You can boot to Ubuntu using a bootable USB Flash drive. You may want to do this to get access to files on your computer in the event that you cannot boot to the installed operating system (Windows or Mac for example). You can test out the Ubuntu desktop experience without touching your PC configuration!
Instructions for this are at Ubuntu tutorials. That website gives you instructions on how to do that from a Windows computer. There are links to more instructions if you are running Ubuntu or Apple macOS.
As the above mentioned website says: With a bootable USB stick you can:
- Install or upgrade Ubuntu
- Test out the Ubuntu desktop experience without touching your PC configuration
- Boot into Ubuntu on a borrowed machine or from an internet cafe
- Use tools installed by default on the USB stick to repair or fix a broken configuration
Here is what you will need.
- A 2GB or larger USB stick/flash drive
- Microsoft Windows XP or later
- Rufus, a free and open source USB stick writing tool
- An Ubuntu ISO file
In addition to that you will also need to know how to access your computer’s boot menu or how to go right into the computer’s BIOS to change the boot configuration to allow for booting from a USB device. Your computer may have the ability to present a boot menu by pressing the F11 key when your computer boots up, as mine does. Instead of F11 it may be F12. If this is the case, you will get a text-based menu when you computer starts asking you to choose either Windows or the USB device. If you choose the USB device you will be able to boot to Ubuntu. You will the be asked if you want to install Ubuntu or try it. Choose the default option – try it and press Enter.
I found that I needed to use the most recent version of Ubuntu (ubuntu-17.04-desktop-amd64.iso) for it to work on my new-ish computer. I don’t know why but I suspect that because my computer is fairly new I needed the newer version of Ubuntu. This differs from the tutorial instructions at the Ubuntu website mentioned above.