Installing Lubuntu: A step-by-step guide to dual-booting

Once you’ve downloaded Lubuntu and burned it to a CD, you’re ready to install it onto your computer. For this guide, I’ll be showing you how to install Lubuntu alongside Windows on your computer, something known as dual-booting. One advantage to dual-booting is that you can always switch back to Windows without losing any data if you find you don’t like Linux.

Before starting, make sure your computer is plugged into a power source. I would also highly recommend that you connect your computer to the Internet using an ethernet cable as opposed to relying on a wireless connection. This won’t be an issue for those with desktops, but most people using laptops rely on a wireless connection. Unfortunately, your wireless connection more than likely won’t work out of the box with Lubuntu, which will prevent you from downloading updates during the install. If you have a wireless router, simply unplug the ethernet cable from the router and plug it into your laptop to ensure you’ll be connected to the Internet.

Insert the CD containing Lubuntu into your computer’s disc tray and reboot. If all goes well, the computer should automatically boot up using the CD. The disc will take several seconds to load, and shortly you should be presented with the following screen:

Press enter to select English. You will then be presented with a menu offering several options.

“Try Lubuntu without installing” enables you to try out Lubuntu in what is called a live session. Basically, the OS loads from the CD, giving the user the ability to see Lubuntu in action without actually installing it on the hard drive. “Install Lubuntu” skips this step and launches straight into the install process. For the sake of this guide, select the first option and enter into a live session before installing. This will enable you to see if Lubuntu works on your computer (which it more than likely will) before putting it on your hard drive. Make sure “Try Lubuntu without installing” is highlighted—it’s selected by default—then press enter. (If you’d like to skip this step, press the down arrow on your keyboard until “Install Lubuntu” is highlighted and press enter.)

After Lubuntu loads from the CD (which can take a while), you’ll be presented with the following screen, which is the default Lubuntu desktop:

The left side of Lubuntu's main panel/task bar is set up similar to Windows. A "Start menu"-esque menu on the left provides access to programs, while launcher icons beside the menu enable you to quickly launch certain applications. By default, Lubuntu uses the Chromium browser (the blue, spherical icon), which is an open source version of Google Chrome.

Take this time to play around with things and see if everything works on your hardware. Lubuntu’s graphical user interface (GUI) is very similar to Windows. At the lower left corner of the screen, you’ll find the equivalent of a “Start menu” with several launcher icons beside it. The menu contains shortcuts to all the applications included with Lubuntu, which are arranged by type. We’ll delve into the Lubuntu desktop in more detail in a later post. For now, feel free to poke around.

If you have a wired Internet connection, you should be able to access the Internet. (Wireless connections are a different story and will require some setting up after the install process, unfortunately.) Click on the Chromium browser launcher to the right of the main menu on the task bar to access the Internet.

You can try out any of Lubuntu’s features at this point. However, since you’re running from the CD in a live session, the OS will be quite a bit slower than it would if it were installed on the hard drive. Keep this in mind if you find things are dragging a bit. A live session provides a great way to try out Lubuntu before putting it on your hard drive. However, if you really want to see how Lubuntu runs on your computer and actually put it to use, you’ll need to install it. On the desktop, click the “Install Lubuntu 11.10” icon at the top left of the screen. This launches the graphical installer.

Ignore the links at the top of the window that appears and click “Continue” at the bottom right.

As the installer reminds you, you should have your computer plugged into a power source (only applicable for laptops). If you don’t have 4 GB of space on your hard drive, you’ll be notified of that. As I said before, if you’re installing Lubuntu on a laptop, I would recommend plugging it into your DSL/cable modem with an ethernet cable so you can download updates during the install.

On the bottom half of the screen, you’re presented with two checkboxes. For most users, it’s a good idea to check them both. The first allows you to download updates during the install, including important bug fixes or updated software packages. If you’re using a laptop and don’t have access to a wired Internet connection, you won’t be able to download updates at this time, unfortunately. The second checkbox installs certain proprietary software that allows you to play MP3 files, DVDs, and see Flash elements on webpages, among other things. For most people reading this, it’s a great idea to install this software.

Click “Continue” to move on to the next step.

Since you’re going to be dual-booting, select the first option in this step. If you’d like to completely erase Windows and install Lubuntu, you can select the second option. For beginners, I wouldn’t recommend burning all your bridges back to Windows, however; you may find that you don’t like Linux or there could be other unforeseen technical problems.

The third choice—”Something else”—allows you to manually change how your hard drive is partitioned and decide where to install Lubuntu. There are times when this can be quite handy, but you can also really mess things up, so for beginners, it’s not necessary. Click “Continue.”

Next, we have to determine how much space should be allocated to Lubuntu. By default, the installer splits your hard drive in half. However, you might want to adjust this based on your situation. Lubuntu only needs about 4 GB to install, but you’ll want to leave a little room for updates, new applications, and your documents. Hover your mouse over the central line separating the Windows and Lubuntu partitions, then click and drag it in either direction to make one larger and the other smaller.

Click “Continue.” The installer will create a new partition for Lubuntu, which can take a while.

Once it’s finished, you will begin entering information that will be used to configure Lubuntu. First up is time zone:

You can click on your time zone to adjust it if necessary. Click “Continue.”

For this step, you must select your keyboard layout. This should be set correctly by default, but you can change it simply by clicking on another layout. Click “Continue.”

At this point, one of the only things left to do is enter your name and password. The installer will automatically generate a name for your computer, so you don’t have to edit it unless you’d like to. You must then enter your password twice. By default, “Require my password to log in” is selected, which is probably a good idea. However, if you’d rather not bother with a log-in screen, select “Log in automatically.” Click “Continue” when you’re done.

