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CD And USB Installation Guide

Ubuntu 11.10 Review: Benchmarked Against Windows 7

The installation procedure is mostly the same as it was in Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal', with just a few changes to the graphics, an accessibility menu, and one new optional step. However, these articles attract a lot of new faces, so we can't everyone already has experience installing Ubuntu every six months. So, let's quickly recap the installation procedure.

First, choose which installation method you want to use: CD, USB stick, or Windows installer (we'll go into more depth on the Windows installer on the next page).

Ubuntu Download PageUbuntu Download Page

If you choose the CD or USB-based flash drive method, decide between the 32-bit or 64-bit versions. Let your hardware dictate this one. In other words, grab a 64-bit copy if you have more than three gigabytes of system memory.

Once the ISO file is done downloading, burn it to a CD using your favorite CD burning software or create a bootable flash drive. While there are multiple methods for getting an ISO file to boot from a USB stick, we prefer UNetbootin. This application works for most Linux distributions, is free and open source software (FOSS), and runs on all three major PC platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux).

Regardless of whether you burn a CD or create a bootable USB stick, the next step is to make sure your BIOS is set to boot from the right input device. If you burned a CD, you'll be greeted with the option to Try Ubuntu or Install Ubuntu.

CD Selection ScreenCD Selection Screen

Choosing Install Ubuntu begins the installation wizard. Choosing Try Ubuntu takes you to the live desktop environment. If, on the other hand, you went with UNetbootin and the USB-based media, you're automatically sent to the live desktop.

Ubuntu 11.10 Live DesktopUbuntu 11.10 Live Desktop

From there, you can start the installation wizard at any time from either the desktop or Launcher shortcuts labeled Install Ubuntu 11.10.

After language selection, the next step is to make sure your system has at least 4.5 GB of hard drive space and an active Internet connection. You may also choose to Download updates while installing Ubuntu and Install third-party software on this screen.

Installation: PreparationInstallation: Preparation

The updates are going to happen one way or another, either now or after the installation, so unless your Internet connection is tiered, taxed, or throttled, there's no reason not to get them out of the way. We highly recommend checking the box for third-party software as well. This includes codecs for MP3 and DVD playback, as well as Flash and other non-FOSS modern day necessities.

The next step is to determine how Ubuntu is installed. This page will be different depending on the what is currently on the drive targeted for installation. If the target drive is blank, the options will be to Erase disk and install Ubuntu or Something Else. If the drive has a copy of Windows (XP, Vista, or 7) installed on it, the options will be Install Ubuntu alongside Windows, Replace Windows with Ubuntu, or Something Else. If the drive already has an older version of Ubuntu installed (for instance, the most recent LTS release), the options will be Install Ubuntu 11.10 alongside Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS, Upgrade Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS to 11.10, Erase Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS and reinstall, or Something Else.

Blank DriveBlank DriveWindows 7 InstalledWindows 7 InstalledUbuntu 10.04 LTS InstalledUbuntu 10.04 LTS Installed

These options are pretty self-explanatory. Choosing any of them except for Something Else results in a slider on the next screen that lets you decide how much space to allocate for the new Ubuntu installation.

Full Drive InstallationFull Drive InstallationDual Boot InstallationDual Boot Installation

Choosing Something Else opens the advanced partitioner.

Advanced Partition EditorAdvanced Partition Editor

From here, you can manually partition the drive, choose the file system, and assign mount points.

Next is the obligatory timezone selection, followed by keyboard layout.

Time Zone SelectionTime Zone SelectionKeyboard Layout SelectionKeyboard Layout Selection

Now it's time to fill out personal information. Inputting your full, real name in the Your name: field automatically populates the Your computer's name: field with the first name given and the motherboard or system model number of your PC. Likewise, the Pick a username: field defaults to the first name you entered in the Your name: field. However, all of these fields are independently configurable. A password must be chosen and confirmed (the strength of the password appears to the right of the Choose a password: field). Towards the bottom of the screen, there is the choice to Log in automatically or Require my password to login, as well as the option to Encrypt my home folder.

User Information - BlankUser Information - BlankUser Information - CompleteUser Information - Complete

If your system has an integrated or plugged-in webcam, a new extra step appears during installation. Here you can choose to take a photo of yourself using the device. This photo is used as your avatar throughout your newly-installed copy of Ubuntu 11.10. Alternatively, you can simply pick one of the pre-existing avatars. The selection here is the usual offerings: astronaut, butterfly, cat, dog, chess pieces, and so on.

User Photo/Avatar SelectionUser Photo/Avatar Selection

All there is left to do now is watch the installation slideshow and learn a little bit about Oneiric Ocelot in the process. The screenshot below contains all ten of the updated installation slides for anyone interested.

Ubuntu 11.10 Installation SlidesUbuntu 11.10 Installation Slides

Upon completion, the installer either forces you to restart or gives you the option to Continue testing in the live environment.

If you do not want to go over the procedure for the Windows installer, feel free to skip the next page.

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