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How to create Bootable USB and install Ubuntu

by | Mar 3, 2024

Deciding which version of Linux to put on your computer can be hard because there are a lot of options, and each one has its own unique features. One choice that many people like is Ubuntu.

Some say it’s one of the top Linux options out there. It’s easy to use, you can change it how you like, and it can grow with what you need.

This guide will show you how to install Ubuntu with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) on your computer. We’ll also cover what you need and how to set it up.

Download Ubuntu OS

Installing Ubuntu by wiping out the old operating system is a good way to make sure your computer starts fresh with Ubuntu. It means getting rid of everything on your hard drive and installing a brand new version of Ubuntu.

Let’s compare this method with using a virtual machine:

Ubuntu Linux on VM Ubuntu Linux on physical hardware
Scalability: Can run multiple Ubuntu installations simultaneously Can run one Ubuntu installation
Support: Needs hardware to support virtualization for VM to work properly Ubuntu will work on a broader range of hardware
Performance: Usually slower because it depends on the host system Typically better because Ubuntu runs directly on the physical hardware
Development: VMs allow for testing environments based on user needs, useful for software development Reconfiguring the operating system is a long and tedious task, often requiring complete reinstallation

 

You can access the Ubuntu image download link here. Be sure to save it in a place you’ll remember on your computer!

If you’re installing an earlier version of Ubuntu, like Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, you’ll notice a different visual layout in the installer, but the overall process should remain consistent.

How to install Ubuntu

Create a Bootable USB stick to Install Ubuntu

To create a Bootable USB stick for installing Ubuntu Desktop, you’ll need to transfer your downloaded ISO file onto the USB drive using specialized software. Simply copying the ISO file won’t work.

For this guide, we’ll use balenaEtcher, a tool compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. Select the version that matches your operating system, download it, and install the software.

Once installed, open balenaEtcher and follow these steps:

  1. Choose your downloaded ISO file.
  2. Select your USB flash drive.
  3. Click “Flash!” to begin the installation process.
  4. This will write the Ubuntu image to your USB stick, making it bootable and ready for installation.

To boot from the USB flash drive

  1. Insert the USB flash drive into the laptop or PC where you intend to install Ubuntu.
  2. Restart or power on the device.
  3. The system should automatically recognize the installation media. If not, try pressing F12 during startup to access the system-specific boot menu.

F12 is commonly used for the boot menu, but alternatives like Escape, F2, and F10 exist. If unsure, look for a brief message during startup indicating which key to press for the boot menu.

Once the installer initializes:

  1. Choose your preferred language.
    Install Ubuntu
  2. You’ll be presented with the option to either try or install Ubuntu.
    • If you select “Try Ubuntu,” you can explore Ubuntu without altering your PC. You can access the installer menu at any time by clicking the “Install Ubuntu” shortcut on the desktop.
    • To proceed with installation, click “Install Ubuntu.”
      Install Ubuntu
  3. Select your keyboard layout and click “Continue.”
  4. You’ll be prompted to connect to Wi-Fi. This enables Ubuntu to download updates and third-party drivers (e.g., NVIDIA graphics drivers) during installation. Once connected (or if you choose to proceed offline), you can continue with the installation setup.

Note: If you encounter an alert stating “RST is enabled,” it means your PC uses Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology), which Ubuntu doesn’t support. You’ll need to disable RST in the BIOS menu to proceed. For more information, visit help.ubuntu.com/rst.

Installation Setup:

After selecting your keyboard layout and connecting to Wi-Fi, you’ll be prompted to choose between two installation options:

  • Normal Installation: This option includes a standard set of applications and features.
  • Minimal Installation: Ideal for users with limited storage space or those who prefer fewer pre-installed applications.

    Install Ubuntu

Additionally, under “Other options,” you’ll have the opportunity to enhance device support and performance by downloading updates and third-party software such as Nvidia graphics drivers during the installation process. It’s recommended to check both of these boxes for an optimal Ubuntu experience.

