Can I simply put an empty hard drive in a computer that has a failed Windows 7 hard drive and install Ubuntu using an ISO disk?
If so, do I need to do any preparation before putting the clean hard drive in the computer?

Later Edit/Addition

1st Timer - wasn't sure whether to amend my original post or comment in one of the answers but thought I would start here.

Just tried installing Ubuntu on the failing hard drive alongside Windows 7 (probably a mistake) and the install apparently didn't take. Now get the following at boot:

error:no such device: 3835639b-a672-4cbd-bc34-a204cbe2d320
Entering rescue mode . . .
grub rescue>

When I type ls after the grub rescue, I get a laundry list of "partitions"?. If I list each one of the partitions after the ls command, I get: File system is unknown except for (hd1,msdos5) which shows Filesystem ext2.

As the hard drive is failing, I don't think I have lost anything - all data was backed up. Now I think my course of action is to remove the current hard drive and put in the empty one. When I do that, can I simply boot using the Ubuntu disc and then install Ubuntu?

  • 1
    possible duplicate of Installing Ubuntu on one of two hard drives
    – karel
    Jun 27, 2015 at 18:20
  • yes - but again - as mentiond below - if you consider using windows too - install it first... - and please accept an answer if it fits your needs...
    – Mr.Gosh
    Jul 1, 2015 at 14:28
  • Mr. Gosh - Just now saw this comment. I'm new at this forum so am learning. I marked DevRobot's post as accepted - had to figure out how to do all that. Also marked the others as helpful. I don't plan to install Ubuntu in or alongside Windows - I plan to use the machine as an Ubuntu only. Thanks for your patience. Jul 2, 2015 at 10:20

3 Answers 3


You can install Ubuntu onto the empty hard drive without any initial preparation.

Just make sure you know the name of the empty hard drive so that you know which to install Ubuntu onto when going through the installation process.

However the simplest thing would be to remove the failed hard drive from the PC before you install Ubuntu. If you do so, there'll be no preparation to do on the empty disk - just put the Ubuntu disk in the DVD drive and it'll do the formatting and partitioning for you.

  • I edited my initial post yesterday. I think I am at the point of using your instructions above. I will take the bad hard drive out and put the empty one in. Can I simply insert the Ubuntu disc at that point and install. Any prep I need to do on the empty hard drive? Jun 29, 2015 at 12:42
  • @RobertBonner I've edited my answer
    – TellMeWhy
    Jun 29, 2015 at 13:39
  • Thanks for the input DevRobot. I'm new at this Ubuntu stuff but it looks like it will be interesting. Will probably be tomorrow or the next day before I can devote the time to this - I looked at a YouTube video of hard drive removal and it is not a simple removal - will probably take me a few hours. Jun 30, 2015 at 10:15

No. Installing Ubuntu is very simple. Just boot to the DVD and follow the simple default steps.

There are some protective options that someone can take if they are trying to preserve data or a different OS install.

But for an empty disk, or a disk that you don't have anything you're trying to preserve, just use the recommended default installation. In a little while you'll boot to a very friendly and easy to use environment.

The prompts are very simple, like what user name you want to use and what password you want to use for logging into your system.


The Installation is a simple process - but you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • do i wanna install windows too (than i should install windows at first)
  • are drives atached to the computer that should't get wiped (than disconnect them, so ne partitions or bootloaders get installed there)
  • which flavor i wanna checkout first (unity, kde, gnome)

than the steps are explained here quite well:


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