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Does it affect the main hard drive or runs separately like a virtual machine?

marked as duplicate by muru, Eric Carvalho, karel, waltinator, Zanna Oct 21 '18 at 14:12

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    It depends what you want to do. If you only want to install Ubuntu, you can select 'Install Ubuntu', otherwise select 'Try Ubuntu ...'. (Running a live session is the same as 'Trying Ubuntu'.) – sudodus Oct 20 '18 at 14:49
  • How can the DPP even consider this question has anything to do with the "Duplicated" question? The other question has NOTHING to do with using Try Ubuntu for installing. Please READ both questions. – C.S.Cameron Oct 22 '18 at 2:22
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    @C.S.Cameron: Think of it this way: "Should I do X or Y?" usually requires a clarification of the differences of X an Y. The actual decision depends on what OP wants to achieve. We can’t make that decision for OP. – David Foerster Oct 22 '18 at 9:10
  • @David Foerster: The OP clearly asked if he should use Install or Try when installing Ubuntu from flash drive. The answers on this thread answer that question. The "duplicated" page asks the difference between Trying and Installing. The only answer on that page that suits the OP's question is mine, put there because this Question has in poor judgement been closed. 18.04 is not 12.04. Ask yourself, Does the duplicated question answer the OP's question? – C.S.Cameron Oct 23 '18 at 3:06
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    @C.S.Cameron: Read the question again! The title unclearly states “[…] when using a live USB”. I see nothing that implies a clear intent to install Ubuntu. – David Foerster Oct 23 '18 at 7:41

If you want to just try Ubuntu without making any changes to your existing system, go for Try Ubuntu (It does not run like a virtual machine, but will not change anything on your disks unless you manually do that), but if you want to install Ubuntu for permanently using it as one of your operating systems, then go for Install Ubuntu.

  • If you Try Ubuntu, then no changes are made to disk (except if you make manual changes after ubuntu boots up from the live USB.
  • If you choose Install Ubuntu, it will start up a sequence of steps with customizations where you can choose which partition of your disks will be modified/formatted and for what purpose.

Try Ubuntu without installing

This not a virtual installation. It works completely from within the Live USB. Instead of booting Windows from the hard disk, this will boot Ubuntu directly from the Live USB. When Ubuntu is running from the Live USB, Windows will not be running.

The keyword is Try. The purpose of this option is trying and finding out:

Does Ubuntu work with your computer?

  • Does the keyboard and mouse work?
  • Does the screen display the desktop as expected?
  • Does sound work?
  • Does WiFi or Ethernet wired connection work? & Can you get on the Internet?

Can you figure out how to use Ubuntu?

  • How do I open an app?
  • How do I see a list of installed apps?
  • How do I find a document?
  • How do I get on the Internet?
  • How do I install an app?
  • Is it easy or hard for me?
  • Do you like this user interface?

Without installing

This means that this option will not make any changes in your hard drive. Ubuntu will work from the USB.

This also means nothing will be saved.

  • Any file you create, song you download will be lost when you turn the PC off or reboot.
  • Any apps you install while trying will be gone when you turn the PC off or reboot.
  • Any changes in settings, like WiFi settings will be gone when you turn the PC off or reboot.

Note 1: There is an exception. There is a way to create the Live USB with "persistence" which will allow you to save somethings. But this is not the default.

Note 2: It is possible to access the files (including Windows system files) and documents in your hard disk when you are trying Ubuntu without installing from the Live USB. If you choose to do it: Fiddling with Windows system files this way may break Windows completely. Getting access to your documents, music, photos, and videos this way may help if the Windows does not boot and you want to copy these files into an external hard drive.

Install Ubuntu

This option will take you straight to the installation process. It will modify your hard drive and either delete everything in it, or let you keep Windows and create new partitions in your hard drive to Install Ubuntu.

This will not be a virtual installation. You may need to take some steps from inside Windows to prepare your system before you boot from the Live USB and choose "Install Ubuntu"

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    You can also exit out of the installer after choosing "Install Ubuntu" to get back to the same live session you would have gotten if you had chosen "Try Ubuntu" when prompted – pbfy0 Oct 20 '18 at 22:19

"Install Ubuntu" starts the installer immediately. "Try Ubuntu" boots the system from the USB stick, and then offers you again the option to install it.

I recommend always trying it before installing, so you can check immediately if there are any driver issues (for instance, the wi-fi card doesn't work, sound cannot be heard...), before making major changes to your disk. Linux these days is quite reliable, but better safe than sorry.


Try Ubuntu or Install Ubuntu

Makes no difference, I use them interchangeably.

Try Ubuntu gives a chance to prepare the target disk in GParted, but it can be prepared in "Something else" just as easy.

Choosing Install Ubuntu is slightly more direct.

Both have all the same options, the end results are the same.


Does it affect the main hard drive or runs separately like a virtual machine?

If you choose "Install" you will be using the live session to install Ubuntu on your hard drive. It will affect which-ever hard drive(s) you select to install to, and which-ever drive contains the primary EFI system partition if applicable.

If you choose "Try" you will be using the live session for whatever you want to do (eg: browse the web, backup files, watch videos). It will affect which ever drive has a suitable SWAP partition, but aside from that won't touch your harddrives unless you tell it to.

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