How to operate the Server installer

This documentation has been moved and is now being maintained as part of the Ubuntu Installer documentation. For the up-to-date version of this content, please refer to this version instead.

This document explains how to use the installer in general terms. For a step-by-step guide through the screens of the installer, you can use our screen-by-screen reference guide.

Get the installer

Installer images are made (approximately) daily and are available from Ubuntu Server 24.04 (Noble Numbat) Daily Build. 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.

You can download the server installer for amd64 from and other architectures from Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS (Focal Fossa).

Installer UI navigation

In general, the installer can be used with the up and down arrows 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. However, 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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