I have a computer that only accepts CD's, can't boot from USB at all, and I have a bunch of 600MB CD's. The Lubuntu install image is closer than many, at 700MB, but not quite close enough to be able to burn it. I don't want to start from a server install as it doesn't have wireless (it's a desktop) and I'm sending it to someone after installation so they need to be able to, as novice computer users, autonomously set up the thing. I need it to install with the full GUI but none of the normally included programs, like the mail client, music players, that kind of thing since they can install all of that on site with direction once it's connected to ethernet and they open the browser. Any ideas how I can install Lubuntu on this thing from an image that will fit on a CD?

  • 1
    I added an update with a link to the Lubuntu "Alternate" install for resource strapped pcs and the iso is small enough to burn to a 600mB CD.
    – mchid
    Feb 10, 2015 at 5:26
  • Also,If you don't have network access, Debian has full installation disk sets available. cdimage.debian.org/debian-cd/7.8.0/i386/iso-cd There are multiple disks and the installer has the option to change disks to install more packages. You should only need the first disk or two to do the initial installation if you don't feel like downloading the whole set, it isn't necessary. You will have to manually edit /etc/apt/sources.list after install to use apt-get online or you can just install apps from the disk set. The largest is 650mB so not quite sure if it'll fit on 600 though.
    – mchid
    Feb 10, 2015 at 5:39

5 Answers 5


Instead of using CD's you could try network-boot the machine on the minimal ISO (if Lubuntu comes with netboot stuff)

I would then install Lubuntu to the desktop, followed by rebooting to the desktop hard drive and running

sudo apt-get install lubuntu-core

You may need to modify /etc/apt/sources.list to a non local server and then run

sudo apt-get update

You may also want to use

sudo apt-get install lubuntu-core --no-install-recommends

However I have not tried this.

  • I don't have network access on the machine
    – sbergeron
    Feb 9, 2015 at 13:37
  • If you have a spare router, 3 or 4 Ethernet cables and a existing machine you're happy to act as the netboot server, it should work. You'll just make a non internet connected LAN network
    – user371765
    Feb 9, 2015 at 18:41

Yep, you can use the mini.iso instead. It's like 32mb total and it does an install similar to tasksel like Debian or Ubuntu server where you can choose what to install and it will install it. This also allows the option to not install all the bloat you normally get with a desktop install.

BTW, I do not believe you should install any of the "live" desktops listed. I believe those are not for installation purposes.


I believe 14.04 installs a minimal command line environment first, then reboot and type


14.10 and newer have a better interface that lets you choose the desktop or apps to install right away. Just choose command line install or graphical install (I think they are actually the same).

NOTE: because of a bug in tasksel, DO NOT use tasksel to uninstall packages. ONLY use tasksel to install.


I think I found what you are looking for, it's called "alternate install" for Lubuntu and it's for pcs that can't handle the full Lubuntu version and or need to install using a CD rather than a DVD or a USB. The iso is 617mB, however, when you burn the iso to disk it should fit within 600 because the 617 includes reserved space, title of the file, etc ...


Also, other processor versions (for older processors) are available at the Lubuntu/Alternate_ISO wiki.

Finally, if you don't have more than 700mB of RAM, you should select the installer from the first boot menu and do not select the installer from the "try Lubuntu" interface as the "try Lubuntu" option uses 200mB RAM to run the desktop.

  • right but I'd really like to have a full install already set up, minus some of the programs that put the ISO over 600MB, as the user isn't as computer savvy as most could assume but outside of internet I don't have any way to reach them. I can't talk to them now nor until they have firefox open and are signed into their account
    – sbergeron
    Feb 9, 2015 at 1:51
  • If I were to do a network install they'd have to do it, and I don't think they're comfortable enough with the command line to do that
    – sbergeron
    Feb 9, 2015 at 1:52
  • I found a 750MB CD but it would still be nice to know how to in the future...
    – sbergeron
    Feb 9, 2015 at 1:58
  • @sbergeron if they install >=14.10 (14.10+) using the mini.iso, I do not believe there is any commandline involved (even if you choose the command-line install) 14.10 and newer use a GUI. The only tricky part is that you have to use the spacebar to select your desktop. Follow the defaults and everything goes good. All you have to do is scroll down the list and select "lubuntu desktop" and press enter, then accept defaults after that; it's pretty easy. Personally, I prefer the cli interface but the GUI isn't bad. Like I said, it's alot like the red white and blue debian installer.
    – mchid
    Feb 10, 2015 at 5:05

I suppose the machine has USB. Then it's possible to boot from Ultimate Boot CD and run Plop Boot manager from it to boot from the usb stick. (other boot managers on UBCD but Plop was the one I got working)

  • Unfortunately, this was done on an old enough machine that it didn't support booting from USB. Thanks for the help, though :)
    – sbergeron
    Jan 27, 2016 at 14:44
  • The OP expressively states "can't boot from USB at all" .
    – guntbert
    Jan 28, 2016 at 15:04
  • 1
    Yes, I had a laptop that had no boot option for usb but this worked. A pc has got to be very old not to have usb at all and as long as f.ex Plop can see the usb it can boot it. This works on many machines with no bios usb boot option. Mar 10, 2016 at 13:10

I found an alternate method that works...I created a grub rescue CD and then used that to chain load a LiveUSB stick, but at the same time I'd still really like to know how I could custom make an install image without some of the included software suite...all of it being possible to obtain from the ubuntu software center.

  • Ubuntu Customization Kit should do it.
    – user371765
    Feb 10, 2015 at 6:01

There are some bigger CDs out there(700MB+). If you are able to buy them, try it out and get yourself a live CD, with the normal install. I, myself, have a 12 year old PC that runs Windows XP and I installed the normal installation, works perfectely. If you're really afraid that full/desktop won't work, try out the alternate, as @mchid said. I think 15.04's .iso is too big for a CD, so I think 13.04 or similar will suffice.

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