I am currently running a really old version of ubuntu 9.04 on my computer. I would like to upgrade to the new 12.10 using a usb stick but I can't figure out how to run the installation process. I am used to windows and have never used ubuntu. What program should I use to I open the download? Any help will be appreciated! Thanks!
The program you need is "startup disk creator". You should find it under the menu system:
You will need a FAT formatted USB stick and the ISO of the release you want. 12.04 is an LTS release that is supported until 2017. 12.10 is the current stable release supported until April 2014.
If you are connected to internet then I would recommend these steps:
Upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04.1
It is recommend you backup your existing Ubuntu installation before updating.
Launch the update manager
Press the Superkey (Windows key) to launch the Dash and search for Update Manager
Check for updates
Click the Check button to check for new updates. If there are any updates to install, use the Install Updates button to install them, press Check again after that first update is complete — then press the Upgrade button.
Install the upgrade
A message will appear informing you of the availability of the new release. Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions.
If you want to make an offline installation then you could follow these steps to create a bootable USB
To run Ubuntu from a USB stick, the first thing you need to do is insert a USB stick with at least 2GB of free space into your PC.
Select Ubuntu Desktop Edition from the dropdown list.
Click 'Browse' and open the downloaded ISO file.
Choose the USB drive and click 'Create'.
There after you can refer this Link to start installation.