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Installing Ubuntu Linux on your laptop

To install Ubuntu on your laptop follow these steps.

  1. Prepare the laptop
  2. Create a bootable USB stick
  3. Live-boot the laptop into Ubuntu
  4. Install Ubuntu

Prepare the laptop

If you want to install Ubuntu alongside your laptop's current operating system, free up some space for it first. In Windows the program to use is Disk Management (if using Windows 10, access it by pressing Windows-X).

Create a bootable USB stick

This process involves reformatting the USB stick and modifying its boot record, which requires admin privileges so needs to be done from your laptop not a Maths desktop. The Ubuntu website has some helpful tutorials.

Live-boot the laptop into Ubuntu

Try F12 to access a menu of devices from which to boot the laptop. You may need to access the BIOS to enable booting from USB (usually the key for this is F2). After booting select Try Ubuntu without installing.

Install Ubuntu

Authenticate via your web browser in the usual way before double-clicking the "Install Ubuntu" folder on the desktop. N.B. If you are setting up a dual-boot system, the Ubuntu installer should detect the Windows system automatically and offer to install Ubuntu alongside it. If the Windows system is not detected, bail out and try the tips below or email help@maths.

If Ubuntu fails to detect the hard disk (and complains about insufficient space for the installation) or claims that no operating systems were detected, you may need to change the SATA controller settings in the BIOS. For example, on a Dell XPS they needed to be changed from RAID to AHCI. Ensure that Windows still works with the new setting before retrying the Ubuntu install. Other changes to the BIOS or to Windows settings may also be required. The links below have more detailed instructions for some Dell laptops.