For some years now, ubuntu distributions have exceeded 700 MB in size, requiring DVD burning. If we do not want to "burn" a DVD for the installation or, above all, if we find ourselves with a netbook which are without readers, all we need is a small USB key from 2 GB to create an image and perform the installation as per DVD.
Please note: this installation guide was made using Kubuntu! Apart from some graphic differences, the procedure is more or less identical. The downloads of the distribution and the tools are at the end of the article
As for Windows 8, read instead this guide
Before starting we must choose which one distribution (derived from Ubuntu) download. There are many, and for all needs. The biggest differences are in thegraphic environment and in 'resource utilization: some distributions (see lubuntu) offer excellent performance even on older computers. As for the graphic part, each distribution can be customized to your liking: Ubuntu, Kubuntu e Xubuntu use respectively Unity, KDE e XFCE as graphic environments but it is possible to remove them and change them with these or other environments such as GNOME, LXDE and many others.
After choosing the distribution we prefer, we must choose whether to download the 32 or 64 bit version, depending on our processor. The 32 bit version also works on 64 bit processors, with the difference that it can only use up to 4 GB of RAM. If in our PC we had for example 8 GB of RAM, a distribution to 32 bit (of any operating system) will use at most 4 (even if they are much more than enough for a normal use of ubuntu).
USB flash drive preparation
In order for our distribution to start from a USB key we have two tools available: UNetbootin for Linux, Windows and Mac and LiLi (Linux Live) USB Creator for Windows:
With UNetbootin, we can directly download the distribution - and the version - that we prefer directly from the program by choosing "Distribution", or alternatively choose the path of the ISO we downloaded by choosing "Disk Image" and pressing the button with the 3 dots. At the bottom you have to choose the size reserved for the files and what to use to create the boot, in our case "USB Drive" and the path, which in the image is "G:" but obviously could be different from PC to PC. Finally we press "OK" to start creating the image on the stick.
Please note: through this tool, problems were encountered during the start of the installation due to lack of a file. They are probably due to incorrectly formatting the USB stick, but in my opinion it is worth using the next tool, LiLi.
LiLi Usb Creator
LiLi, with more intuitive graphics, allows us to create our ubuntu live in 5 simple steps, a traffic light will light up green for each step set.
- You need to select the USB stick
- We must select the path of our image: ISO if we have downloaded the image, CD if we want to create an Ubuntu live that is on CD or Download to choose which Linux distribution to download directly from LiLi
- Persistence: as with UNetbootin we can choose to create a space on the stick where the data, files and settings will be saved for each live boot (ie in test, without installation) of Ubuntu. So, if for example during the live use of ubuntu we download a photo or change the background, these would be saved in this space, so that at the next start they are still there. The size you are going to put will therefore depend on the use you want to make of it.
- Here we must choose if:
- hide the files that will be written to the stick during the creation of the live;
- format the key in FAT32, deleting all the data present (Recommended);
- enable the live start in Windows. Requires internet
- Last step, or press the lightning to start the creation. I advise you not to change the options that appear when you press the "OPTIONS" button
Boot from USB
To install from USB, you must first enter the BIOS and set up booting from USB. The key to enter the BIOS is not the same on all PCs, but it is usually the key Canc for stationary computers and a function key (F1, F2, F3, ..., F12) for laptops, in my case (Acer) F2. However, it will be displayed at start up which button you need to press to access the BIOS.
Once inside (even here it is different for each PC) you have to go to the tab avvio moving with the arrow keys, where we find a numbered list that indicates which unit has priority during start-up. It is obvious that yours will be there hard disk in first position, below you will find CD-Rom, USB and maybe also floppy (not in that order!) if the PC is old. You have to make sure that USB comes first. In my case just move to USB and move it to the first position with the function keys. In other cases, by sending, a list opens and you just have to choose the unit. After that, we save (in most Bios with F10). Anyway, somewhere on the screen will show instructions, i.e. which keys to press on the keyboard to select, move, save, exit and so on.
Once the USB boot has been set, insert the flash drive and restart the PC. If everything is correct we will see written scroll on the monitor until it starts in graphic mode where we will choose, first of all the language e Install (Test if we just want to try or use Ubuntu without installing it).
In the next step we have to choose whether to install the plug-in third-party to play movies, mp3, etc and if we want to download updates during installation. I recommend selecting both.
Please note: if the PC is not connected to the network LAN but to a password-protected Wi-Fi network, it is not possible to immediately select the download of updates, but you must first go on to Network to set the Wi-Fi connection password and then go back and select updates.
Now let's get to the part more important, or how and where to install Ubuntu. We can choose to install next to Windows automatically, to delete and use the entire disk or a manual installation. Consiglio manual installation, since we can choose the size of the disks, repartition those of Windows (if present) and create different points for Ubuntu that will facilitate subsequent installations. The guide explains dual booting with Windows, so let's select Manual and go ahead, we wait for the loading of the partitions.
In my case the disc looked like this:
1 partition with Windows
1 data partition
0 MB of available space for further installations
So it was necessary: repartition one of the partitions, create the Ubuntu partitions, determine the points of mount of each partition.
To change the size of a partition, just select the one in question and press modification. At this point we must choose the dimensions THAT THE OLD PARTITION MUST HAVE. That is: suppose we have a partition A from 200 GB. From this we want a second partition B to be: A = 150 GB and B = 50 GB. We then select A and pressing on change we insert the number of the dimension we want, or 150 GB (150000 MB). So our old partition will switch from 200 GB to 150 GB and a new one (B) will be created from 50 GB.
For Ubuntu you have to create everything 3 partitions.
The Ubuntu partitions
To facilitate the use of Ubuntu we need to create 3 partitions. One for the area of swap, one for data (home) and settings, one for the operating system (/).
The swap area is used to hibernate and / or suspend the PC and is especially necessary in older PCs with little RAM. You need to create this partition with a size of 1,5-2 times the RAM. For example, if we have 512 MB of RAM, we create the 1 GB swap area. For more modern PCs, just create it with the same RAM size -> 4 GB of RAM = 4 GB of swap.
The home separate from the operating system is used to save all our data, without creating backup every time you need to update or format the PC (in subsequent installations it is sufficient to reinstall the system in "/" without having to touch anything else). The size depends on the individual user and the amount of data to be saved. If we use a dedicated data partition, we can also set a "small" size ranging from 10 to 20 GB.
The last one is the partition where ubuntu is installed, "/". It doesn't have to be too large, it depends on the distribution. Overcoming 10 GB is a waste.
Mount points determine how the partition works. In Windows partitions we have to make sure we use / Windows and choose to use as NTFS, the same for data partitions, where we can use the mount point / DOS otherwise the installation will not proceed. Let's make sure that the item is NOT ticked Formatta.
For Ubuntu partitions we must use swap area for the swap partition. / Home for the partition where the data and settings will be saved while using Ubuntu, tick Formatta and choose to use the partition as ext4 with journaling. The position must be logic. To install Ubuntu instead you need to use "/”As a mount point, and as for home check mark format and choose to use as ext4 with journaling. The location should be primary.
The partitions should be similar to these
For more information on partitions, read here. In short, the primaries are used for startup and data and can be at most 4 (sda1, sda2, sda3, sda4) per disk, the logics up to 62. Windows requires partitions primary in order to work, Ubuntu on the other hand can work well even on partitions logics as in my case.
UNetbootin | Download
LiLi | Download