Introduction: Upgrade From Windows to Ubuntu

Picture of Upgrade From Windows to Ubuntu

Turbo charge your computer! Make it run like the wind! Own a computer faster than a speeding bullet! :p :p not really, but it will be like you just bought a new computer... well not really, not with windows vista. IT WILL BE SOO MUCH FASTER!!!

note: I am not resposible for anything that happens to you or your computer, do this at your own risk. However, after saying that, I have not had trouble installing ubuntu ever, except on an external hard drive. Don't do that... very hard to clean up from :D

Step 1: Why?

Why would you want to upgrade to ubuntu? I can list four reasons off the top of my head:

1. It's faster
2. It's free
3. Everything you will ever need for it is free
4. Something to do when your bored

Step 2: What You Need

To make this upgrade, there are a few things you will need

-A computer... It should be moderately fast, not too old. I am running ubuntu on a 5 year old computer... it's got a 200 gig hd, you only need a few gigs, it has 512 megs of ram, that's good enough you don't want to be too much below that, and a 3 ghz processor but don't worry, you wont need that much power at all.
-Internet. You will definitely want this, and the faster the better
-A ubuntu live cd, you can download it from, don't download the server edition. To burn this properly, you are hopefully on a windows machine. Download an iso burner, I used this one: . It works fine, but if you are on a mac or any other os, just download a different iso burner.
-TONS of patience... this can get very frustrating

Step 3: Now What?

Picture of Now What?

Now that you have the live cd, pop it into your computer. It should boot up from the cd, but if it doesn't, mess around with your bios. It should be set to boot from the cd drive first. You will see a screen with an option on the top to start or install ubuntu. Press enter, but don't worry, it's only doing the starting part. Once it boots up, which will be a slow on an older computer, there will be a screen that looks like the image above. You can try ubuntu out, but then double click on the install button.

Step 4: Follow Directions

Picture of Follow Directions

Follow the directions with the installer until you get to the partitioning part, or the part where it looks like the image below. If you have a computer with nothing that you want on the hard drive, including operating systems, select guided-use entire disk. If you have stuff on your hard drive, use guided-resize..... but you are going to want to move the bar because the orange is how much the other partition will have, and the white is how much space ubuntu will have. So, to put that into english, the number above the bar is how big the other partition will have.

Step 5: Customizing It!

Ok, now that ubuntu is installed, ( I assume you followed the directions in the installer so it is installed correctly) you can customize it. You can modify the bars, make them look good, install themes or anything. To install a theme, go to or any other site, and download a theme to your desktop, and drag it into the theme section in appearance. (System, preferences, appearance). Themes are the GTK 2.X tap on the side of the website, but i prefer to use the metacity themes because they only modify around the window.

Step 6: Debugging/installing

Ok, when I installed this on my computer I ran into various problems, but I fixed them all in a day. The most annoying problem I had was I could not run the extra visual effects. (System>preferences>appearance and you will see a tab for visual effects.) I found out I did not have my nvidia graphics card enabled. To fix that, I went to system>administration>restricted driver manager, then I checked nvidia thing. It worked.

Just post a comment if you ran into another bug, I'll see if I can help.

Now that hopefully everything is running according to plan, you need some software. Unlike windows, you can not install anything that easily. Luckily for all the non-advanced users, it comes with all the free software you will need, but for people like me, we want to run windows programs! This can get boring, time consuming, and possibly not work, but it worked for me. The program you need is wine.

Step 7: Installing Wine

Time to install wine! open terminal (accessories>terminal) and enter
'wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -'

Then, type in 'sudo wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/winehq.list'

Then, open the Synaptic Package Manager under System->Administration. Do a search for wine, and then check the two boxes for wine and wine dev or something like that, they both have the word wine in them and have the same description under it. Click mark for installation on both of them, the apply. Press ok, or whatever the box says for you, and they will download. You can now download any .exe file and run it with wine, and it should work.

Step 8: Install Compiz

Compiz is a very cool program, and has many visual effects, such as the screen shot in the intro of me changing workspaces. Since I am lazy, and could not have put this better or in easier to use directions, here is how to install Compiz. click on the link or put it into your internet browser. It has all the directions you need to install compiz, including some shortcuts to do things, such as draw fire on your computer, but do not install emerald like it says to. Its really really hard to fix once installing, but you can if you want.


Ok, now that you are done, have a super fast computer, and hopefully a good looking os, you can mess around with this yourself. There are so many things you can do on ubuntu, so many more things then Windows or mac.


