Booting from the Optical Drive

Newer PCs offer direct access to a boot menu (via a function key such as F8, F10, or F12) as soon as they're switched on. You can use this menu to select the Ubuntu CD, and the boot of the Linux kernel begins. Many older Windows PCs don't have this boot menu and are set to boot from the C: drive first. If your PC is set up this way, it won't boot from the Ubuntu install CD when switched on.

To fix this, immediately after the machine is switched on, press whichever key on the keyboard allows you to access the computer's BIOS settings. This may be the Delete key, the Escape key, or the F10 key—usually, a small line of text on the computer's screen says "Press Esc for Setup" or something similar. If not, you may have to check the manual that came with your PC or laptop. If you don't have a printed manual, try searching on the Web for a PDF version. Failing that, you may find a manual for the specific motherboard used in your machine, if you can identify the motherboard model number. When you access the BIOS setting screens, you see an option called Boot Order or Boot Priority. The options available are something like the following:

The list may include references such as Hard Drive, Optical Drive, and Floppy Drive. If your PC or laptop is a relatively recent model, you may also have the option to boot from a USB or network device.

Usually, you have to select one of these options using the cursor keys on your keyboard or the Page Up and Page Down keys. Make sure CD or similar is at the beginning of the priority list you select. This applies even if you have a DVD drive—as far as the BIOS is concerned, booting from a CD or a DVD is pretty much the same thing. If you've changed this setting, you must press another key to save the new value to the BIOS memory chip on your motherboard. This may be one of the F keys, indicated by "Save to CMOS and Exit" or some such phrase.

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