• Pop!_Planet is still very much under development. Data for the wiki is being sourced from the Arch Linux and Ubuntu wikis, along with a bunch of completely unique content specific to Pop!_OS, and sourcing, converting and updating that content takes time; please be patient. If you can't find what you're looking for here, check the Arch Linux and Ubuntu wikis.

Pop!_OS not installing? Check this first.

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derpOmattic

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The Pop!_OS installer is arguably one of the better Linux installers currently available. Despite how impressive Pop's installer is, it's challenging to build software that works flawlessly on every make and model of computer. Pop!_OS usually installs without issue, but occasionally there are anomalies that interrupt the installation process and prevent it from completing. The vast majority of these failures are due to a small number of common reasons. The following list comprises a few simple things to work through that will hopefully get you up and running in no time.

Please take a moment to read through these common issues before posting a question to the forums; your problem may be easier to fix than you think!

Some of the most common reasons Pop installation fails include:
• Installation media created with the wrong software (we recommend Etcher or Popsicle).
• Downloaded ISO corrupted.
• Secure Boot not disabled.
• Fast boot not disabled.
• Legacy boot not disabled for UEFI.
• UEFI boot not disabled for Legacy/GRUB systems.
• Sometimes it starts after a second reboot.
• Install media not removed when rebooting after install.
• Incorrect installation media (NVIDIA vs. Intel).
• EFI partition not large enough or configured correctly for dual boot.
• Corrupt, unreadable, or imcompatible hard drive or partition table.

So what is it about Etcher and Popsicle that make them preferred for writing the Pop!_OS install image? Etcher and Popsicle are essentially frontends for dd. Pop ISOs are hybrid ISOs, so any tampering of the contents when flashing will break the install. Rufus, in particular, is known for miswriting ISOs. dd is a native command-line utility for Unix and Unix-like operating systems for copying and converting files. Typical of a good program, it was written to do one thing really well.

Verifying the downloaded ISO file before flashing is an essential step to ensure a smooth installation. Sometimes large files can lose packets of information, or worse, there can be a malicious hack or MITM attack that changes the image in some manner. To verify the download on Linux, open Terminal and navigate to wherever you downloaded the ISO. By default, most browsers will download to the 'Downloads' folder. At the prompt type sha256sum <ISO-file-name> and press enter - it may take a few seconds, but the hash will appear. Compare the generated hash to the hash on the Pop!_OS download page, and if they're a match you're good to continue. If the hash doesn't match, there is a problem and the install will likely fail. On Windows, you'll need to install gpg4win or a similar tool. On OSX you can use shasum -a 256 <file> in Terminal. Don't skip this step - ever!

For Pop!_OS to boot on most modern machines, you'll have to disable 'Secure Boot' in your BIOS settings. Entering the BIOS is usually just a matter of pressing F1, F2 or del during the boot cycle. If none of these options work, you can search for the correct method for your specific device. For an explanation of why you should turn off Secure Boot, I'll quote mmstick (Michael Murphy - System76 desktop developer):

“The NVIDIA driver isn't compatible with Secure Boot since it isn't signed by Microsoft. What's happening on other distributions is that installing the NVIDIA driver disables Secure Boot in your EFI from the OS.
Also, since we use systemd-boot, and Canonical does not have a signed variant of systemd-boot from Microsoft, Secure Boot isn't possible at the moment. We'd need to get into contact with MS and package a signed version ourselves. So, our ISOs have never worked with Secure Boot.”
Unfortunately, getting a signed version from Microsoft isn't as easy as it sounds. It is quite a vicious cycle and something of a compromise to get a signed Secure Boot shim. Trusting Microsoft to secure your data is quite a controversial topic; from Apple's T2 security chip documentation regarding Secure Boot we read:

"NOTE: There is currently no trust provided for the Microsoft Corporation UEFI CA 2011, which would allow verification of code signed by Microsoft partners. This UEFI CA is commonly used to verify the authenticity of bootloaders for other operating systems such as Linux variants."
You can read more comprehensive information and opinions of Secure Boot here.

In the BIOS of most machines, there are usually a couple of boot and security options, which are mostly proprietary tools that are necessary to keep Windows safe. Linux, on the other hand, is mostly unaffected by the security problems that plague Microsoft's platform. Unfortunately, many of these proprietary tools can obstruct the installation of Linux. Some of these tools include ME, Computrance, Absolute, AMT, and FlexNet. You may have to research and experiment to get your machine to accept Linux. Some manufacturers are purposely making additions to the motherboard or chipsets to prevent Linux from even booting! Do your research before purchasing new hardware if you're thinking of running Linux. Some boot options like Fastboot can mess with the installation, or more to the point, prevent it from booting. The reason being Fastboot prevents Windows from completely shutting down, so it never relinquishes the BIOS, and another OS cannot boot even if installed.

Most modern computers will have the ability to boot either UEFI or Legacy, but it's becoming increasingly prevalent for newer models to only boot UEFI. Inversely, older hardware will only have the Legacy BIOS boot option. By preference, the Pop!_OS installer chooses UEFI and creates a GPT (GUID Partition Table), but will revert to legacy BIOS if UEFI is not available. A legacy BIOS install must be installed onto MBR (Master Boot Record) partition tables instead of GPT. In that instance, it will utilize GRUB, which supports both Legacy and EFI environments. Pop!_OS is created with Systemd-boot in place of the traditional GRUB bootloader because it's easier to configure and boots a lot faster. However, Systemd-boot supports EFI environments only, so making an MBR when your machine is configured for UEFI or has UEFI only, will cause the install to fail. If your computer is capable of booting via UEFI, you need to allow it and disable legacy BIOS installation. It's essential to verify the motherboard is configured to boot in UEFI mode only if you want Pop!_OS to be a UEFI install. More importantly, you must select the UEFI:$DEVICE option in the boot menu during installation.