Type of Installation

On this screen, you can configure your Ubuntu installation according to your preferences. Here are the available options:

  • Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu: Select this option if you want Ubuntu to be the sole operating system on your hard drive. This will allocate the entire disk space to Ubuntu.
  • Install Ubuntu Alongside Another Operating System: If your device already has another operating system installed, this option allows you to install Ubuntu alongside it. You can allocate disk space for Ubuntu using a simple interface with a slider. This option automatically selects the largest partition on the drive. Advanced users can switch to Manual partitioning for more control.
  • Encrypt the Entire Drive using LVM: This option, available under Advanced Features, allows you to encrypt your entire drive using Logical Volume Management (LVM). This enhances security but requires you to create a security key for boot authentication.
  • Manual Partitioning: Designed for advanced users, this option provides detailed control over drive partitions and configurations. Users can create, manage, and modify partitions according to their specific requirements.

If your device has Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption enabled:

  • You’ll receive an alert informing you that Ubuntu cannot gather the necessary drive information to safely install alongside Windows with BitLocker enabled.
  • You’ll be prompted to disable BitLocker in Windows before proceeding with the Ubuntu installer.

Note: Disabling Windows BitLocker is unnecessary if you’re fully erasing Windows or if there’s a separate, unencrypted drive available for Ubuntu installation. Refer to the final section of this tutorial for more information.

Ready to Install

After selecting your preferred installation option, clicking “Next” will lead you to a summary of your installation configuration. This summary allows you to review and confirm your setup before proceeding with the installation.

Once you’re satisfied with the configuration, click “Install” to initiate the installation process. Please note that once you proceed with the installation, Ubuntu will start installing in the background, and you won’t be able to return to this point. Make sure to double-check your settings before proceeding.

Choose Your Location

On the map screen, select your location and timezone, then click “Continue.” If you’re connected to the internet, this information will be detected automatically.

Create Your Login Details

On this screen, you’ll need to enter your name and the name you want your computer to have on the network. Additionally, create a username and a strong password.

You have the option to configure automatic login or require a password for login. It’s advisable to keep “Require my password to log in” enabled, especially if you use your device while traveling.

Complete the Installation

After the installation, you have the option to switch your desktop theme from Light to Dark.

Once you’ve made your selection, sit back and enjoy the slideshow as Ubuntu completes the installation in the background! 😊

Once the installation is finished, you’ll receive a prompt to restart your machine. Click “Restart Now.”

Upon restart, you’ll be asked to remove your USB flash drive from the device. After doing so, press ENTER.

If you created an encryption password, enter it first, followed by your user password on the login screen.

Congratulations! Welcome to your new Ubuntu Desktop!

The welcome widget provides additional setup options, including:

  • Connecting your profile to various online accounts.
  • Attaching an Ubuntu Pro free personal or paid subscription to apply additional security patches to your device (this option is available only when using a long-term support [LTS] version of Ubuntu).
  • Opting into sending device information to Canonical to help improve Ubuntu (by default, Canonical doesn’t collect device information).
  • Activating location services.
  • Downloading additional apps from Ubuntu Software.

Don’t Forget to Update!

It’s always a good practice to ensure your system is up to date, especially after a fresh installation.

The easiest way to do this is through the Software Updater app. Simply search for “Software Updater” via the app menu (the icon with 9 squares in the bottom corner of your window), and it will check for updates and apply them.

Alternatively, you can update Ubuntu using the terminal:

  1. Press CTRL+ALT+T to bring up a Terminal window (or click the terminal icon in the sidebar).
  2. Type in:
    sudo apt update

    You will be prompted to enter your login password.

  3. This command will check for updates and inform you if there are any available. To apply any updates, type:
    sudo apt upgrade
  4. Type Y, then press ENTER to confirm and finish the update process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, installing Ubuntu Desktop provides users with a powerful and customizable operating system that offers a range of features and functionalities. From the initial setup process, which includes creating installation media and configuring system settings, to the post-installation steps like updating the system, Ubuntu offers a smooth and user-friendly experience.

Throughout the installation journey, users are presented with various options to tailor their Ubuntu experience to their preferences, whether it’s selecting installation options, configuring login details, or choosing desktop themes. Additionally, Ubuntu provides users with flexibility in updating their system, whether through the graphical Software Updater app or via the command line in the terminal.

Overall, Ubuntu Desktop offers a reliable and efficient platform for users to work, create, and explore, backed by a supportive community and regular updates to ensure optimal performance and security. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced user, Ubuntu Desktop provides a versatile and enjoyable computing experience.

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