Wubi: install Ubuntu Linux from within your Windows environment


Wubi is an Ubuntu Linux installer designed to be run from within a Windows environment in order to create a dual booting Windows/Ubuntu machine. Wubi is an officially supported Ubuntu installer and is open source.I install a lot of software every day.

I am always on the lookout for good software, always researching and testing programs. If I had a nickel for every program I have installed in the past year I would have a nice stash.

I am also curious about Linux, and have caught myself at times mulling the idea of a dual booting XP/Linux setup on my computer.

But installing an OS is not quite like installing an app; you don’t just click on an installer and click “next” a bunch of times; first, you have to create a new partition on your hard drive (which likely involves moving a lot of your data around), then figure out which Linux build to use and download it, then figure out the steps needed to install Linux and their sequence, as well as all the tools needed which you will likely have to add to you Linux boot CD, etc, then perform a whole bunch of steps to make it dual bootable.

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of this drawn out process all you had to do was run an installer from within Windows much like you would install any application?

Ubuntu Desktop ScreenshotThis, in fact, is exactly what Wubi does. In order to install Ubuntu you simply download this 1 meg executable and run it within Windows just as you would any other setup program. Here are more notes on this program:

  • How to use: download and run the installer in Windows. You will be asked to specify a folder to install into, and asked to specify your login passwords. Wubi will then proceed to download Ubuntu for you (approx 700 megs), save it into your specified folder, and install it for you. (Or if you have an Ubuntu CD it will be automatically detected).
  • Prerequisites: you need to have at least 5 gigs of space on your chosen hard drive partition. You do NOT have to re-partition and/or move data around. Minimum memory requirement is 256 Megs.
  • boot-screenDual booting: the next time you boot your machine you will be asked whether you want to boot into your Windows OS or into Ubuntu. Very cool! The folder where you installed Wubi will be mounted as a partition.
  • Access to your Windows partitions: you can mount and access the Windows partition where you installed Wubi from within Ubuntu and get access to your Windows files.
  • Ubuntu: is very cool. Comes pre-loaded with free and/or open source versions of most of the applications that an average user would need, many of which you might be familiar with in their Windows incarnations (OpenOffice, Firefox, Pidgin, GIMP, etc).
  • Performance: “identical to a standard installation”, to quote the Wubi site (i.e.very fast); in theory hard disk accesses would be faster if installed on a dedicated partition, but in practice I doubt it makes any difference.
  • Uninstallation: to uninstall simply re-run the Wubi executable from within Windows to uninstall Ubuntu (it will give you the option to preserve the downloaded installation CDs in case you want to re-install later). After uninstalling you can simply delete the original install folder .

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

The verdict: simply brilliant!. This has to be the world’s easiest, most user friendly way to install a dual-booting Ubuntu OS next to your Windows installation. If you’re curious about Linux but hitherto haven’t reached the “tipping point” that would compel you to undertake the process of installing Linux next to your Windows, you will definitely appreciate this software. Fantastic!.

[Thanks go to my friend Diablo for letting me know about this one].

Version Tested: 8.04 Compatibility: Windows 98, 2000, XP, Vista.

Go to the Wubi home pageto download the latest version (approx 1.1 megs).