If you have always had Windows or macOS operating systems on your computer, maybe you are looking for a more flexible operating system that can expand your computer knowledge. Windows and macOS are usually already pre-installed on all PCs / Macs purchased and easy (at least for most Microsoft users) to create the binomial "PC = Windows".
Actually not like this: on your PC you can install another completely free operating system (therefore without license or without crack): Ubuntu, one of the many GNU / Linux distributions freely available to everyone.
How to install Ubuntu: complete guide
In this guide we will focus on how to install Ubuntu on your PC alongside the installation of Windows: you can get used to it, move your activities to the new system and slowly abandon Windows to embrace the open source world.
1. Ubuntu vs Windows
Before proceeding with the installation of a new operating system of which you do not know anything, good to know some important differences between Ubuntu and Windows:
- Programs are installed differently: while for Windows you have to download the programs in format .exe to install them, on Ubuntu you can find all the programs you need in the offered store app or by downloading the packages online deb (the only ones you can natively install on Ubuntu).
- Many programs are identical: there are practically all the free programs you use daily on Windows, including Google Chrome, Firefox, VLC and Kodi.
- Some programs are missing: even if more and more programs are made to start also on Ubuntu, you may not find the program you need (for example Photoshop, even if there are valid free alternatives, see GIMP).
- Driver management: the drivers are already installed for all the components of the PC, usually you don't have to install anything anymore (except in special cases with WiFi network cards or to install the proprietary drivers of the dedicated video card).
- System administration: even if the developers have simplified the management of the administrative aspects on Ubuntu and Linux in general, in some scenarios you will have to authorize the operations by entering the system password; for example for important updates of the internal components of the system or to install a new application.
- No license to pay: the Ubuntu system offered for free, you don't have to activate any license and you don't have to use any crack for activation.
- Virus immunity: Ubuntu (and in general any GNU / Linux distribution) immune to the viruses created to attack Windows which are the vast majority. Of course, there are also viruses for Linux but they are extremely rare and difficult to catch. This means that you won't even need a good antivirus.
These are some of the things you need to know before trying Ubuntu. If you are a beginner, you don't need to abandon Windows out of the blue, since Ubuntu can be installed on the same hard disk where Windows is present and then choose in a convenient boot screen which system to start. In this way you can try the goodness of Ubuntu and use it more and more for your daily activities leaving Windows only for those programs not present on Ubuntu.
2. System requirements for Ubuntu
Before installing the latest version of Ubuntu make sure that your PC has the following minimum requirements:
- CPU of at least 1 GHz
- 2 GB of RAM
- 15 GB of disk space
As you can see, the demands in terms of resources are smaller than in Windows, which makes it a system very good to use on old PCs. In order to take full advantage of all the potential of Ubuntu discover the recommended requirements:
- Dual-core or quad-core CPU
- At least 4 GB of RAM
- At least 30 GB of disk space
- NVIDIA video card
With these requirements you can enjoy an extremely fast and responsive operating system in any scenario.
3. Where to download Ubuntu
If you are interested in trying Ubuntu you can download the disk image ISO of the operating system from the following link:
DOWNLOAD | Ubuntu
If you want to use the torrent network to download the ISO file, find the Ubuntu torrent (also 64 bit version) on the main torrent sites (just search for "Ubuntu" to get the latest version in the correct format).
To download the torrent, I recommend using qBittorrent or uTorrent.
4. Prepare USB stick or disk with Ubuntu
After the download of the Ubuntu ISO image is complete, all you have to do is prepare a blank DVD or a USB stick without any data inside, so as to obtain installation support for this operating system.
If you want to prepare the USB stick (minimum 4 GB) I recommend using the UNetbootin program, which can be downloaded for free:
DOWNLOAD | UNetbootin
To use the program simply insert the USB stick, select Disc imagethen click on the button with the three dots (…) to open the file manager and select the ISO image you just downloaded. Now select the USB stick of your interest under the heading Unit then click OK to start preparing the USB stick.
To create a DVD disc instead, you can use any burning program that supports writing ISO images to disc. A free program that you can use for the ImgBurn purpose, available for download from the following link.
DOWNLOAD | ImgBurn
Installed on the system, all you have to do is insert a blank DVD into your recorder, open ImgBurn and click Burn an image. Select the folder and magnifying glass present next to the item in the next window Select a file and select the ISO image of Ubuntu just downloaded, then confirm by clicking on the disc symbol that is burned.
5. Install Ubuntu together with Windows
As already mentioned, you do not have to give up Windows all the time but you can support Ubuntu on trial (always if you have enough free space), so you can later choose which system to start on your PC. Obviously the two OS will be on two partitions and file system different.
Once you have created the installation media (as you saw in the previous paragraph) insert it into the PC where you want to try Ubuntu and configure the PC to start from the media instead of from the hard disk (it should be sufficient to press F8 repeatedly as soon as you turn on the PC ). Once the support is opened, we will welcome a welcome screen similar to the one shown below.
Select the Italian language (if not already selected) and click Install Ubuntu to start the installation process. The installer will immediately ask us for the keyboard layout: make sure that the layout is selected Italian.
Once ready click Come on; the installer will now ask you for some information on the installation of the operating system. Select Normal installation and tick the two items below.
Now click on Come on to continue; you will arrive in the most important screen of the entire installation. Here you can choose to install Ubuntu alongside Windows by selecting the item Install Ubuntu alongside Windows.
Click on Come on to continue; you will be shown the layout of the partitions by the installer and at the end you will be asked to start the installation by clicking on Install. As the installation continues, you will be asked to choose the time zone for your PC and a very important screen will open where you can choose your username, PC name and system password.
Enter your name, computer name, username (for access) and password in both fields (mandatory on Linux, choose a secure one that you can remember); finally choose whether to automatically log in when Ubuntu starts or if you want to request the password when logging in and finally click Come on. Preparations for the installation are finished; all you have to do is make yourself comfortable and wait for the installer to finish the installation on your PC, asking you to restart your computer.
6. How to install indispensable programs
Once the reboot is finished you can choose whether to start Ubuntu or Windows in the boot screen; choose Ubuntu so you can admire the interface of this new operating system. You will always have the option to restart on Windows right from the dual boot.
The interface consisting of side launcher left where there are shortcuts for quick start programs and where the icons of running programs will appear, an application menu or "Start menu" at the bottom left (the square composed of dots) and the system bar at the top with menu activities in the upper left corner, clock and calendar in the center and system bar in the upper left. On the desktop there is only the recycle bin but you can add any program files or icons.
Once you become familiar with this new interface let's see how to install new programs or third party software. First of all click on the Ubuntu Software program present in the sidebar or called from the application menu.
A window will open immediately where you can install the recommended programs or choose a category of programs and view the available ones; the search bar is also available via the magnifying glass icon at the top right.
Once you have chosen the program to add to the baster system, click on it and then click on the item Install.
Type when prompted for the system password (the one chosen during installation) and wait for the end of the download and the integration of the program into the system. Currently many famous programs can be installed through Ubuntu Software including:
To install Google Chrome you have two ways:
- Search the "Chromium" Ubuntu Software for the open source version of the Google browser
- Search the internet for the Google Chrome download page for Ubuntu, available at the dedicated link.
In the latter case, a format package will be downloaded deb, usable to integrate programs into Ubuntu. Double click on the file and when prompted click Install.