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Installing Ubuntu the easy way

May 31st, 2007

About a month ago I decided to give Ubuntu ( a very popular distribution of Linux) a go and try it out to see what all the fuss is about. Since I am a big fan of virtualization I decided that I would use Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 to minimize the risk. I could then install it without any chance of messing up my main Windows machine. After a bit of work, I managed to create an Ubuntu Virtual PC and almost everything worked ok.

The main issue I had was that it wouldn’t recognise my sound card on my home pc which was pretty annoying since I couldn’t listen to music or watch a dvd etc. I was convinced that the issue was with Ubuntu so I spent a while reinstalling ALSA drivers and all of sorts of Linux commands but to no avail.

I also download a VMWare Ubuntu Image in order to test that but my sound card still was not detected. While I enjoyed working with Ubuntu I wasn’t completely happy with no sound so I investigated further. I ran the Ubuntu Live CD on my home pc and I was surprised to see that my sound card was actually recognised then. So, it turned out to be the virtualization technology that could not recognize my sound card and not Ubuntu. So this left me with only one solution, install Ubuntu on my PC and dual boot with Windows XP.

I didn’t want to take the chance with the full Ubuntu install while trying to protect my Windows XP setup. The thought of partitioning my drive and messing with boot loaders didn’t really inspire me with confidence. I had come across Wubi a while back on Lifehacker and I decided to give it a try. Wubi allows you to install Ubuntu from within Windows using a familiar Windows installer interface and if you ever want to remove Ubuntu you can just run the uninstaller from within Windows. Pretty neat.

Below I describe step by step how to install Ubuntu using Wubi:

1. Make a backup of any important files on your PC. (Just in case)

2. I recommend downloading the Ubuntu (Alternate) ISO file seperately, the Wubi installer will do this for you but that is just my preference. If you do download the ISO seperately, then just place it in the same folder as the Wubi installer and it will be detected automatically.
Note: Wubi uses the Alternate ISO, available at http://ftp.ussg.iu.edu/linux/ubuntu-releases/feisty/

3. Run the Wubi Installer, and you will see the following screen. (Don’t click Next yet)

wubi-main

4. Before you do anything, click on the Settings button and modify the settings based on your preferences. Since Wubi installs your Ubuntu system to a virtual disk file you can could which drive to install it on. Don’t worry it doesn’t do any partitioning or anything.

wubi-advanced

System Size: This will be size of your system disk where all Ubuntu applications will be installed to, if you plan of installing plenty of software then you will need to allow plenty of space for this drive.
Home Size: This is the size of your local folder where you personal preferences are stored.
Swap Size: This is the size that you wish to allocate to your swap file ( if you don’t know what this is then leave it at the default).
Installtion Drive: This is the drive where you want to intall the Ubuntu virtual disk drives to, it shows the space that you will have remaining on that drive based on your settings.
Keyboard: Your keyboard preference
Desktop Environment: Choose Ubuntu

Once you are happy with your settings, click the Next button.

5. Enter your preferred language, username and password and click Next

The installer will proceed to install the necessary support files prior to the Ubuntu installation.

6. When prompted to reboot, then choose Reboot Now and click Finish.

wubi-reboot

7. Once you PC reboots, the actual Ubuntu installation will begin.

8. Proceed with the installation selecting defaults where you are unsure of the selection.

9. When you boot up your computer from now onwards you will be given the option to choose either Windows XP or Ubuntu.

The installation went very smooth for me and now I am happily using Ubuntu for web browsing, watching DVDs, listening to music, blogging, etc.
There is the odd time that I have to boot into Windows to use some application for which I don’t have an equivalent in Ubuntu.

I plan to do a few more posts in the near future about Ubuntu v’s Windows XP (application by application) and also some posts about writing .NET code from within Ubuntu using the Mono Project.

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  1. Sean
    September 16th, 2007 at 18:59 | #1

    Hi,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    a) Boot into Windows and take a look at the file X:wubibootgrubmenu.lst where X is the drive where you installed it. See if there is anything pointing to the incorrect location. It may have something to do with the fact that you have installed it on a drive other than C. I installed Ubuntu on C and didn’t have this problem.

    b) Ubuntu is gui based. It is really easy to use and a very good user interface. You will enjoy it once you get over the problem.

    Hope that helps.

  2. free2useemail
    January 4th, 2008 at 00:55 | #2

    I am about to try it. I downloaded the Ubuntu installer today, and I got home, and started it up, but it wanted to download Ubuntu. This would be OK, but I don’t have internet on my computer. Anyway, I hope this works. I am really getting annoyed with this ISO stuff. Everyone tells me that you have to download this LiveCD with ISO, and IT WILL BOOT RIGHT UP. Well, it has not for me, so I hope this will work better.

    Question: It will reconise my CDs when running Ubuntu right, because the only way that I can install programs for Ubuntu is by downloading it on another PC and putting it on my flash drive, then installing it to Ubuntu.

    Question 2: (email me about this) I know for a fact my graphic card will run the special effects, but I have been using VirtualBox program, which is letting me run it from CD, but NO animations, will this be faster and more graphical even thought it is a virtual machine?

  3. January 4th, 2008 at 10:57 | #3

    Hi,
    Thanks for stopping by. You can install this on a machine without an internet connection, if you read Step 2 above again it explains how to do it.

    Answer to Question 1:
    If you install Ubuntu to your harddrive (using Wubi) then your CD drive will be free and you can load on software using CDs.

    Answer to Question 2:
    When I ran Ubuntu using a virtualized environment (both VMware and MS Virtual PC) i ran into some hardware detection issues. Only when I installed Ubuntu on my harddrive did everything work ok. I would say to try the install and you should be able to use the graphical interface and it should be faster as well. If it doesn’t work out then the Wubi installer allows you to easily unintall.

    Let me know if you need more info.
    – Sean

  4. May 6th, 2009 at 02:29 | #4

    Sean:
    Hello to another Deasy! About ten years ago I was in Clonakilty and met a Sean Deasy who worked in the library. We went to his house and met the entire family. Is that Sean you?
    If so, Hello! If not, hello, too.
    I’ve been researching the Deasys for many years and have tried to find our link back to Ireland. Any Deasys in Bandon that you know of? I think my GGGrandfather came from Bandon in 1848–named Charles Cone Deasy. Ring a bell?
    Thanks!
    Hope to hear something from you sometime.
    Steve
    Nashville, Tennessee, USA

  5. Rick
    September 28th, 2009 at 20:36 | #5

    Installed 9.0.4 with Wubi – everything seems to work except sound! have went through all the HOWTOs for stopping/starting/etc. ALSA, etc. appears some files may not have been loaded/are corrupt/etc. Have been advised to backup my Ubuntu files and then do a reload – therein, lies my problem

    I AM A NEWB – how does one do a backup of the files? What files do I need to backup, etc. Can I just save the backed up files to a USB stick and then reload my settings?

    BTW – really do like Ubuntu, except for not having sound! Sure wish there was a restore function or reload function kind of like within XP, where you insert the disk and you get to chose what to reload!

    Any and all help appreciated – need step-by-step instructions

  6. September 29th, 2009 at 09:12 | #6

    Hi Rick,
    Thanks for stopping by.
    You would only need to backup any of your personal data, like any music you copied into Ubuntu or documents you created. If you have only installed Ubunutu and haven’t created any personal which needs to be backed up then if you go back into Windows and using Wubi you can uninstall and start the process over.
    If you do have personal files that you need to back up then you can copy them to a usb drive. Best thing to run nautilus which is a file manage, locate the files and copy them to the usb drive, similar to using Windows Explorer.

    I agree not having sound in Ubuntu is not much fun, hopefully you will sort it out soon. 🙂

  7. November 12th, 2010 at 15:17 | #7

    Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

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