The Karmic Koala Installation Process

ubuntu karmic koala

The setup is quick and easy, with the exception of the Partitioning Manager which, for noobs, can confuse. This tutorial helps manage the process.

Before you begin, I suggest you read all of this section, with careful consideration to the partitioning notes. That may, quite likely, save you some time and result in a better setup.

Let's crack on ..

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Burn an .iso Image to Bootable Disk

Download Karmic Koala's .iso image file here, whether in 32 or 64 bit. If you don't know how to burn an image to a disk, read this.

(If you've already got, say, Jaunty, just right click the .iso and choose Write to disc .. easy as pie.)

Now you'll have a bootable disk.

How to Install Karmic Koala

Last call: you have backed up your data, huh? Right, onward and upward.

  • Pop that disk into the tray and reboot the machine.
  • On rebooting, up pop the installation language options. Choose your setup lingo.
  • The Ubuntu CD menu opens. Choose Install Ubuntu. Things start loading up.

Want to Try The Live CD First?

The live CD, as it's called, allows you to get a flavor of Karmic before actually installing, and before making any changes to your PC.

So, from the installation CD menu, click on Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer. It'll load up Ubuntu from the live CD and, as it says, without changing your system. Once loaded, there's a desktop icon offering to Install Ubuntu 9.10. Click that and the installer-proper starts. Now carry on with this checklist, starting at the stage where you choose the installation language.

  • Click Forward on the Welcome screen and choose the OS language.
  • Choose a timezone, click Forward.
  • Choose a keyboard layout, click Forward.
  • The partitioner kicks up, then the Prepare Disk Space page opens.

    OMG! Partitioner .. that's a scary word.

    Here's where you divvy up your hard disk/s and, of the installation process, this is where you are most likely scratching your head or, if you have an existing operating system you want to continue to work, you may feel a little concern! Well, we'll just have to get it right then, won't we 😉

    You are provided up to three choices, depending on what's already on the disk:-

    • Install them side by side, choosing between them at startup
    • Erase and use the entire disk
    • Specify partitions manually (advanced)

    Install them side by side, choosing between them at startup

    You're offerred this option if you already have one or more operating system/s on the drive.

    Select this and up pops a box labelled Write previous changes to disk and continue and, if you click Yes (DON'T, yet at least), Ubuntu manages a default configuration to preserve existing operating systems while allocating space from their partitions for Karmic. One Ext4 partition is created for Karmic and another, a swap partition, for swap. If you already have a swap partition (for an existing Linux operating system), that will be used also by Karmic and only the Ext4 partition is created.

    Personally, I don't like this method because it changes existing partitions automatically and I prefer to do that manually, so I know exactly what is going on. Also, I prefer to set up at least one further partition, for my data – /home, and this option doesn't allow for that.

    Then again, it's pretty safe (there is a rare risk of problems with existing operating systems) is faster and is less hassle.

    Erase and use the entire disk

    Clearly the easiest option. Will wipe the disk bare, creating a small SWAP partition and using the rest for Karmic. Again, it will not create a separate partition for data. Not my choice, again.

    Specify partitions manually (advanced)

    OK. This is the best of Ubuntu's options. You have control. And you are paying attention, right?!

    Check the box, click OK (or was that Forward? One of the two.) and Ubuntu again scans your disk (or disks if you have a multi-disk PC).

    The Prepare Disks page opens and you see clearly charted the layout of your disk or disks, together with a partition summary below.

    Study that chart and partition summary carefully, with your partition plan to hand. What, you don't have a partition plan? Oh dear, you've missed a step .. arguably the most important step in the installation process! Go back to Part 3, Plan Hard Drive Partition Strategy, have a think, then come back here.

    Right. You need to take your strategy and compare it with the chart and partition summary on the Prepare Disks page. Basically, you need to consider where on that disk to put what partitions.

    Let's say you've got a typical disk, unchanged from factory install, which comprises one big Windows C drive. Simple, you can shrink it from either end and, with all that freed up space, create whatever new partitions you need.

    Then again, you may have the C, but with a D – maybe your old Windows data drive – alongside. In that case, you could shrink C from the end nearest D, and shrink D from the end nearest C, creating a gap in the middle and, in there, plop in Karmic.

    Alternatively (or as well) you could shrink the far end of the drive, furthest away from your first partition, and have another/some of Karmic's partitions go there. Bear in mind though, just as the innermost part of a wheel spins faster than the outer edge, so the first partition runs faster than the last so, ideally, you'd have your key operating system on the first partition. The swap can be last, at the slow end of the disk, particularly if you have plenty of RAM.

    Some More Partitioning Tips

    Partitions for Music etc Add as many partitions as you want, leaving the mount point (see below) blank. Karmic reads most filesystems. Ext4 is recommended but, for Windows to read the partition, make it ntfs and then partition can be shared between Karmic and Windows.

    Allowing for Windows If you plan to add a Windows system on one of your partitions at a later date, give that an ntfs file system.

    Safeguard /home Allocate this to a partition on a secondary drive and it allows for future upgrades.

    Secure backup folder This should ideally be on a separate drive.

    You get the picture, there are options to consider. The most important one is, did you back up your data, just in case you are somehow unlucky.

    Using this advanced manual method and with your mapped out plan to hand, here are the functions at your disposal to create your ideal setup:-

    New partition table Deletes your existing partitions and everything in them. Choose this is you want to wipe your disk and build a new partition structure entirely. To add a new partition to your new table, click on free space and then on Add.

    Add To utilise, click on free space, then Add. Up pops a box needing some detail:-

    • Select size Clearly the size to make the slice.
    • Use as For Karmic, choose Ext4 for all partitions except for your swap, which requires a swap file system.
    • Mount point What the partition is for. The first available space should be for / (the root of Karmic's system), the next partition for /home (your data), then whatever else you want before the last partition for your swap.

    Click OK to reserve the partition. To add further partitions, click on free space again and repeat as before.

    • Revert If you make a mistake, go back a step.
    • Change To use, click on the partition to change. Up pops a box and you can, for example, change the partition size. You can also change the filesystem, for example, from that of Windows (ntfs, fat32 ..) to that of Linux (Ext4 is best).

    Primary or Logical?

    Doesn't matter. For technical reasons you can only have 4 primary partitions. If you want more partitions, just create three primary's and then create the rest as logical.

    Why Not Use gParted?

    Why not indeed? I do, but more likely I would do so for a complete disk format and new partition table. But Ubuntu's Partition Manager is basically the same anyway and is more user-friendly.

    But sure .. you could set up all your partitions with gParted and then, on installing Ubuntu and coming to the Partition Manager, simply allocate your gParted-created, Karmic-targetted partitions to the new operating system.

  • With your disk space allocated, click Forward.
  • On the Personal Identification screen, add the basic details and click Forward.
  • There's an installation summary on the Ready to install screen ..
  • And an Advanced tab. Most importantly, you can add a network proxy if you like.
  • Back on the Ready to install screen, click Install.
  • Go make a cup of tea.
  • Your partitions will be formatted and Ubuntu installed. I guess you knew that.
  • When the Installation Complete dialogue box pops up, click Restart now.
  • When prompted, remove the disk from the tray and click ‘Enter' to reboot.

NB I've noticed that, at least with the final release candidate installation disks, after this stage the computer can hang (likely it's a lack of empathy between the kernel and my HP laptop). If that happens, just do the technical thing: hold dwon the power button, force a shutdown and restart. The good news was that was the only problem I had with the installation process.

  • Up pops Karmic's shiny new login screen (after the boot manager if you have a dual boot machine). Do.

Accessibility Features

For those requiring such options as enhanced contrast or larger fonts and icons, Karmic Koala delivers a host of options. Click on the accessibility icon on the initial login screen to take your pick.

