Installing Ubuntu From a CD


Ubuntu will run well on most PCs available today, but it's recommended that your computer meet the following specifications.

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

The installer comes with many useful applications, but to get the full benefit, make sure to have access to an internet connection when you install.

Getting Ubuntu

Before you can get started with Ubuntu, you will need to obtain a copy of the Ubuntu installation CD. If you don't have a fast internet connection, you can order a CD at However, the easiest and most common method for getting Ubuntu is to download the file to create your own Ubuntu Install CD directly from Head to the website and click the “Download Ubuntu” link at the top.

In step 1, the default option (32-bit) will work on most computers. Select this unless you know your computer will work with 64-bit applications. For more information on choosing between these options, see

Click "Start Download" and save the file to your PC.

Once your download is complete you will be left with a file called ubuntu-10.10-desktop-i386.iso or similar. You'll need to save this file onto a blank CD. This process is called 'burning a CD' and there are a number of applications that will help you do this. This guide describes how to use InfraRecorder in Windows. You can download InfraRecorder for free from

If you use another product, be sure to burn an 'image' not just save the file to CD. An image is a copy of the CD's data and structure in one big file. Burning the image restores the structure and all the files onto the CD, whereas saving the file will leave you with the one big file on disk.

  • Insert a blank CD in the drive and select 'Do nothing' or 'Cancel' if an autorun window pops up.
  • Open Infra Recorder and click the 'Write Image' button in the main screen.
  • Select the file you downloaded, then click 'Open'.
  • In the window, click 'OK'.
  • The CD should be automatically ejected when the CD is ready.

Try it Out

The Ubuntu Installation CD also allows you to test Ubuntu on your system without installing it. If you use another operating system such as Windows, this leaves it intact while you decide whether you want to permanently install Ubuntu, but performance will not be as good as when you install properly.

To try out Ubuntu this way, 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. If your computer doesn't start the Ubuntu Installer, check to make sure that you have multiple files on the CD. If not, you'll need to burn the CD again, making sure you have chosen to write the 'Image'.

If the CD has multiple files but the installer still doesn't start when you restart your PC, you'll need to check the settings of your PC. Every PC is different and the screen shots shown are just examples. You usually enter setup mode by by pressing a particular key (eg F10) while your computer is starting up. There should be a message on the screen that tells you which key to press. Use arrow keys to move around the menus looking for 'boot' options. You can usually change settings by pressing Enter or Tab. Make sure that CDROM is higher in the list of bootable devices than Hard Drive. Save your settings when you exit (in this example by pressing F10). The PC will restart, but this time should start from the CD.

Once your computer finds the Ubuntu CD, you will be presented with a quick loading screen, then the “Welcome” screen. Using your mouse, select your language from the list on the left, then click the button labeled Try Ubuntu. Ubuntu will then start up, running straight from the Live CD. Skip to [section number] to learn how to use Ubuntu.

When you've 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 Ubuntu CD and pressing Enter when instructed, and then your computer will restart. As long as the Ubuntu CD is no longer in the drive, your computer will return to its original state as though nothing ever happened!


To get started, place the Ubuntu CD in your CD drive and restart your computer. The Ubuntu installer will begin and after a few seconds you'll be presented with the Welcome screen. Select your language and click 'Install Ubuntu'.

[A Warning then appears in the Alpha version, but I'm assuming it will be gone for the release version. Click Forward.]

Before beginning the installation, the installer checks some basic requirements.

  • that you have at least 2.6GB available drive space
  • that you are plugged in to a power source
  • that you are connected to the internet

It is important that the first two items show green ticks to indicate the requirements have been met. Without sufficient drive space or power, the installation will terminate [with unpredictable results?]. If the first item isn't ticked, cancel the installation, delete some files and applications from your PC and empty the Recycle bin [assumes Windows!]. If the second item isn't ticked, you are running on battery power. Plug your PC into a wall socket or check your power connections. The last item is not essential. Internet is required for downloading the latest updates and some specific software, but the installation will complete without it.

There are two check boxes at the bottom of the form. The first 'Tick this box to install the software for this functionality.' will set up proprietary[?] software. Below are some points to help you decide whether to check this.


  • Allows you to play movies, music and some web content


  • Software not under Ubuntu's control so the Ubuntu team can't fix bugs
  • You may not have the rights to use the software - you are responsible for obtaining licenses

These can be installed later if you decide to leave the option unchecked for now.

Checking the second 'Download updates while installing' will tie up your computer for longer before you can use it, but it does mean that you'll have the latest software right from the beginning.

Click 'Forward' when ready to proceed.

Allocate Drive Space

At this step, you need to decide whether you want to keep your current operating system (such as Windows) and how much space to allow for the new Ubuntu system. The best option for new users is 'Install them side by side, choosing between them each startup.' This will keep all your information and let you use your PC as you currently do. You'll also be able to start Ubuntu and use that instead of Windows.

The second option, 'Erase and use the entire disk' will cause all your existing information to be lost. You'll only be able to use Ubuntu afterwards.

'Specify partitions manually (advanced)' allows more control but requires a good understanding of hard disk management and how operating systems use hard disks. This is dangerous for new users.

Choose the first option and Click 'Install Now'.

The next screen is configured optimally by default. It has three sections. The top section allows you to select a drive if your computer has more than one. The next allows you to easily distribute the space allowed for each operating system. By default they are roughly equal, but you can drag the vertical divider to allow more space for one or the other. The last provides options for using the entire disk or an entire section of the disk. These are dangerous options and should only be used if you understand disk management.

Leave the default options and click 'Install Now'. The installation begins in the background. In the following screens you will tell Ubuntu about yourself and how you'd like to use the computer.


On the first screen, you can set up Ubuntu to connect to your wireless network. Under the heading 'Please select your wireless from this list' you will see a list of all wireless networks in your vicinity. [I don't see anything in the list!] Click on the name of your own wireless network. If you use security on your wireless network, enter the password in the box below. By default, the password you enter will appear as a row of dots. If you have a long password, check 'Display password' before you start entering it. You will then be able to see exactly what you enter.

Click Forward

Where are you?

The screen shows a map of the world. You can click on the map close to your location to have it select the city and time zone. An easier method is to type the name of your city and select the correct location from the list of options.

Click Forward

Keyboard Layout

If you know what your keyboard layout is, select the language and layout from the list. Alternatively, click 'Figure out keyboard layout' and press the keys matching the list shown. Within a few key strokes, Ubuntu should have worked out what your keyboard is. You can type into the text box to be sure it's right before proceeding.

Click Forward

Who are you?

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.

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.

Click Forward

Sit back and watch the slide show introducing Ubuntu. Or go and get a cup of coffee.

When the Installation is complete, you'll need to restart your PC. Click 'Restart Now' and follow the instructions - remove the CD, close the tray, press Enter. The PC will boot straight into Ubuntu to complete setup. [at least, that's what mine did, but I don't see GRUB even on subsequent boots]

You'll get a login screen with your name. Click it and enter your password.

Welcome to Ubuntu!

DocumentationTeam/InstallationGuide/InstallFromCD (last edited 2010-10-04 00:07:50 by vtanthropologist)