Install Ubuntu Server Step By Step

Finally, you get to see how Ubuntu Server Edition is installed, step by step, in Expert mode. I assume you know how to boot from the CD on your system. The same steps are required if you've set up an ISO file as a CD/DVD on a virtual machine.

1. When you boot from the Ubuntu Server CD, you'll see a list of languages obscuring the screen. Select a language and press enter.

2. Once you see the menu shown in Figure 2-3, press F6 twice. In the pop-up menu that appears, highlight Expert Mode and press enter. An X should appear next to the Expert Mode option.

3. Press the esc key to return to the main CD menu.

4. Press enter to start the installation process.

5. The installer menu that appears in Figure 2-5 illustrates the basic steps associated with the Ubuntu installation process. What happens in each of these menu options is described in the dedicated sections that follow.

If you're installing from the Ubuntu DVD, press tab to highlight Go Back and press enter to get to the menu shown in Figure 2-5. Be aware that you'll have to run this same step again and again to return to the First Ubuntu Server Installer Main Menu. Other steps described in this chapter will vary if you're installing from the Ubuntu DVD. As installation would proceed in regular (not Expert) mode, you'd miss several options.

The following sections are based on installation options from the Main Menu shown in Figure 2-5, and the Expert mode Main Menu that follows after the Load Installer Components From CD subsection in Figure 2-6.

Function Key



Returns to the help index


Lists basic prerequisites: 32MB of RAM is required to use the installer. More is necessary even in most text-mode installations, but those requirements would go beyond the installer. Also lists a requirement for at least 2GB for a desktop or 400MB for a minimal server installation.


Describes different boot methods, associated with the boot: prompt accessible earlier with the esc key.


Notes the rescue mode, available by typing rescue at the boot: prompt.


Provides an overview of other boot parameters that you might include in the installation process.


Suggests basic hardware boot parameters.


Suggests boot parameters associated with SCSI drives.


Includes more suggested hardware-related boot parameters.


Lists generic help suggestions at


Lists the basic Ubuntu copyrights and warranties.

Table 2-2.

Ubuntu Boot CD Help Options

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Note that it you select a component that requires others, those components will also be loaded.

Installer components to load:

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Installation Consoles

There are four consoles available during the Ubuntu text mode installation process: The first console (alt-fi) is the blue screen you normally see. Two provide command line consoles (alt-f2 and alt-f3); and the other lists system messages (alt-f4).

Console Key Combination Description

1 alt-fi Installation messages

2 alt-f2 Command line access (ash shell)

3 alt-f3 Command line access (ash shell)

4 alt-f4 System messages

To access a command line console, press alt-f2 or alt-f3. The first time you enter one of these consoles, you'll see the following message:

Please press Enter to activate this console.

After enter is pressed, you're taken to a command line screen, where most bash shell commands can be used to help monitor the progress of the installation. If something goes wrong, the shell can facilitate modification of key configuration files. (For example, during one installation, a DNS server went down, and I was able to replace its entry in /etc/resolv.conf to keep the installation going.)

System messages in the fourth virtual console are available when you press alt-f4. They can help diagnose problems during the installation process. When you're ready to return to the actual installation, press alt-fi.

The menu screens are all low-resolution blue screens. None of the options are clickable; to navigate between options, you can use the tab and arrow keys. Selections can be made with the enter key and sometimes the spacebar.

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