MABHENATS (author)2014-05-26


vov35 (author)2012-03-07

This instructable should be featured.

Once upon a time, I purchased a netbook that came with win7 basic.

I proceeded to dispose of that bloatware and installed ubuntu in it's place.

Now I have an excellent portable, efficient, and above all else SECURE machine that meets all of my needs, including gaming. ...oh, and compiz looks damn good doing it too.

Seriously though, the security leap in upgrading to any linux OS is... enormous. there's a reason the whole of the NSA run's SELinux.

dangerous dan (author)2011-07-11

I put XUBUNTU on my Acer Aspire 9300, and I've managed to get everything to work but the built-in mic, and itunes: any suggestions?

Itunes might be a problem because Ubuntu frowns on programs like it. There are plenty of other options for music so it shouldn't be that big of a problem.

As for the mic., there might be a problem with the driver software. Ubuntu has alot of drivers built in (It recognized my built in wifi) but more could be in the software center so see if anyone built one. If not Google is your friend.

livesteamfan (author)2008-07-13

I'll stick with XP. I tried Ubuntu, THREE HOURS TO INSTALL, ran it for one hour and went back to XP because none of my software worked on it.

haha yea, it does sometimes take a while to install but three hours? thats strange! also, I agree, it does take a while to get used to the open source software. sorry ubuntu was not for you!

I found three reasons why this took so long. 1. 128MB of RAM 2. Old version of Ubuntu (5.10) 3. 233Mhz Processor.

PureBreed (author)livesteamfan2008-07-24

wow, ,ur not a gamer, r u? xD

robots199 (author)PureBreed2009-01-03

Use Wine

junits15 (author)robots1992010-05-14

wine is waaaaaaay to slow for games, games are linux's downfall, even macintosh can play them now

Ds HaKa (author)junits152011-06-08

OS X can play games because it has a more "popular", more standard operating system. Same with Windows. Game manufacturers don't make games for Linux because 1)They are pretty much expected to be open source and 2)Linux has too many variants to keep up with. the game companies don't want to be frowned upon because they make a game for 'this' Linux OS but not 'that' one.

junits15 (author)Ds HaKa2011-06-08

blah.... doesn't matter, because you can just dual boot or have a hot swap drive. :|

Try a lighter ubuntu version like Xubuntu, same basic package, except it uses Xwindows GUI. If thats still too big, Damn Small Linux would run very happily on that system. I do however recommend trying out the live CD versions of these softwares before doing a full install. That way you know exactly what you're dealing with, without all the work.

I've done a few upgrades and thought you might like to know. I now have 3gig of RAM, a 2.8Ghz Celeron processor, a 500gig SATA HDD, Nvidia GeForce w/ 1Gb memory and yet none of this helps ubuntu work the way I want it to.

At a certain point, one may have to ask if you are being reasonable in your expectations of Ubuntu. What is it that you are after ? You say, 'they way I want it to.' What way is that? Is there a certain program that you need to run that isn't or something in the GUI that disappoints you? Maybe someone here can help. If not I'm sure the Ubuntu forums can, and they are always happy to try.

What does it do? are restricted drivers enabled?

xubuntu uses xfce, not xwindows... even xubuntu would be too much for a computer like that... but your right on track with dsl...

My mistake. But I have pretty old PII that runs DSL pretty well, though I can't be certain of the exact specs from this location, I'm sure it only has 128 mb of ram.

edrainkona (author)livesteamfan2008-07-24

You might want to try a lighter version of linux.

iz there a win vrm he might like?or for that matter me? uptownborg

Do you have Wine? Also, don't use most things but games with it. Find an open source alternative. Ever heard of check it out. It works with word, corel, mac word, word perfect, etc. Ever heard of gimp? it works with images, and is better than photoshop. Both of these are free, and available for windows and Mac. Isn't the Open Source community generous?

junits15 (author)willrandship2010-05-14

i hear this all the time from linux users, wine wine wine! the thing is emulation is ALWAYS slower than native programs.  so if you really wanted to "upgrade" (although in my head its more like a downgrade) you'd need to find a bunch of open source programs that do what your previous ones did

hal68k (author)junits152010-10-18

Wine Is Not an Emulator (WINE). It's a Free (Libre) implementation of the Windows API for POSIX-compliant Operating Systems. Applications shouldn't (and usually won't) run any slower under WINE than they do under Windows' native API. The exception to this is complex games, as WINE has to translate the DirectX instructions to OpenGL, OpenAL, and OS-native networking instructions.

