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How to reinstall Ubuntu?

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  • 3 min read

One of the best ways about Linux is the ease of use it provides to advanced users who know their way around terminals and command-line interfaces. This ease of use also translates to easier installations and reinstalls. 

Here we’re looking at how you can reinstall Ubuntu, including reinstalling without losing your files and settings.

Since Ubuntu Hardy, it’s possible to reinstall the entire OS without losing the contents of the /home folder, which stores all your program settings and other files. 

This can be done even if your /home directory is not on a separate partition, which is the case by default. There are two steps to reinstalling (or updating) Ubuntu.

Also read: How to install Ubuntu on Windows?

Creating a USB bootable disc

First up, download the latest available release of Ubuntu. You’ll also need a USB drive with a minimum of 8GB capacity — ideally 16GB. An SD/microSD card with a card reader will also work; the interface needs to be USB (unless your system supports booting from an SD card).

Once you’ve downloaded the image file, burn it to the USB drive, and you’ll be good to go. If you’re on Windows, the simplest way is to download Win32 Disk Imager, select the image, select the USB drive and click on write.

You can also use Rufus if you want more control over the bootable drive.

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Linux users can use Etcher. It works precisely like Win32 Disk Imager on Windows.

Also read: How to refresh in Ubuntu?

Reinstalling the OS

Once your bootable USB drive is ready, boot your computer from the said drive, and Linux will automatically launch the installer. Follow these steps to reinstall Ubuntu.

Step 1: On the installer launch window, select Install Ubuntu.

How to reinstall Ubuntu?

Step 2: Select other settings such as your keyboard layout, optional updates and language. Follow along with the installer as per your requirements. 

How to reinstall Ubuntu?

Step 3: Next up, you will choose the installation type. Carefully read all the options available as they tend to be different between installs. If you’ve already got an Ubuntu version or another OS installed, Ubuntu will ask you to upgrade or remove the OS and reinstall it again.

If you don’t want to lose any data, the update option is the way to go. Otherwise, you can wipe the disk and start over. 

How to reinstall Ubuntu?

Alternatively, you can choose Something else and manually select the partitions where you want Ubuntu installed.

If you know where your data is stored, this is the best option to reinstall the OS without loss of data while at the same time ensuring the OS gets wholly reinstalled with no files carried over from the previous installation. 

Once you’re done, let the installation proceed as usual. 

Also read: What does ./ mean in Linux?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: