Nov 21, 2012

What is the best way to install Ubuntu on a PC?

I've got an old Windows Vista PC that I was thinking of using as a guinea pig for my first Ubuntu experience. I know practically nothing about Ubuntu really. Come to think of it, I guess that makes me the guinea pig instead of the PC. How do I install Ubuntu? I remember that you used to be able to get a CD. Can you still do that? Is it worthwhile to get the CD, or is it just as easy to download?  I'll figure it out once I get started either way, but I'd just as soon use the most simple method.


Thanks for the help all.  I'm going to give it a go this weekend when I have some spare time.  It doesn't sound too difficult for me to handle.  


There are three approaches to doing this, and which one is best for you depends on your goals in installing and using Ubuntu:


  • Overwrite the Windows installation and create a pure Ubuntu machine (easiest)
  • Shrink your Windows partition, let Ubuntu have the free space, and let Ubuntu's bootloader take over and handle booting Ubuntu and Windows (hardest)
  • Install Ubuntu from within Windows via Wubi (mostly easy, but not as good)

    2 and 3 will both create a dual-boot Windows/Ubuntu environment; however, 2 will require you to resize your Windows partition (which I think the Ubuntu installer will guide you through nowadays), while 3 will be slower than a normal Ubuntu installation (Wubi installs Ubuntu to a giant file on your hard drive), though it's much easier.


    1 is certainly the easiest, but you'll need to be willing to part ways with your Windows installation; I'd back up the Windows product key and any files you have on there before installing.


    I should clarify that the Ubuntu website provides full instructions on how to create the install disk, boot it, and go forward with the installation:




    That page not only provides the link to download the installation image, but also provides links that detail how to burn it to a DVD, flash it onto a thumb drive, grab the Windows Installer and install via Wubi instead, etc.

    I suggest downloading it and burning it to a CD. That's probably the easiest and fastest way.

    You can download Ubuntu here:


    There is also a very helpful Windows installer you can download:


    Here are the instructions for the Windows Installer for Ubuntu:


    Here is a good guide that walks you through one way to complete the process.   


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