How to Install Ubuntu 12.04

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology –
Computer Science & Software Engineering


Follow these directions to install Ubuntu 12.04 on your laptop.  Ubuntu is a distribution of LINUX that is freely available from

These instructions are for installing Ubuntu on the Lenovo laptops via USB and our local mirror.

While working though this guide you will be without internet access at several points. It is advised that you have a wired network connection and that your system is connected to it. This will facilitate updating your computer after completing the installation process.

Before you begin your installation, you should print this guide.  Remember, you will not be able to access it at several points during the installation process since you will be without internet access. 

It might also be a good idea for you to request that IAIT update your BIOS to the latest revision. You might also want to let them have your laptop cleaned (keyboard, screen, air vent, heat sink, etc.).

Pre-Installation Step

  1. Backup any important documents before performing this lab.
  2. Make sure you have a network cable as you will be installing from our local mirror.
  3. It is recommended that you turn off Optimus display (uses both integrated and discrete GPUs) as this can be problematic in Ubuntu. It's much easier to change the display in the BIOS to discrete only. Note that this is not applicable for the Lenovo W510 or earlier model.
  4. Make sure that the laptop is defragmented and that there is at least 15 to 20 GB of free hard drive space for CSSE332, CSSE432 or 50 GB of free space for CSSE132 or CSSE232 (more is always better). You will also need sufficient free space to keep Windows happy.

    During the install you will be shrinking your Windows filesystem. It is generally a good idea to leave 10 - 20% of the Windows filesystem empty after shrinking in order to help prevent fragmentation. By default, we will be using 20GB for Linux so for a 60GB Windows partition you should make sure there is at least 24GB free before continuing. (20GB + (60GB - 20GB) * 0.10).

    Run the Windows defragmenter at least once.

    1. Select Start → Computer.
    2. Right click on C: Drive and select Properties.
    3. Select the Tools tab.
    4. Select Defragment now.
    5. Select C: Drive then Defragment disk.

    Defragmenting a harddrive with very little fragmentation takes about 15 minutes, but may take much longer if your harddisk very fragmented.

  5. A common issue is the inability of the Ubuntu installer to resize your NTFS partition because the filesystem is slightly corrupt. Linux tools will generally refuse to touch a corrupt NTFS partition for safety reasons. To prevent this from becoming an issue while installing Ubuntu, you should run chkdsk to fix any errors on the NTFS filesystem.
    1. Log in to Windows as an administrator (e.g. .localmgr).
    2. Open a command prompt (press the Windows button + r and then type cmd + Enter).
    3. Run the command: chkdsk /f.
      The program will complain that it cannot lock the drive and offer to schedule a disk check for the next boot. Accept this offer.
    4. Reboot Windows twice to correct any filesystem corruption.

    Running chkdsk on an error-free harddisk takes about 15 minutes, but may take much longer if your harddisk has lots of errors.

  6. Preparing USB Boot Drive
    1. You will need a USB Drive of at least 32 MB and an ethernet cable.
    2. Download mini.iso from
    3. Download Rufus, which allows you to write the .iso image to the USB drive.
    4. Click the CD icon near the bottom of the window and browse to mini.iso
    5. Press Start and then OK to verify that all the data will be overwritte on the USB drive
    6. When the image has been written to the USB drive, "DONE." will appear at the bottom of the window. Click Close and eject the USB drive from Windows.

Install Ubuntu

  1. Installing Ubuntu on your computer

    After completing the pre-installation steps above, follow these steps to install Ubuntu on your laptop. Follow these steps carefully, skipping none.

    1. Insert USB drive, connect network cable and reboot.
    2. During the Thinkpad splash screen, repeatedly press F12 until it says "Preparing Boot device list". Select USB device to boot from.
    3. When the screen appears that displays the Ubuntu logo and "Select a language", the USB stick can safely be removed.
    4. Note that during this install, the touchpad will more than likely not work. Use the point stick or external mouse for the install.
    5. Select language: English.
    6. Select Location: United States.
    7. Configure the keyboard: English (US).
      Select keyboard layout: English (US).
    8. Configure the network: Choose ethernet device (eth0) and NOT wireless (wlan0).
    9. Enter a hostname (currently set to leave as-is or change to another hostname you wish to use.
    10. Choose a mirror of the Ubuntu archive: Press "a" to go to the top of the countries and press the up-arrow to select "enter information manually".
    11. Change "mirror" to . Leave the archive mirror directory as-is (/ubuntu/).
    12. Leave proxy information blank.
    13. Enter your full name.
    14. Enter your desired username.
    15. Select a password and enter it twice.
    16. Do not encrypt home directory.
    17. Verify timezone America/Indianapolis.
    18. Partitioning Disks:
    19. With laptops having as much free memory as they now do (4-8 GB), a Swap partition is rarely used, if it all. For this reason, I recommend NOT using the Guided - resize partitioning method during the install. If this mode is selected, Ubuntu will automatically make a swap partition that is equal to the installed RAM. On the 530W laptops, this is an 8 GB partition!
      With that said, if you choose to manually partition and have a swap partition that is less than the installed system memory, you will not be able to hibernate your laptop. Hibernate requires a swap partition that is at least equal to the amount of installed RAM. Standby will still work, however.

      Here are instructions on manually creating the root and swap partitions:

      • On the partition Disks screen, select Manual and click Continue.
      • Select the partition of your hard disk that contains your Windows operating system and click Continue. In this case, it is partition #2 (note that partition #1 is only 104.9 MB and is bootable; this is clearly not the Windows partition).
      • Select Resize the partition (currently ??? GB) and click Continue.
      • On the next screen, select Yes to Write previous changes to disk and click Continue.
      • Enter the new desired size of your WINDOWS partition. NOTE: You are NOT specifying the size of your Ubuntu partition here. The available free space will be repartitioned in the next few steps for Ubuntu. For example: If your hard disk is 320 GB and you would like to reserve 290 GB for Windows and configure Ubuntu to use 30 GB of disk space, set the new partition size to 290 GB. This will leave 30 GB of free space that will be partitioned for Ubuntu. Click Continue.
      • Select the partition labelled FREE SPACE and click Continue.
      • Select Create a new partition and click Continue.
      • A 1 GB swap partition is recommended in the event it is actually needed. Change the New partition size to be 1 GB less than the maximum partition size. In this example, the maximum is 30 GB, so enter 29 GB and click Continue. NOTE: Make sure to specify GB; if you enter 29 it will default to MB and not GB. Click Continue.
      • Select Logical for the new partition and click Continue.
      • Choose Beginning to create the partition at the beginning of the free space and click Continue.
      • On the next page, all the values are set correctly. Select Done setting up the partition and click Continue.
      • Again, select the partition labelled FREE SPACE and click Continue.
      • Create a new partition and click Continue.
      • Use all the free space remaining for the partition and click Continue.
      • Choose Logical and click Continue.
      • On the next page, select swap area for how to use the partition and click Continue.
      • Select Done setting up the partition and click Continue.
      • Select Finish partitioning and write changes to disk and click Continue.
      • On the final screen, select Yes to write the changes to disk and click Continue.
    20. Select and install software: → No automatic updates.
    21. Software selection: Check Ubuntu desktop box (will take awhile).
    22. Configuring man-db: Install GRUB boot loader to master boot record.
    23. Finish the installation: System clock is set to UTC. You need to change to your current time zone. Do this by clicking the Time and Date Settings in the top right corner of your screen. In the Window that pops up enter Terre Haute in the location text box, overwriting "adark" or whatever else is already there. Wait a little while and the time will auto-update.
    24. Reboot.
  2. Note: Don't Panic!

    There is a bug with the 12.04 net installation that it does not complete the installation for language support. After the initial login you will see a window like the following:

    Incomplete Language Support
    1. Choose Run this action now and on the next window, select Install (your password will be required)
    2. Close both windows.
  3. Install NVIDIA drivers:
    There are a few options on how to configure the graphics driver:

    For these reasons, it is recommended to use the Nvidia drivers.
    1. Press the Windows Key (a.k.a. Super Key) and type Terminal. Click on the Terminal program. A new Terminal window will open. In that window type wget
    2. In a terminal window, type "bash cssenvidia". Reboot when the script completes.
  4. Congratulations on your Ubuntu installation!
    1. When your system boots into the newly installed Ubuntu, log in using the user name and password you selected earlier during installation.
    2. Congratulations! You are now running Ubuntu Linux.
    3. If you wish to configure any of the following, please follow these links for further documentation: