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Thread: HOW TO Avoid Wubi & Install Ubuntu on USB Drive

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    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Xubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Question HOW TO Avoid Wubi & Install Ubuntu on USB Drive

    HOW TO Avoid Wubi
    Install Ubuntu on USB Drive

    Don't be confused. I know Wubi has nothing to do with installing Ubuntu on an USB-Drive but if you just could wait for few seconds, you'll understand everything.

    This guid
    e has been written based on a real experiment which I have recently done by myself. I have not used any word from any website, guide, thread, etc whatsoever.
    If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, please feel free to post it here.

    In order not to confuse anyone, I'm going to use the "LiveCD" in this guide instead of the LiveUSB. It does not mean you can't use LiveUSB, but I'm just avoiding that with this guide. This guide is targeting the new comers to Ubuntu so it should be crystal clear.

    Hardware Used (click):
    Motherboard: Intel
    CPU: Pentium 4 @3.00GHz
    RAM: 448MB DDR PC400
    HDD: Samsung 20GB
    Graphics Card: ATI (Built-in)
    USB: USB-Drive Imation 4GB


    Ubuntu 10.04 LiveCD

    Aim of this guide

    1. Avoid Wubi which I don’t recommend to any user who is willing to try Ubuntu without making major changes on his/her system.
    2. Learn how to install Ubuntu in a plain and a simple way.
    3. Install and Use Ubuntu without making any changes to your HDD.

    I'm not going to explain about Wubi here but I'll provide all the useful links that you may want to have a look at.

    Now, this is my own personal opinion about Wubi that you may disagree with it which is fine with me but keep in mind that I'm writing this guide for a reason. I'm trying to save your time and offer a better choice for you.

    Unlike what some may think about Wubi, I think it's a problematic choice more than a helpful one. Again, this is my own personal opinion.
    Lots of users faced many troubles with Wubi. This guide is an alternative better solution.

    It's true that Wubi will be installed inside Windows just like any other program you run under Windows but, again, I've seen lots of problems and users were complaining and had no idea what to do?
    Eventually, sooner or later, you're going to install Ubuntu. In most cases, this is what will happen. IMHO, I think those who don't want to install Ubuntu is because they faced lots of problems with Wubi, thus they did not have the chance to try and see what the real Ubuntu is. I don't blame them. The first impression is quite important.

    Having all that said, the best choice is to avoid Wubi all together and instead of that, you can "Install" Ubuntu WITHOUT making any changes to your HDD.

    I know that sounds silly and impossible for the very first moment but again, wait and see.

    Ubuntu, just like most/some of the other Linux Distributions, can be installed on an USB-Drive/Pen-Drive/USB-Flash.

    By installing Ubuntu on an USB-Drive, you will achieve this (even if that will be your first time to use Ubuntu):

    a) Learn how to install and use Ubuntu
    b) No changes will be made to your HDD whatsoever

    Are we in the same page? good

    Before we start, please have a look at this link.


    0- A backup to your current OS and/or your important data is and will be always recommended if not a must.

    1- Download the version that works on your hardware (32-bit/64-bit).

    2- Check MD5SUM and compare it to Ubuntu Hashes

    3- Create the LiveCD as per the instruction given in this link - See#2

    Please make sure your USB-Drive is plugged in to one of your USB-Ports.

    5- Insert the LiveCD and Restart/Re-boot your machine.

    6- Enter BIOS

    7- Make sure that the first device to boot from is the CD-ROM. See this image.
    And make sure the second boot device is the HDD.
    Please note that your BIOS may look different so it's better to refer back to your Motherboard's manual.

    8- Now, make sure to change the "Hard Disk Boot Priority".
    Please, don't be confused. This option is used to set which HDD will boot first. In this guide, the HDD as a "boot device", will be the "second device" to boot up from and the CD-Drive will be the first. Please, try to understand that clearly.

    As per this image, the USB-Drive must be the first then your Internal HDD after that.
    USB-HDD0 is refer to the USB-Drive.

    9- Save your new BIOS settings and Exit.

    10- Once your machine will reboot, it should boot up from the LiveCD.

    11- Press any key, select your language from the list and choose "Try Ubuntu without installation".

    12- Make sure you get to the GUI Desktop. You may have some problems to get the GUI Desktop. Either because of your Graphics Card or corrupted CD. Perhaps later on we could discuss that.

    13- GParted.

    14- Make sure to select your USB-Drive from GParted List. In this guide, it's sdb. If you have another OS installed (XP is installed in this guide), please be careful not to select it by mistake and remove one of the partitions or format the whole drive.

    15- Now, just follow these steps as per the images:

    a) Right Click on sdb1 and choose "Delete"
    Then, click on the GREEN TICK icon to apply the change.

    b) You'll see unallocated space. Right click on that unallocated space and choose "New".

    c) You'll see a new window. Choose "Primary Partition" and "ext4" as a file system and then decide the size of your partition. That's will be your root partition. Then Click "Add".

    You need to read this guide to understand what I'm talking about, especially if you're new to Ubuntu.

    d) A new partition will be created after that. Whatever left as unallocated space, please right click on that gray space and yet again choose "New".

    e) Create your swap partition as per this image. Then Click "Add".

    f) After that, all what you need to do is click "Apply", the green tick icon. You'll have then two partitions: sdb1 and sdb2.

    16- At this point, you're done from creating the needed partitions for your installation of Ubuntu. You just need now to click "Install" from that icon on your desktop.

    17- Kindly check this link out. It will guide you through the steps of installation one by one. However, step 4 and step 8 in the graphical installation guide need your attention so I'm going to explain that in the next steps in this guide.

    18- When you reach Step 4 in the Graphical Guide, you need to select the last options which is:
    Specify Partitions Manually (Advanced)

    19- By default, you should have a HDD and your USB-Drive that you want to install Ubuntu to. Thus, you'll see two entries or two HDDs, sda and sdb.

    is your main internal HDD
    sdb is your USB-Drive

    Make sure you select the correct drive.

    As per this image, you need to select /dev/sdb1 which is the first partition in sdb and that was the partition your created using GParted before you start the installation process.

    20- Now, you need to right click on /dev/sdb1 and choose change.

    21- A new window will pop up. Please, set the following:

    a) Use as > ext4
    b) Format the partition > tick - means yes.
    c) Mount Point > / - means this is the root partition.

    Select OK in this window. Note that you don't have to change anything in
    /dev/sdb2 because this is the swap partition which you already created before using GParted. The installer will detect that partition so you don't need to do anything here.

    Make sure you did all the required changes and click "Forward" in the main window.

    22- Now, please may I have you attention here?
    This is the most important step in the whole guide. Without this step, there is no point to do all this.

    Once you reach step 8 (Ready to install) which is the final step, you'll see a list of all the changes you've made since the beginning of the installation process.
    In the bottom, you see "Advanced ..." right? okay, click on that one.

    Now, you should see a new window just like this one.
    The title says: Advanced Options
    Then it says: Boot loader
    Then a check box says: Install Boot Loader.
    >>>> MAKE SURE that option is ticked. Yes, we need to install the boot loader.

    There's a list with this title: Device for boot loader installation.

    ALL what you have to do is >>> select /dev/sdb.

    And you're done. You now just need to click on "Install" and that is all.

    What you just did was: you asked the installer to install Ubuntu Boot Loader (GRUB2) in the MBR of the USB-Drive.

    Why we need to do this?
    Plain and simple.
    a) You already have an OS installed before. Windows or any other OS, doesn't matter. We don't need to mess around with that OS.

    b) By installing Ubuntu Boot Loader in the MBR of the USB-Drive, we grantee that the MBR of the internal HDD will keep doing the same old job which is boot the OS that is installed on the main internal HDD. We don't want to change anything. Remember, the whole point of this guide was to install Ubuntu without any changes to the HDD.

    c) Also, by installing Ubuntu Boot Loader in the MBR of the USB-Drive, we created a bootable USB-Drive. Whenever you plug it to your machine, turn it on and set the BIOS settings to boot from that USB-Drive, you'll be able to boot up your machine and GRUB2 menu will show up. Then you can select whether to start Ubuntu or Windows (or any other OS you have installed already on your internal HDD).

    What could be better than this? do you see how many benefits you can from that?
    1- You installed Ubuntu on an USB-Drive
    2- You created a Bootable USB-Drive with a complete OS installed.
    3- You will be able to choose which OS to boot into from a list.
    4- You did not do any changes on your HDD.
    5- If you unplug your USB-Drive, nothing wrong will happen and you'll still be able to boot into your OS which you have already installed.
    6- You just learned the easiest way to install Ubuntu
    7- You can now try Ubuntu and do whatever you want. Your System remain as it's. ALL what you need to do is:
    Change the BIOS settings to make sure your System will boot up from the USB-Drive first.

    What else do you want?

    23- As shown in the Graphical Guide, you need to restart.
    You need to take out the LiveCD but keep your USB-Drive plugged in, don't remove it.

    24- Once done, you should see something like this.
    If you have another OS rather than Windows, it should be listed there.

    25. Congratulation.

    I know it's a long guide but this guide has been created to help new comers to Ubuntu. If you already an Ubuntu's User, then you can use this guide to help you in installing Ubuntu to an USB-Drive if you don't know the steps for that.

    There are some other points I'd like to highlight but I'll do it later on.

    Please, make sure to read each and every external link I have provided with this guide. I'm not making it harder for you but without the extra effort by you, you'll never learn to do it the right way. After all, it's you who will install and it's you who will do everything. The whole point is >>> you should know how to do it the right way


    Final word: Let's NOT use Ubuntu in Windows-Way and YES, unquestionably, I mean Wubi

    Last edited by amjjawad; August 10th, 2011 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Updating

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