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I have a Lenovo ThinkPad S230u Laptop/Ultrabook with Windows 8 pre-installed on it. It doesn't have a CD/DVD Drive. I read another question that was similar to mine, but it involved using a Live CD, DVD or USB device. I have an Ubuntu 12.10 ISO file, ready to be mounted.

Can I install Ubuntu directly from an ISO, without using a Live CD, DVD, or USB device? If so, how?

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I'd recommend getting a USB flash drive, 2GB or more. Most machine can boot from those, and putting Ubuntu on it is very easy. You can also use Grub2 to boot from an Ubuntu ISO. Doing that from Windows is not practical. –  mikewhatever Jan 31 '13 at 23:43
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3 Answers

You asked:

Is it possible to do this through an emulated USB(similar to PowerISO)?

You can install directly from the ISO image if you use Wubi. Here's two ways:

Put the ISO Image in a Folder with the Installer

Download wubi.exe and put it in a folder with the ISO image and (preferably) nothing else. Make sure the Wubi installer is for the same Ubuntu release as the ISO image.

Then just run wubi.exe; assuming the ISO image is uncorrupted, it will find and use its contents automatically.

Mount the ISO Image

If you have a Windows utility like Virtual CloneDrive, Daemon Tools, or PowerISO that lets you mount ISO images on a virtual drive, you can mount the ISO image, then run wubi.exe from inside the virtual drive. (It's a file in the ISO, so if you use this technique, you don't have to--and should not--use a separate copy of it.)

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I read that Wubi fails on UEFI systems. Windows8 computers are all UEFI. –  LovinBuntu Feb 1 '13 at 20:37
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You should create an installation/LiveUSB from .iso file as it simplifies installation process.

See official Installation/FromUSBStick.

After booting from USB you will be presented the same interface as if you have booted from a LiveCD/DVD.

You could try installing Ubuntu in a VM first so this will leave your current Win 8 installation without change.

A VM (virtual machine) installation is just a file (set of files) on any existing partition/drive.

If you install Ubuntu natively you need at least 2 new partitions and there will be some common boot manager (GRUB or Windows boot manager) which has to be configured to boot both OSs.

For native Ubuntu installation you have to check if current Windows 8 installation is on MBR or GPT style disk. There are different guides for BIOS/MBR and for UEFI/GPT installation/dual-booting.

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Is it possible to do this through an emulated USB(similar to PowerISO)? –  Dimitri Solovey Feb 1 '13 at 1:05
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No, this is not possible. You must use the live DVD if you want to install Ubuntu. Starting with Ubuntu 12.10, live CDs are no longer available, as the ISO was bigger than the other versions released in 2011.

To do this, you must buy an external DVD drive. Most of them are not that expensive, and will save you time if you need to install anything from a CD or DVD in the future.

But if you want to install Ubuntu inside of Windows, I would suggest using Wubi. It's free to download and will help you install the latest version of Ubuntu inside of your Windows installation. Link to download Wubi will be below.

Wubi Installer

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Why would buying a (presumably USB) external DVD drive be preferable to buying a USB flash drive? It sounds like you're saying Ubuntu must be installed from a DVD. But in fact a USB flash drive works at least as well and is quite common. –  Eliah Kagan Feb 1 '13 at 2:55
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