#loadshedding – no problem.

no cost startup

Mobility and Ubuntu on a shoestring budget. But WOW! Loadshedding can’t stop you.

In the earlier post I told you how my pc crashed. The story stopped with 3 days left to activate windows and the install dvd, buried somewhere. So much happened, I made a plan to keep my work going, took some huge decisions and adopted a new philosophy of mobility.

Ever thought of this? Once your set and fully mobile, you will not notice loadshedding. Honestly, let’s say you are busy dealing with customers, using your CRM (Customer Relations Management) software and the power decides to cut for an hour or two, you simply grab your smart phone or tablet and carry on working, exactly what I’m doing now.

Okay, moving all your work online is both easy and boring, but as usual it goes deeper. Not having a Windows installation disk, left me with no choice but to go all the way, and change my main computer to Ubuntu, Why?

It turns out that the software to recover the data from the crashed raid cost R 2 500,00 and there is no way I am spending that. The second ingredient to this story is the fact that buying a third copy of Windows is ridiculous, so…after a long hard think and checking that I do have the most important parts of my work on cd backup… I chose to start fresh and not spend a cent. That’s right not a cent.

Obviously by being prepared, I could have changed over to Ubuntu with ease and not lose any data. I guess that’s not how it works for me, and probably the reason I know about all of this. Being a computer tech has never been me, and I am sure many of you reading this are in the same boat.

Join me on this journey

The route: starting with a clean pc and ending with a fully functional computer loaded with all the tools I can possibly need, whether it is creating documents to editing graphics, and of course music…. All for FREE!

omgubuntu Wow
This image started as a photo on the tablet and then edited and sized with the Pixlr app, which works like a dream.

In the following sections I will give you a detailed walk through with links and details about everything that broke in the process and how it got fixed. Warning many computer things were harmed and died during the making of this.

Read On: This is what you need to hear when you are starting a new business on a shoestring budget.

Here is a list of what’s happening next:

  • Getting the iso
  • Making a loader
  • Installing the os – Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

The steps below starts in windows, starting with a brand new hard drive. You will need a dvd or a flash drive min: 2Gb. The easiest way using the least effort will be to leave the new hard drive un-formatted.

Did you know:
You can run Ubuntu from a flash drive to test it first, or use it as a supper mobile computer, just plug it in any pc, boot up and you have an OS. And obviously you can click install and load it next to Any Windows, creating a Dual Boot that will ask you which one you want to use.


 Getting the iso

An iso is the file extension for the image file used to install Ubuntu, like a Windows install disk, but free. The file download is about 1Gb, so make sure you have enough data before starting the download. Use your favourite browser and go to http://ubuntu.com/downloads once there you have a choice, download the 64bit or the 32bit install, I don’t own an apple so no trying that one.

Get Ubuntu

This is straight forward, you want the desktop install. The other versions includes a server, some cloud offering for Ubuntu server, a version for Chinese users, alternative download options and more. You want Ubuntu Desktop.

Ubuntu Desktop 64 bit

The first decision you will have to make is if your pc is 32 bit or 64 bit. If you don’t know click here. One way to help you decide will be by the age of your computer, if it is newer than 3 years, chances are good it is 64 bit, if you are currently running Windows XP or before that, go for the 32 bit install. On the next page you can choose to make a donation or skip past and download. The download file is +-1 Gb and will ont fit on a normal CD. That is important to know for the next step.

Making a loader

A couple of ways to install Ubuntu exists, maybe you want to go with, directly loading to the new drive, but after wasting half a day on that I found some warning signs, rather go with an install from disk or USB.

Click this image to go there.
Click this image to go there.

I used a usb loader, but there aren’t really any difference between USB or DVD.

Scroll a bit down the page and click to download the UUI. You can only run this once your ISO file is completely downloaded.

With your .iso ready, run the UUI and follow the super easy steps. MAKE SURE you are copying to your usb drive, as this process will wipe the USB clean.

When this process completes, you shut down windows and boot up using the USB drive a boot disk. This is easy to select when you computer starts up, press the boot menu key which in my case is F11 and a menu will pop open. Select usb, and the install will begin.

Installing the OS – Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Now that the process is going on your machine, you will be asked a few basic questions to complete the installation. As mentioned earlier, it is a good idea to run of the flash disk and see if you like it and if all your hardware is working.

During the install you have the choice to download updates and add proprietary software, that’s Flash and Music players etc. Selecting those options will make your first startup experience better.

One other point you should keep in mind, is where to install Ubuntu, next to windows or do you want to repartition and clean the drive before installing. If you using a new blank drive, choose the “Something else” option and partition the free space.

Install Ubuntu

Start by clicking create new partition table. you will then notice the new partition above the free space. Not a rule but good practise are to create 3 partitions. The first being “/”  this is where the OS will reside, anything between 20 Gb to 30 Gb will work.

The second partition will be a swap file partition and 4 Gb is enough depending on your RAM, you can increase it if you have more than that in physical Ram. Look for the EXT4Journaling file System on the bottom drop down and change it to swap file. All these partitions are created as primary partitions.

The last partition will be “/home” this takes up the rest of the drive, this is where your files will be stored, separating the OS from your data. By separating the OS from the data you can easily replace the OS if something dies.

Ubuntu Partitions

Now, Ubuntu will be installed on your machine and after some time, depending on your settings and internet connection speed, you will be taken to the home page.

Custom Home page

Enough of the boring stuff.

This post should help you get a complete, high quality, easy to use operating system, free. Next up we will have a quick look at basic updates and tweaks, software and all of that.

This is how simple it is, I sort off remember from a while back, one of the popular graphic tools were called GIMP, after checking I could see it’s not installed. Once again just taking a chance I open a terminal and type: sudo apt-get install gimp  Hit enter and there it comes, installs straight away, open and edit photos all for exactly R 0,00

Anyway, till next time. And please share if you liked this. Now i’m off to do some super exciting admin work (sarcasm).

Renier van den Berg
Working alone, providing digital services to businesses in different sectors, comes with an advantage. I get to see the similarities in businesses operating in different sectors and will gladly help you to implement the right digital strategies and applications to save money and generate more business leads.