How to Install Ubuntu Linux on your Dell Computer

Summary: This article provides information about how to carry out a clean installation of the Ubuntu Linux operating system on your Dell Computer.

Do you need to Install Ubuntu on your Dell Computer?

Do you need to install Ubuntu on your Dell computer? There are a few things that you need to decide, and obtain, before you proceed with the guide below.

Note: If you install an operating system other than the one that shipped with your computer, then you do so at your own risk. Dell cannot certify that the hardware's compatibility, and we may not be able to support the computer in that configuration.

Dell does not supply most drivers for Ubuntu as all the required drivers are bundled into the operating system install media. That is why we recommend you verify that your computer is compatible with the installation version from Canonical.

Have you checked whether Canonical has certified your computer type for Ubuntu?

  1. If not, then go to the Canonical site  SLN151664_en_US__2iC_External_Link_BD_v1 and check if your model has been tested by Canonical and is supported.

  2. If you have verified that your computer is supported, go to the next step.

Note: Did your computer ship with Ubuntu? If not and you have an issue that requires Technical Support Assistance, you may be asked to restore your computer to default state. (including the operating system.) If that does not resolve the issue, then there would be limited support possible at that point.

Do you have a copy of the latest DVD or USB installation media from Canonical? These include the latest updates and fixes for this operating system.

You can download the appropriate Ubuntu ISO from Canonical  SLN151664_en_US__2iC_External_Link_BD_v1.

If you purchased your computer from Dell with Ubuntu already installed, there are recovery images on your computer. See the article How to recover a Dell-Ubuntu Image on your Dell PC for more information.

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Things to know and check before you start an install

There are three things to consider before you start installing Ubuntu:

  1. What type of hardware are you are trying to install to?

  2. Do your BIOS settings affect your installation?

  3. What version of Ubuntu you are looking to install?

What type of hardware are you installing to, and will that affect your installation?

The type or format of your storage media can affect how you go about installing Ubuntu on your computer. It matters whether you are installing on a new M2 card. On a standard SATA hard disk drive. On the same SATA hard disk drives in an Intel Matrix RAID configuration. Check that your computer's hardware allows you to make the kind of installation you need. Alternatively, read through the articles below to learn how to choose the right installation method for your computer hardware:

Note: USB 2.0 and older removable media devices are not supported on computers using the new Intel Skylake processors. The chipsets for the CPUs no longer support the USB 2.0 hub.
What type of BIOS is set up on your computer, and does it affect your installation?

The difference between Legacy and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) BIOS configurations can be the difference between a successful installation and a failure. Check out the linked articles below for more information about the subject:

Note: Be Aware the latest generation of Dell computers has dropped Legacy support from their BIOS.


Press the F2 key on start up to enter the BIOS setup screens. Ensure that the BIOS is set to UEFI, and disable the Legacy option ROMS, and disable the secure boot.



Note: Not every Dell BIOS has the same appearance and the page names may change depending on the model type. However, these general instructions work on any Dell BIOS that supports an Ubuntu install.


Which version of Ubuntu are you looking to install?

Like any other operating system, Ubuntu is constantly looking to improve its usage and performance. The difference with Ubuntu is that you have two update options at any time:

The first is the most recent Long Term Support (LTS) release.

This update is available every two years and is fully supported by Canonical with updates for five years. It is considered a tested and stable build.

The second is the most recent Normal release.

This update is available every six months and is only supported by Canonical with updates for nine months. These normal releases are considered to be cutting-edge, but they can have issues. Testers and developers usually use these updates.

If you are looking to upgrade to a new version of Ubuntu, check out the article Upgrading Ubuntu to the latest version?

Set up the Ubuntu Install

  1. Insert the Ubuntu disk into your DVD drive or connect your bootable USB into a port on the computer.

  2. Tap rapidly on the F12 key when the Dell logo appears during startup. This takes you to the Boot Once menu.

  3. You can use the Cursor or Arrow keys to navigate the menu and select your choice. You can choose to either boot from USB or Boot from CD/DVD Drive. Once your Choice is highlighted, press the ENTER key.

  4. When the computer reboots, choose the Try Ubuntu option. This option checks whether Ubuntu can see your hardware.

  5. When you are ready to proceed, click the Install Ubuntu button. The install wizard should appear and prompt you through some choices.

  6. Select your install language and click Continue.


  1. The Keyboard layout window appears. Select the correct keyboard layout for your computer and click Continue.

Note: If you are unsure what your layout is, you can now select the Detect Keyboard Layout button for help.
  1. The Preparing to install Ubuntu window appears. Choose the applicable options and click Continue.


Note: We recommend that during the install you have both a wired network connector and a power cable plugged in.

Install Ubuntu on your computer

  1. If you do not have a wired connection plugged in, the install takes you through setting up a Wireless Wi-Fi connection.


  1. The Installation type window appears. Several options are available.

    1. If you want to Dual Boot install Ubuntu alongside other operating systems, read the guide below before you select the Something Else Option:

    2. If you want to install Ubuntu over your entire hard drive, click Erase disk and install Ubuntu. Then select the hard drive that you want to install Ubuntu onto and go to step 3.

      Note: This action erases all data and systems that are on the disk.
    3. If you want to manually set up various custom partitions on the hard drive, see the guide below before you select the Something Else option:

  1. Click Install Now. From this point onward, you cannot cancel the installation. 

Configuring the Ubuntu install

  1. Next, you need to set up a few configuration settings, starting with the Where are you? window.


  1. Select your location from the options on the map or type it into the text box and click Continue.

  1. Enter your personal information into the Who are you? window.


  1. While the operating system is installing, the screen scrolls through screenshots that gives you further information about Ubuntu.


Install complete

When the install wizard finishes, the Installation complete message window appears. Click Restart Now to restart your computer.

Ubuntu is now installed. See the article Configuring Ubuntu on your Dell PC for initial setup advice.

Note: If there are any issues after you complete the installation, the easiest and quickest resolution is to run the installation again.
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