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I have downloaded the 12.04 located wubi.exe and the 14.04.1 located wubi.exe. I am getting the same behavior from both. Once you start either exe they give you a dialog and then after OK begin downloading an iso file. This works for a while, and then stalls / hangs / freezes. The progress bar remains the same and the "Approximate time remaining" remains the same. However, the installer is still alive. It will repond with an "are you sure?" type message if you click on [Cancel].

One question - is anyone else getting this behavior?

Second question - can I do a Wubi install with a manual download of the big file that is required and which Wubi seems to hang on?

Edit: Got a great answer to the question from Eliah Kagan below. However, it appears that a bug in the software/file formats since Ubuntu 12.10 prevent the use of this technique as the software incorrectly processes the MD5 checksums. See this bug: Metalink md5sum check fails due to change in format

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can I do a Wubi install with a manual download of the big file that is required and which Wubi seems to hang on?

Yes. If you put the ISO image for the version (and architecture: 32 vs. 64-bit) that you want to install in the same folder with Wubi, and no other ISOs are in that folder that might be inadvertently selected instead, and the ISO is not corrupted, then Wubi will use it instead of attempting to download the Ubuntu ISO itself.

Specific steps:

  1. Make an empty folder in Windows.

  2. Put wubi.exe in it. Make sure it's the version of wubi.exe for the specific version of Ubuntu you're using. (Each release has its own wubi.exe, though 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Ubuntu don't have separate wubi.exe files.)

    The wubi.exe files themselves are small--even if you have a very slow Internet connection (e.g., dial-up), that's no reason to attempt installing with an older (or wrong) wubi.exe.

  3. Put the desktop ISO file in it. (It's fine if you do this before step 2, of course.)

    Make sure it's the ISO image for the release and architecture you want to install, and that the release matches the release of the wubi.exe file you are using.

    Whether you should use the 32-bit or 64-bit version is not determined by whether your Windows installation is 32-bit or 64-bit. A Wubi system is installed on a rewritable disk image inside your Windows partition, but it doesn't actually run as a Windows program when you use it. So you can use a 64-bit Ubuntu system with Wubi on a 32-bit Windows system, and vice versa.

    Of course, if your computer has a 32-bit processor, you won't be able to run the 64-bit version of Ubuntu. And there are limited circumstances under which you might prefer to run the 32-bit version even when your hardware supports 64-bit. If you're not sure which to get, see What are the differences between 32-bit and 64-bit, and which should I choose?

  4. Run the copy of wubi.exe that you've put in the folder with the ISO image you want to install from.

    If Windows is configured to hide file extensions when displaying files, this may appear just as wubi. That's fine.

    If UAC is enabled, as is the case on the Windows desktop OSes that support UAC (so far, this is Vista, 7, 8, 8.1), make sure you run wubi.exe as administrator. You can do this by right-clicking the wubi.exe icon and clicking "Run as administrator."

If Wubi still cannot use the downloaded ISO image, and the ISO image version is paired correctly with the wubi.exe version, two problems are likely:

  1. Especially if Wubi failed early and/or still tried to download a new ISO image, check to make sure your downloaded ISO is not corrupted. You can do this by comparing its checksum against the official one. If you're only worried about inadvertent corruption (and not deliberately malicious modification), checking the MD5 hash is sufficient. (See also this article.)

    As of this writing, there's been a delay in adding the Ubuntu 14.04.1 and 12.04.5 hashes to the UbuntuHashes wiki page. You can view them

    For convenience, the relevant lines are:

    • 12.04.5, 32-bit
      09eb43dcfce2b7246bdd6e8108e755df *ubuntu-12.04.5-desktop-i386.iso
    • 12.04.5, 64-bit
      48b4edf237c489eebbfef208c2650d11 *ubuntu-12.04.5-desktop-amd64.iso
    • 14.04.1, 32-bit
      a4fc15313ef2a516bfbf83ce44281535 *ubuntu-14.04.1-desktop-i386.iso
    • 14.04.1, 64-bit
      119cb63b48c9a18f31f417f09655efbd *ubuntu-14.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso

    Anyone verifying the ISO images based on security considerations should use the official sources linked above and not rely on the copied hashes in this post. In that case, you should really verify the SHA1 hash (12.04.5, 14.04.1) or SHA256 hash (12.04.5, 14.04.1) instead of relying on MD5.

