Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Install and Configure Ubuntu 12.04 Desktop

Install and Configure Ubuntu 12.04 Desktop

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, also known as the Precise Pangolin, arrived on April 26th, 2012 and is the 16th release of the Ubuntu operating system.

Even if the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating system includes a smarter installer, we've created the following tutorial to teach both Linux newcomers and existing Ubuntu users how to install the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating system on their personal computer.

This tutorial is also addressed to people who have just heard about Ubuntu, those who have never installed Ubuntu before and want to test it, but don't know how!

The following guide will make things very simple for you, but if you get stuck somewhere in the middle of the installation and you need help, do not hesitate to use our commenting system at the end of the article!


You will need the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Desktop ISO image that corresponds to your hardware architecture (i386 or amd64), and that can be downloaded from HERE

NOTE: In this tutorial, I am using VMware Workstation to host my Ubuntu 12.04 as a Virtual Machine. The install process remains the same. Just, you wont have to burn the ISO image on a physical disk. You can mount the ISO to VMware Workstation and simply power on the VM when required.

If you are using a Physical machine to perform this task, then once the download is over, burn the ISO image with your favourite CD/DVD burning application (Nero, CDBurnerXP, Roxio) on a blank CD at 8x speed and simply boot the physical machine with the CD Drive.

Once you boot, wait for the CD to load...

In a couple of minutes you will see the wallpaper and the installation wizard. Select your language and click the "Install Ubuntu" button to continue...

Preparing to install Ubuntu

Make sure you have all the listed requirements. Optionally, you can choose to download updates while installing and/or install third party software, such as MP3 support. 

Be aware, though, that if you select those options, the entire installation process will be longer!

Allocate drive space

At this screen you have various options:

1. Install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS alongside (other operating systems)

- Choose this option ONLY if you have another OS (e.g. Windows XP) and you want a dual boot system. You can choose which operating system you want each time the computer starts up.

NOTE: Remember that, after the installation, the Windows boot loader will be overwritten by the Ubuntu boot loader!

2. Upgrade Ubuntu x.x to 12.04 LTS

- Choose this option ONLY if you have another Ubuntu OS (e.g. Ubuntu 11.10) and you want to upgrade it to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. Your personal files will be saved, but you will have to reinstall most of your packages. The general system settings will be erased!

3. Erase and use the entire disk (Erase Ubuntu x.x and reinstall)

- Choose this option if you want to delete your existing operating system, or the hard drive is already empty and you want to let the installer automatically partition the hard drive for you. This is the option recommended for all users, especially those who want a machine with a single operating system on it.

4. Something else (advanced)

- This option is recommended ONLY for advanced users, to create special partitions or format the hard drive with other filesystems than the default one. But it can also be used to create a /home partition, which is very useful in case you reinstall the whole system.

We are going to create our own custom partitions for this tutorial. Select "Something else" to get started.

Here's how you do a manual partitioning with /home:

Select the "Specify partitions manually (advanced) and click the "Forward" button;

Make sure that the selected hard drive is the right one. /dev/sda is the first physical hard drive. Similarly /dev/sdb would be the second hard drive in your machine. 

So, make sure that you know which is the one you want to format! Otherwise, you will lose ALL YOUR DATA on that hard drive

Select Continue to begin the Format of the Disk.

With the "free space" entry selected, click on the "Add" button.

In the new window, type 3048 (approx 3 GB) in the "New partition size in megabytes" field and select the "Ext3 File System" option from the "Use as:" drop down list. 

Select the mount point in a similar way. For this partition, we are applying it to the "/" (root)

Click the OK button and, in a few seconds, you'll notice a "/" line with the specified size created.

This is how your partition table should loo once you have created the / Partition. 

In a similar way, you can create custom sized partitions for boot, swap, opt etc partitions as shown below:

WARNING: Be aware that all the data on the selected hard drive or partition will be ERASED and IRRECOVERABLE.

EXTREMLY IMPORTANT: Don't forget to choose where GRUB will be installed, from the "Device for boot loader installation" drop-down box, before you hit the "Install Now" button.

Click the "Install Now" button to continue with the installation...

At this point the hard drive will be erase and partitioned, the CD data will be copied to the hard drive, and you can relax and continue to input the following required information.

Where are you?

This screen will feature a map of the Earth. Upon the selection of your current location, the time for the final system will adjust accordingly. 
You can try to guess you exact location with the mouse on the map, or just type the town in the designated field. Click the "Forward" button after you have selected your desired location...

Keyboard layout

On this screen, you will be able to choose a desired keyboard layout. But the default automatic selection should work for most of you. 
You can also click the "Figure Out Keyboard Layout" button for better recognition of your keyboard's layout. Click the "Forward" button when you have finished with the keyboard configuration...

Who are you?

On this screen, you must do exactly what the title says. Fill in the fields with your real name, the name of the computer (automatically generated, but can be overwritten), the name you want to use to log in on your Ubuntu OS (also known as the "username," which will be required to log in to the system), and the password.

Also at this step, there's an option called "Log in automatically." If you check it, you will automatically be logged in to the Ubuntu desktop.

Other option, called "Encrypt my home folder," will encrypt your Ubuntu installation. Click the "Forward" button to continue...

At this point the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system will be installed...

After approximately 10 to 15 minutes (depending on your computer's specs), a pop-up window will appear, notifying you that the installation is complete, and you'll need to restart the computer in order to use the newly installed Ubuntu operating system. Click the "Restart Now" button...

Remove the Installation Media and press Enter Key when prompted at restart

At the login screen, just input your password and click the little "Log In" button or hit Enter to log in..

That's it! Have fun using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

What's Next?

Add an External HDD to Ubuntu 12.04 VM

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