No need to worry about partitioning hard disks if you want to give the free operating system Ubuntu a go
The greatest obstacle to installing Linux has always been the need to carve up a hard disk to make space. Live CDs are a temporary alternative but are often slow. The Wubi software installs Ubuntu from within Windows and without making any big changes to the hard disk.
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Once downloaded, Wubi asks a few simple questions about which version of Ubuntu to install. Kubuntu uses the KDE desktop theme and Xubuntu the XFCE, which is better suited to older computers. It also sets the amount of hard disk space used and the default username and password.
One important point to note is that although the Wubi download is just 2.4MB, it still downloads all the files needed by Ubuntu, around 751MB worth.
Once the files have been downloaded and installed, a new menu appears when the computer reboots, offering a choice between Windows and Ubuntu.
There is a slight performance reduction in running Ubuntu in this way compared to a normal installation but we did not find this to be a problem.
There is also the opportunity to change the accessibility options of Ubuntu including a high contrast colour scheme, screen reader and an on-screen keyboard.
Ubuntu now asks for a donation when you arrive on the download page but this is not manditory. You can also choose whether you want to install the latest version of Ubuntu 12,10, or the Long Term Support version 12.04.
Wubi may not work with Windows 8 when it is released due to the changes in the way that Windows starts. Canonical (the company that makes Ubuntu) is working on fixing this.
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