linux.jpgA few days ago a friend of mine was ready to enter the Linux world (sic!). He downloaded a Fedora ISO but he didn't have a blank CD to burn it. So he asked me for a way to install Linux through his Windows system. So, in this guide I will describe you how to install a Linux distribution from a Windows system so that you don't have to burn a CD. I will use a freeware application called UNetbootin. UNetbootin is a tool that allows you to either create bootable Live USB driers for a variety of Linux distributions such as (Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, Gentoo, openSUSE etc.) or make a "frugal install" directly on your local hard disk drive if you don't have a USB drive. It can both load distributions by automatically downloading the ISO images or by using existing ISO files. Apart from a Windows 2000/XP/Vista version it has Linux versions also with precompiled packages for Ubuntu, Debian, openSuse and Gentoo. Therefore, you can use it to install Linux from another Linux!

In this tutorial I have installed Ubuntu Iterpid Ibex 8.10, for which I had previously downloaded an ISO image, through a Windows XP system. The procedure is the same to install any distribution through Windows and Linux. So download the latest stable version of UNetbootin and let's get started.

This is the main window of UNetbootin. You can see the list of available distributions that UNetbootin can download for you. Various versions of each distro are supported. Apart from the Distribution and Diskimage options you can do a custom installation using a specific kernel and initrd as well as custom kernel options but I believe this will confuse most people and since it isn't a common situation I won't refer at all to this option.


As I've said before I will not use the automatic download but the Ubuntu 8.10 LiveCD ISO (1) I have in my disk. Moreover I won't use a USB driver. Just my hard disk (2). Of course if your motherboard supports booting from USB drives and you own a large enough USB drive select this one in the Type drop down box.


UNetbootin will download files (if you have chosen the download ISO option), extract files from the ISO image, copy them to a temporary image, install a bootloader and prompt you to reboot your system.



When you reboot select UNetbootin from the list.


Next click on the find /unetbtin/menu.lst option.


And select UNetbootin.


The installation process should begin.


Ubuntu 8.10 is a LiveCD so just click the install icon to install it locally. I won't post here details about the installation process of Ubuntu since this isn't the subject of this unebootin guide. Just be very careful when you partition your system. You don't want to install Linux on a existing Windows partition, do you? If you are interested you can read my Ubuntu Installation guide for more details.


Once the installation completes just reboot your system and select Windows from the GRUB boot menu. Another boot menu will appear, the Windows bootloader this time. Here choose again Windows. You will be prompted to Run UNetbootin.exe. This will automatically remove it from your system, along with the Windows bootloader.



Now you have a dual boot Windows-Linux. Enjoy!

Note: Apart from Ubuntu 8.10 I have tried the same using a Fedora 10 LiveCD ISO. However I had a few problems with it and I didn't install it. The first problem was the following error message:

Warning could not find root filesystem
Create symlink dev/root and then exit the shell to continue install.

I solved this by typing:

ln -s / /dev/root
However I got another error next saying:

bug in initramfs /init detected. Dropping to a shell. Good luck!
There is an open bug in RedHat's bugzilla for this so there is nothing I can do. I don't know if there is the same problem with the normarl Fedora DVD ISO. If anyone tries it just drop me a comment here.

Comments (12)

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I found this page by googling because kinf of a similar problem but the other way around. In my case Evolution shows me all Outlook invitations correctly but when I sent an Invitation to an Outlook user it is shown as plain text within outlook. The recipient can’t take any action in Outlook!?
hreffa , May 06, 2009
I don't understand the relevance between this guide and you question.
axel , May 07, 2009
Not able to install Ubuntu 9.04 using unetbootin
My system already has two partitions - one for XP (Win32) and the other for XP x64 edition. The Win32 partition is the C drive and the Win XP x64 is on E drive and I created another NTFS partion on G drive.

I want to install Ubuntu on the G drive.

When I run unetbootin, I don't see any option to select G drive for installation. The G drive does not even show up in the HD installation menu, it just allows me to use C drive only. Any idea how to resolve this problem would be greatly appreciated.
K4 , June 16, 2009
Hi K4,

that's strange. Drive G: should be listed in the hard drives dropdown list, after C:.

If you have a CD rom drive in your computer I would suggest to burn the Ubuntu DVD iso on a CD and boot your computer from it. Then just tell Ubuntu to install in the drive you want. Here is a link which describes the installation proccess (of Ubuntu 8.10, not 9.04 but this isn't a problem)

Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) Installation Guide
axel , June 16, 2009
xp bootloader
i want to use xp boot loader. as you say "This will automatically remove it from your system, along with the Windows bootloader." than i will be able to boot into xp? i don't have floopy/usb drive or xp cd.
sometimes ago i dual boot xp and ubuntu but delete my xp bootloader.
this time i don't want to make that mistake. please help me. thanks in advance.
harshit , October 31, 2009
great guide
Hello this is a great guide i Googled for ever unabled to find A find a frugal install tutorial thanl-you.I m doing this on my eeepc .(i no that its a little different in the steps.)
LINUX IS COOL , December 01, 2009
Thanks! I've written this guide a few months ago so it's reasonable some steps to have changed since then. smilies/smiley.gif
axel , December 02, 2009
I needed this since I'm more of a Linux User than my parents (Think Its Too Hard)
and Since we share the PC (I'm under 18 BTW)
I can boot into Linux and by default they can boot into Windows Automatically

On Your Next Guide This Should Be The Title:

How to Convince People to Try Linux

Here's A Few Reasons from Me (and the Linux Community)
Linux is getting easier to use EVERYDAY
Linux is Free
Linux can be customize anytime
Over 10,000 Distros Already!
Peter , November 27, 2010
This great Tuturial
Thanks a lot.
I don't want to burning CD again.
suqlin , March 15, 2011
Frugal install doesn't work
Nice article, but "frugal install" simple doesn't work for me. I use Windows XP and after reboot, Unetbootin don't show up. What can be possible wrong? Thanks any help.
Samuel , June 24, 2011
csn amybody helps me to install redhat linux 6.1 using unetbootin, please mail me those links what u r going to tell .thanking you (
kuman , December 04, 2012
was good to know
go ahead
RAvYour Username is: Ravi Singh Your Activation ID is: , May 21, 2013

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