You are ready to roll. Now let's enhance this baby.


About the Author:

Olly Connelly (yeah, that's me) blogs at, polices WordPress security at and helps noobs build web servers at, so if you've got sleeping problems you know where to come.


  1. the_guv  March 18, 2012

    sorry annukumari, didn’t see your question till now … never mind, I guess you worked out how to Google that, huh? 😉

  2. annukumari  November 19, 2011

    i have lost of problem in virus please install it.

  3. annukumari  November 19, 2011

    please to install this softwear because i have suffering lost of problem in virus please install it

  4. shaun  May 3, 2011

    Been using the upgraded 10.4 for a while till my computer started making a strange noise which i thought was the fan squealing, My comp then switched of and i’ve been unable to reboot it as it says there is no root menu/partition. I tried to reinstall from the disc but when it gets to step 4 the page is blank and no partitions are visible. All i can click on is quit back or forward. Forward just says no partition chosen. Any help greatly appreciated thanks shaun

  5. the_guv  October 24, 2010

    thank you Mr X 😛

  6. X  September 26, 2010

    Cudos to you! Great work! Have a fine, profitable future!

  7. the_guv  March 16, 2010

    @Jim .. tx for kind words.

    sounds like a corrupt disk .. try burning another and installing from that.

  8. jim  March 16, 2010

    Great tutorial 🙂

    I have installed karmic server and jaunty desktop on this box with the same hardware before and I don’t remember any real issues.

    When I try and install 64bit karmic desktop this time, I can get to step 4 (partition) and the main box is empty, and I am unable to click any of the `add, revert` type buttons at the bottom, I can click forward but it tells me that nothing was selected.

    if I cancel, it will load the live CD, and I can launch gparted. I blew away all the partitions on the drive and created a linux swap, and then an ext4 which I flagged as bootable. so all looks good there.

    If I launch the `install ubuntu` it goes through to step 4 as normal, and the window still has nothing listed and I can not move forward with the install. if I reboot again and do the normal install, it is also still empty.

    I have blown away the partitions a few times as there is nothing on the drive I care about, but I am still unable to have it going.


    thanks for the help Guv 🙂

  9. the_guv  March 10, 2010

    @mrsfixit .. good to hear, thank you

  10. mrsfixit  March 3, 2010

    Great tutorial! I’ve switched to Ubuntu on both my laptops, but on my netbook I just did the “use whole disk” option because I found the partitioner confusing.
    Anyway, I blew away XP on my other laptop, followed your directions, created brand new partitions and installed Ubuntu Karmic. It just booted up, and so far, so good… LOL
    I could not have done this without your clear, concise, EASY instructions. I find many sites have directions on doing stuff in Linux that are needlessly complicated. This page is a breath of fresh air. Thank you SO much!
    BTW- to anyone who is curious- I am using full blown Karmic on my Acer Aspire One netbook. I tried Netbook Remix and had issues with it, but the full version of Karmic is a joy to use and runs great.

  11. the_guv  January 22, 2010

    @Nitesh .. sorry, you fell thru the cracks, or I was just ignoring you! You sorted?

    Maybe I made a mistake, er, pretty sure the button’s called Add!?

    That’s a netbook, huh? Well, you’d probably be better off with Ubuntu Remix, which is kind of Ubuntu “light”, especially for those lighter machines.

    Apologies for delay. Always seem to be late these days ..

  12. the_guv  January 22, 2010

    @RSG .. m8, I can understand you are apprehensive about this cos it is, well, partitioning is just one of those worrying things .. but I can’t really add anything useful that I haven’t said in those 2 relevant posts in the guide, this post and Plan Hard Drive Partition Strategy which is linked above … so read them both real thoroughly.

