Installing an Operating System like Windows is quite straight-forward. Just buy a CD with a valid license, put the CD into the system, and install the Operating System into the Hard Drive. Then you can remove the CD and start using the Operating System. Did you ever get tired of doing this ?
You can only install Windows the way it is meant to be installed. But just think, if you wanted to install Windows with custom software inbuilt, then what would you do ? Or perhaps if you just wanted to use Windows from the CD without installing it to the hard drive ? Or perhaps even install it on a pen-drive and use it on any PC ? Sounds crazy ? Sounds familiar ?
Linux distributions are well known for several things. The ease of installation is just one of them. Installing a Linux distribution is much easier than installing Windows. There are much more options while installing too. Taking Ubuntu as an example, just see the many possibilities with it.
1. Default Installation
This method is the same as Windows. Just put the CD inside. Run the CD. Follow the instructions to install Ubuntu. Remove the CD after installation. Start using Ubuntu.
2. WUBI Installation
Windows users often complain that Ubuntu is not easy to install and they’re not sure whether they want to switch to Ubuntu. Here’s the installer they need. WUBI stands for Windows-based Ubuntu Installer. This installer installs Ubuntu as a software inside Windows. After installing it, when you turn on your PC, you’ll be asked whether you want to use Windows or Ubuntu. In case you feel that Ubuntu is not the type of Operating System you need, all you need to do is go to ADD OR REMOVE PROGRAMS in Windows and uninstall Ubuntu just like you would uninstall any other software. Isn’t that simple ?
3. Portable Drive (Pen Drive) Installation
Do you have a hard drive with at least 2GB space ? Thats enough for storing Ubuntu. With just a pen drive, you can now carry all your favorite software, games, music, etc. All you need is a PC that supports USB booting. This means you can use the same Operating System at home as what you would use at office or at your friends house. To install ubuntu on a pen drive just follow the instructions at Pen Drive Linux. You can also follow the instructions at the official site. The advantage of this method over that of the LiveCD is that your preferences and software that you installed are saved on the pen drive.
4. Run Ubuntu without installing
This method is the main reason Ubuntu CD’s are on high demand in the markets. A CD with which you can run an Operating System without actually installing it on the Hard Drive is called a LiveCD. The Ubuntu LiveCD lets you use Ubuntu without any restrictions and without eating up your hard disk space. The only disadvantage of this method is that your preferences will not be saved when you shut down. However, even people using Windows use the Ubuntu CD often to clean their PC of any viruses. Its well known that Ubuntu being virus free wont be affected by any virus their Windows PC has, and it can remove the virus without actually installing the OS on the hard drive.
5. Build a custom CD
Ubuntu by default comes with the best software. Is that fully true ? Not completely. Ubuntu does have its limitations because its free software by default. For eg. it does not play MP3’s by default. Though, if you install a media player like VLC then it would play MP3’s. Wouldn’t it be great if it had VLC by default ? Or do you need any other software in it by default ? Now, you can easily customize the Ubuntu CD with a GUI tool. Detailed instructions are given in this post. There’s even a web based client to do this, details in this post.
Clearly Windows cannot be installed inside any other OS. Neither can it be installed on a pen drive thats less than 5GB. Running it without installing is a dream. And creating a custom CD just without asking permission from Microsoft attracts a heavy fine. These are just some of the restrictions for Windows. Hopefully, some day Microsoft will try to improve this. But if you ask me, Microsoft is just getting too old and boring 😀