Lately, Ubuntu has gained a lot of recognition. It has become the world’s most popular Linux distribution. It’s an up-to-date operating system that focuses on usability, flexibility, and most importantly, providing a seamless Linux environment for the average user. In this article we’re going to present Wubi, a Windows-based Ubuntu installer that acts just like any other typical Windows application installer.
The whole process starts with downloading Wubi. You can always grab the latest version from the official website. Once you’ve downloaded it, you have two options. You can either install a specific version of Ubuntu that you already have (its ISO image), or let Wubi download the latest one. If you’re choosing the first option, then place the ISO image in the same folder with Wubi; it's as simple as that. Wubi will detect it right away.
The second option requires an Internet connection, because it downloads right away during the installation process. This option is somewhat safer because Wubi may not be compatible with the particular version you already have. A fast broadband connection isn’t usually much of a problem nowadays. Once you’ve retrieved the image, Wubi is ready to begin installation. You need to select the desktop environment.
Here you have a few choices. You can go with the standard Ubuntu or Kubuntu (KDE-based Ubuntu), or Xubuntu, and whatnot. This is a matter of personal preference, but either of the first two is recommended. Ubuntu is the typical choice, though. You then need to pick the destination drive. The installer estimates the size of the installation. It’s quite accurate.
Once the installation starts, it will finish the entire setup in only a few minutes. You will be asked to reboot your computer to apply some further changes (and try out the boot loader). You’ll boot into Ubuntu, and the loader will verify and make a few more modifications.
You can see a screen shot of the boot loader below. It’s that simple.
It does no harm to your current Microsoft Windows installation. It has been tested on both Windows XP and Vista; thousands of people all over the world have run and rely on Wubi every day. Under Windows XP in the “Add/Remove Programs” menu in the Control Panel (or Programs and Features under Vista), you can see that Ubuntu appears as a new application.
You can uninstall it and everything goes back to normal. The new entry in boot-loader simply vanishes, while that very large file (disk image) also disappears. So this is the easiest and simplest way to “test-drive” Ubuntu and see how you would work with it in the real world, where your configurations are also permanent. It isn’t virtualization (that’s slow and unreliable), nor is a Live CD version.
Wubi is available in multiple languages (over 50+), and its size (latest version) is only 1.1MB (without the Ubuntu ISO installation image, of course). We strongly encourage you to download and give it a try, especially if you aren’t already familiar with Linux.