Install Ubuntu Linux Replacing Windows Vista

By | January 2, 2012

Today I’ve decided to create a lab to work on security. I have an older but quite good tower server which I haven’t used probably in over a year in which I have Windows Vista installed.

I decided to completely replace Windows with Linux, install VirtualBox and then install several virtual machines running different OS’s including different flavors of Unix and Windows where I’ll do all my testing.

This is just the second time I take on such task in the past 2 or 3 years. One thing I remember very well from the first time is that I had a major hard time going from running Ubuntu “on Windows” to be able to run a full install.

Ubuntu download page

Of course no surprise I ran into similar situation this time around. With that in mind and wanting to have a record of the steps I took to overcome these difficulties so it will be easier next time around and maybe help other newbies like me I decided to post the steps I had to take in order to get my Windows replaced with Ubuntu Linux.

First you’ll need to download the Ubuntu .ISO file, whatever version you’ll be installing. Go to Ubuntu’s download site and download the ISO.

Unetbootin download page

Next you will need a tool called Unetbootin. This is a open source tool which allows you to create a boot menu on your system. There are Windows, Linux and OS X versions of this tool so download the version for Windows here.

Now, the easiest way I found to get this all done is to create a hard drive bootable Ubuntu so go ahead and copy the .ISO file to your USB stick. The size of the .ISO file is 800MB so you need a USB stick with 1GB capacity.

To do a permanent install of Ubuntu to replace the Windows partition you must also have enough space on your C: drive disk for the installation which to be safe I’d say would be 3G. If your disk is fully occupied with Windows then use Windows’ Computer Management tool (Start> All Programs>Administrative Tools>Computer Management), open “Storage” and select “Disk Management”. Select the C: drive, right-click on it and select the option “Shrink Volume” and follow the wizard.

The next step is to run Unetbootin so go ahead and start the tool. Select the version of Ubuntu you want to install, select the .ISO file from the USB drive and select the C: drive letter for the install.

Once the install is complete re-boot the computer and as it starts you should be presented with a boot menu from which you can select if you want to boot from Windows or Unetbootin (Ubuntu). If you select Unetbootin, the boot will pause for a few seconds giving you the opportunity to press the “Escape” key. This will take you to the Unetbootin boot menu where you’ll have the opportunity to select if  you want to continue to Ubuntu or if you want to go straight away into the permanent installation of Ubuntu. If you don’t press the “Escape” key Unetbootin will boot Ubuntu straight away and once logged into Ubuntu you’ll see an icon to install Ubuntu.

Lastly I just would like to live a few recommendations concerning a few issues I ran into during the permanent installation of Ubuntu. I actually had to run the installation a few times until I got everything figured out because the installation kept freezing up on me.

The first thing I noticed is that if you keep the Windows partition active, even though you shrinked the drive and you have now over 3GB of unpartitioned space I kept having problems with the installation. Remember this is an installation to replace the installed Windows.

When you get to the screen of the install I show to the left (“Allocate drive space”) make sure you delete the partition for the C: drive where Windows is installed. Also make sure you create a new partition for Ubuntu using the free space you freed up above. I leave a couple of resources below on how to install Linux just in case. Also when you get to the screen where you’re asked to add a user id and the machine name make sure both are all lower case.

This should get you through the install.


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