How-To Geek

Install Ubuntu Netbook Edition with Wubi Installer

Ubuntu is one of the most popular versions of Linux, and their Netbook Remix edition is especially attractive for netbook owners.  Here we’ll look at how you can easily try out Ubuntu on your netbook without a CD/DVD drive.

Netbooks, along with the growing number of thin, full powered laptops, lack a CD/DVD drive.  Installing software isn’t much of a problem since most programs, whether free or for-pay, are available for download.  Operating systems, however, are usually installed from a disk.  You can easily install Windows 7 from a flash drive with our tutorial, but installing Ubuntu from a USB flash drive is more complicated.  However, using Wubi, a Windows installer for Ubuntu, you can easily install it directly on your netbook and even uninstall it with only a few clicks.

Getting Started

Download and run the Wubi installer for Ubuntu (link below).  In the installer, select the drive you where you wish to install Ubuntu, the size of the installation (this is the amount dedicated to Ubuntu; under 20Gb should be fine), language, username, and desired password.  Also, from the Desktop environment menu, select Ubuntu Netbook to install the netbook edition.  Click Install when your settings are correct.


Wubi will automatically download the selected version of Ubuntu and install it on your computer.


Windows Firewall may ask if you want to unblock Wubi; select your network and click Allow access.


The download will take around an hour on broadband, depending on your internet connection speed.  Once the download is completed, it will automatically install to your computer.  If you’d prefer to have everything downloaded before you start the install, download the ISO of Ubuntu Netbook edition (link below) and save it in the same folder as Wubi.


Then, when you run Wubi, select the netbook edition as before and click Install.  Wubi will verify that your download is valid, and will then proceed to install from the downloaded ISO.  This install will only take about 10 minutes.


Once the install is finished you will be asked to reboot your computer.  Save anything else you’re working on, and then reboot to finish setting up Ubuntu on your netbook.


When your computer reboots, select Ubuntu at the boot screen.  Wubi leaves the default OS as Windows 7, so if you don’t select anything it will boot into Windows 7 after a few seconds.


Ubuntu will automatically finish the install when you boot into it the first time.  This took about 12 minutes in our test.


When the setup is finished, your netbook will reboot one more time.  Remember again to select Ubuntu at the boot screen.  You’ll then see a second boot screen; press your Enter key to select the default.


Ubuntu only took less than a minute to boot in our test.  When you see the login screen, select your name and enter your password you setup in Wubi.  Now you’re ready to start exploring Ubuntu Netbook Remix.


Using Ubuntu Netbook Remix

Ubuntu Netbook Remix offers a simple, full-screen interface to take the best advantage of netbooks’ small screens.  Pre-installed applications are displayed in the application launcher, and are organized by category.  Click once to open an application.


The first screen on the application launcher shows your favorite programs.  If you’d like to add another application to the favorites pane, click the plus sign beside its icon.


Your files from Windows are still accessible from Ubuntu Netbook Remix.  From the home screen, select Files & Folders on the left menu, and then click the icon that says something like 100GB Filesystem under the Volumes section.


Now you’ll be able to see all of your files from Windows.  Your user files such as documents, music, and pictures should be located in Documents and Settings in a folder with your user name.


You can also easily install a variety of free applications via the Software Installer.


Connecting to the internet is also easy, as Ubuntu Netbook Remix automatically recognized the WiFi adaptor on our test netbook, a Samsung N150.  To connect to a wireless network, click the wireless icon on the top right of the screen and select the network’s name from the list.


And, if you’d like to customize your screen, right-click on the application launcher and select Change desktop background.


Choose a background picture you’d like.


Now you’ll see it through your application launcher.  Nice!


Most applications are opened full-screen.  You can close them by clicking the x on the right of the program’s name.


You can also switch to other applications from their icons on the top left.  Open the home screen by clicking the Ubuntu logo in the far left.


Changing Boot Options

By default, Wubi will leave Windows as the default operating system, and will give you 10 seconds at boot to choose to boot into Ubuntu.  To change this, boot into Windows and enter Advanced system settings in your start menu search.


In this dialog, click Settings under Startup and Recovery.


From this dialog, you can select the default operating system and the time to display list of operating systems.  You can enter a lower number to make the boot screen appear for less time.


And if you’d rather make Ubuntu the default operating system, select it from the drop-down list.


Uninstalling Ubuntu Netbook Remix

If you decide you don’t want to keep Ubuntu Netbook Remix on your computer, you can uninstall it just like you uninstall any normal application.  Boot your computer into Windows, open Control Panel, click Uninstall a Program, and enter ubuntu in the search box.  Select it, and click Uninstall.


Click Uninstall at the prompt.  Ubuntu uninstalls very quickly, and removes the entry from the bootloader as well, so your computer is just like it was before you installed it.



Ubuntu Netbook Remix offers an attractive Linux interface for netbooks.  We enjoyed trying it out, and found it much more user-friendly than most Linux distros.  And with the Wubi installer, you can install it risk-free and try it out on your netbook.  Or, if you’d like to try out another alternate netbook operating system, check out our article on Jolicloud, another new OS for netbooks.


Download Wubi Installer for Windows

Download Ubuntu Netbook Edition

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 05/18/10

Comments (54)

  1. JayCustom

    Will this work on a desktop pc? AMD Athlon 64×2 running windows 7? I have installed Ubuntu through the Wubi installer, and it ran great. But will NetBook Remix run?

  2. purimcarnival

    This is so much better than jolicloud. I just wish i could get the cosmo background to work

  3. purimcarnival

    does anyone know of an installer like wubi that can make an easy dual boot of windows 7 and osx on a dell mini 10v?

  4. asdf-chan

    No, that’s because it’s closed source.

  5. konart

    Can anyone tell me how to get the same launcher panel on the left on Ubuntu Desktop

  6. konart

    Found it myself, thanks

  7. Scott

    Will this work the same way on a netbook with Windows XP Home (such as my Toshiba NB205)?

  8. Johanna Lapp

    Installed this on my Dell Mini 10 and it went fast, smooth and clean … EXCEPT:

    I see no available networks under the WiFi icon dropdown (which sits up there on the taskbar with a big red exclamation point). This makes me think that Ubuntu knows I have a WiFi device but that it is incompletely installed or simply defaulted to OFF.

    In WinXP I would check under Control Panel/System/Devices to see that my WiFi device was installed properly and enabled. The Networks Connection would likewise lead me to a WiFi troubleshooter.

    I can’t find the Ubuntu equivalent. Any help, please?

  9. Johanna Lapp

    This was version 10.04 rev 189 (regarding previous comment).

  10. Andy

    Doesnt seem to show my windows file system… any ideas?

  11. Scott

    Have same problem as Andy. Can’t see my Windows file system. It does show in the Volume listing an SD card I keep in the card slot.

  12. Ken

    Will this work with an older laptop running XP?

  13. purimcarnival

    @Johanna Lapp you need to update the wireless driver. I had the same issue. Once you install the STS wireless driver it will work fine\

    I dont remember the exact location, but i believe it was in system> updates (or drivers).

    sorry it was my first linux install so i dont remember the exact location. but that did the trick for me

  14. Scott

    So, how do you uninstall it an set windows to automatically start without having to choose Ubunto or Windows at startup…..?

  15. Johanna Lapp

    Thanks, purimcarnival. Running system/admin/hardware drivers suggested two Broadcom-related items that would not install. But after system/admin/update manager, which found and installed 91 recommended updates, rerunning hardware drivers found the Broadcomm STA proprietary driver, which took a few minutes to run, but worked its magic instantly.

    Hardest part of the whole process was finding an ethernet cable to make a wired connection to the net.

  16. Johanna Lapp

    Ken, the WUBI installer lets you select other Ubuntus besides the netbook remix edition. You can install the tiny Windows app, browse the versions on offer and research their suitability. Once you know which you want, the WUBI manages the download and install for you.

  17. Asa

    I followed all of the instructions posted here however when I try to boot into Ubuntu after the install I just get a blinking cursor. Help? Please?

    HP Mini 311-100nr
    NVIDIA ION Atom 1.6
    Windows 7 Ultimate

  18. Johanna Lapp

    Scott: By default, your machine boots into Windows after 5 seconds showing you your boot options list.. To use Ubuntu, you have to cursor down and hit enter before the 5 seconds expire.

  19. Matthew Guay

    Ok, to answer a few questions bouncing around here:

    – Yes, Wubi should work great on Windows XP. Actually, it should work on an edition of Windows, Windows 98 and newer.

    – If Ubuntu doesn’t have your hardware, such as WiFi cards, running immediately after install, try connecting to the internet with an Ethernet cable as previously mentioned in the comments. Then check for updates; Ubuntu usually automatically will get your hardware working this way.

    – If you don’t want to see the boot screen each time, boot into Windows and in the dialog to change the boot options, uncheck the box to prevent showing the options every time. Or, if you want to uninstall Ubuntu and Wubi, just remove it via control panel as mentioned above. This will remove the boot menu entry as well.

    And thanks everyone for chipping in and helping out each other with questions. Great job!

  20. Kyle

    Is there anyway to make a standard Ubuntu install have that same look and feel?

  21. setu

    this worked great thanks matt

  22. Andy

    I must admit, after installing it last night and playing around with the setup etc, it looks nice, but I don’t really see the point! It takes longer to boot than my Windows XP, and i still have loads of messing about to do to get things to work…
    Still, it’s a HELL of a lot better than Linux distro’s i’ve used in the past!!

  23. Israel

    Can you install this on an external drive? I have a 250gig Macbook and on have about 80 gigs left on the Windows side so I really don’t want to use anymore of it.

  24. PhilESkyline

    Will Ubuntu Network Edition and Wubi work on a normal Dell laptop running Windows XP?

    I’d rather use this method over VMWare.

    Thanks in advance!

  25. PhilESkyline

    Sorry I mean Netbook Edition^

  26. Johanna Lapp

    Warning: I have no idea what I’m doing, just copying commands from web forums.
    But I can now see my WinXP filesystem thanks to this MOUNT command line in Terminal:
    sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sda2 /mnt/windows

    This presumes I already created a windows folder in the /mnt folder
    mkdir /mnt/windows
    The name windows is arbitrary. Just make sure your mount command matches the mnt name you created.

    sudo tells Linux to do the following mount command as a super user (with corresponding permission)
    ntfs indicates a WindowsNT file system, default on my Dell mini
    /dev/sda2 is the physical device for the Dell C: drive volume. Your hardware may vary.

    When this runs correctly, I can click any folder in the Files and Folders tab, climb up to root and then down through mnt – windows – Documents and Settings – Johanna – My Documents and find my music, movies, etc.

    I’d like to mount directly to My Documents to keep Ubuntu from seeing or touching XP’s Windows or other system files. (I think the spaces in the WinXP directory names are problematic.)

    Also, I’d love instructions to execute this automatically at Ubuntu startup. (I’m assuming this all expires when I logout.)

    And I’d like to make my Windows share appear in the Files and Folders tab’s Volumes list. Right now all I see is DELLRESTORE.

    Any advice on those three points?

  27. Ethan

    I’ve tried installing this twice. Both times I get stuck in the installer. I have a Dell Mini 12 running XP. Wubi installs half way and then just sits idle. I gave it the better part of two hours before closing it down. Anybody else?

  28. Scott

    Any responses to the problem of not being able to see the Windows file system under Volumes once in Ubuntu? I can see files on the SD card in my netbook’s card slot, but without the ability to access my documents in the Windows file system on the C drive, the usefulness of this nice-looking OS is limited.

  29. theunspoken

    I did this last night on my Gateway Netbook, it is awesome. Just gotta get use to Linux basically.

  30. Pat

    I am having the same issue as Scott. Installed it on my Dell Mini 10 running XP and it won’t show my Windows file system under Volumes. Anybody have any ideas?

  31. fred

    Everything seemed to work fine except that UNR cannot see my windows hard drive. This is a problem, how can i fix this?

  32. cvaz

    Having the same problem as scott and fred. It works great in all other aspects but no windows hard drive.

  33. wm

    I have a 7″ netbook. Can i get rid of Windows CE and run this version of Ubuntu?

  34. Wallace

    is there any way to get this to work with other versions of linux, say Mint perhaps?

  35. Lawrance

    I got this working except I can’t see my Windows volume.Suggestions?

  36. cgnx

    In home folder u should see folder “host”, there u have everything

  37. Moonlight Gambler

    Installing on an Asus Eee PC 1000H, with Windows XP.
    Installation went fine until I had to login.
    I keep getting the message “Authentication failure”.
    I’ve tried every combination of my username and password I can think off, but I can’t get past the login screen.
    Anyone have any suggestions?

  38. David

    Got the the point where I had to select my user name on the ubuntu screen, but the touchpad would not respond. Had to hard reboot the netbook. Any thoughts?

