Today I would like to show you how to do a clean install of Ubuntu Linux on your PC desktop or laptop.
Ubuntu is probably the easiest Linux distro to install and comes packed with fantastic free (Open Source) software, rock-solid stability, support and excellent documentation.
1: Remember that a clean install will overwrite your current operating system (ie. Windows) and your data (photos, video, music etc) unless you backup to another storage device before installing (and in a Linux compatible format). Windows Backup & Restore or System Recovery Discs are NOT compatible with Linux, you need to manually copy or move your files and data to the external storage device, like a USB flash drive or external hard drive (see below) before you begin the installation.
2: You will also need a DVD burner to (1) burn the ISO image to a blank DVD optical disc and then (2) to install Ubuntu. If your PC or laptop is no more than about 5 years old you should already have one, but if not you can buy a DVD burner for around $40-$50 dollars on eBay.
How to clean install Ubuntu (desktop release)
1: Download Ubuntu
First thing you need to do is download the ISO image from the official Ubuntu website, but before you do, we need to go through some important download options first…
- Ubuntu offer two versions: LTS or Latest Features, I recommend downloading the LTS (Long Term Support) version for obvious reasons (support!).
- 64-bit or 32-bit? To keep things simple and safe, if your desktop or laptop was built on or after 2012, download the 64-bit release, otherwise download the 32-bit release. You will need a minimum of 2GB RAM for the 64-bit release. If you don’t know how much RAM your computer has, download the 32-bit release.
The best way to download Ubuntu is via BitTorrent client, but you can also download directly using your web browser…
Recommended BitTorrent clients…
- Bittorrent (Win, MAC, Android)
- uTorrent (Win, MAC, Android, Linux)
- You can also compare BitTorrent clients on Wikipedia
2: Burn Ubuntu ISO to DVD disc
Once downloaded, you will need to burn the Ubuntu ISO image to DVD optical disc. Please note that burning an ISO image is not the same as burning regular data files or music, you will need to burn it as an image using one of the apps below, or you may already have software that came with your computer or DVDRW drive (ie. LG Burning Tool, Nero etc)
- ISO Recorder (Win, recommended)
- Free ISO Burner (Win)
- Windows Disc Image Burner (Built into Windows, link is also ISO burning guide)
- For Linux use k3b, cdrecord, growisofs etc
- For MAC use built-in disc burner Disk Utility
Visit my guide how to burn an ISO image to optical disc.
3: Backup your files and data
As I stated earlier, the Windows built-in backup systems are not satisfactory in that they are only compatible with Windows (Linux and MAC are not able to read them easily). To backup your files and data in a format that can be read by almost any operating system, you will need a USB flash drive or external hard drive that has the capacity to hold all your data, and formatted in FAT32.
Visit my guide on manual data & file backup (Windows).
4: Clean install Ubuntu
Ok now on to the clean installation of Ubuntu…
- Open your DVD drive and insert the newly burnt Ubuntu ISO disc. If your computer is off, turn it on and open the DVD drive, insert the disc, close the drive, then press and hold the power button until your PC turns off (ignore any on-screen instructions).
- Reboot or turn on your computer. Most computers will automatically detect the disc in your DVD drive and boot from it, but if you keep booting into your existing operating system (ie. Windows) you will need to access and change the boot menu in your BIOS to make the first boot device your DVD optical drive, hard drive second.
- Once you have your computer booting from the DVD drive, Ubuntu will load basic services and bring you to the main install screen (see below) which can take a while to show up so allow up to 5 minutes for lower spec computers.
From this point, follow the screenshots and written steps below to finish installing Ubuntu (click on first image to launch full-screen slideshow)…
Once you have rebooted you should now be on the Ubuntu desktop, congratulations!
Now you can explore the free and Open Source software available using the built-in Software Center (icon on left-pane) and customize the Ubuntu Unity Desktop.
If you have any questions or comments, be sure to leave them below as I answer all queries.