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Installing the Ubuntu O/S

The Ubuntu Installer

Once the Ubuntu boot disc starts, you will normally be given two choices:

  • "Try Ubuntu" : this allows you to run Ubuntu on your PC without installing anything - to see if you like it. However, Ubuntu does tend to run really slow directly from a Live CD/DVD, as all command must be loaded from the disc into memory every time they are accessed. It's useful to get a feel for working in the desktop

  • "Install Ubuntu" : this is the option to actually install Ubuntu onto your system and is the option we discuss at length in this chapter

[You can choose to] "Try Ubuntu" : this allows you to run Ubuntu on your PC without installing anything - to see if you like it

If you choose to "Try Ubuntu", you can install Ubuntu at any time by double clicking on the "Install Ubuntu x.x" icon:

install Ubuntu icon

The following dialogue box will display to allow you to choose the language used by the install wizard (-the default is english):

choose language

Click on the language you wish to use and then click "Forward". If you are using an old "live CD" version as a boot disc, you may see the following dialogue; just click "Forward" to continue:


Ubuntu warning

At the following dialogue, check the boxes to install the MP3 codecs (-if you'll be listening to music or podcasts on your PC) and to "Download updates while installing" (-which will update your system to the latest versions, even if you are running with an old boot disc), then click "Forward":

prepare to install

At the following dialogue, click the "Specify partitions manually (advanced)" radio button, then click "Install Now":

Note: If you are a novice user and find the instructions below for specifying the partitions are intimidating then do not worry: simply pick one of the first two options, click "Install Now" and the installation will begin!

If you are a novice user and find the instructions .. for specifying the partitions intimidating then do not worry: simply .. click "Install Now" and the installation will begin!

Note: if you selected to specify your partitions manually, then nothing will be installed yet - despite the button name

allocate drive space

If your PC already has something installed on it's hard drive(s), you'll want to select each partition you no longer require for deletion. Left click on each filesystem that you wish to delete and then click the "Delete" button: nothing will be deleted yet -and you will get a chance to back out later if you need to, before any changes are made.

Once you've selected all the partitions you want to delete, you'll see the free space listed as "Free Space" in the dialogue box.

Note: if you have sufficient free space, you can keep your existing partitions and just add the new ones specified in the next step. This is useful if you want to install Ubuntu to one drive but keep any other (data) drives intact

..you should now have enough free space listed to install Ubuntu: you'll need at least 10Gb minimum..

Hopefully, you should now have enough free space listed to install Ubuntu: you'll need at least 10Gb minimum for the following:

  • /boot : (100Mb) this is the boot sector for Ubuntu. You can get away with 50Mb, but you'll need to do some housekeeping in order to install a new version on Linux with the boot sector this small

  • swap : this is the equivalent of the Windows Page File and should be set to the size of the RAM in your machine (e.g. to 2Gb if you have 2Gb of RAM)

  • / : (at least 3Gb) this is where the Linux O/S and any applications you install will go, so you'll want to leave plenty of room for expansion here

  • /home : (whatever you need) this is where all the user files and data will go. If you'll be storing video, photos or music, you'll want to make this big enough to cope

Note: if you get the sizings wrong, Linux will allow to extend any filesystem easily, but not to shrink it (-without losing the data on it) at any point in the future

Assuming you have enough free space available (-if not, then delete something else until you do) left click on the "Free Space" entry you want to use then click the "Add" button:

allocate drive free space

Note: in the example above, the free space is listed as 64Gb on a one disc (-which is selected to host the new partition) and 300Gb on a second disc, which remains unused

A new dialogue box should open up entitled "Create a new partition". Firstly, let's set up the /boot filesystem by entering the following:

  • Type : Primary
  • Size : 100
  • Location : Beginning
  • Use as : Ext4
  • Mount point : /boot

allocate /boot drive

The new /boot filesystem will then be listed in the main window. Click back on the "free space" and then click the "Add" button again to create the second partition:

new /boot FS listing

This time, enter the following:

  • Type : Logical
  • Size : 2048 (Note: set this to the size of your installed RAM)
  • Location : Beginning
  • Use as : swap

The new 2Gb swap filesystem will then be listed in the main window. Click back on the "free space" and then click the "Add" button to create the next partition:

swap FS listing

Enter the following:

  • Type : Logical
  • Size : (however big you want it: it should be > 3072Mb though)
  • Location : Beginning
  • Use as : ext4
  • Mount point : /

allocate / (root) FS

The new / (root) filesystem will then be listed in the main window.

Finally create the filesystem where all your data (user files) will be held by entering the following:

  • Type : Logical
  • Size : (however big you want it)
  • Location : Beginning
  • Use as : ext4
  • Mount point : /home

Once completed, double check you see the following partitions specified:

  • /boot : the boot sector for Linux
  • swap : the swap file (-same size as your RAM)
  • / : the Linux root filesystem, where the O/S resides
  • home : the user filesystem where all user files reside

Once you're happy, click on "Install Now" to continue the installation:

final FS list

You should see the following dialogue display: type in your physical location (-use the nearest city) then click "Forward":

install now

Next, choose your keyboard layout then click "Forward":

pick keyboard layout

In the next dialogue box, you will be prompted for the following:

  • Your Name : Free format - however you want yourself to be referred to
  • Pick a username : the username you wish to use
  • Choose a password : input your desired logon password
  • Require my password to log in : checked4
  • Encrypt my home folder : checked if you will be storing sensitive data under /home

When completed, click "Forward":

Who are You? dialogue list

The installation will now begin. It will take some time to complete:

Welcome screen

Once the installation completes, you'll see the following dialogue box. Click "Restart Now" to reboot and complete the installation:

Reboot Request dialogue

The machine will drop out of graphics mode and you'll see a lot of scrolling text. After a short while, you will be asked to remove the boot disc and to press the ENTER key to reboot:

Command Line Rebooting

The machine will reboot, start the Gnome GUI and (if everything went well) display the Ubuntu login page! Type in the username and password that you entered during the installation to display the desktop.


Partial Upgrades

You may find that, upon logging in to Ubuntu for the first time, you are asked if you'd like to run a "Partial Upgrade" to bring your computer up to the latest version of the O/S. This is normally the case if the installation boot disc was not completely up to date. If you are thus prompted, make sure you are connected to the internet and then click "OK" to accept the upgrade.

You may find.. you are asked if you'd like to run a "Partial Upgrade".. This is normally the case if the installation boot disc was not completely up to date..

You will then be asked if you would like to begin the upgrade now: click on the "Start Upgrade" button to begin. A new dialogue box will open up, showing you the progress of the upgrade, which generally has the following steps and timings:

  • Preparing to upgrade: this should be a matter of seconds

  • Getting new packages: this can take 10-15 minutes

  • Installing the upgrades: this can take 10-15 minutes

  • Cleaning up: this should be a matter of seconds

Following this, your O/S should be fully up to date!


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