Installing Ubuntu on the hard disk

If the Live-CD runs just fine on your machine, you may wish to install Ubuntu on the hard disk. First, a note of caution. Many of the sets of instructions available on the Internet – and even the default settings for the installation routine – offer to install Ubuntu using the entire hard disk. If you wish to maintain your Windows’ system, and install Linux in a dual-boot mode, be sure to heed the warnings that using the entire hard disk will destroy any operating system and data files that are currently present on the drive. You will lose your Windows’ system, and any associated applications and data files, and end up with only a brand new Linux system on the drive!

If you want to maintain the ability to boot into both Windows and Linux, be sure to select a suitable option for partitioning the disk. You will want Linux to be installed on a separate disk partition from that currently occupied by Windows. Be aware that different versions of Ubuntu Linux have different installation routines and, in particular, different options for the disk partitioning scheme. So, pay attention to the choices offered!

The Ubuntu 10.04 installer has an option to “Install them side by side, choosing between them at each startup”. This option will maintain separate disk partitions for Windows and Linux, and create a boot menu that will allow the operating system to be selected when the computer is powered up.

Another useful option, if you have unused (unallocated) disk space, is to select “Use the largest continuous free space”. Since this space is currently not being used by Windows, it is an excellent place to install Linux.

If there is no free space on the disk, you can use a disk partitioning utility such as Gparted, the Gnome Partition Editor, (http://gparted.sourceforge.net/) to resize the current Windows’ partition, and make it smaller.  This creates a block of free disk space for use with above-noted option to use the available free space.  However, it is best to create the block of unused disk space before starting the Ubuntu installation process.  Gparted comes with most Ubuntu distribution CD’s, but can also be downloaded and burnt to a stand-alone, bootable CD. Occasionally, this is a useful tool to have at hand.

Finally, if you have a previous version of Ubuntu installed in a disk partition and you wish to replace this with a new version, you can use the manual partitioning option. First, delete the existing Linux partition (usually ext3 or ext4) and the associated swap partition, and then re-establish a root (/) partition and a swap area for the installation of the new version of Ubuntu.

Apart from the intricacies of disk partitioning, the actual installation process is quite simple, consisting of a wizard with five main screens. You just select a time zone (for the system clock), a keyboard layout, the disk partitioning scheme, a username (this must begin with a lower case character, e.g. john not John) and password. Finally, you review the selections before authorizing the installation process to commence.

Now, press the Install key, sit back and relax. The installation is fully automatic from this point on.

References:

Installing Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Installing-Ubuntu-10-04-LTS-141550.shtml

How to install Ubuntu : The Ubuntu Installation Guide
http://seogadget.co.uk/the-ubuntu-installation-guide/

How to dual-boot Vista with Linux (Vista installed first) —
the step-by-step guide with screenshots
http://apcmag.com/how_to_dualboot_vista_with_linux_vista_installed_first.htm

Exploring Linux – Part 4
http://opcug.ca/public/Reviews/linux_part4.htm

Exploring Linux – Part 7
http://opcug.ca/public/Reviews/linux_part7.htm

Exploring Linux – Part 12
http://opcug.ca/public/Reviews/linux_part12.htm

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