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Installing Ubuntu Linux

written by: Michael Dougherty•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 5/2/2010

Looking to install one of the worlds most popular Open-Source operating systems? The Ubuntu Linux install process has been simplified to the point that the average computer user is able to complete the install. In this guide we will backup our data, prepare our disk and install Ubuntu Linux.

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    Ubuntu Linux version 904 LiveCD default desktop. Many PC (Personal Computer) users, in this day and age, consider themselves to be very technically savvy. Even grandpa is surfing the Internet, burning his vacation pictures to DVD and checking his e-mail with ease! This, however, is generally the extent of knowledge the average PC users has in regards to his or her PC. How many have booted their PC from an optical drive, partitioned their hard drive and installed an OS (Operating System) from scratch? A small percentage. The average PC user finds these tasks daunting and in the end simply refuses to try. It's too complicated! There is a risk I'll lose my data! Only a computer geek can install an OS! These are all common misconceptions.

    Take my hand, take a deep breath and in no time at all you will be the one the average PC user considers a computer geek, because you will have just installed Ubuntu Linux!

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    ISO Scared ...

    Don't be scared! I'm here with you and we are going to make sure both you and your data are safe! Lets begin our journey by visiting the Ubuntu Linux website to start the download of the Ubuntu Linux LiveCD which we will use to do our install. The link will open in a new window so you can start the download, simply pick your location, click Begin Download and choose a location to save the ISO image, then return to this guide so we can start to backup your data.

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    Backup Important Data

    Nero For the purposes of this guide I will assume you are planning on installing Ubuntu Linux as the only OS on your PC. With that being said, we will want to make sure we backup all your important data before we start. We will do this while your Ubuntu Linux Live CD is downloading in the background.

    The first thing we will want to do is decide what files we want to backup. This can include; e-mail, browser favorites, videos, music and it's generally a good idea to backup your entire /home folder on Linux or My Documents folder on Windows. What any particular user needs to backup before installing Ubuntu Linux generally depends on the user. A good rule of thumb is to start with your /home or My Documents folder and branch out from there as needed.

    There are literally hundreds of programs you can use to backup your data before installing Ubuntu Linux. Obviously we cannot discuss each and every program in this article but suffice to say any program designed for the purpose of backing up your data will generally get the job done.

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    Concluding our Installing Ubuntu Linux Guide we will finalize the backups of our important data, burn the Ubuntu Linux Install LiveCD and then take you step by step through the entire process of installing Ubuntu Linux. The most time consuming parts of Installing Ubuntu Linux will be the downloading of the LiveCD ISO and the backing up of your data: the actual Ubuntu Linux Install should take you less than 15 minutes!
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    Backup Important Data, Continued

    You may also choose to backup your data manually. Should you know exactly what data you want backed up, you can simply use your favorite burning program to backup this data to DVD. Keep in mind that, depending on the amount of data you want backed up, you may need several DVDs before you are done. These days though, DVDs run less than a buck a piece, so this shouldn't be a problem.

    Once you have your data backed up you can breathe a sigh of relief. Your data is safe and you now have a backup of your important files on DVD to store following your Ubuntu Linux install. At this point we are going to need that Ubuntu Linux LiveCD ISO we started to download in the previous section. As soon as the download has completed you can continue on with this guide. In the next section we will take that ISO image you downloaded and write it to CD or DVD.

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    Burning the Ubuntu Linux LiveCD

    Ubuntu Linux 9.04 LiveCD For this section you will need a writable CD or DVD and your favorite burning program. Simply insert your blank CD/DVD, fire up your burning program and write the image to disk. Keep in mind you will want to "write image to disk" from within your burning program. You are not copying this image to disk in it's current form, you are writing it to disk uncompressed, allowing you to boot from it. That's it! You are now ready to boot from your new Ubuntu Linux LiveCD and complete the install.

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    Booting the Ubuntu Linux LiveCD

    Most modern PCs will already be setup to boot from CD/DVD. Generally the boot order is CD/DVD drive and then your hard disks followed by any firewire and network drives. In most cases you can insert your newly burned Ubuntu Linux LiveCD, reboot your PC and your PC will detect and boot the LiveCD. In some cases you will have to make changes to your boot order in your BIOS. This only needs to be done if you are unable to boot the LiveCD because your CD/DVD drive is not set as the first boot device.

    If you need to make changes to your BIOS it is always a good idea to consult your hardware documentation just to be safe. The BIOS is a chip on your motherboard (mainboard) so that is the documentation you will be looking for, specifically what key to press during the booting of your PC to access the BIOS and how to change the drive boot order within the BIOS. Access your BIOS, change your boot order so that your CD/DVD drive is the first boot device, save changes and reboot. Your Ubuntu Linux LiveCD should now boot.

    You should now be at the Ubuntu Linux default desktop . Lets go ahead and install our Ubuntu Linux system!

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    The Ubuntu Linux Install - Step By Step

    Step #1: Double click the install icon .

    Step #2: Select your default language .

    Step #3: Select your default time zone .

    Step #4: Select your keyboard layout .

    Step #5: Prepare your hard drive for install. Please keep in mind that you only want to select the "Use Entire Disk" option if you have your data backed up and plan on having Ubuntu Linux as the only OS on your PC.

    Step #6: Create an account , password and give your computer a name.

    Step #7: Verify your install information and start the Ubuntu Linux install .

    The Ubuntu Linux install should complete in under 15 minutes and at that point you are ready to reboot your system , remove the LiveCD and login to your new Ubuntu Linux system!

    In part two of this series we are ready to take a look at the Ubuntu Linux default desktop.

The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Ubuntu Linux

If you've decided to make the switch to one of the world's most popular Linux distributions (Ubuntu), but are unsure where to start, you've come to the right place! In this guide I will introduce you to the basics of the Ubuntu Linux OS (operating system).
  1. Installing Ubuntu Linux
  2. The Ubuntu Linux Default Desktop
  3. Customize Your New Ubuntu Linux Desktop
  4. Ubuntu Linux: The Software
  5. Other GNOME Distributions and Additional Resources