How to Install Elementary OS? (Beginners Guide)


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If you ever need a fast, open, and privacy-respecting replacement for Windows and MacOS, then Elementary OS is the right choice for you. It is an Ubuntu based distribution and is compatible with all the software repositories and packages of Ubuntu.

Elementary is a perfect fit for those who are entering the world of Linux from Windows and MacOS background. It has easy to use interface, so even non techie people or beginners will have no problem using it.

With the release of “LOKI” version, Elementary OS also has its own app store known as “Appcenter” to manage software installation/uninstallation. Also, it comes with its own desktop environment called Pantheon and other cool elementary OS apps.

In this post, I will show you how to install elementary OS on your system.

Pre-Requisites to install Elementary OS

  • 4 GB of memory (RAM)
  • 64bit compatible system
  • 15 GB free hard disk (HDD) or Solid State Drive (SSD) space.
  • Internet access
  • 4GB USB drive to create a bootable medium (Only if you want to install OS on Main hardware)
  • Virtualization software like VirtualBox or VMware (Only if you want to install Elementary OS as a virtual machine)

Steps to Install Elementary OS

If you are a beginner or don’t have enough experience with dual booting Linux, then I recommend installing Elementary OS on VirtualBox or VMware. This way you don’t mess up your main system. 

Step 1: Download Elementary OS ISO

1. Go to the official website of Elementary OS.

2. Scroll down to “Pay what you want” section. You can pay any amount to Purchase Elementary OS, but if you want to download it for free then, in the custom value enter 0. The download option will be available to you now.

3. Download the ISO.

If you like the elementary project, then consider donating so that the developers can keep developing such awesome projects for you.

Step 2: Preparing for Installation

You can install Elementary OS on main machine or on virtual machine. The installation procedure will be almost same for both the methods; the only difference will be the hard disk partitioning step.

If you want to install Elementary OS as your main system, then you’ll need to create a bootable medium. I have written a step-by-step guide on creating a bootable USB for Linux, in case you need any help.

Once you’ve created bootable medium, restart your system and boot the elementary OS, then jump to the installation steps. 

If you plan to install on VirtualBox, then first create a VirtualBox container for elementary OS.

1. Start VirtualBox and click on new.

2. Fill all the necessary details to create a new virtual machine.

Name: Elementary OS
Machine Folder: (You can change location, if you don’t have enough space on the current drive, I am leaving it as default.)
Type: Linux
Version: Ubuntu (64bit)
Memory Size: (I am giving it 4 GB, you can select according to your system)
Hard Disk: Select “Create a Virtual Hard disk now” option.

create virtual machine to install elementary os
Create Elementary OS VirtualBox Container

Then click on create.

3. Now, provide details to create virtual Hard disk.

File Location: Location of the virtual hard disk file.
File Size: 25 GB (I am giving it 25 GB; you can adjust according to space
available in your hard disk.)
Hard Disk File Type: VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)
Storage on physical hard disk: Dynamically Allocated

create hard disk to install elementary os
Create Virtual Hard Disk for Elementary OS

Click on create.

4. Now, start the newly created virtual machine. When it asks to select a start-up disk, click on the yellow icon and browse for the Elementary OS ISO file you downloaded earlier and click on start.

start up disk to install elementary os
Select Start-Up Disk

Step 3: Install Elementary OS

Now, let’s install elementary OS.

1. Select Install Elementary

Once booted, you’ll get to the screen with the option of trying elementary OS or installing it. Select your preferred language from the sidebar and choose “Install Elementary” option.

install elementary os
Select “Install Elementary”

2. Select Keyboard Layout

Choose your preferred keyboard layout and click on continue.

Select Keyboard Layout

3. Updates and other software

If you have a stable internet connection, then you can choose to download updates while installing elementary.

Select “Install-third party software” option to install necessary drivers if you have a distinct graphics card or Wi-Fi hardware. (Not needed on VirtualBox)

Updates and Other Software

4. Partition Disk

If you are installing elementary as a virtual machine, then you can choose to erase everything as it will not affect your main machine. However, if you are installing it on your main machine, then you may need to select “Something else” option and create partitions manually, else you may lose data or currently installed operating system.

I am installing it on a virtual machine, so I am choosing the “Erase Everything” option.

Choose method of Partitioning

5. Write changes to Disk

Once you’re done with the partitioning process, you will be presented with the “Write changes to disk” option. If you are OK with it, then click on continue else go back and make the necessary changes before proceeding.

Write Changes to Disks

6. Select Location

Choose your location and click on continue.

Select Location

7. Set Up User and Password

Fill all the necessary details like your name, your computer’s name and password, then click on continue.

Set Up user and password

8. Installing Elementary

After setting up user and password, the elementary installation will commence, wait patiently for the installation to finish.

9. Finish Installation

After the installation has finished, you will be notified to restart your system.

install elementary os complete
Installation Complete

10. Login to Elementary OS

After restarting your system, you will be greeted with Elementary OS login screen. Enter your username and password, you created earlier to login.

Elementary Welcome Screen

Enjoy Elementary OS. 

What’s Next?

You’ve successfully installed elementary OS but in order to customize Elementary OS, you need to install the elementary tweaks.

Elementary Tweaks provides you with many customization features, including the minimize option. (Yeah, by default you cannot minimize your applications in elementary OS.)

I have written a complete guide explaining the features and installation of elementary tweaks on elementary OS.

How to Install Elementary Tweaks on Elementary OS?

If you have questions or thoughts regarding the post, then you can comment below.

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Rahul R Nair

Rahul is obsessed with technology and programming. He is also the founder of TechSphinx. Being a technophile, he is always busy doing some techy stuff or learning about the latest technologies. When not busy with his usual routine (staring at the computer screen) he likes to write and share his knowledge with the world.
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