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This chapter is from the book

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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