How to install Linux & Ubuntu

Welcome to the Ubuntu installation guide!

This guide is intended to introduce you to the very many ways in which Ubuntu may be installed to your machine depending on your specific use case. The official Ubuntu 12.04 Installation Guide also covers a complete list of alternative installation methods for Ubuntu.


Requirements are basic! Ubuntu has been designed keeping in mind most hardware that abounds, so it is highly likely that if your hardware is not too uncommon, Ubuntu will work on your machine right off the bat! Nonetheless, you should check if your hardware works with Ubuntu and meets the minimum system requirements. The following pages are a comprehensive review of all Ubuntu supported hardware:

1. Supported Architectures: Most laptops these days ship with an Intel or an AMD processor, which fall into the category x86/x86_64. These are officially supported by Ubuntu. This page documents these as well as all other processor architectures supported by Ubuntu.

2. Ubuntu-Certified Hardware: This page includes a comprehensive list of Ubuntu-certified machines, including most desktops/laptops from some of the biggest vendors.

3. System Requirements: This page includes the minimal system requirements a machine needs in order to run the graphical version of Ubuntu. From the point of view of most modern machines, these are extremely basic.

Standard installation

If you are looking to install Ubuntu on your personal desktop/laptop, this is probably what you are going for, and it has never been easier! The standard Ubuntu desktop installation uses a Graphical Install, which is meant to cruise you through the installation process in a very small number of easy steps. To get the installer up and running, you will need to do the following:

1. Obtain an installation LiveCD. The LiveCD is a fully functional Ubuntu environment, and it allows you to get a taste of Ubuntu on your machine by using a 'Live' session! If you downloaded a CD image (.iso file), you can burn it to a standard CD (see BurningIsoHowto and Installation/CDIntegrityCheck).

2. All that remains now is to install Ubuntu by booting from the installation CD.

Alternate Installation

You may not wish to always use the standard LiveCD, because

1. it may so happen occasionally that your computer is not able to run the standard Desktop installation CD because it does not meet the hardware requirements, or the required drivers are missing from the standard LiveCD. The LiveCD is designed to keep most basic hardware in mind, but there are a few that are bound to be absent from it.

2. Or, you may simply prefer to install a more customized version of Ubuntu different from the standard install depending on your taste.

Ubuntu has you covered in this regard, and towards this end you can use an Alternate Installation CD instead - refer to Getting Ubuntu page for download locations. The Alternate CD allows more advanced installation options which are not available with the Standard LiveCD.

Installation without a CD

The new generations of laptops and netbooks are increasingly shipping without CD drives. To cater to this need, or if you do not wish to burn a CD to install Ubuntu, you are not left to trudge in the dark - Ubuntu can be installed without using a CD or CD-ROM drive!

1. Quick Install from USB - A quick guide to installing from a USB memory stick. Intended for less technically-inclined readers.

2. Install from USB - Installing from a USB memory stick (full version).

3. USB stick + grub - Similar to above but using grub.

4. Smart Boot Manager - Installing from a PC which will not boot from a CD.

5. Install within Windows - Yes, it is possible to install Ubuntu from within Windows without using floppies, a CD, or any other removable media! This uses Wubi, and installs Ubuntu as a large file that may be uninstalled like any other program in Windows.

6. Install with Floppies - Installing without a CD drive over a network.

7. Install From Hard Drive with Floppies - Installing without a CD drive or network capabilities from a hard drive.

8. Install from Existing Linux - Installing using a spare partition from an existing Linux system to house the Ubuntu CD image.

9. Virtual Machine - Installing using a physical disk to a Virtual Machine.

10. Portable installed system booting from UEFI & BIOS - A system for a USB pendrive - a good alternative to a persistent live system.

Please refer also to the network installation guides below.

Upgrading an installation

If you are upgrading from a previous version of Ubuntu to a new version, please refer to the Upgrade Notes for upgrading instructions.

Server and network installations

Ubuntu can be installed over a network or the Internet.

1. Local Network - Booting the installer from a local server, using DHCP, TFTP, and PXE.

2. Installation/Netboot - Another description of installing over the net, with no CD-ROM drive or a non-bootable SCSI CD-ROM drive.

3. Netboot Install From Internet - Booting using files saved to an existing partition and downloading the packages from the internet at installation time.

4. Network Console - Booting from a CD (could be TFTP or similar too) and installing the system over SSH.

5. On NFS Drive - Installing on a NFS-server and using with diskless clients.

6. On NFS Drive with Local Boot - Installing on an NFS-server with a local /boot (e.g. Booting from CompactFlash for a silent media center PC).

7. Quick Install over SSH - A quick guide for installing Hardy Ubuntu 12.04 on a dedicated server over ssh.

8. Over SSH - Installing on a dedicated server over ssh (full version).

9. Install with Floppies - Installing without a CD drive over a network.

Installing on external or RAID hard disks

Ubuntu can be installed on an external hard disk or RAID array.

1. BootFromFirewireHardDisk - Booting Linux from a Firewire hard disk.

2. BootFromUSB - Booting an Ubuntu system on a USB hard disk on computers which cannot boot from USB (using a boot CD).

3. BootFromSD - Booting an Ubuntu system from a SD card on computers which cannot boot from SD

4. LiveUsbPendrivePersistent - Installing Ubuntu or Kubuntu on a USB pendrive with persistent mode.

5. Installation/LVMOnRaid - Installing onto a Software RAID Array, with all partitions on RAID and LVM (including root and boot).

6. FakeRaidHowto - Installing onto a BIOS RAID array.

7. How_to_dual-boot_Ubuntu_and_XP_after_installing_them_separately_on_two_HDs - If you really want to keep XP and Ubuntu on separate hard drives.

8. Installation/SoftwareRAID - Install a Linux software RAID

9. Installation/FromImageLoadedOnHardDrive -Installing via a CD image loaded onto a hard drive.

LVM Installation Guides

1. EncryptedFSOnLVMOnRAID

2. EncryptedFilesystemLVMHowto

3. FileServerOnLVMOnRAID1

4. Installation/LVMOnRaid

5. Installation/RAID1+LVM

6. SettingUpLVM-WithoutACleanInstall

Minimal installations

If you have an older computer or a computer with a small amount of memory, see the guides below for help on installing Ubuntu.

1. Installation/LowMemorySystems - Install Ubuntu on older computers with low memory.

2. LowEndSystemSupport - Making the desktop interface snappier on machines with low memory.

3. Installation/MinimalCD - From a minimal CD that downloads packages during install.

Other installation guides

1. Partitioning - Safely split your hard drive into smaller parts.

2. MultiOSBoot - Boot more than one operating system from a single hard drive.

3. WindowsDualBoot - Install Ubuntu on the same hard drive as an existing Windows installation.

4. Wubi - Installing within Windows

5. VirtualMachines - Using Ubuntu with VMware and XEN.

6. InstallCDCustomization - Customize the Ubuntu Alternative Installer/Server installation CD.

7. Booting - An explanation of the boot process and boot device issues.

8. Installation/FromKnoppix - Instructions on installing from Knoppix, if the Ubuntu installer will not work.

9. Installation/OnXenServer - How to install the Xen-optimized Ubuntu images on XenServer

10. Installation/UnattendedCD - Making a customized installation CD for unattended installations, with a web-served preseed file

11. MigratingFromWindows - Instructions on how to transfer data from common Windows applications to their Ubuntu equivalents.

12. SwitchingFromWindows - Guidance on switching from Windows to Ubuntu and getting used to the differences.