    If you know your ISO file is correct (for example, by checking its MD5 hash yourself) but the Wubi installer keeps rejecting it, you could run the Wubi installer with:

    wubi.exe --skipmd5check
    

    This makes it attempt to proceed with the installation even if it thinks the local ISO file is wrong. One way to do this is from a Command Prompt launched as administrator. (The .exe extension in the command is optional.) You'll have to cd to the appropriate directory first:

    Having put wubi.exe and ubuntu-14.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso in a folder by themselves, I start a Command Prompt as administrator (since UAC is enabled on this Windows system) and run cd C:\Users\ek\Downloads\wubi (you'll have to replace this with the correct location on your system) followed by wubi.exe --skipmd5check.
    Having put wubi.exe and ubuntu-14.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso in a folder by themselves, I start a Command Prompt as administrator (since UAC is enabled on this Windows system) and run cd C:\Users\ek\Downloads\wubi (you'll have to replace this with the correct location on your system) followed by wubi.exe --skipmd5check.

    Another way to run wubi.exe --skipmd5check is to make a shortcut to wubi.exe (right-click it wubi.exe, click Create shortcut). Then right-click the shortcut and click Properties. In the textbox labeled "Target:" add --skipmd5check to the end (make sure there's a space between ...wubi.exe and what you added).

    Running wubi.exe with the --skipmd5check command-line option by creating a shortcut and modifying the Target field in its Properties window.
    Running wubi.exe with the --skipmd5check command-line option by creating a shortcut and modifying the Target field in its Properties window.

    Then run the Wubi installer through the shortcut you created.

  2. Wubi doesn't work on UEFI systems with GPT disks. If your computer shipped with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, you can't install Ubuntu with Wubi inside those Windows systems. (If your computer came with a different OS and you installed 8/8.1 yourself, you probably can.)

    For these UEFI systems, you'll have to install Ubuntu in the "regular" way. (That is, to coexist with Windows it will have to be installed with its own partitions, alongside Windows, and not as a Wubi system existing inside a partition belonging to the Windows system.)

    You might succeed at creating a Wubi system inside a UEFI/GPT Windows 8/8.1, but it wouldn't boot once you created it. (This is not specifically a Secure Boot problem; even with Secure Boot turned off, it should not be expected to work.) I'm including this information not out of suspicion that this is the cause of your current problem, but because it's highly relevant today--that is, mainly for the benefit of other readers who come along.

    On the other hand, if you are using a preinstalled Windows 8 or 8.1 system, maybe Wubi did actually get past downloading the ISO automatically and failed while installing.

Further reading:

  • Thanks for a great reply. Even though there was an iso in the directory where Wubi.exe is (nothing else), it still tried to download a new one. It first says "Checking installation files" but after it does that - and sadly, with absolutely no explanation - it then says "Downloading ubuntu-14.04-desktop-amd64.iso". In that directory I have "ubuntu-14.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso" (note the .1 in the one I have). The Wubi.exe I got was in an online folder that had 14.04.1 files. But if it is downloading a new version because of the .1 it really really should say so if any developers are reading. – Scooter Sep 6 '14 at 4:55
  • @Scooter What are the MD5sums of the wubi.exe and ubuntu-14.04.1-desktop-amd64.iso files you have? As discussed in my answer, you can test them this way. (In my answer I only talked about checking the MD5sum of the ISO file--being much smaller, wubi.exes are much less likely to have been corrupted during transfer. But checking the MD5sum can identify which file you have, and may serve to clarify or illuminate things further. At the very least, it may eliminate possible causes of the problem.) – Eliah Kagan Sep 6 '14 at 11:52
  • Wubi.exe is b31731ea6cdbebe1d02f8193db420886 amd the iso is 119cb63b48c9a18f31f417f09655efbd . – Scooter Sep 8 '14 at 3:07
  • It might be impossible to use a local iso in Wubi after 12.10 due to this bug: bugs.launchpad.net/wubi/+bug/1080964 "Metalink md5sum check fails due to change in format " which is almost two years old. – Scooter Sep 9 '14 at 5:27
  • @Scooter If 12.04 still doesn't work even after you verify the ISO has the correct md5sum and is in the right place, my guess is that bug isn't what's preventing Wubi from installing. I should probably have suggested before that, since you've verified the ISO's md5sum, there's no reason not to try running the Wubi installer as wubi.exe --skipmd5check. One way to do this is from a Command Prompt launched as administrator. Does the problem still occur, that way? – Eliah Kagan Sep 9 '14 at 8:06

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