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I would like to install ubuntu on my laptop and completely erase all the previous work on it. I have downloaded ubuntu onto my usb and now I don't know what to do. Its a windows. should I just use the windows installer, would that erase all the previous data?

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Just make sure it is a bootable USB (if not you can make one really easy with a program called pendrive. I followed Ubuntu's own tutorial) and then shut down your computer and restart. It should boot from the USB and you will be given the option to install Ubuntu. Click that and then it will ask if you want to run along side windows or replace it. Selecting to replace windows will delete all your windows information and do a clean install of Ubuntu. Hope that helps!

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I'm not running the thing from a usb, I'm just installing it. –  user116943 Jan 12 '13 at 20:24
    
Yes... You make a bootable USB and you only boot from the USB to install it. Once it is installed you won't be running it from a USB. Here is Uuntu's tutorial on installing. It includes both from a DVD and from a USB. www.ubuntu.com/download/help/install-desktop-latest –  Thunder Jan 12 '13 at 20:30
    
Nevermind I understand now. –  user116943 Jan 12 '13 at 20:33
    
Thank you, very much. –  user116943 Jan 12 '13 at 20:34
    
You are very welcome, and welcome to the Ubuntu community –  Thunder Jan 12 '13 at 20:35
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I suggest you to back up your valuable data. Then run the Windows installer if available. Otherwise, boot to the USB key and run the installation there. The installation might provide a way to dual-boot between Ubuntu and Windows--at least, that's what I saw a few years ago. I recommend to dual boot if you are not so sure. For me, I chose to run Ubuntu-only since 2007 and have not looked back.

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I tried booting from the boot menu and I broke my down arrow key. Any shortcuts on how to move it down? –  user116943 Jan 12 '13 at 20:46
    
@user116943 try the <tab> key –  guntbert Jan 12 '13 at 23:10
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