  39. cees

    i ran the wubi.exe and set the password for user cees… after the install was complete and booted with ubuntu i was asked for the pasword i set in wubi…. i entered the same password but it kept asking me for the password…. note that the password prompt didn-t say it was a bad password or authentification was unsuccesfull…. just asks for the pass over and over…. i reinstalled 3 times and the same problem ocurs.. any help on this?

  40. Servant

    i’m a beginner, now having a problem to install ubuntu netbook 10.04
    *i’m using Samsung Netbook N148 Plus

    however, while installing in progress, the icon pop-up “in short it prevent me to install it”

    i’m try being genius to solve the problem(even in idiotic mode)
    At last, problem solve. Wubi installer prevent me to install because i’m using

    Installation Size : more @ less 20GB
    the installation run smoothly exactly when i’m using 20GB…
    Tell me! What was happen?

  41. Mike

    Doesnt work. It gets about a hour into the install and then says it cant find all the files to install and shuts down. and I have to uninstall everything i just did to try again. I tried 2 times and the same error

  42. Mike

    Ugh now im trying it again and its now 3 HOURS into installing it and its not finished, It still says its downloading the ISO. I have 25 MBPS Fios , it should not take this long. ><

  43. Hans

    I’m experiencing the same issue as Mike in his first post. Wupi is downloading for about an hour an then says it can’t some files. I also tried to manually download the iso file from yout link (ubuntu-10.10-netbook-i386). But wubiignores the files and starts again to download till it stops with the same problem after about an hour. Any idea?

  44. Barry Mc Gee

    Hello to all,

    Please that this article must removed or replace with a new on and tested.
    This are bad instructions to have ubuntu as OS.

    I try the option you mentioan but it keeps downloading to torren eventhough I have downloaded it already. Can you please let then know that you option 2 is wrong.

    To all that will follow this instruction PC/NetBOOK because it will just waste your time.

  45. Hans

    Installing by manually downloading the iso file may fail because the wubi installer is for ubuntu 10.04.1 and the iso from the link above is ubuntu 10.10.

    Anyway, wubi is still not able to download. It stops after an hour and says it can’t find a certain file.

  46. Hans

    Finally I made by downloading wubi10.10 :)

  47. mike

    i have Acer Aspire One netbook windows XP, will ubuntu/wubi work on this, please help

  48. EricM

    I’m trying to install to the latest version wich is version 10.10 with the wubi installer and the .iso file downloaded on my netbook (MSI wind L1350).

    I want to do the french install, everything goes well until the restart and stop probably almost at the end at the statement: “reticulating splines” where everything freezes. I left it there for about 20 minutes, restarted the netbook, selected ubuntu at startup and then at the second choice (gnu grub) i have only 3 windows choices, like windows vista and so on. So I reentered in windows 7 starter french whis is my netbook’s OS and uninstalled the whole thing.

    After restarting the whole thing, i have the same issues, it stops at “reticulating splines” now for an hour.

    Hope there is a way around, thanks.

  49. EricM

    Next try I’ll give will be to redo the whole thing with the download option.

    And probably try it with the English version.

    If anyone can help, it would be appreciated.

  50. Catholder

    I have a ASUS Eee PC 1015 PE and a friend has downloaded the Netbook version of Ubuntu as a second operating system. I want to reset the netbook to factory setting to give as a gift to my son and I am unable to get into recovery mode because of Ubuntu (I believe) – I went to Win 7 and uninstalled Ubuntu and it is no longer on the program list and I have searched and can’t find it through Win 7. BUT when I reboot – there it is Ubuntu waiting for me to select it and yep – it is still there just like normal – rebooted went back to Win7 and no Ubuntu in the program files… HELP… How do I reset this Netbook on my own???

  51. Sonu

    I’m fed up installed Ubuntu 4 times after successful setup Ubuntu keeps prompting me for username and password :( please help

  52. khemmy

    I have a 7″ netbook. Can i get rid of Windows CE and run this version of Ubuntu?does it work in nigeria?

  53. yummybear

    hi i installed ubuntu with wubi a couple of times before on the same pc but everytime i have this same problem that i can’t seem to find my answer to on any forum anywhere or even on a simple webpage. i am using a desktop pc with a realtek ethernet card (no wireless card) which is connected to the internet through a home network. this works fine in windows but when i boot up in ubuntu it tries to connect (through auto eth0) but never connects, always coming up with the same message ( auto eth0 disconnected). does anyone know what could be causing this?

    Thanks very much!

  54. Linda

    Thank you very much. Everything worked just as you explained. Netbook works perfectly.

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