If you 're fed up with Windows and want to try a different operating system, Ubuntu is an excellent place to start. It has great hardware compatibility, low requirements, and a vast library of software. Let's see how to install Ubuntu Linux 15.10 alongside Windows, or even replacing Microsoft's OS.
We have prepared this guide on the latest Ubuntu 15.10. It will also work for most of the previous Ubuntu versions, including the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
- 1 Download Ubuntu Linux 15.10
- 2 Create installation media
- 3 Prepare Windows for a Dual Boot installation
- 4 Select Boot Device
- 5 How to Install Ubuntu 15.10
- 6 The first Ubuntu boot
- 7 To be continued: The essential actions after an Ubuntu 15.10 installation
Download Ubuntu Linux 15.10
The fastest way to download the latest version of Ubuntu is by visiting the
Halfway down the page, we will find the BitTorrent section.
Create installation media
The quickest way to create an installation medium is with a DVD Recorder and a blank DVD.
In Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, we just need to right-click on the Disk Image File we downloaded, select "Burn disk image" and follow the simple instructions.
For more methods to create a Linux installation media, including the creation of an installation USB, check out our guide:
Create a linux Installation USB or DVD for any Distribution
Prepare Windows for a Dual Boot installation
This step is essential if we want to install Ubuntu alongside our Windows installation. If you want to replace Windows with Ubuntu, and only run Linux on your PC, you can skip this step.
The essential preparation before we install Ubuntu includes checking the Windows partitions for errors, doing a full Windows backup, shrinking the Windows partitions to make space for Ubuntu, and disabling the "Fast Startup" option in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.
You will find all the above procedures, in detail, in our guide:
Prepare Windows for a Dual-Boot Installation with Any OS
Select Boot Device
The first step to install Ubuntu is to boot from the installation media (DVD or USB) we created.
Usually, our BIOS or UEFI will have the option to press a key on startup and open a boot menu.
It could be any of the F1-F12 keys, or even ESC, as in the above example.
From this menu, we can select our DVD or USB to install Ubuntu.
The best thing with the boot menu is that the selection is valid only for this particular boot. Next time we reboot the system, it will boot from the default hard drive.
If you can't find this option on your system, our guide will help:
Change the Boot Order to Boot from USB or DVD on BIOS / UEFI
How to Install Ubuntu 15.10
Before we install Ubuntu, it's a good idea to try it out, to make sure that it is compatible with our hardware, and that we like it as an operating system.
Boot into the live environment
Once we boot from the installation medium, we click on "Try Ubuntu".
In a few seconds, the live environment will load.
If it doesn't load at all on your system, it means there is some severe incompatibility with your hardware, probably with the GPU. In that case, you should consider trying an alternative Linux distribution.
This environment is fully functional. We can install and run programs, browse the Internet, and use Ubuntu as if we already had it installed.
The key difference is that none of the changes will survive a reboot. Any programs we installed or settings we changed will be gone the next time we load the live environment.
Test network and audio
The first check we should do in the live environment is whether the network is working properly. If we use an ethernet cable to connect to the Internet, we should see the two arrows icon in the upper right-hand corner.
If we are using WiFi to connect to the Internet, we will get a different icon, and the in-range Wireless networks we can select to connect.
If we don't get any networks, it means that Ubuntu doesn't recognize our network adapter.
This might be fixable after the Ubuntu installation, but it's usually not as simple as downloading a driver in Windows. There are different methods for different network cards.
In any case, it's important that we have an active internet connection before we begin to install Ubuntu. This way the installation will be able to download some updated software packages.
A good way to check our network connection and our sound card at the same time is to load up a YouTube video of our choice on the integrated Mozilla Firefox.
Begin Ubuntu installation
When we are ready to proceed, we double-click the "Install Ubuntu 15.10" icon on the desktop.
We can select any of the alternative languages available for Ubuntu, or leave the default English. We can change the Ubuntu language after the installation, but it's easier to make this choice while we install Ubuntu.
It's a good idea to check both the "Download updates while installing" and "Install this third-party software" checkboxes.
On the "Installation type" screen, if we want Ubuntu to be our sole operating system, we select the "Erase disk and install Ubuntu" option.
If we want to install Ubuntu in a dual-boot configuration with Windows, we could select the "Install Ubuntu alongside Windows 10". On some systems, however, this option might not be available, or there might lead to some problems with the installation.
The safest method, which we will cover in this guide, is selecting "Something else".
On the next screen of "Something else", we will see the Windows' NTFS partitions, and the three raw partitions we created.
We select the 10GB partition (/dev/sda3 in the example) and click on "Change". On the "Edit Partition" window, we select "Use as: Ext4 journaling file system".
We check to format the partition and select "/" as the mount point.
Next, for the 4GB partition (/dev/sda5 in the example) we choose again "Ext4 journaling", but this time we mount it as "/home".
The final partition will be our swap space.
Swap in Linux works exactly like virtual memory in Windows, providing hard drive space in case our RAM fills up.
The Ubuntu installation will also allow us to select the device for boot loader installation.
For dual-boot we must select the Windows boot hard drive, and not a secondary drive, even if we are installing Ubuntu on another disk.
We should note that nothing in the Ubuntu installation has been set in stone yet. If we changed our mind or made a mistake with the partitions, we can shut the installation down right now, and nothing will have changed on our system.
If we are sure we want to proceed, we click the "Install Now" button.
Regional, language, and account settings
On the next few screens, we set up our system and account settings. We can select our time zone on the map...
...choose the keyboard language and layout...
...and fill in the account information. Our name, our username (which must be in lowercase characters with no spaces) and a strong password, with numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as symbols.
The default setting is for the system to require our password to log in. We can change it, though, so on each Ubuntu startup, our account will log in automatically.
The "Encrypt my home folder" option is not necessary for a home environment, and it could be a challenge if we need to reinstall Ubuntu in the future.
After that, the rest of the installation proceeds without requiring any other input.
Once it's done, it gives us a choice to stay in the live environment and keep testing Ubuntu, or restart now and enter the full Ubuntu installation.
The first Ubuntu boot
After the reboot, Ubuntu's boot loader, GRUB, will be the first thing we see after the BIOS/UEFI POST screen.
From here we can select to boot Windows, or leave the default Ubuntu to load automatically in 10 seconds.
A few seconds later, we are at the log-in screen.
Et voilà! Our very own Ubuntu installation.
Just like in Windows, shutting down Ubuntu is a procedure. We click on the appropriate icon, select "Shut Down"...
...and choose whether we want to Shut Down or Reboot the system.
To be continued: The essential actions after an Ubuntu 15.10 installation
Installing Ubuntu is easy. But, if we're new to Linux, setting up the system to our liking can be challenging.
On an upcoming guide, we will walk you through all the essential actions for a new Ubuntu 15.10 installation.