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How to Install Ubuntu on a Computer With No Operating System

by Al Bondigas

Although a computer needs an operating system to work, it may be cheaper to buy one that does not have an operating system already installed. Other than the potential cost difference, a PC with an empty hard drive gives you the chance to install your own operating system and customize your computer the way you want. If you have a new computer with no operating system installed, or a used one with the hard drive wiped clean, you can install Ubuntu from a live CD. When booting directly from a live Ubuntu CD, you are bypassing the hard drive and using the Ubuntu system on the CD-ROM instead.

Step 1

Download or order a live CD from the Ubuntu website. If you download Ubuntu, use another computer to burn the downloaded .iso file to a CD as an ISO image. Check under the Tools menu of your CD burner and use the command for "Burn CD image." You can also order a live CD through the Ubuntu website (see Resources).

Step 2

Insert the Ubuntu live CD into the CD-ROM bay and boot up the computer.

Step 3

Select "Try" or "Install" in the first dialog box, depending on whether you wish to test-drive Ubuntu. If you choose the latter, double-click on the "Install Ubuntu" when you are ready.

Step 4

Choose a language for your installation and Click on "Forward."

Step 5

Select your time zone and press "Forward."

Step 6

Choose a keyboard layout. The standard U.S. English QWERTY keyboard will be USA/USA. Click "Forward" when done.

Step 7

Choose your partitioning layout. If you are installing Ubuntu on a computer hard drive that has no operating system, select "Erase and use entire disk." Press "Forward" when done.

Step 8

Select "ext3" for a file system under the Use As dialog. Click in the checkbox by Format, and then choose "/" for the mount point.

Step 9

Type in your real name, then a username--the default is your first name in lowercase. Choose a password and type it into the two boxes provided.

Step 10

Click "Install" and wait for Ubuntu to install itself. This will take at least a half hour.

Click "Restart Now." The computer will reboot into your new Ubuntu installation.

Tips

  • The installation process will take some time, particularly on an old system. If you're test-driving Ubuntu, shut down your other programs before installing.
  • Ubuntu will run much faster when installed to the hard drive than from the live CD.

Warning

  • If you're accustomed to using Windows, there may be a learning curve with using Ubuntu.

Items you will need

  • Ubuntu live CD

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