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I'd like to switch my system to Linux Mint. For that purpose I made a live USB drive to boot from. However when booting I'm not asked from what to boot. Ubuntu is just being loaded, and then it doesn't work properly. Do I have to uninstall Ubuntu first? If so, how?

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closed as too localized by Luis Mar 14 '13 at 16:56

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3 Answers 3

The BIOS

The BIOS (Basic In and Output System) software is built into the PC, and is the first code run by a PC when powered on. Its job is to check for hardware and load operating systems it may find.

For more information you can check out the Booting article on Wikipedia.


Editing the boot-order

When your computer starts up, it checks all drives for operating systems in a particular order as set in the BIOS's configuration. The BIOS loads the first OS it finds. To make your BIOS check for operating systems on a CD or USB first, instead of your hard drive, you have to edit the boot-order. How you do so will differ from machine to machine.

When you turn on your computer, you will generally get some sort of a splash screen where generally two options appear: setup and boot-menu. These options are bound to a certain key on your keyboard. Generally one of the F-keys, the Escape key or the Delete key.

You need to hit the key associated with the "setup" option, or something similar when the splash screen is displayed. Then shift the values in such a way that USB is on top, anything else is optional. Once you hit save and the machine restarts, it should boot off the USB, provided it is inserted.


Removing operating systems

Operating systems are installed to partitions, sections of your hard disks. When an OS is installed, the installer will generally create or ask you to create the partitions to which the OS will be installed on.

The simplest way of removing an OS is to remove the partitions it is installed on. This will generally not remove any data stored on the disk, a quick format merely removes pointers to data on the disk, so that the data appears to be deleted and can be overwritten by another OS.

Before you remove a partition, remember to backup any important data you might have on there, because it is not easily recovered once you hit "format".

This process is handles by the Linux Mint installer, which means you won't have to worry about it.


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You should go into your BIOS by turning the computer on and pressing either the F2, F11, F3 ,F12 or ESC key while your manufacturer's logo shows up. Then look for something like "boot order" or just "boot" and put the flash drive before the hard drive and then reboot.

Regarding uninstalling Ubuntu, you don't uninstall operating systems, you format the drive and install a new one.

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How do I format the drive? –  Lisa Dec 4 '11 at 18:01

Your problem isn't in fact that hard to solve, Lisa.

You say you have made a "Live USB Drive", I take it that you used the utility in ubuntu to make a bootable USB from a Linux Mint image, which is the right thing to to.

Next is booting from it. Insert the drive in a USB port, and reboot your computer. Usually the first image shown will be "ASUS", "DELL", "HP" or whatever brand your motherboard (or computer) is. From here you will have to enter the BIOS, to make the computer boot from the USB drive instead of your harddrive. Since I only own Asus products, I can't give you a complete list of keys vs brands, but I have to press [DEL] to enter BIOS. Other commonly used keys include [F2], [F8], [F10], [F11]. But as said, different brands use different keys.

Now to the tricky part. BIOS's look different, but you will be looking for a section named Boot. In there, you should be able to select your USB drive (either it's listed under your optical drive, harddrive etc., or you might have to select harddrive, and choose from a list, which drive to use.)

Check it out, usually it's pretty straight forward. Just remember to insert the USB drive before booting the computer and entering BIOS.

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