Categories Ubuntu

Install Ubuntu as a Windows application (Wubi)

Tempted by the Linux adventure but don't want to take risks (partitioning, for example)? Then install Ubuntu — a Linux distribution, in the same way as an application in Windows. The installation process is simplified and you can uninstall Linux at any time via the Add/Delete Programs menu. Once installed, Windows and Ubuntu will be set to dual-boot, i.e. you will now have the choice between starting a Microsoft or Ubuntu system. Everything is therefore fully automated for our greatest happiness: the world of Linux is just one click away!

Update — 19/07/2009 : a demo video was added at the end of the article to complete these explanations.

This type of installation is unique to the Ubuntu distribution and this procedure is called Wubi. Let’s see that it’s exactly the same as installing any software. I'll tell you from the outset: No command line to enter, no risky partitioning operations, no boot file management, etc. This method is therefore useful to all, for all users.

Step 1 — Download of Wubi

As I said Wubi is the name of the application to install the application in Windows. Start by downloading it at the following address:

Wubi install (976.6) KiB, 2,991 downloads)

Once downloaded, double-click the executable and wait a few seconds.

N.B. : you must be connected to the Internet during the installation process. If your connection is unstable or inefficient, then use a live CD by Ubuntu which will offer you the same installation possibilities described below. The only difference is that the files will be copied from the CD and not from the Internet — hence updates required later.

Step 2 — Installation of Ubuntu

A single screen must be configured before starting the installation process. Well, it’s hard to make it simpler!

Capture décran - Installation de Ubuntu via Wubi
Screenshot — Installation of Ubuntu via Wubi

Installation partition

Select the location of your choice. By default, C: is chosen in the same way as for a classic program, it will install on the system partition — for example, C:Mozilla Firefox Programs


The French is selected by default. So you have nothing to change except for exceptions, of course.

Dedicated space

Ubuntu requires at least 5 GB but I advise you to assign 10 GB. This is largely enough to install many applications. And then, this solution allows you to test Linux for a shorter or shorter duration. If you want to make it your main operating system, you will have to opt for a classic installation method — which is hardly very complicated.

Office environment

Ubuntu uses by default the GNOME desktop pretty close to Mac OS on certain aspects (for example, task bar at the top of the screen).

Kubuntu relies when to him on KDE — in its fourth version, a desktop close to Windows.

Mythbuntu is specifically dedicated to the Media Center. This is a specific mode but note that the Media Center app is also available on other environments.

Xubuntu uses an ultra minimalist desktop with fake GNOME air. To be reserved for low-performance machines, the interface is very stripped.

I recommend you opt for GNOME or KDE to get started.


All we have to do is define a username and then a password in the fields provided for this purpose.


A button Accessibility offers you some additional options in terms of mobile and visual aids. To be informed if necessary.

Step 3 — Finalisation

You are now ready to install Ubuntu. Just click on the button Install.

Capture décran - Processus d'installation de Ubuntu via Wubi

Wait for tens of minutes and restart the system. You now have the choice between using Windows or Ubuntu. For this, use the keys Top and Low from your keyboard and press Entry to launch the desired system.

Once started, Ubuntu will ask you for your username and password — the ones you indicated in the previous step.

Once connected, all you have to do is discover with a curious eye this OS that is full of my faith with many assets! Have a nice visit!


Leave a Reply to Maigret Cancel reply

  • Nice article.

    I'm working on an article explaining how to install Ubuntu 8.10 on an external USB bootable hard drive. This is the configuration that I set up at home so I do not mix genres and from Ubuntu (on HD USB) I just have to “mount” my local HDs (those in the laptop) to access it.


  • @Maigret: I didn‘t test with an e-sata external HD so not sure what I’ve implemented can solve your pb. Maybe this is actually a hardware compatibility pb. It’s like my external USB drive, not all PCs accept boot on a USB HD. For SD card, not tested but I am tempted to test on a 4 GB or 8 GB USB drive to see.

    On the other hand, what impresses me compared to Vista is the lack of memory and the lack of use of the swap. I have 3 GB of RAM on my laptop and at the Ubuntu boot, I have max. 300 MB of used and rarely exceed 700 MB with several apps (text editor, drawing software, FF with multiple tabs,...). It’s a real change

  • @JPDouet : personally, what I like for performance is speed at boot and improved disk resources — while this one is very often monopolised under Vista.

    However, although Ubuntu uses less memory, to gain objectivity, you should activate graphic effects, file indexing, etc. But it’s clear and clear that 700-800 MB is a maximum while Vista requires more than 1 GB.

    Let’s see what Seven’s on that side.

  • @Maigret: I have enabled graphics effects to benefit from my 9500M GS GeForce nvidia card with 512 MB of RAM... windows become distorted during travel; it’s pretty funny for 1 time but leaving in the end. Even with VLC playing a full screen video, the resources consumed remain low.

  • I confirm that the installation on USB key (not tested the SD card but it should not be very different) works very well.
    And it’s convenient to carry your office anywhere with yourself.
    Plus, it’s super easy with untbootin (which works under Win and Nux).

  • @JPDouet : indeed, it confirms my first impressions in terms of performance. This is very satisfying and I hope it will continue!

    @agatzebluz : I haven‘t tried to use a USB stick yet — because I don’t have a big capacity from which my penchant for SD cards. But still on the issue of performance, can we hope to do anything other than office automation? Is the writing speed sufficient?

  • @ Maigret: that kind of thing, there’s no reason it doesn't work. The usb doesn‘t have much to see... as long as you don’t do video editing or advanced audio processing (still...).
    You have to test it, it’s the best way to know.

  • Lion77

    Congratulations and thanks Maigret

    Since I figured I'd have to try this thing! If only to say M... to micro$oft....

    Concern, however: on my pc I already have a dual-boot (Vista/XP) Would I have a trial-boot after installing Ubuntu?

  • @Lion77: normally Ubuntu perfectly respects Windows partitions.
    On the other hand, it will no longer be the same interface to choose when starting, since it is GRUB that will manage the boot.

  • Lion77

    Thank you for your explanations.

    As far as the tattoo of my pc is concerned, I think to be premunied in so far as the backup share has been removed + repartitioning + installation of XP Pro and Vista ultimate instead of home family.

  • pgym

    Hello Maigret, definitely I‘m not good or I’m not lucky. Download 30mn then, setting name, code and language (Française) 10mn installation restart.
    Result the English office, installation problem incomplete language, impossible to repair no connection, since the settings are in English, my vocabulary is summed up to my plumber is rich, I uninstalled and reinstalled always same problem, would you have a solution please thank you in advance.

  • @pgym : I‘m sorry, but you’ve resettled for nothing.

    In fact, the language problem is normal. The one solves almost automatically when you are connected to the network. To do this, click on the icon representing Internet connections at the top right of the screen. Then select the corresponding connection and, if necessary, enter the necessary parameters — including the WEP or WPA key (in the same way as on Windows).

    Once connected, you can download the language files and have your Ubuntu in English.

    I would probably soon do a tutorial on this, otherwise do not hesitate to consult the guide after installation on the French documentation of Ubuntu concerning WIFI, languages, etc.

  • @Bernard : speaking of VirtualBox, I'm just getting started because it will allow me to make screenshots for my next tutorials.

    The Ubuntu distribution is installed as a Windows application, but it is launched like any system as soon as the computer starts in dual-boot. The advantage is that you don't have to worry about creating partitions, or managing the boot loader when deleting Linux since this is done through the Windows program removal tool.

    Regarding LiveUSB Creator, I still haven't found time to try... it must be said that my Internet connection is experiencing serious slowdowns right now and that downloading a distribution takes a lot of time.

  • Stephane

    A lot of this version. I'm more used to shell remotely. I have to find my marks.
    On the other hand, there is no place it offers the possibility of modifying the root pass. By the way, I don't even know what it set by default. fortunately there is the sudo command.
    Finally to test, one hour everything is ready!

  • Stephane

    Okay, I'll go check on Ubuntu’s doc.

    After a few “hours” of use, I start taking my marks.
    On the other hand, I don't have access to all my windows disks, just the boot.
    But good to find out it’s not bad.

  • Stephane

    actually, it’s possible.
    you have to go to the user manager and change the root password.
    then a little su with the password and it’s won.

  • @Stephane : it seems to me that Ubuntu’s peculiarity is not to have a root account. In full installation, you just need an ID and a password that will be requested for some “ridden” actions and that’s all.

    I don't know more at the moment because I discover this system at the same time as my readers.

  • @ Maigret: I confirm what you say for the root account; in any case I have the same understanding (password request to use for some so-called sensitive actions).

    @ stephane: maybe this is a feature of Wubi (which I didn't use) but when installing Ubuntu (perso on a bootable USB HD), I see without any pb my Windows disks. A double click on it (generates a “mount”) and hop the disk is accessible in read/write As a result, I access files from my Thunderbird email whether it is launched under Vista or Ubuntu; Royal

  • Francisco Navarro

    Instale el wubi en windows xp sp3, todo fue sencillo y funcionaba well, al arrancar sale la opcion Windws xp o ubuntu, trabajando con windows hubo una falla de energia y al volver a iniciar con windows sale unanuncio que dice windows ha detectado una falla y serrara etc., trato de entrar en modo seguro, (F8), y sale el mismo anuncio, solo acepta arrancar con ubuntu por lo que ahora tengo que trabajar con ubuntu y para rescatar los archivos de windows tengo que ir a la carpeta host de sistema de archivos de ubuntu.
    Quisiera saber si hay algun modo de poder enter a windows pues hay programas que necesito y solo funcionan en este.

  • @Francisco Navarro : su problema es realmente especial y es imposible that ayudará a cabo con un simple comentario. Nunca tuve ningún problema después de luz de manera corte que no puedo ayudarte. El mejor camino a seguir es ponerse en contacto con su distribuidor más cercano a usted.

  • Georges Vaillancourt

    I installed KUBUNTU with Wubi and it seems to have worked well but I have a problem. Ubuntu does not seem to recognise my monitor which is a Samsung 2483BW. Which means I can only see part of the image displayed, which prevents me from having access to the start button at the bottom left. The image is so big that the monitor’s adjustments are insufficient to move it enough to have access to the start button, so I can do nothing but get out of UBUNTU to restart in windows that works it as before. Can someone suggest a solution to me?

  • Georges Vaillancourt

    I installed KUBUNTU with Wubi and it seems to have worked well but I have a problem. Ubuntu does not seem to recognise my monitor which is a Samsung 2483BW. Which means I can only see part of the image displayed, which prevents me from having access to the start button at the bottom left. The image is so big that the monitor’s adjustments are insufficient to move it enough to have access to the start button, so I can do nothing but get out of UBUNTU to restart in windows that works it as before. Can someone suggest a solution to me?

    Perhaps additional information would help to find a solution? My video card is NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce430 chip.

  • @Georges Vaillancourt: install the nvidia drivers first and I think your problem should be solved by itself.
    memory (and I don't know Kubuntu), System > Administration > Owner Drivers. It just looks like an unrecognised resolution.
    Otherwise, the forum and especially the Unbuntu doc are good ideas, but a search before posting an application is mandatory.
    And of course there is the indispensable Google!
    Good luck.

  • Tornado

    After starting the procedure I have a window that opens:

    Ubuntu Install

    Downloading ubuntu-9.04-desktop-amd64.iso

    and then it tells me that the approximate time is 4 p.m. why so much time it downloads what exactly?

  • @Tornado : as indicated in the article, you either download the live CD in ISO format or let Wubi do. It all depends on your connection because the CD weighs 700 MB.

  • Maigret

    @Tornado : if you downloaded the Live CD version then you should be able to launch it from Windows and proceed to its installation as shown in the end-of-article video.

  • @Tornado : ARF, you had to read the article too quickly because at the beginning is indicated a link to download the version on the site Ubuntu francophone. There’s no version problem. The one currently used is 9.04, the next will be 9.10 — the year then the month (April or October).

  • Tornado

    OK thank you but it’s always blurred for me in fact I had read the article well it’s just that I had already downloaded this version and when going to the site Ubuntu Francophone I found no difference in weight so I thought it’s the same so I understood well I had to go to the link below then check the case Use the Alterate CD? or jme cheating again?

  • @Tornado : in fact, the weights are always the same. Publishers make sure to put the maximum amount of content on the media used.

    On the French-language site of Ubuntu, you must select the 32-bit or 64-bit version — depending on its processor, then download.

    Then, by running from Windows, everything should work as in the video.

    The CD alternation is not the same thing at all.

  • Tornado

    So I was on the link I downloaded version 9.04 and then followed the steps after validating I have the same window that opens and asks me to wait hours.

    For the first install after waiting 16h that it downloads I don't know what at the end I got this beautiful message

    An error occurred:

    Permits denied

    For more information, please see the log file:

    And so it’s impossible to launch Ubuntu..... I'm discouraged I think I'm staying here I don't find where the problem comes from.

  • @Tornado : your antivirus may be the culprit, but honestly I've never met this problem. The best would be for you to post on the French-language Ubuntu forum that will probably be able to help you.

    Otherwise, you can always try a classic installation...

  • Hadingus

    Installed ubuntu on hard drive (refused) Trial via cd iso (refused). My pc is a samsung R710 with Vista. At the opening I can choose between vista and ubuntu. Everything goes well, but samsung recovery III takes me infallibly to Vista. Also with the boot iso cd. Everything starts well then samsung appears and hop Vista. Even having moved samsung recovery to another hard drive, it returns? Little idea?

  • Jules Cesar

    when I install ubuntu as an application, a window will appear to reboot my pc, what I do but it does not start under ubuntu the error message that appears on my screen is the following NTFS5 error: prefix not set

  • Brian

    Good morning,

    said I come from installed wubi all his very well past he spear had started my mtn that I'm under win 7 and that I restart I didn't get on my keys does not react and windows launches obviously, if you knew help me I'll be happy

    Thank you in advance