Ubuntu – Help, linux beginner! How to put ubuntu on usb and boot/install on a PC with blank harddrive


I wonder if someone can help me? I am fairly new to trying to actually understand and use computers myself rather than just buying whatever Windows/Mac wants me to! You will get a giggle from my flawed attempts anyway 🙂

I would like to start using Ubuntu on my PC, just got a new harddrive and did have a borrowed windows 7 disk as was planning to temporarily install it so i could get ubuntu. However I didn't have high enough spec hardware for win 7 (I think it is due to only 1gb ram, i do have 64 bit technology and a 1tb harddrive). I am quite happy to install 32 bit ubuntu and hear it is easier the use than 64 anyway.

So I have one other rubbish mini laptop (windows xp) which i am trying to use to get ubuntu onto a usb (laptop has no cd drive) so i can install it on the pc. First tried just downloading ubuntu 13.04 desktop onto a usb and trying to boot the pc from it which gave the message 'no operating system'. Then I tried this to create a bootable usb which sounded promising: http://www.pendrivelinux.com/universal-usb-installer-easy-as-1-2-3/ . However then it starting asking for my saucy desktop iso in order to install it onto the usb stick, can't really manage to find out what a saucy desktopp iso is, maybe a mirror image of an operating system, no idea why i would need that.

So in short, I'm lost. All I can think of is getting windows xp somewhere so i can get my pc to work and install ubuntu from the internet on that, or going to a friends house in the hope that creating a bootable cd is easier than creating a usb.

Sorry for my general ineptness and hope someone can help!

Best Answer

If you downloaded the correct file for installing Ubuntu, then the .iso is the same as the file itself that you downloaded, and you didn't need to extract anything from the archive. In order to make an Ubuntu bootable live USB you need to use the .iso file itself instead of a file or files from the contents of the archive that you extracted.

The instructions for preparing an Ubuntu live USB on Windows are found at the official Ubuntu How to create a bootable USB stick... webpage (see the step-by-step instructions below).

  1. Open Rufus and select your USB stick in the Device dropdown menu.

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  2. Click the CD-ROM icon next to the FreeDOS dropdown menu, then find your downloaded Ubuntu ISO and click Open and then Start.

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  3. Click Yes when it asks to download Syslinux software.

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  4. Click OK to write in ISO Image mode.

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  5. Confirm that your USB stick is selected and then click OK to continue. It is very important to verify that the device that you are installing the Ubuntu live USB to is indeed your flash drive, so that you don't overwrite any of your system or personal files which may make your operating system unbootable.

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  6. When it is finished, just restart your computer and start using Ubuntu, or you can install Ubuntu.

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In order to enable your computer to boot from the USB flash drive, you must enter your BIOS setup utility by pressing one of these keys: Delete, F2 or F10 as soon as the motherboard splash screen appears when the computer is booting. In the BIOS menu, you need to change the boot order so that the USB flash drive, which is usually called USB-HDD in newer computers, is the first entry in the boot sequence, and then save your new settings and exit the setup utility.

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