My New Favorite Way to Install Ubuntu

Posted by Kyle on May 19, 2012

Ubuntu LogoI have finally thought to get something I like without the tedium of something I hate! The delima has been that, while I love Linux - Ubuntu, specifically - I really don't like having to burn a CD every time I upgrade my system (I also hade the upgrade process, so I always install from scratch). When 12.04 came out, I said, "enough." I'm tired of wasting CD's that will just sit on my shelf for the next eighty years, so I stopped. Here's how I did it.

The solution is actually quite simple. Luckily, all the machines I need to upgrade boot to USB. **If your machine does not have the capability to boot to USB, this will not work.** I just wiped a 1GB USB flash drive I had laying around and opened up a command prompt on the machine I was about to upgrade. Here's what I typed:

$ sudo dd if=[path to iso] of=/dev/sd[x]

Where "/dev/sd[x]" is the path to your USB flash drive.

Once dd finished writing the image to the USB flash drive, I just rebooted the machine and set it to boot to the USB drive. Easy peasy!

I wouldn't be surprised if this worked for other (perhaps non-Linux) operating systems, but I haven't tried it yet since I don't really run many non-Linux machines at home. Let me know if you do try it.

Just one extra note: one thing I did run into was that when it came time to setup the HDD in the install wizard for Ubuntu, it wanted to install the boot loader to the USB drive. You must do a custom setup for the hard drive and specify that you want to install the boot loader to a local hard drive or your install will be hosed and you'll get the famous grub error ("error: no such device").

Got questions? Have you tried this before? Got any pointers? Let me know below.


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