I just got a Dell XPS 13 (i5, 4GB ram, 128GB solid state drive). My other computers have a dual-boot partition with Ubuntu12.04/Win7. I'd like to install Ubuntu only in this machine.

Has anyone seen a description of the installation process? I've found many threads on fine-tuning the system, but very little on installation step-by-step.

Some issues I'd like to get feedback on include:

(1) Installing from a USB pen drive (I've always installed from a cd-rom, this machine has none)

(2) Partition recommendations for optimal performance (size for swap, for system, for data)

(3) How can the machine be recovered to its original state if so wished? (no recovery cds in this generation of machines)

Thanks in advance,