I need to ask again this old-fashioned question because the internet is flooded by posts of people struggling with problems contrary to what I have.

UEFI is totally irrelevant here. Dual boots are totally irrelevant here.

The ingredients are:

  • I have an old computer that only works in BIOS mode; it does not have a clue of what UEFI is and will not recognize anything about it (at least as far as I could understand);
  • I want to install Ubuntu 16.04 (perhaps a later version) on it;
  • legacy mode is what the computer wants.
  • the system is 64bit

The directions I am asking for are about:

  • which image of the Ubuntu distribution should I use?
  • where do I find it?
  • how should I partition and set up my USB?
  • how should I copy the Ubuntu image in the USB?

The desired result is that, at boot time, plugging such an USB drive starts the Ubuntu installer.

Again, doing this with from the UEFI perspective works fine for me; I lack information on this corner 'retro' situation.

  • There's a nice guide about that here.You have to download special images.But you cannot update it because it might install grub2 meanwhile and that makes it unable to boot in your legacy BIOS system. Jun 29 '20 at 10:00
  • @ParsaMousavi It seems that that post deals principally with UEFI-and-BIOS, but I am interested in BIOS only. This is because the computer does not have a clue of what UEFI is and simply does not recognize anything like that; for it UEFI is still future. Also, personally, I find the layout of that site and its linkages with external resources a bit too messy for such a delicate action as a system installation. Jun 29 '20 at 10:19
  • How old is system? How much RAM. If less than 4GB you may want Lubuntu. I was able to install 20.04 into my 2006 Laptop with 1.5GB of RAM, but full Ubuntu would not install at all, but server image did install & I added fallback/gnome-panel for a lightweight install.
    – oldfred
    Jun 29 '20 at 15:07
  • @oldfred Thanks for the Lubuntu tip. I found an answer that works for me on askubuntu.com/a/1254808/446253 Jun 29 '20 at 15:08

Bios Only Ubuntu Installer

Download Ubuntu 20.04 https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop

Start with a USB of at least 4GB formatted FAT32.

If using Windows, download Rufus. https://rufus.ie/

Double click the Rufus .exe file, no need to install.

enter image description here

Select USB Device and ISO file for Boot Selection.

Select START

When Rufus is done use USB to install Ubuntu to BIOS or UEFI machine.

  • 1
    This answer is specific for people starting off from Windows. Jul 26 '21 at 12:07

The solution is straightforward and all shipped by Ubuntu.
Please look up for the 'Startup Disk Creator' application in the launchpad.
A GUI will ask you which ISO image you want to copy into which drive (that is, a USB drive mounted in the USB port).

I was in another UEFI-capable computer with Ubuntu 16.04.
I downloaded the ISO of the target release (14.04) from https://releases.ubuntu.com/ and use the Startup Disk Creator.
The USB created this way is a working live USB and has immediately been recognized by the old BIOS computer.

Thanks to https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/linux/create-a-bootable-ubuntu-usb-flash-drive-the-easy-way/, halfway down the page.


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