Ubuntu – How to install Ubuntu on a computer without an OS on it?


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How do I install Ubuntu?

I'm trying to installing Windows 8 consumer preview on my laptop, but it doesn't work. So now I have no operating system in my laptop, and I'm trying to install Ubuntu on my laptop, but how?

Best Answer

How to install Linux in under 5 minutes with NixiePixel!

Like any normal installation, use an .iso:

When you install Ubuntu, you will do so via three main methods:

  1. A Bootable USB drive, how do I install this?
  2. A Bootable CD or DVD, how do I install this?*
  3. The wubi.exe installer, which will not be effective in your case

A .iso file is an installable file, which can be installed onto a disc - or in this case, a USB key.

If you already have one of these, you can review the next step. If not, follow this guide.

Booting from a USB or CD/DVD

This is a tricky step because many computers are made by many different manufacturers, so the steps will not be definite, but should still give you a general idea on how to do this.

Each computer comes with this thing called BIOS. It's job is to check that all your hardware and equipment is running, active and good to go. It is also BIOS' job to handle things like the booting of your computer, which is when the operating system begins to load. Before a Windows logo comes up, or a Linux logo or something like that - usually the manufacturer's logo will appear beforehand. This is when BIOS is doing it's work. For instance, most Dell computers have the Dell logo and a blue loading bar below it, and Compaq (HP) has a red screen with a Q in the middle. When this is there, theer may be some text in the bottom hand corners of the screen. They may say:

  • Boot Options Press F12
  • Press F5 BIOS

Or similar. So what you want to do is press whatever key you need to enter BIOS. This is usually Esc or F12. You want to initiate something labelled 'Boot Options' or 'Set Up' or 'BIOS' or similar. Keep in mind each manufacturer's BIOS is different.

When there, you will come to an (actually pretty scary looking) awkward computer-nerd looking screen. Note you cannot use your mouse in this screen and must use the arrow keys on your keyboard. Use the Left and Right arrow keys to navigate to a menu labeled BOOT, START UP, BOOT ORDER or something similar.

In this menu, you should have a list of the prioritized start-up methods. It is usually:

  1. HDD (Or 'Hard Drive'/'Hard Disk')
  2. CD/DVD
  3. USB
  4. Network

Or something very similar. If you can't see CD/DVD or USB in that list, your computer does not support booting that way (and basically there is nothing you can do about it. But don't fret: only computers made before 1970 would restrict such a thing. Computers before 1990 may not support USB booting, though.)

Depending on your manufacturer, this process may be different:

If you are editing in the BIOS: You should use your arrow keys and Enter to rearrange your boot order. If you have a disc, set CD/DVD to the first priority, if it's a USB you're using set the USB as the priority. Press Esc or navigate to the exit menu and save your changes!.
Tip: Read all the information on the BIOS screen, it will no doubt give you instructions on how to do this using your particular BIOS version.

If you are in the boot menu: Usually by using your Up and Down arrow keys, you should highlight your selection and press Enter to confirm your selection.
Tip: You will be able to tell if you're in the boot menu because there are no other menus, and by pressing Enter it will begin to boot.

If you are having trouble understanding, you can refer to this article with a nice couple of photos of different BIOS'.


Follow the prompts!

To answer your kind-of question, whether you have a currently have a OS installed or not doesn't actually matter. It only restricts the use of the wubi.exe installer which is launched in Windows. If you have a smaller computer which does not have CD drive, a USB drive is the best way to go and most newer computer support booting from USB.

Don't forget you can also purchase pre-made install discs for Ubuntu's official store!

Good Luck!

*- Ubuntu 12.04 will fit on CD and DVD, but 12.10 will fit on only DVD

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