On occasion, users report that Pop!_OS install hasn't completed successfully after going through the OS set-up options. Normally you reboot the machine, remove the installation media, and then set up your user account. At this point, you may see a blank screen instead of the user account set-up. If this occurs, the problem may resolve itself after a second reboot with the install media removed. The initialization window for the user set-up should appear. The reason for this is unknown, but if it works for you, great!

The Intel / AMD version of Pop!_OS will work on most machines, even those with NVIDIA GPUs or dual GPUs. If you have one or more NVIDIA GPUs, it is best to try to install the NVIDIA version first. On rare occasions, it is necessary to utilize the Intel / AMD ISO first and manually add the system76-nvidia-driver package later using the apt package manager in Terminal.

I don't like dual-booting different operating systems on one host, preferring to single boot for simplicity and stability. In a single boot scenario Pop!_OS will create an image with full disk encryption by default, which isn't possible in a dual-boot scenario. As a result, dual-booting Pop!_OS results in a significant loss of security out of the box. If you have to use Windows for a specific reason, you may consider running it virtually inside of Pop!_OS utilizing a program like GNOME Boxes or VirtualBox. If running a dual-boot system is necessary, ensure you install and configure it correctly. Following the System76 guide for dual-booting is essential as it deviates from typical Linux partitioning. The existing Windows EFI is 100MB which isn't enough room for both bootloaders, so Pop!_OS creates its own 512MB EFI partition. The result will be a dual-boot drive with two EFI partitions. Without user intervention, the BIOS UEFI boot manager will show both Windows and Pop!_OS, but Systemd-boot will show only Pop. For Systemd-boot to show Windows, you will need to move or copy the Windows bootloader to the newly created Pop!_OS EFI partition. For a beginner's guide on how to achieve this click here.

One thing to consider when setting up a dual-boot installation is that the Pop!_OS installer will not create a recovery partition without an extra step from the user. To create a recovery partition during custom partitioning, you need to create a partition that is at least 4.3GB, format it as FAT32, and mount it at /recovery.

Some motherboards have tools that facilitate formatting the drive before installing or re-installing an operating system. Because these tools exist on a machine that was originally supplied with Microsoft Windows pre-installed, the process of formatting with them prepares the drive to accept Windows and the proprietary tools that it uses, which causes problems with Linux. If you intend to wipe the drive and start fresh, there's a brilliant program called Gparted that can get the job done correctly. The most powerful way to manipulate partitions and thoroughly wipe every trace is with an external tool that can work on the unmounted partitions. To do this, we use the Gparted live image. Delete all existing partitions and create a new one formatted in ext4. Now, the Pop!_OS installer can do its thing with an uncorrupted volume.

Following the above suggestions should help rectify the majority of installation failures. If you are still experiencing problems, you may be able to get help either here on the forums, the Mattermost live chat, or Reddit. If nothing else helps, your hardware may not be able to run Linux. If that is the case, then you will need a ready-for-Linux machine, and I would whole-heartedly recommend you look at the System76 range.
 
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The_Counselor

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I'm curious, what is it about Popsicle and Etcher that makes them preferred for creating a live USB?
 

derpOmattic

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I'm curious, what is it about Popsicle and Etcher that makes them preferred for creating a live USB?
Etcher and Popsicle are essentially dd. Pop ISOs are hybrid ISOs, so any tampering of the contents when flashing will break the install, which Rufus apparently does.

dd is a native command-line utility for Unix and Unix-like operating systems for copying and converting files. Typical of a good Linux program it was written to do one thing really well.
 

arturasb

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If anyone else knows more 'common' reasons Pop!_OS won't complete installation just add them below.

Attributing to approximately ninety percent of installation failures, some of the most common reasons Pop doesn't complete installing are;

  • Live USB media not created with Etcher or Popsicle.
  • ISO not verified - maybe the download has been corrupted.
  • Secure boot not disabled. Pop doesn't have a signed shim. (long story)
  • Fast boot not disabled. Sometimes this makes a difference depending on hardware.
  • Legacy boot not disabled for UEFI. (Newer machines / majority of cases)
  • UEFI boot not disabled for Legacy boot with Grub. (Older machines that do not have UEFI option)
  • Sometimes it starts after a second reboot. Hmm..
  • Install media not removed when rebooting after install.
  • Maybe the wrong version - Intel or NVIDIA?
  • Dual boot partitions, especially the EFI, are not sufficient or incorrectly configured.
Please add this to r/pop_os on Reddit as a sticky post !
 

Knoxtane

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Attributing to approximately ninety percent of installation failures, some of the most common reasons Pop doesn't complete installing are;

  • Live USB media not created with Etcher or Popsicle.
@derpOmattic Interesting you say that this could be a cause of an installation failure. For me I couldn't use Etcher, I had to use RUFUS in order to flash the ISO to my 32GB Thumb Drive. When I used Etcher it wasn't detecting anything on the Thumb Drive. said something like 22GB free of 32GB..so the iso was flashed but not operating or being read properly.

I actually find this really intriguing.
 

derpOmattic

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Interesting indeed! The suggestions above are accumulated from the general majority of observed problem / fix support questions. There may be some anomalies at play, but there is no doubt Rufus has been responsible for a lot of borked Pop!_OS installs. If Etcher failed you could try Rufus. If it worked, that would be an anomaly, but power to you if it gets Pop installed!
 
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