I'm trying to install Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 on a new Dell XPS 15 9550. First I found that the live boot system could not find the nvme/m.2 drive. By changing it to AHCI mode in the BIOS settings the live install can see it but the installation hangs at "Preparing to install".

I read in another question that this can be caused by the installer getting confused by the partitions on the disk and that it works if you clear them off first.

I opened Disks and see this: screenshot

This is my first install on a UEFI system and I'm not sure what's what. I'm not interested in Windows dual-boot, I want rid of Windows! I don't undertstand what the ESP/EFI partition does.

Do I just wipe the entire disk or will that break something?!

EDIT: an ubuntu wiki page says I must have a ESP partition. So should I delete all the other partitions except that one? (by delete the other partitions, I mean delete the pre-existing ones and create the ones I want)

  • After re-starting the installation process I've got further this time, to the partitioning screen, but the question still stands. – artfulrobot Mar 15 '16 at 13:30
  • You don't care about Windows or it's data? – You'reAGitForNotUsingGit Mar 15 '16 at 13:41
  • nope. brand new pc. – artfulrobot Mar 15 '16 at 13:42
  • Well, in that case, just format the entire drive and install Ubuntu in "legacy" mode. It'll make things easier. Make sure to enable legacy mode in the BIOS – You'reAGitForNotUsingGit Mar 15 '16 at 13:44
  • UEFI is newer, the laptop has a lot of new stuff on it and seems to function (touchcscreen, wifi...) under uefi. if it ain't broke... – artfulrobot Mar 15 '16 at 13:45

If you don't care about Windows and are happy with default Ubuntu partitioning, the "Erase disk and install Ubuntu" option while installing in either UEFI or Legacy mode is completely fine and is the easiest way.

If you want to manually partition your hard drive in UEFI then you can keep the Windows created ESP Partition or just create your own as the wiki says (recommended size is 200 MiB, ~300MB less than Windows). You can use GParted in Live mode if you prefer it.

Also while you still have Windows installed, extract its ProductKey because you've already paid for it. You can use that to install a genuine VM version with this ISO inside Ubuntu.

  • Wish I'd read your post about product key before I wiped it...! – artfulrobot Mar 15 '16 at 20:41
  • Well the Windows ProductKey is still embedded in BIOS/UEFI, so you can just insert a Windows 10 ISO (DVD or USB) it'll automatically detect the key and install without asking. Then after Win 10 re-installation you can extract using the link I posted, note it down and then re-install Ubuntu. When installing Win 10 in your VM on Ubuntu to activate it, enter the ProductKey. If it doesn't activate immediately you just free call Microsoft's automated line (will show up in Windows) and enter in the additional code they give you. Might be better to do this now before you start using Ubuntu :) – rustynuts Mar 15 '16 at 20:59
  • Microsoft allows you to use one instance of Windows on that machine, whether bare metal or VM – rustynuts Mar 15 '16 at 21:04
  • Hmm. don't fancy that (don't value Windows that much!). Might try acpidump though... – artfulrobot Mar 16 '16 at 15:44

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