If you've always wanted to try out Linux but were afraid it would mess up your current Windows system, Wubi is a free, painless solution for installing Ubuntu Linux. Here's how...
The Wubi Ubuntu Installer
Installing Linux on an Windows-based computer used to be a big hassle. It meant burning a Linux CD, partitioning your hard drive, formatting, and tweaking your boot settings. Wubi changes all that, by allowing you to install Ubuntu Linux just like any other application on Windows. You don't even need a CD -- just download and run the installer, then provide a few keystrokes and a mouse click. Wubi will install Ubuntu Linux on your PC without affecting your existing Windows setup. And if you decide it's not for you, you can remove Ubuntu just like any other software package, using the Windows Control Panel.
Here's a step by step lesson on how to install Ubuntu Linux and give it a trial run via Wubi:
- Download the Wubi installer, which is part of Ubuntu 8.04 (aka Hardy Heron). Download time will vary, but in most cases will only take a few seconds.
- Wubi will pop up and ask you to choose an installation drive, installation size, language, and a username and password for Ubuntu. Most people will not need to change the default settings. Leave everything as is and just enter a password unless you're a Wizard.
- Optional: Click the Accessibility button if you want to select Visibility and/or Mobility aids for use with Ubuntu.
- Click Install, and Wubi will begin the hands-free Ubuntu Linux installation. After you wash down a few Snickers and Red Bulls, Ubuntu should be ready to roll.
NOTE: The minimum hard drive space requirement for Wubi is 5GB, so you might want to clean out some of your older programs, music, video or other files that now exist on your computer. See my article Clean Hard Drive for some tips on freeing up space on your hard drive. You'll also need at least 256MB of RAM memory and Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista.
There is also an option of setting Wubi up to a run in a dedicated partition or an external USB drive. Check out the Wubi FAQ and the Wubi Guide for more info on this and other advanced installation options.
What Will Wubi Do?
After you click the Install button, expect to wait several minutes while the installer is downloaded. You will then be asked to reboot. When the Boot Manager screen appears, select Ubuntu. The installation will continue for another 10-15 minutes (depending on the speed of your computer and Internet connection) and then your computer will reboot again.
At this point, the Ubuntu installation is complete, and you now have a dual boot system. If you do nothing at the Boot Manager screen, your computer will boot up into Windows as usual. If you select the Ubuntu option from the Boot Manager, your computer will start up Ubuntu Linux.
The important thing to understand is that Windows and Ubuntu are two distinct operating systems, and you can only run one at a time. Although you can access your Windows files in the /host and /media directories under Ubuntu, you will not be able to run your familiar Windows applications such as Word, Excel or Windows-based games.
But you may not even miss those Windows programs, because Ubuntu Linux provides you with a word processor, spreadsheet, web browser, email software, lots of games and other cool stuff. Linux also offers improved security, protection from viruses and spyware, and more efficient use of your computer's hardware. You'll notice that most things just seem to work better and faster. One of the best things about Ubuntu Linux is that the system itself has a new release every 6 months with all the latest applications. And it's completely free of charge.
Still a bit leery about trying it? Wubi has screenshots so that you can take a look at it beforehand. Change can be a good thing. Try Ubuntu 8.04 by downloading Wubi and if you find that you don't particularly like it, Wubi makes it easy to uninstall. Just boot up into Windows, go to the Control Panel and remove Ubuntu like any other program.
Trust me, it really is painless and will open your mind (and your computer) to new and advanced possibilities. Have you tried Wubi? Are you a Ubuntu user? Post a comment below and tell me how you like it...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 9 Sep 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Wanna Wubi? (Posted: 9 Sep 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved