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The First Boot
Once you’ve burned the ISO, you’ll need to boot your PC from the Ubuntu CD, which will involve either manually selecting the optical drive or changing the boot order in your BIOS. After several minutes, you should see the basic Ubuntu desktop. You should already have access to most of your hardware, including network, sound, and graphics. Some typical gaming components simply don’t have good Linux support—notably the X-Fi series of soundcards and brand-new videocards. We’ll talk about them in a bit.
Assuming you booted into the live desktop properly, starting the install process is as simple as double-clicking the Install icon on the desktop. The install program will prompt you for your language, location, and keyboard layout before you get to the hard-disk partitioning section.
Partitioning your hard disk is the only step of the install process where a mistake will do serious harm. If you install to the wrong partition, you could accidentally nuke your Windows drive and all of its contents (that’s why we recommend running a full backup before you start the installer). The safest way to install is to add a new hard drive or just create free space on the disk—however, that’s not always an option.
If you want to resize your existing partition, select the “Guided - resize” option. Then use the slider to decide how to divide the drive and press OK. We suggest giving your Linux partition a minimum of 20GB; more if you plan to use it as your primary OS.
If you have free space for a new partition, or have already created an empty partition on your drive, select Manual and then choose the partition to use. If you’ve installed a second hard drive to install Ubuntu on, choose “Guided - use entire disk” and select the appropriate disk from the list.
Now you’ll be prompted to import data from your Windows partition. The Ubuntu installer will pull your Gaim settings, Firefox bookmarks, music, photos, and documents over from your Windows install if you select these options. We had mixed results with this tool in Feisty—it crashed the installer on a few Vista machines that we tested—but your mileage may vary. After you import files, you’ll be prompted to create a user account. You’re almost done!
The final step is to confirm your installer’s settings and press Install to finish the process. You’ll need to wait about half an hour while the install completes and then finish by rebooting your PC and selecting the Ubuntu entry from the boot manager that was installed for you.
Using the Alternate Installer
If your machine won’t boot from the graphical install CD, either because you have a new videocard that’s not properly supported or you have an older unsupported chipset, you’ll need to use the nongraphical installer, which is called the alternate installer, for your architecture. Download the correct alternate CD for your CPU (again from Ubuntu's download page) and follow the prompts.