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How To Install Ubuntu on a Computer or Virtual Machine

As a lightweight operating system, the entire Ubuntu Desktop installation can be done in a few minutes. Follow these steps to install Ubuntu.

As far as desktop operating systems go, Ubuntu is extremely easy to install. In this article, you will learn how to deploy Ubuntu Desktop on a system.

What You Need To Know Before You Install Ubuntu

Unlike Windows, MacOS, and other commercial operating systems, Ubuntu is free and open source. You can download Ubuntu Desktop at

The download consists of a single ISO file, from which you can create a bootable DVD or USB memory stick. If you are going to be installing Ubuntu to a virtual machine, you can use the ISO file without having to create boot media. Hypervisors such as VMware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V can install guest operating systems directly from an ISO file.

The current Ubuntu build (Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS) has relatively modest system requirements. Assuming you will deploy Ubuntu Desktop to an X86 / X64 system, you will need a PC with at least a 2 GHz, dual core CPU, and 4 GB of RAM. Additionally, you will need 25 GB of hard disk space and either a DVD drive or a USB port from which the installation media can be mounted. Internet access is recommended but is not required.

How To Install Ubuntu Desktop

Installing Ubuntu Desktop is a relatively straightforward process.

Begin by inserting the boot media that you have created and powering up the computer or virtual machine on which you will install Ubuntu. Some PCs may require you to press a key to boot from the installation media.

At this point, you will see a screen like the one shown in Figure 1. Select the Try or Install Ubuntu option and press Enter.

Brien PoseyScreenshot shows menu with Try or Install Ubuntu option highlighted

Figure 1. Select the option to Try or Install Ubuntu.

At this point, the installer will display an Ubuntu splash screen that is displayed for a couple of minutes while the installer loads the required binaries. When this process completes, a couple of other installer screens will briefly appear, then you will be taken to the screen that is shown in Figure 2.

Brien PoseyScreenshot shows menu of languages to select from, with English highlighted

Figure 2. Select your language and click Install Ubuntu.

Select your preferred language from the list on the left side of the screen and then click Install Ubuntu. Make sure not to choose the Try Ubuntu option because it does not actually install Ubuntu. Instead, the Try Ubuntu option causes Ubuntu to run directly from the installation media. This option is intended for those who have never used Ubuntu before and want to try it out prior to installing it.

At this point, you will be taken to a screen that asks you to choose your keyboard layout. You can usually use the default options without any problem. When you have made your selection, click Continue.

The next screen asks you what you want to install. The default option, which you can see in Figure 3, installs a variety of software, including a web browser, various games and utilities, a media player, and LibreOffice. You can opt to perform a minimal installation instead. A minimal installation installs a web browser and some basic utilities but forgoes the games and the Office software.

This same screen also includes two checkboxes. The first checkbox gives you the option of downloading updates during the installation process. The second checkbox installs third-party software (usually drivers) based on your system’s hardware. If you are installing Ubuntu to physical hardware, it is a good idea to select this checkbox.

Brien PoseyScreenshot of Ubuntu menu asking what apps you would like to install, with Normal and Minimal installation options

Figure 3. You can perform either a normal or a minimal installation.

Click Continue and you will be taken to a screen that asks you to choose your installation type. Normally, you should choose the Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu option, shown in Figure 4. However, other options exist in case you want to encrypt the disk, perform a dual boot installation, or use a nontraditional storage configuration.

Brien PoseyScreenshot of Installation Type screen, with Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu option selected

Figure 4. The Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu option is selected by default.

When you have made your selection, click the Install Now button. After you do this, a warning message will tell you that the disk’s partition table is about to be changed. Assuming that you are OK with the change, click the Continue button.

Even though it seems like Ubuntu is about to be installed, you must work through a couple more screens before the installation can start. The first of these screens simply asks you to choose your time zone. After doing so, click Continue. You will then be taken to the Who Are You screen, shown in Figure 5.

Brien PoseyScreenshot of Who Are You? screen

Figure 5. You will need to choose a username and password for your new Ubuntu installation.

The screen shown in Figure 5 is self-explanatory. You will need to enter your name, then assign yourself a username and password. You will also need to confirm a password. The one thing that you should note here is that unless you choose the Active Directory option, usernames must be lower case.

When you are finished, click Continue and Ubuntu will be installed. When the process finishes, click the Restart Now button.


As you can see, deploying Ubuntu Desktop is a simple process. Because Ubuntu Desktop is such a lightweight operating system, the entire installation process can be completed in just a few minutes. Of course, you can also evaluate Ubuntu first without installing it by simply booting from the installation media, then choosing the Try Ubuntu option.

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