    Sorry to nag.

    then again, you could get away with 10bG for Ubuntu, PLUS whatever space you want for your docs. Then again, again, your docs ideally would be on a THIRD partition, as explained in that tut linked above, and I’d say that is best advice.

    personally, I’ve got a few partitions:-

    – one 30gB (big but I’ve got a tB! drive, plus another 500gB, so am kinda swimming in gigs – for my regular Ubuntu install, which contains VirtualBox with my windows install in there (how to do that is in Part 25 or so).
    – anotehr couple of 25gB parts, way bigger than reqd, for playing about with servers and desktop OSes
    – then about 100gB for docs
    – 50gB for website dev stuff
    – another 300gB for music
    – near as damn it the same for warez
    – the second, half-tB hard drive I use for backup.
    – this and that, basically the advanced option in that partition guide.

    so you see it’ s a personal thing .. some serious tech-heads would probably say I’ve got a crap setup!

    at least, IMHO, sounds like you want a solid chunk for that Windows rubbish, (which i understand is hard to wean off 😛 ), say 30 for Tux, then a big old chunk for personal docs (your /home directory), which you can access via Wins and vice versa but again read what i said on that.

    lemme know how you get on anyhow, but for the love of Mike read the ruddy guide, took bloomin ages to chisel up!

    one thing .. back up before you hit “go”, just to be on the safe side .. not that I’ve ever had a problem and we were all noobs once.

  13. RSG  January 21, 2010

    oh…thanx for the reply sir….
    I have windows xp installed on my pc(c:,20 gb).so as you have suggested 2nd option is good for me.But,exactly how much space required for ubuntu?
    As you said, it will create dual boot option,its ok.But when I want to install xp only,then will it delete that dual boot option?

  14. the_guv  January 20, 2010

    @RSG .. apologies m8, working all that. er, yeah, it’ll erase the “entire disk”, like it says. if you want a Linux-Windoze dual boot, you could partition the disc with these “side by side”. this would shrink the existing Wins partition to allow space for the new.

    … and it sounds to me that that second option may be best for you.

  15. RSG  January 20, 2010

    waiting for reply…

  16. RSG  January 19, 2010

    If I choose “Erase and use the entire disk” option,then my windows drive will be formatted(c:)or it will format all my hdd(c:.d:,e:,f:,…etc..)????
    please reply me….

  17. Nitesh  January 11, 2010

    I can’t get to the ADD button on my prepare partition part of the install process. You say press on “Free Space” and up pops Add button. There is no free space button and the Add button never highlights. Can you help on that?
    Aspire one D250.
    In live mode also it does not detect any volumes. I dont know what to do??? Can u suggest me any other linux based OS for my netbook…

  18. the_guv  January 9, 2010

    @Donogh .. an alternative way is to right click on one of the partitions.

    Eiterh way, you should see the Add button though. Have you clicked through the “Manually prep partitions” option?

    @SkullPilot .. definitely have another try. Really the install should be pretty straightforward, once the partitioning theory is understood.

    Appreciate your kind words.

  19. SkullPilot  December 30, 2009

    Awesome stuff you have here!

    I just built a new machine, installed Jaunty and it ran slower than a abacus powered by a malnourished squirrel. Finally, I gave up on it and salvaged my old XP Pro install CD (which was a story in itself because the CD was scratched, but I scrounged the files I needed off another XP machine, then slipstreamed a new XP CD including SP3). I’m still amazed that it worked.

    Glad I found your site, I’m gonna study up on your Ubuntu KK Bible and give it another try. I had initially tried KK, but I couldn’t get that rascal to install for the life of me (using raid0/ICH10R controller).

    I’ve decided to learn Linux and I will not be denied, it’s personal now. lol!

    Thanks for the tutorials. BEST I’ve come across.


  20. Donogh O'Brien  December 28, 2009

    I can’t get to the ADD button on my prepare partition part of the install process. You say press on “Free Space” and up pops Add button. There is no free space button and the Add button never highlights. Can you help on that?

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