Install Ubuntu on Your Computer Using a USB Pendrive

By | March 9, 2022

Ubuntu is the most popular Linux operating system available today. It is relied on by businesses around the world and is a Linux first experience for most people.

Whether you want to switch from Windows to Ubuntu, set up a new computer, or create a virtual machine, you’ll need to install Ubuntu first.

The easiest way to get started is to install Ubuntu from a pendrive. Here’s how.

Download Ubuntu

Linux is part of the open-source community, meaning anyone can help develop software and contribute to code. To top this off, Linux operating systems like Ubuntu are available for free.

This means you can get a free copy of Ubuntu to use on any PC, laptop or server, directly from the site Ubuntu website. You are presented with several options, but for home use, you will want to download the Ubuntu Desktop.

There is also an option to make here. There are two Ubuntu Desktop editions; latest release and Long Term Support (LTS) version.

New editions of Ubuntu are released every six months and are supported for nine months. LTS editions of the operating system are released every two years and are supported for five years.

LTS releases are better suited for professional or server environments, where the risk of change is higher. For home use, you can stick with the standard Ubuntu release.

Clicking on your selected edition will download an ISO file containing the Ubuntu operating system.

Install ballenaEtcher

There are many programs for Windows 10, macOS, and Ubuntu to create bootable USB drives. Ubuntu even has a built-in option, Startup Disk Creator. However, one of the easiest options is to use a cross-platform software like ballenaEtcher.

The program is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux and is open source and free to download and use. The macOS edition requires installation. However, ballena offers a portable version for Windows. The Linux program is available as an AppImage, which also doesn’t need to be installed.

Unlike many third-party options available, balenaEtcher is easy to use and has a simple user interface. This is very important, because some programs make it all too easy to accidentally wipe your entire hard drive.

Create Installation Media

Once you have installed balenaEtcher, you will need to create an installation USB stick. To do this, you will need a device with at least 4GB of storage space to install Ubuntu.

Insert the flash drive of your choice into your computer, and open balenaEtcher. The creation process will format your USB drive, so be sure to back up or copy any data on the disc before proceeding.

Launch balenaEtcher on your computer and a dialog screen will open, showing the three-part process. The first step is to click Select image and navigate to where you saved the Ubuntu ISO and select it. The next stage is Select target. From the drop-down menu, select the USB drive of your choice.

After making those two choices, the third stage will be available. choose Flash and follow the on-screen instructions to start the operation.

Overall, the process is the same whether you’re using a Windows, macOS, or Linux PC. However, if you are creating installation media on a macOS device, you must first format the USB drive using Apple’s Disk Utility.

Before opening Etcher, navigate to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility. Insert your USB drive and select it in Disk Utility. From the toolbar, select Erase.

This will open a dialog where you need to set the format to MS-DOS (FAT) and schema for GUID Partition Map. Once selected, click Erase. You can then open Etcher and proceed with the installation process detailed earlier.

Reboot to Installation Media

Once balenaEtcher has completed the flashing operation, it is time to move on to installing Ubuntu from your USB drive. To do this, you will need to reboot your computer into the newly created installation media.

On all platforms, this means that you must use your computer’s bootloader or BIOS to prioritize the Ubuntu USB drive on boot.

The simplest option for Windows users is to use your computer’s BIOS screen to boot from your USB drive. To do this, you will want to change the boot order on your PC. If Ubuntu is your current operating system, you can use the GRUB Boot Loader to select a USB drive.

The process is slightly different if you are using a macOS device. To run it, restart your Mac with the USB drive inserted. When the computer is on, hold down the button Option/Alt to access Apple’s Startup Manager. From this screen, select your Ubuntu USB stick.

Once your computer knows to boot from the USB drive, you can start the Ubuntu installation.

Follow Ubuntu Setup

Once the Ubuntu installer is loaded, you have the option to do so. Clicking Install Ubuntu will start the installation. However, you can also choose Try Ubuntu to boot into a live version of the operating system.

This lets you try popular Linux distros without installing them. However, if you shut down the computer, it won’t save any data in this mode, so it’s just to test Ubuntu before installation.

After selecting Install Ubuntu, you must follow the on-screen instructions from the installer. This will guide you through the type of installation you want (Standard or Minimal), where to install the operating system, and whether to download updates.

Further into the installation, you will get the choice of whether to format your hard drive or install Ubuntu alongside another operating system. If you choose the latter, you’ll also need to choose how much space you want to give your new Linux installation, and whether to create a new partition.

Once the files have finished copying from your USB drive, the installation will guide you through creating an account, including naming your PC and setting a password. When the installation is complete, you will be prompted to restart your computer.

From there, boot into your new Ubuntu installation and enjoy the Linux experience.

Installing Linux From a USB Pendrive

In years gone by, installing Ubuntu required technical experience and knowledge of the Linux Terminal. However, the installation process is now quite a pain, so you can get your Linux machine up and running without any delays.

It is not always possible to install software on your machine, especially if you are using company-owned hardware. In that case, you might want to consider using one of the distributions Best Linux to install on USB pendrive.