You haven’t decided yet if you want to switch to Ubuntu. You hear good things about it, but you don’t know what to expect. No worries, because this article will show you a few ways to try it without installing it on your PC.
1. Use the live environment
The easiest way to test Ubunto without installing it is to create a bootable Ubuntu flash drive and start it on your computer. Be sure to choose the “Boot from USB” option when starting your computer.
Once started, choose the “Try Ubuntu” option then test Ubuntu without installing it on your computer.
Once you reach the Ubuntu desktop, you can start using it almost as if it were installed on your computer.
The live environment comes with the same apps you would get if you installed Ubuntu on your computer, providing a good idea of what you can expect from an actual installation.
Unless you have created a persistent persistent USB stick, the changes you have made to it are not saved permanently.
2. Run Ubuntu on a virtual machine
Another way to try Ubuntu without installing it is to run it as a virtual machine. This is really useful if you just need occasional access to an Ubuntu machine.
You can use VMware or Virtualbox for this. If you are using Linux, you can also use Gnome Box, Virtual Machine Manager or even Multipass. Windows users can also use Hyper-V.
To create an Ubuntu virtual machine, you can either use a VM image or download the ISO file and install from scratch.
1. Download the ISO file from the Ubuntu website.
2. In Virtualbox, click “New” to create a new VM.
3. Give a name to your virtual machine. If it contains “Ubuntu”, VirtualBox will automatically define “Type” as “Linux” and “Version” as “Ubuntu”. Otherwise, do it manually. Set the “memory size”. Leave “Create a virtual hard disk now” activated. Press “Create”.
4. Select a location for your virtual hard drive. You can leave it by default if you wish. For Ubuntu 20.04, we suggest that you use a size of 30 GB and more if you do not feel confined when installing new applications. Leave its file type as “VDI” and its size as “dynamically allocated”. The second option means that your virtual machine’s machine will only take the necessary hard drive space and will not allocate its full size from the start.
5. Select your newly created VM and click Settings. Go to Storage, select the optical disk icon in the Storage devices list, then, from the icon at the top right, select “Choose a disk file …”
Select the Ubuntu installation ISO you downloaded.
6. Close the settings. Click “Start” to turn on your VM. If prompted, choose the drive that contains the Ubuntu installation ISO.
7. Proceed with the installation as you would on your PC and you will soon have your own Ubuntu virtual machine.
3. Remote access to a friend’s PC
Linux and Ubuntu being multi-user and secure by default, you can ask someone who is already using Ubuntu to create a guest account and give you access for a while to test it. You and your friend can install Teamviewer, run it at the same time and ask it to grant you remote access permission. Teamviewer is compatible with several platforms, so it does not know if you are using Windows or Mac.
Using the methods we have seen, you can easily try Ubuntu without installing it. If you don’t like what you see, you can delete everything and continue using your current operating system, or try other Linux distributions for beginners. If you just want to learn more about Ubuntu before you even try it, check out our review of Ubuntu 20.04.
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