Using the installer

This document explains how to use the installer in general terms. There is another document that contains documentation for each screen of the installer.

Getting the installer

You can download the server installer for amd64 from https://ubuntu.com/download/server and other architectures from http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/20.04/release/.

Installer images are made (approximately) daily and are available from http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-server/focal/daily-live/current/. These are not tested as extensively as the images from release day, but they contain the latest packages and installer so fewer updates will be required during or after installation.

Installer UI generalities

In general, the installer can be used with the up and down arrow and space or enter keys and a little typing. Tab and shift-tab move the focus down and up respectively. Home / End / Page Up / Page Down can be used to navigate through long lists more quickly in the usual way.

Running the installer over serial

By default, the installer runs on the first virtual terminal, tty1. This is what is displayed on any connected monitor by default. Clearly though, servers do not always have a monitor. Some out-of-band management systems provide a remote virtual terminal, but some times it is necessary to run the installer on the serial port. To do this, the kernel command line needs to have an appropriate console specified on it – a common value is console=ttyS0 but this is not something that can be generically documented.

When running on serial, the installer starts in a basic mode that does using only the ASCII character set and black and white colours. If you are connecting from a terminal emulator such as gnome-terminal that supports unicode and rich colours you can switch to “rich mode” which uses unicode, colours and supports many languages.

Connecting to the installer over SSH

If the only available terminal is very basic, an alternative is to connect via SSH. If the network is up by the time the installer starts, instructions are offered on the initial screen in basic mode. Otherwise, instructions are available from the help menu once networking is configured.

In addition, connecting via SSH is assumed to be capable of displaying all unicode characters, enabling more translations to be used than can be displayed on a virtual terminal.

Help menu

The help menu is always in the top right of the screen. It contains help, both general and for the currently displayed screen, and some general actions.

Switching to a shell prompt

You can switch to a shell at any time by selecting “Enter shell” from the help menu, or pressing Control-Z or F2.

If you are accessing the installer via tty1, you can also access a shell by switching to a different virtual terminal (control-alt-arrow or control-alt-number keys move between virtual terminals).

Global keys

There are some global keys you can press at any time:

Key Action
ESC go back
F1 open help menu
Control-Z, F2 switch to shell
Control-L, F3 redraw screen
Control-T, F4 toggle rich mode (colour, unicode) on and off

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