In this tutorial we will perform the Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop installation. Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions. The reason being it's main goal is to be the most user-friendly non-geek Linux operating system out there. As you will soon see, the Ubuntu 20.04 installation process is straightforward and simple to follow.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to download Ubuntu 20.04 desktop ISO image
  • How to create bootable installation media
  • How to boot to Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop installation wizard
  • How to install full or minimal Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop
Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Desktop
Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Desktop

Software Requirements and Conventions Used

Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System 64-bit PC (AMD64), see Ubuntu 20.04 system requirements
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Installing Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop step by step instructions

  1. Download Ubuntu

    First, step is to download Ubuntu 20.04 ISO image. Ubuntu desktop only supports the 64-bit PC (AMD64) desktop image so download it into your directory.
  2. Create Installation Media

    Next, select from which medium you wish to perform the Ubuntu installation. In case your intention is to install the Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop virtually using a hypervisor such as VirtualBox or VMware workstation simply proceed to the next step.

    Most beginners will find using DVD as Ubuntu installation medium a simplest method. If this is your case use your current operating system to burn the previously downloaded ISO image to blank DVD medium. There are no specific settings you need to choose while burning the ISO image just look for "Burn ISO image" image feature when using your burning software. Alternatively, you can create the Ubuntu 20.04 bootbale installation USB flash drive.
  3. Boot Ubuntu installation Media

    Next step is to insert the bootable media created in the previous step into your PC and change bios settings to boot from your selected boot media.

    The following tables should provide you with some hints on how to access your computer Boot Menu. You will need to hit different keys (or combination of keys) depending on your computer type. Here is the list of possible keys you may have to press depending on your system:

    Access Hypervisor boot menu

    Key combinations for accessing Boot Menu on Hypervisors
    DeviceKey CombinationComment
    Oracle Virtual BoxF12 Automatically boots from ISO when attached via virtual machine settings
    VMware WorkstationEsc boot menu, F12 BIOSAutomatically boots from ISO when attached via virtual machine settings

    Access BIOS legacy

    Key combinations for accessing Legacy Boot Menu
    DeviceKey CombinationComment
    AcerEsc, F12 or F9 F12 key most likely
    AsusF8 or Esc
    Compaq Esc or F9
    Dell F12
    eMachines F12
    Fujitsu F12
    HP Esc or F9
    Lenovo F8, F10 or F12Other possibilities: Novo button or Fn + F11
    Samsung Esc or F2 or F12 For ultrabooks from Samsung disable the fast boot option in BIOS/UEFI. See next section.
    VAIO Esc, F10 or F11 Other possibilities: Assist button
    Toshiba F12

    Access BIOS/UEFI

    To access BIOS/UEFI on your computer you will also need to hit different keys (or combination of keys) depending on your computer type. Here is the list of possible keys you may have to press depending on your PC:
    Key combinations for accessing BIOS/UEFI
    DeviceKey CombinationComment
    AcerDel or F2 F2 key most likely
    AsusDelete or Del
    Compaq F10
    Dell F2
    eMachines Tab or Del
    Fujitsu F2
    HP Esc, F10, F11Other possibilities: on Pavilion - F1
    Lenovo F1 or F2Other possibilities: small button next to the Power button (if laptop)
    Samsung F2 For ultrabooks from Samsung it might be F10
    VAIO F1, F2, F3 Other possibilities: Assist button
    Toshiba F1, F2, F12 or Esc
  4. Begin the Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop Installation

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    successful boot
    After a successful boot from the Ubuntu 20.04 installation media the installer will take some time to start
    try or install ubuntu

    The first screen the Ubuntu installer will present, is the selection between Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu. Regardless, of your choice, both options eventually lead to a fully installed Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop system.

    I recommend the "Try the Ubuntu" option to see how the Ubuntu 20.04 feels and loads on your hardware before performing a full install. Select the installation language and hit the Try Ubuntu button.

    live ubuntu 20.04

    Once the Ubuntu system completes the boot sequence, you will be presented with a full, ready to use Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop Live operating system. Feel free to play with it, install some software or browse the Internet. The choice is yours!

    The system loads in your physical RAM. Hence any changes you make will not affect your currently installed operating system or data stored on your hard drive. Once ready, begin the Ubuntu 20.04 installation by clicking on the Install Ubuntu 20.04 LTS icon on your desktop.

  5. Installation type

    Erase disk and install Ubuntu

    Most likely, this part of the Ubuntu 20.04 installation process requires your full attention. If you are installing a new system or system which does not contain any personal data or configured software feel free to select the first option Erase disk and install Ubuntu.

    The install will automatically partition your hard drive to use the most of the disk space and create only the required number of partitions to host the entire system. If this is your case, hit the Install Now button and move to Step 9.


    For those interested in having more control over how many partitions or even hard drives your system will use, elect Something else. Usually, the most crucial part of any desktop installation is the user home mounted as /home directory. Therefore, separating the /home directory from the rest of the system might allow for a simpler system re-installation, backup or even enables the user to store the entire /home directory on the separate hard disk.

    As an example, in the next few steps, we will create a new partition layout with a separate partition for the /home directory. The system will use the following partitions:

    / - 8 GB
    SWAP - 2 GB
    /home - rest of the available disk space

    New Partition Table
    Select the available hard drive for the installation and click on the New Partition Table button.
    Confirm creation of the New Partition Table
    Confirm creation of the New Partition Table

    create a new partition
    Select available free space and click on the + sign to create a new partition.
    create root partition
    Depending on your hard disk size, select the partition size in MB. Please note that the Minimal System installation required around 6.2GB disk space, therefore I recommend selecting minimum 8GB and above. Set mount point to /.
    create a new partition
    Select available free space and click on the + sign to create a new partition.
    Next create a SWAP partition
    Next, create a SWAP partition. The swap partition is used as virtual memory in case your system runs out of the memory (RAM). For a system with a limited amount of RAM, the rule of thumb is to create the swap partition twice the size of the actual hardware RAM.
    create a new partition
    Select available free space and click on the + sign to create a new partition.
    create home partition
    Use the rest of the disk space to create /home partition. Set the mount point to /home.

    Install now
    All done. Review the partitions and hit the Install Now button.
    To install any GNU/Linux system you need at minimum two partitions. First partition is the root partition / which contains the entire system and SWAP for a virtual memory.
  6. Write the changes to disks

    write changes to disk
    Think twice, cut once! All data on your current disk will be removed. Once ready click the Continue button.
  7. Where are you?

    Select your location
    Select your location
  8. Who are you?

     your credentials and computer name
    Set your credentials and computer name.
  9. System Installation

     Sit back and relax for the installation to complete
    Sit back, relax and wait for the installation to complete.
  10. Ubuntu 20.04 Installation complete

     SUbuntu 20.04 Installation is complete
    Ubuntu 20.04 Installation is complete. Click on the Restart Now button.
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