underneath. This allows Ubuntu to set up your system clock and other location-based features. Click Forward when you are ready to move on.

Next, you need to tell Ubuntu what keyboard you are using. Usually, you will find the suggested option is satisfactory. If you are unsure, you can click the Guess button to have Ubuntu work out the correct choice by asking you to press a series of keys. You can also choose your own keyboard layout from the list. If you like, type something into the box at the bottom to make sure you are happy with your selection, then click Forward to continue.

Prepare disk space

This next step is often referred to as partitioning. Partitioning is the process of allocating portions of your hard drive for a specific purpose. When you create a partition, you are essentially dividing up your hard drive into sections that will be used for different types of information. Partitioning can sometimes seem complex to a new user, however, it does not have to be. In fact, Ubuntu provides you with some options that greatly simplify this process.

  • Alternatively, you can also use your mouse to double-click the “Install Ubuntu 10.04” icon that is visible on the desktop when using the Live CD. This will start the Ubuntu installer.

    There are two other options presented on the Welcome screen: release notes and update this installer. Clicking on the blue underlined release notes will open a web page containing any important information regarding the current version of Ubuntu. Clicking update this installer will search the Internet for any updates to the Ubuntu Live CD that may have been released since your CD was created.

Erase and use the entire disk

Use this option if you want to erase your entire disk. This will delete any existing operating systems that are installed on that disk, such as Windows XP, and install Ubuntu in its place. This option is also useful if you have an empty hard drive, as Ubuntu will automatically create the necessary partitions for you.

  • Many people installing Ubuntu for the first time are currently using either Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Mac OS X on their computer. Ubuntu provides you with the option of either replacing your existing operating system altogether, or installing Ubuntu alongside your existing system.

The latter is called dual-booting. Whenever you turn on or restart your computer, you will be given the option to select which operating system you want to use for that session.

Guided partitioning

If you already have another operating system installed on your hard drive, and want to install Ubuntu alongside it, choose the Install them side by side, choosing between them each startup option.

Ubuntu will automatically detect the other operating system and install Ubuntu alongside it. For more complicated dual-booting setups, you will need to configure the partitions manually.

Specifying partitions manually

This option is for more advanced users and is used to create special partitions, or format the hard drive with a filesystem different to the default one. It can also be used to create a separate /home partition. This can be very useful in case you decide to reinstall Ubuntu, as it allows you to format and reinstall the operating system, whilst keeping all your personal files and program settings intact in a separate partition.

Because this is quite an advanced task, we have omitted the details from this edition of Getting Started with Ubuntu. You can see more information and detailed instructions on partitioning here:

Once you are happy with the way the partitions are going to be set up, click the Forward button at the bottom to move on.

  • Ubuntu installs a home folder where your personal files and configuration data are located by default. If you choose to have your home folder on a separate partition, then in the event that you decide to reinstall Ubuntu or perform a fresh upgrade to the latest release, your personal files and configuration data won’t be lost.

Enter your details

Ubuntu needs to know some information about you so it can set up the primary login account on your computer. Your name will appear on the login screen as well as the MeMenu, which will be discussed further in Chapter 2: The Ubuntu Desktop.

On this screen you will need to tell Ubuntu:

  • your real name,
  • your desired username,
  • your desired password,
  • what you want to call your computer,
  • how you want Ubuntu to log you in.

Type in your full name under “What is your name?”. The next text field is where you select a username for yourself, and is the name that will be displayed at the Ubuntu login screen when you turn on your computer. You will see this is automatically filled in for you with your first name. Most people find it easiest to stick with this, however, it can be changed if you prefer.

Next, choose a password and enter it into the first password field on the left, then type the same again into the right field to verify. When both passwords match, a strength rating will appear on the right that will tell you whether your password is “too short,” “weak,” “fair,” or “strong.” You will be able to continue the installation process regardless of your password strength, however, for security reasons it is best to choose a strong one. This is best achieved by having a password that is at least six characters long, and is a mixture of letters, numbers, symbols, and uppercase/lowercase. For extra security, avoid obvious passwords like your birth date, spouse’s name, or the name of your pet.

Now you need to decide on your computer’s name. Again, this will be filled in for you automatically using the login name you entered above (it will say something like “john-desktop” or “john-laptop.”), however, it can be changed if you prefer. Your computer name will mainly be used for identifying your computer if you are on a home or office network with multiple other computers. To learn more about setting up a network, refer to Chapter 3: Working with Ubuntu.

Finally, at the bottom of this screen you have three options to choose from regarding how you want to log in to Ubuntu.

  • Although you can choose your preferred username and computer name, you are required to stick with letters, numbers,

hyphens, and dots. You will receive a warning if symbols or other characters are entered, and until this is altered you will be unable to progress to the next screen.

Log in automatically

Ubuntu will log in to your primary account automatically when you start up the computer so you won’t have to enter your username and password. This makes your login experience quicker and more convenient, however, if privacy or security are important to you, this option is not recommended. Anyone who can physically access your computer will be able to turn it on and also access your files.

Require my password to login

This option is selected by default, as it will prevent unauthorized people from accessing your computer without knowing the password you created earlier. This is a good option for those that, for example, share their computer with other family members. Once the installation process has been completed, an additional login account can be created for each family member. Each person will then have their own login name and password, account preferences, Internet bookmarks, and personal storage space.

Require my password to login and decrypt my home folder

This option provides you with an extra layer of security. Your home folder is where your personal files are stored. By selecting this option, Ubuntu will automatically enable encryption on your home folder, meaning that files and folders must be decrypted using your password before they can be accessed. Therefore if someone had physical access to your hard drive (for example, if your computer was stolen and the hard drive removed), they would still not be able to see your files without knowing your password.

Warning:If you choose this option, be careful not to enable automatic login at a later date. It will cause complications with your encrypted home folder, and will potentially lock you out of important files.

Confirm your settings and begin installation

The last screen summarizes your install settings, including any changes that will be made to the partitions on your hard drive. Note the warning about data being destroyed on any removed or formatted partitions—if you have important information on your hard drive that is not backed up, now would be a good time to check that you have set up your partitions correctly. Once you have made sure that all the settings are correct, click on Install to begin the installation process.

Ubuntu will now install. As the installation progresses, a slideshow will give you an introduction to some of the default applications included with Ubuntu. These applications are covered in more detail in Chapter 3: Working with Ubuntu.

After approximately twenty minutes, the installation will complete and you will be able to click Restart Now to restart your computer and start Ubuntu. The CD will be ejected, so remove it from your CD drive and press Enter to continue.

Wait while your computer restarts, and you will then see the login window (unless you selected automatic login).

Click your username and enter your password, then press Enter or click Log in. You will then be logged in to Ubuntu and will be presented with your new desktop!

  • You should not need to click the Advanced button unless you wish to change your bootloader settings or network proxy. These are more advanced tasks and beyond the scope of this guide.

Anthropologist/InstallationGuide (last edited 2014-07-02 20:20:16 by knome)