Running Ubuntu from CD on Vista laptop

My mate wants to try Ubuntu on his Vista laptop but I can’t change the boot device order - looks like Vista thing.
I found a website ( that provides a method of running Linux from CD without rebooting but it requires a file (StartLinuxCD.exe) that I can’t find on the web.
Any ideas anyone?

[i]Update 22/11/11: I revisited this problem armed with an Ubuntu 11.10 disc purchased from Canonical. Pressing F12 during POST did indeed produce a boot choice list and choosing CD worked perfectly. [/i]

The Ubuntu LiveCD is bootable to a working desktop by default. (as long as the CD/DVD drive is the first boot device)

The boot device order has nothing to do with Vista (or any other OS), it’s a function of the BIOS

Your other option would be to install Ubuntu INSIDE Windows using the WUBI installer that is also on the Ubuntu LiveCD… then if you decide to remove it, it can be uninstalled like any other Windows application… from the control panel.

If you need further info… just ask :wink:

I don’t suppose it matters that it is a laptop rather than a desktop, but I although I can get into the BIOS of my desktop I couldn’t find a way of doing so for my mate’s laptop - Vista just booted up into the login screen immediately. Tried pressing various likely keys during the switch-on but no-go. (Ah - didn’t check for hibernate mode)
So two questions:
1 How might I get into the BIOS of the laptop?
2 Do I just double click on WUBI.EXE and let it go? I’d hate to wreck someone else’s computer!

My thanks as usual

  1. What’s the make/model of the laptop ? … so I can try to find out how to access the BIOS, or boot device selection screen.

  2. There are 2 ways of installing Ubuntu using WUBI…

a) Download The Ubuntu LiveCD ISO image, burn it to disk, and insert it in a PC whilst Windows is running… WUBI should autorun… if it doesn’t, running wobi.exe from the root of the CD should work.

b) Download WUBI to the desktop from here:
(click on the Show Me How buttons on that link, for a walkthrough)
WUBI will then download the ISO image for you and install Ubuntu inside Windows.

BE AWARE - Wubi is going to edit the Windows bootloader, so there is ALWAYS a small chance that it will become corrupt, leaving the PC unbootable… normally a very easy fix… but ONLY if you can boot from a Windows recovery CD (or Linux LiveCD)… so it would still be advisable to find out how to get into the BIOS, or which key brings up the boot device selection screen.

I am too chicken to use wubi.exe, after your worrying caveats!
I shall nip down to my mate’s now and provide the info about his laptop.
Sorry to give you so much work.


Heh… I did say small chance, but one you should be aware of, so having access to the boot device selection is a good idea :slight_smile:

Since I have the Ubuntu 11.04 disc, why can’t I use the wubi.exe file on that rather than downloading it (very poor broadband). You mention wobi.exe - is that a typo for wubi?
And if wubi downloads the entire Ubuntu from the web, I can’t do it due to “bandwidth” limitations.
I shall go for the boot order option, when my mate is at home and I can get the laptop info.


Ooops yes typo… you should be able to run it from the CD

Might be better just to right-click the CD cdive icon in “My Computer”, and select “Autorun” (or Autoplay, or Autostart, or whatever Windows says now).

The reason I say it may be better, is that the autorun.inf file on the CD, acually has
wubi.exe --cdmenu
as the startup command… not just wubi.exe

That looks like a good move - I shall try it tomorrow.
The Laptop is a Dell Inspiron 1501.

Dell Inspiron 1501…

F2 = BIOS Setup (screen)
F12 = Boot Device Selection (screen)

So just keep stabbing the F12 key immediately after turning on the laptop, and you will be asked which device you wish to boot from :wink:

Test this before running WUBI, just in case I’m wrong.

BTW, if he wants to try Ubuntu without making ANY changes to hs hard drive, but wants to be able to save changes/files, add software, etc. (impossible on a LiveCD), why not create a LiveUSB stick.

He can then boot into Ubuntu running from a USB memory stick.

Hmm…I did try F2, so I guess I was rebooting the machine incorrectly (I can be very stupid!). F12 sounds like the best option - I shall try it tomorrow.
I shan’t bother with the LiveUSB stick as I just want to demo Ubuntu for him in the hope that he opts to install it. This is pure selfishness as I am his PC guru and you know how competent I am!
I’ll let you know how it goes.


I think the modern laptop/desktop BIOS hotkeys are usually F2 / F12. It’s certainly the case with Acer, Dell & Toshiba IIRC. Hope all goes well Keith. :slight_smile:

Thanks to both for the F12 suggestion - I didn’t know about that one and it did work.
However … the BIOS was very basic compared with my desktop’s and appeared to have no way of altering the boot order which, as suspected, showed the c: drive as the first one.
So I tried Plan B by running wubi.exe and selecting the “run inside Windows” option. The response was an invitation to create an Ubuntu account (name & password) which I did, but I was rejected (“passwords do not agree”). I made several different attempts, even using Windows passwords, but to no avail.
Best I could do was demonstrate Ubuntu on my own machine. My kudos is in tatters. :-[
Option: Wipe the laptop after backing up files and then install Ubuntu. I await my friend’s decision and hope to have another devotee.

Many thanks gents.

Not sure if it’s the same in WUBI, but “normal” Ubuntu passwords must AFAIK be 8 digits long, and contain a number (and possibly no space).

and the username must be ALL lower case (and no spaces).

Ah! It mentioned the lower case bit but didn’t tell me about the password length. I shall have another go next time I see Harry.

you press F2 as soon as you switch on the computer, then it about 12 steps down when pressing the down arrow, select the booting device order or what it might be called and press enter, choose the cd/dvd with up down arrows, the press the U button to move it up to first place, press enter, move to exit and save. computer will want run its self right away but, you want to start it again with the disc in the drive from the start up.

Thanks for the tip.
F2 doesn’t work but F12 does. I didn’t know about pressing the “U” button but I’ll have a go next time.
I’ve discovered that my mate’s laptop has only 1GB RAM, which explains a lot of his problems and I doubt that I can run Linux successfully within Windows.
I am gradually persuading him to upgrade to a proper machine with Linux - I’ll keep you posted.