Ubuntu is a linux operating system based off of Debian. It is my personal favorite distribution of linux. While Ubuntu is a great operating system, it can create some issues for both new and advanced linux users. This instructable is to help demystify Ubuntu and give you some things to get started correctly.
I have been a Ubuntu user for around 3 years now. I have been playing with it since 2008, but I have recently been using it as my main operating system. I have experienced a few glitches over the years, but Ubuntu is by far one of the best OS's if you have the right hardware and setup.
Now I am using Ubuntu for most of my school work and all of my audio and video processing and editing. Ubuntu works amazingly well on my 7-year-old Dell laptop. If you have a newer computer, it will run wonderfully.
For this instructable, you will need:
A Blank CD
A CD Burner
A Hardrive big enough to hold Ubuntu
This particular instructable is for Ubuntu 11.04. The things in this 'ible should work across most versions of Ubuntu, but I cannot guarantee that. In Ubuntu 11.04, a few things changed from the older versions of the OS.
If you don't feel comfortable doing this, invite a computer-savy friend over to help you out a little. Enjoy a glass of lemonade with your friend and have a wonderful time installing your new OS. I am not responsible if you mess up your computer. You either did something wrong, or you didn't follow my instructions correctly. I highly recommend you back up your computer on an external hard drive in case your computer loses power during the install or you accidentally mess something up.
There are many ways to install ubuntu other than the CD method. There is another instructable that discusses the Wubi method. I have no experience with that kind of install, but I hear that it is much simpler. You may want to consider Wubi if you are uncomfortable editing a few settings on your computer.
Step 1: Install
The first part of the process to Ubuntu nirvana is downloading the OS. At ubuntu.com, you can download the operating system (aka ubuntu.) On the web page, there will be a link to the most recent version of Ubuntu. Download it and burn it to a CD as an ISO disk, it will not work if you burn it as a data disk. Ubuntu.com has in-depth instructions for installation and burning if you need more help.
The install process is a bit simpler than you might think. First, you need to make sure that your BIOS boots to CD before your hard drive. To edit your BIOS settings, go to http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ss/bootorderchange.htm and follow the instructions.
After changing the boot order of your computer, you need to turn off your computer and insert the CD. After you turn on the computer, it will take a few minutes for the installation to begin. Just wait. Don't turn off your computer, it shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes or so and it only took about a minute and a half on my computer.
After playing the waiting game, you will be prompted to install immediately or to try Ubuntu out first. I recommend that you try it out first. When you are trying out Ubuntu, you will see if it is compatable with your computer, this is important. Ubuntu doesn't support some pieces of hardware. By trying it out first, you can see if it is compatable with your hardware. When you try it out, you should connect to the internet, try some basic functions, and see if you have sound. If all of these work, you should be okay to begin the install.
The first few prompts are really easy. Just fill them out. Make sure your keyboard layout is okay and follow the instructions. If you are trying to dual-boot (running Ubuntu in conjunction with Windows, Mac, or another OS), you may need to partition your hard drive. Ubuntu needs at least four gigs for itself (I recommend at least 10 gigs, 20 or more if you are going to use Ubuntu as a main operating system) and a 1-2 gig swap file. Partition your drive and assign the partitions to the proper functions (storing the OS or swap).
Follow the rest of the instructions and wait for the install. It may take up to 2 hours to fully install. Make sure that you DO NOT unplug your computer AT ANY TIME during the install, you may screw up your computer and I am not responsible for that.
After the install, connect to the internet and download and install all the updates. There are no pictures for this step because there isn't really anything to take a picture of......