The magical part about Ubuntu is the ability to install to a computer alongside other operating systems. It’s common for people to have computers equipped with both Windows and Ubuntu, though Ubuntu is installed on a separate hard drive or SSD. However, the best part is that you don’t need a CD to install Ubuntu Linux.

In order to make this work, you’ll be creating your own bootable. And wouldn’t you know it the device needed is probably sitting on your desk right now.

What You Will Need…

Like any operating system, Ubuntu requires a few prerequisites in order to take advantage of its environment. You will need:

  • USB flash drive
  • A hard drive

Now, the USB flash drive has to be, at minimum, 8GB of space available. Why? Ubuntu Linux is a hefty 7GB. A USB flash drive carrying 8GB has enough for Linux with a bit of wiggle room. As for the hard drive, it too needs to be at least 25GB. But there’s a problem: installed programs.

You see, the operating system itself needs 7GB. But what about programs? Obviously you’re going to install a few here and there for sure. That adds more necessary storage. You’ll need a hard drive big enough to handle the operating system and any additional programs you decide to install.

However, this will lead you to one important question: are you replacing Windows? If you aren’t, you’ll need an external hard drive of some kind, and it needs to be large enough for Ubuntu and programs. You can, alternatively, install Ubuntu on the same hard drive Windows is installed to, but you’ll need to allocate enough storage space. On the other hand, if you’re replacing Windows completely, no problem! You’ll have the opportunity to purge Windows from your main hard drive and install Ubuntu in its place. If you do, be sure to backup files.

Installing Ubuntu Linux with a USB Flash Drive

If you’re reading this, the hard drive you’re installing Ubuntu to has plenty of storage and you’re good to go. That’s great! Now comes the fun part where you wrap everything together.

Let’s start by:

1. Download Ubuntu onto your computer. You will be asked to donate, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

Note: Consider donating if you really enjoy using Ubuntu.

2. When the download is complete, you’ll be given an ISO file. Drag and drop it into the USB flash drive.

Note: Now, the ISO file you’ve downloaded is enough to install Ubuntu, nor is the USB flash drive. You need to turn your USB flash drive into a bootable device.

3. Now, use a program like Rufus to turn your USB flash drive into a bootable USB drive. In doing so, you’ll be able to run the Ubuntu ISO file.

4. After your USB flash drive is turned into a bootable device, you can restart your computer. When you do, you need to boot into your BIOS. To do that, press F2, F11, F12 or Delete while your computer starts up again.

Note: If you boot into Windows, restart the computer and try again.

5. Now, in the BIOS, look along the top. See all the tabs? Choose Boot.

6. Select Boot Option #1 and switch it to your USB flash drive, then save your changes by selecting Save Changes and Reset.

Note: Now that your USB flash drive has been chosen as the first boot option, it will target the Ubuntu ISO file.

7. When you see the welcome screen for Ubuntu, it’s as easy as following the on-screen instructions. You do have the option to try Ubuntu before you install, so by all means take advantage of it if you aren’t sure about it.

Bottom Line

And there you have it. What makes this process far better than using an installer is that it can be used to completely wipe Windows from your computer. Not to mention people tend to have USB flash drives laying around, and if not, they’re really cheap. Wal-Mart has 32GB flash drives for $10. That’s plenty of space to drop Ubuntu over for installation.

The advantage of using a USB flash drive for installation is because the Ubuntu installer doesn’t work on Windows 8 or Windows 10. To make matters worse, it doesn’t have the necessary tools to wipe Windows completely; it’s installed alongside Windows. That’s very limiting if you were wishing to get rid of Windows.