Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Ultimate Ubuntu MATE Installation Guide

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  22:16 3 comments


It is amazing what the word "ultimate" does to a title.

In all truth this guide will show you how to install Ubuntu MATE on a computer with a standard BIOS. If you are looking to install on an EFI based system then a future guide will cover that.

How To Download Ubuntu MATE

Click this link to visit the Ubuntu MATE download page

There are two versions available for download, 14.04 which is the long term support release and 14.10 which is the latest release. (Unless you are reading this beyond April 2015 in which case 14.10 will no longer be the latest release).

There are a number of download links available as well as bittorrents. I found the download links to be fairly unstable and on a few occasions the download dropped out. The bittorrent worked much better. If you aren't going to use the bittorrent it is worth using a download manager so that you can resume from where you left off if a dropout occurs.

When the ISO file has finished downloading, you will need to either burn it to a DVD or create a bootable USB drive.

To burn the ISO to a DVD use your favourite DVD burning tool.

Click here for a guide to create a bootable Linux USB drive.

Boot Into Live Ubuntu MATE USB/DVD

Leave the DVD or USB drive you created in the previous step connected and reboot your computer.

A menu should appear with an option to "Try Ubuntu MATE". Select this option.

If no menu appears, restart the computer again and look for the key required to enter your BIOS setup. It will flash up very quickly as you boot up and will either be a function key or the escape key.

When you are in your BIOS look for the boot order. Make sure that the device you are using for booting Ubuntu MATE appears before the hard drive in the boot order.

Installing Ubuntu MATE

To start the installer click on the "Install Ubuntu MATE" icon on the desktop.

The installation is fairly straight forward.

The first step is to choose your language and click "Continue".

You now have the option to connect to the internet. There are advantages to being connected such being able to have updates automatically applied during the installation.

If you have a poor internet connection and it is likely to drop out I would recommend not connecting and to apply updates after the installation.

If you choose to connect, select your preferred network and enter a password if required. If you do not want to connect choose the "I don't want to connect to a wi-fi network at this time" option.

Click "Continue' to move on.

The third screen shows you how prepared you are for installing Ubuntu MATE.

To install Ubuntu MATE you should:

  • Have at least 6.3 gigabytes of disk space
  • Be connected to the internet
  • Be connected to a power supply
The 6.3 gigabytes hard drive space is the only must have of the three options.

I discussed the internet option in the previous step and whilst it is useful for applying updates during installation it can also be a hindrance if you have a poor internet connection.

You only need to be connected to a power supply if your battery isn't going to last for the period of time that the installation takes. Generally if you have more than 45 minutes worth of power left you are fine.

The installation will take anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour depending on your machine's credentials and of course if you choose to download updates, your internet connection speed.

There is a checkbox at the bottom of the screen asking whether you want to install third party software. By checking this box you will be able to play MP3s and watch Flash video files. I generally leave this unchecked and install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package after the main installation has completed.

Click "Continue" to move on.

The next screen is likely to be different to the one shown above but will have similar options.

Prior to installing Ubuntu MATE I had a version of Linux called Lubuntu installed. The installer has picked this up as being another version of Ubuntu and so the options I received were to:

  • Erase Lubuntu and re-install (although I would be installing Ubuntu MATE)
  • Dual boot Lubuntu and Ubuntu MATE
  • Erase Lubuntu and install Ubuntu MATE instead (note everything will be erased)
  • Something else (Set up the partitions the way you want them)
If you are coming from Windows the options are likely to include options to erase Windows and install Ubuntu MATE, install Ubuntu MATE alongside Windows or something else.

This guide shows you how to install Ubuntu MATE as a sole operating system and so the option to choose is erase the current operating system (i.e. Windows) and install Ubuntu MATE.

Make sure you have taken a backup of the current operating system in case you need any of the files in the future or you need to get the original operating system back. Use Macrium Reflect To Do This On Windows Systems.

Choose the appropriate option and click "Install Now".


The next step is to choose your time zone. Simply click on your location and click "Continue".

As well as selecting your timezone it is important to choose the correct keyboard layout for your computer.

Select the language and format of your keyboard and then click "Continue".

The final step is to set up the default user. Enter a name, a username and a password for the user.

Select whether you want to login automatically or whether you require the user to log in on each and every boot.

Post Installation Tasks

After you have finished installing Ubuntu MATE you should open up the Ubuntu Software Centre and search for the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package if you chose not to install the third party extras.

This will allow you to listen to MP3 files, play Flash videos and use common fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Tahoma.

About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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  1. Works great on my refurbed Asus x200m touchscreen notebook.
    Just "plug-play-install"
    Better than the frustating windows 8.1, 64bit it came with...

  2. Hi. Thanks for the guide. I am trying to replace Ubuntu 12.04 with Ubuntu Mate 15.10. I created a usb boot disk by downloading via torrent the appropriate iso file and using Unetbootin. I entered BIOS on the machine and confirmed the boot order. I insert the USB stick in the machine and restart it. I get to the screen that asks me what I want to do so I select the option to try Ubuntu Mate. Then the screen goes black (no flashing cursor or anything) and nothing further happens.

    Please advise


  3. I tried doing a bootable usb drive but no menu appeared.


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