This final step allows you to import your personal documents and other settings from Windows. It’s optional, but it might make your transition to Linux a bit smoother to have your files with you in Lubuntu, especially if you’re thinking about switching for good. To import your settings, simply click on the entry with your Windows username. Click “Continue.”

At this point, your work is completed. Sit back and relax as a slideshow detailing Lubuntu’s features and bundled applications flashes across the screen. The installation may take a while to complete—anywhere from 15-30 minutes is reasonable, although your mileage may vary.

When the installer is done, you’ll be notified by the following dialog box:

Click “Restart Now.” Lubuntu will shut down. You’ll be prompted to remove the CD from the tray. Do so, then press enter. The computer will reboot. Within seconds, you’ll be confronted by something called the GRUB bootloader.

(Note: If you aren’t dual-booting—that is, if you chose to simply replace Windows with Lubuntu—you won’t see the following screen. GRUB will still be installed, but since there is only one OS installed on the computer, it will simply load Lubuntu in the background.)

A bootloader is a program that tells the computer which OS to boot into. Windows has a bootloader, but since it’s usually the only OS installed on a system, you never see it. GRUB is Ubuntu’s bootloader of choice and was installed along with Lubuntu. Lubuntu (identified as “Ubuntu, with Linux <insert kernel version>“) is set as your default OS—you can just wait for the GRUB menu to time out and Lubuntu will automatically load. However, you can speed up the process by pressing enter. (For future reference, if you would ever like to boot into Windows in the future, you can simply navigate down to the Windows entry by pressing up or down on your keyboard and press enter.)

Next, wait as the computer boots into Lubuntu. You shouldn’t have to wait very long, though—compared to Windows, Lubuntu boots much faster. I’ve experienced boot times of just over 20 seconds on a seven year-old computer. It all depends on how fast your computer is.

At any rate, after a short period of time, you’ll be presented with a log-in screen.

Type in your username and press enter. Then type in your password and press enter once more. Lubuntu will load, and within a few seconds, you’ll be staring at crisp new Lubuntu desktop.

You should notice that Lubuntu runs much faster than it did in the live session. Odds are it will run much faster than Windows does, too.

As you orient yourself with your new OS, you’ll find that the Lubuntu desktop is very similar to what you’re used to on Windows. To turn off the computer, either click the menu on the bottom panel (the “Start button,” if you will) and click “Logout,” or click on the on/off icon on the bottom right corner. Either choice brings up a menu with several options for turning off your computer or putting it on standby.

Congratulations on installing Lubuntu! Check out the next post in the series to get acquainted with your new OS and find your way around the Lubuntu desktop.

Posted on April 4, 2012, in Getting Started with Lubuntu and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. This guide was extremely helpful, thanks! I am dual booting Lubuntu on my macbook pro and am having issues connecting to wireless internet, however. No wireless connections are available and I am unsure what I have to set up in order to connect.

    • Mike,

      There is actually some good documentation about how to get Ubuntu (or Lubuntu) up and running on a MacBook Pro: I’m not sure which version of Lubuntu you’re using or which model MacBook Pro you have, but according to this documentation, you can install a third-party wireless driver for your Mac via the “Additional Drivers” utility (a.k.a. jockey-gtk).

      If you’re running Lubuntu 12.10, jockey-gtk is no longer used to manage third-party drivers. Instead, you’ll have to go to Start–>Preferences–>Software Sources, then select the “Additional drivers” tab. Hopefully, Lubuntu will automatically detect your wireless adapter and provide you with a driver to download and install.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Thanks, Jesse, I was able to get it set up from the resources you linked to!

  3. m not able to go past the 2nd step (preparing to install Ubuntu), i already checked mdsum and i had burnt my cd with lowest speed possible.

    any suggestions ??

    • Are you saying you’re unable to boot from the live CD? Make sure you’re telling your PC to boot from the CD drive rather than the hard drive (you can usually change this by pressing F12 immediately upon startup). If you still can’t boot from the live CD, I would try burning another copy, perhaps.

  4. Thank you very much for the info.However I came across a lot of issues during the process.First of all I found:THIS COMPUETR HAS NO DETECTED O S…WHAT WOULD U LIKE TO DO .What can I do here?Pls help.

    • Sorry for the delayed response. This may be too late to be of any help, but…I assume you’re encountering this error when running the installer? If so, it sounds like you simply need to proceed with the installation process by selecting one of the options you’re presented with.

  5. Jesse, can you point me to an article explaining the post install wireless network set up process?

    • In my experience, the wireless setup process will be largely dependent on your hardware–i.e., what type of wireless card you’re using. In the past, I’ve used the documentation found here to set up a Broadcom wireless card, but it’s been quite a while. Before you dig too deep, I would recommend checking whether the wireless works without any additional drivers. If it still doesn’t work, then you’ll have to figure out what kind of wireless card you’re using and go from there. In some cases, you can use a Windows driver using a utility called Ndiswrapper.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help…it’s difficult without actually being there, I guess. If you really run into a wall, I would recommend going to the Ubuntu/Lubuntu forums or AskUbuntu. Good luck!

      • Also, it may be worth checking to see if any third-party drivers are available in the Additional Drivers utility (it’s a separate utility pre-12.10, or it can be found under the Software Sources utility in 12.10). The more I think about it, that would actually be the first thing I would check.

  6. Thanks for the quick replies Jesse. Being a techno dork I wonder if my question is a bit more basic. Part way through the install process, it asks for wireless network info. This is different data to the Windows 7 wireless network info. The only one I recognise is the SSID – it’s what the others are/where I get them from I’m trying to workout.


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