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Thread: Try Ubuntu (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, ...) before installing it

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Try Ubuntu (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, ...) before installing it

    Post #1: Backup & try before installing a new system (this post)
    Post #2: This post is about UEFI (this link)
    Post #3: mini.iso, minimal install, netboot iso (this link)

    Backup before installing a new system and create a regular habit to backup your personal data

    Editing partitions and installing operating systems are risky operations, and I recommend that you backup at least all your personal data (documents, pictures, ...) before you start. In general, it is a good idea to have a regular habit to backup the personal data. You never know, when something bad will happen to the computer, and you will need to restore the backed up data.

    Try Ubuntu (and the community Ubuntu flavours) before installing

    It is a good idea to try Ubuntu (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Gnome, Ubuntu Studio, ...) before installing into an internal drive. This can save a lot of trouble compared to installing directly.

    This link contains links to all Ubuntu flavours:

    1. Run a live session booted from a CD/DVD/USB drive and select 'Try Ubuntu without installing'

    Download a desktop iso file, create a CD/DVD/USB boot drive and reboot the computer from that drive. Check that the download was successful with md5sum.

    a. Basic install drive (live drive)

    See instructions at this link

    with instructions to burn a DVD on Ubuntu, Windows, MacOS
    and instructions to create a bootable USB stick (pendrive) on Ubuntu, Windows, MacOS

    CD disks can be used to install Lubuntu and Ubuntu mini.iso while the other iso files are too big for CD disks. (But mini.iso does not run a live session, it only installs.)

    Find more details for booting from USB at

    Basic install drives (live drives) are the standard tool to try Ubuntu live, and if it works well, to install Ubuntu to an internal drive.

    b. Persistent live drive

    It is fairly easy to create a persistent live drive with a USB pendrive using the Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator, Unetbootin or some similar dedicated tool as described here. There are detailed instructions at the following links to get persistence with CD/DVD and USB drives.

    Such drives are similar to basic live drives, and in addition can save settings, installed programs and data files, but are slower (with the same hardware). The kernel cannot be upgraded.

    2. Install (a complete installed system) to a USB stick or pendrive and boot from it.

    This way you can find which version and flavour that works best when installed without touching the internal drive. It is also the way to try, if you use an installer which does not offer a live session, for example from the Ubuntu mini.iso or an alternate iso file and Ubuntu Server. You find working mini.iso files for 12.04 LTS (32-bits pae (and non-pae in a subdirectory)) at this link.

    It is a two step procedure: Make a CD/DVD/USB boot drive, boot from it and install into a[nother] USB pendrive. Make sure that you install the bootloader into the head of the target pendrive (not into the internal drive or the source pendrive and not into a partition).

    This will test a complete installed system (but in a USB pendrive). Boot from this installed system and check what works directly, what needs tweaking (boot options, or drivers for graphics, wifi etc).

    It is also a method to create a portable Ubuntu system in a USB drive.

    The normal installation method described above works also to create an installed system in a pendrive. See also these links describing different methods to create installed systems in USB sticks or pendrives

    for new or middle-aged computers

    for old or middle-aged computers

    and finally this link for old computers Old hardware brought back to life
    Last edited by sudodus; February 23rd, 2015 at 08:02 AM. Reason: mini.iso does not run a live session; one link to all isos

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: Try Ubuntu (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, ...) before installing it

    This post is about UEFI

    Having a PC with EFI firmware does not mean that you need to install Ubuntu in EFI mode. What is important is below:

    • if the other systems (Windows Vista/7/8, GNU/Linux...) of your computer are installed in EFI mode, then you must install Ubuntu in EFI mode too.
    • if the other systems (Windows, GNU/Linux...) of your computer are installed in Legacy (not-EFI) mode, then you must install Ubuntu in Legacy mode too. Eg if your computer is old (<2010), is 32bits, or was sold with a pre-installed Windows XP.
    • if Ubuntu is the only operating system on your computer, then it does not matter, you can install Ubuntu in EFI mode or not.

    To install Ubuntu in EFI mode:

    • Use a DVD or USB drive made from a 64bit desktop iso file of Ubuntu (Ubuntu 32bit cannot be easily installed in UEFI mode. Ubuntu mini.iso does not work.)
    • Use a supported version of Ubuntu, 12.04.4 LTS, 14.04 LTS, 14.10.
    • Set up your firmware (BIOS) to boot the disk in UEFI mode (see the "Identifying if the computer boots the HDD in EFI mode" paragraph below)
    • Then:
      • nothing special is required if you use the automatic installer of Ubuntu ("Install Ubuntu alongside others" or "Erase the disk and install Ubuntu"). Important: if you have a pre-installed Windows and you want to keep it, make a Backup, and choose "Something else" at the partitioning page. The other options are likely to overwrite Windows.
      • if you use the manual partitioning ("Something else"), the difference is that you will have to set the /boot/efi mount point to the EFI partition. And if there was not any EFI partition on your HDD, you first will have to create it (see the "Creating an EFI partition" paragraph below).

    Notice this:

    See these links for more details:

    UEFI Installing - Tips

    With Ubuntu we can get the benefits of both UEFI and Secure Boot. I can offer no assurances that the following link is useful or accurate.
    Last edited by sudodus; December 8th, 2014 at 07:19 PM. Reason: DVD/USB from 64bit desktop iso file

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Re: Try Ubuntu (Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, ...) before installing it

    mini.iso, minimal install, netboot iso

    Learn how to use Ubuntu mini.iso. If you add no extras at all, you will get a very minimal system (which boots into a text screen). From that system you can add lubuntu-desktop to get Lubuntu, xubuntu-desktop to get Xubuntu etc. You can add several server alternatives or you can build your own system 'almost' from scratch, well at least your desktop environment and set of application programs. bash will be there from right after rebooting into the very minimal system.

    Edit: This general link seems to work now in order to find and download the Ubuntu mini.iso files

    Avoid these iso files: 14.04 Trusty Tahr
    32 bit mini ISO
    64 bit mini ISO They are linked to in some documents, but I think those mini.iso files no longer work.

    You can find newer and I think better versions at 'trusty-updates'

    32 bit:
    64 bit:

    with the corresponding md5sums in each version's parent directory.

    You find working mini.iso files for 12.04 LTS (32-bits pae (and non-pae in a subdirectory)) at this link.


    The following link may help you get started with the Ubuntu mini (it is about Lubuntu, but can be applied more generally to other flavours of Ubuntu)


    Unfortunately the mini.iso does not work in UEFI mode. If you must run in UEFI mode, you should start the installation from a 64-bit desktop iso file, for example

    Last edited by sudodus; March 7th, 2015 at 04:02 PM. Reason: Thanks davmor2 for the general link :-)


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