Wine is a tremendous engineering effort. Consider the sheer work that would have to be put into it given that the native Windows API is under heavy copyright restriction. Every scrap of code has to be written without looking at the available Windows source code (Believe it or not, you can get copies for academic and commercial purposes, you just have to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (academia: what's the point?)).

And as far as your WiFi card goes, that would be (most likely) a problem with your card manufacturer, as some simply don't release drivers for the Linux kernel or refuse to release hardware documentation so the community can conjure up their own drivers.

mad magoo (author)junits152010-06-04

True, running programs on an emulator is slow (and I can't even get iTunes running with wine) but Linux has equivalents for nearly every proprietary program ever made, almost all of which are all free. OpenOffice suite comes with ubuntu and can do what Powerpoint, Excell, and Word do, as well as save in tons of different file formats. GIMP is just awesome. Rythmbox takes a while to get the hang of, and I'm still learning, but it's a very good program nonetheless. So yes, running on emulators is slow, but ubuntu really doesn't need an emulator for all that much.

junits15 (author)mad magoo2010-06-05

Ubuntu does have alot of good programs, but there are some I just cant live without. There are also some that thee are replacements for, EX: ms office ->open office, but for some reason I just cant completely drop an OS that I paid over $150 for, (windows 7 pro) for something free. :) In my mind something that is free cannot be better than something that was bought. :| And I mean no offence to all of the Linux lovers out there but I'm a die-hard MS boy and I'd buy a Macintosh before I ever switch exclusively to Linux. :) just my 2 cents...

mad magoo (author)junits152010-06-06

I had that problem for a while, because I was trying to use wine to run a windows-based wireless manager specific to the card. I spent far more time than I am willing to admit to trying to get that configuration to work. Then I tried using ubuntu's integrated wireless manager, and I had it up and running in under five minutes. The moral of the story is that ubuntu only likes wireless cards when they're being managed with its own wireless manager. How something free can be better than something bought (this argument is not original, I'm really just plagiarising it from all of the linux websites I've been to that explain why to use linux) : Linux is made by the users, for the users. It is maintained by thousands of people all around the world who do it for free because they like to. Anyone can customize it, reprogram it, and change it around and then offer it to other people. Windows (and Apple, for that matter) are built and maintained by groups of coders who do it for money. Sure they may enjoy their jobs, but not enough to do it for free. Their source code cannot be altered and they charge ridiculously high amounts of money for their products. If you pay $200 for a Microsoft or Apple software product and it turns out that yiou don't like it, you are stuck ontil you've got $200 for another one. With Linux, you're only limited by how many rewritable CDs you have to load new OSs onto and try them. Also, Linuxs open source system attracts the best kind of tech support--the people who are recreational techheads who want to help others simply because they can. Far better than a 24-hour automated help line from Microsoft or Apple.

junits15 (author)mad magoo2010-06-06

the US government is supposed to be by the people for the people....that didn't work out to well. lol JK I'm not here to start a flame war, or argue with you about OS's. I respect the effort people put into Linux, and I respect your knowledge on the subject. I just don't like Linux, and Linux doesn't like me. Thats all.

mad magoo (author)junits152010-06-06


It is impossible for a government to please 300000 people, some educated, some not, some with right wing tendencies, some with left, some atheist, some ultra-catholic. It is impossible for an OS to please 65000000 people, some educated, some not...

junits15 (author)mad magoo2010-06-05

PS, and Ubuntu (er.. all Linux for that matter) hates my WiFi card :P

harthoppy (author)2011-02-01

would this work a Hp pavilion Dv 9000?

Spannerz (author)2010-11-05

Thanks for this! ^^

I have a windows laptop and ubuntu box.
To be honest, the ubuntu machine runs faster, boots quicker and has MUCH less OS problems than the laptop, even though it's got half the specs (2ghz p4, 1g DDR) whereas lappy is 2ghz dual-core, 2gb of DDR2 ram.

I still like windows for gaming and apps, however I like ubuntu for internet, downloads and media playback (fewer viruses)

Madrias357 (author)2010-09-27

I doubt too many remember the old Gateway m675. This is my Linux Laptop, my 9 pounds of portable computing, with a battery powerful enough to power that Pentium 4 HT desktop chip for a solid hour and a half. 512 of RAM is the only killer point, and even that doesn't stop it.

Asmodeous (author)2010-09-26

I can't get to the internet with my Ubuntu installation.

hintss (author)2010-08-19

just earlier, there was a flamewar between me, an apple fanboy friend of mine, and a windows user on facebook. I was for linux. anyway, love your use of the word upgrade

lindgren (author)2010-07-05

The most important point of "Why?" is simply - it's not windows. And thats a damn good reason :-)

bigbodysmallbrain (author)2010-06-07

i love ubuntu it is way faster then my xp even thoght ubuntu is installed on my slower hard drive and windows on my soild state drive

dogofwar (author)2010-05-24

I down loaded duplicate cleaner and I have like 30,000 duplicate files I was wondering do I have to go through all the files one at a time, that is just to much work any help would be great. I am new to computers,and what is wine ???? well thanks for reading this and xp works fine why change something that is not broken and if I do install another os can I change back easily  thanks a lot sorry if these are dumb questions

emaster28 (author)2010-01-01
Hey, just letting you know, if you're using Mac, you can use disc utility, and it works just fine.
darkclaw42 (author)2009-12-27

 It should be "Downgrade from windows to ubuntu". For some people I do not recommend this if you are not 'good' with computers. Your basically downgrading in a way from user-friendly nice and simple icons, to a little harsher text editing and commands.

Other then that simple warning ;) I love linux, and install it on my old computers. I have 2 linux servers, one game and one home. I also shipped a 1999 Emachine off with Linux running on it and plan to use another old shell I have sitting in my closet (believe it has heat damage though) . Linux is really good on old computers but if you already have a high end one, dont bother

 Not necessarily. Linux is so customizable that you can add more eye candy than Windows. I had it set up like that for a while, on a computer that probably cant even run Windows.

And when I wrote this, when Vista was recently released, I could have made "upgrade from windows to DOS" and it would still have been correct. :p

Biotele (author)2008-09-13

Why is umbutu beter than Windows or mac

MrFairlady (author)Biotele2008-10-13

better then windows, not better than mac... but better than windows

darkclaw42 (author)MrFairlady2009-12-27

 Windows isnt bad at all. I believe its alot better, and user-friendly. :D The Vista though killed it. Worst rated OS of all time. Bleh! Win7 Rocks though, lots of eye candy and a LOT faster. Also solves problems, unlike the other windows, with the troubleshooter. FINIALLY.

I like Linux as a server. That is all.

willrandship (author)MrFairlady2009-12-16

Mac stinks for two reasons.
1. Price
2. If you want it, you need apple hardware. That's just stupid. Windows beats mac by a mile with this, and linux is about the same. They like new hardware.

Coffee bean (author)MrFairlady2008-11-13

better than mac if u like open source

willrandship (author)Biotele2009-12-16

Main answer-security

Please don't flame me

Linux gets less viruses. Period. Less hackers go for linux because linux is mainly servers, and desktops are very few. Windows has about 80%, the number varies. Mac has about 15%. Linux gets most of the rest, leaving room for other stuff like *BSD or Opensolaris. (don't even try if linux is unfamiliar)

Also, any linux is under the GPL, meaning anyone can change you code, as long as they give you credit for what you did. This allows for much faster development in a wider spread. For instance:
I want a cool gun in halo 2: Nothing I can do.
I want a cool gun in openArena: download the source code and write it in! Then you can release it for everyone to enjoy, as a plugin or as a major change.

Hopefully you can see how much more helpful this would be.

tuffss (author)2008-09-06

I switched over to ubuntu a few days ago. When i turn my computer on, it takes like 3 times as long as xp did. Is this normal?

willrandship (author)tuffss2009-12-16

If you go into startup applications under system you can turn off a lot of stuff. Just use your head for most of it! For instance:

Bluetooth applet: Depends on whether you use bluetooth
Evolution Alarm: unless you use evolution, turn it off.
Gnome login sound, splash, etc.: your preference
Power Management: Do you use a laptop?
Remote Desktop: Do you really want other people to be able to access your computer?

If there's anything you don't recognize, leave it alone.

Another thing that helps: check that your video card is getting 3d. If not, make sure desktop effects are set to none.

Also, make sure you're using at least ext3 partitions. If not, switch them to ext4, it's much faster. If it's not on your cd, then use ext3

Coffee bean (author)tuffss2008-11-13

same here that part alone comfinced my to leave ubuntu but i did like it

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