How to Install POP OS 20.04 LTS - Step by Step

Install pop os 20.04

POP! OS is based on Ubuntu, which is free and opensource Linux distribution. POP OS is developed and primarily maintained by system76.

Like Ubuntu, long term released comes every 2 years and a new release comes every 6 months. Pop!_ OS 20.04 comes with GNOME 3.36, automatic window tiling, flatpack support, Linux kernel 5.4, and more.

In this guide, I will show you how to install POP 20.04 LTS step by step with screenshots.

Minimum requirements:

  1. 2 GB RAM
  2. 16 GB of hard disk space
  3. 64-bit processor
  4. A stable internet connection

Step 1: Make a bootable USB drive

To start off, you need to download the POP!_OS iso image which will be required to create a bootable USB drive. So head out to POP!_OS official download page and download the ISO image. Ensure that your internet speed is fast and stable for a smooth download.

Once downloaded, you can use the Rufus tool, which we have covered before, or create a bootable USB drive on the terminal using the dd command.

Upon completion, eject the USB bootable medium and plug it into the PC your want to install POP_OS! on.

Step 2: Install POP 20.04 LTS

To begin the installation of POP OS, first, insert the bootable USB drive on the target PC while powered off. Shortly thereafter, power it on and proceed to edit the BIOS settings, more specifically, the boot order. This will ensure that the PC can boot from the medium. Next, save the changes in the BIOS settings and continue with the booting process.

You will see the boot messages splashed on the screen as shown

boot messages POP!_OS 20.04

When the boot-up messages disappear, the Welcome screen will be displayed as shown. Select your preferred installation language.

install POP! 20.04 LTS

Step 3: Select language for your operating system

On the next screen, select the preferred language for your OS. Here, I have selected American English as my preferred choice for my OS. Next, click on the 'Select' button to go to the next step.

Install POP! 20.04 LTS select language

Step 4: Select the keyboard Layout

The next step requires you to choose your preferred Keyboard option. The default option should be satisfactory,  so its best to leave it that way. However,  should the need to arise to select a different option, feel free to scroll and select your preferred layout.

Install POP! 20.04 LTS Select Keyboard Layout

Once you have selected your layout, type in the text filed to have a look at the appearance of text when typing with your keyboard. If everything is satisfactory, proceed to the next step by clicking the 'select' button.

Step 5: Prepare to Partition the hard drive

The next screen presents you with 2 choices for partitioning your hard drive.

  1. Clean Install
  2. Custom Install (Advanced)

The first option automatically creates the required Linux partitions, wipes out the entire drive, and installs POP!_OS. This option is ideal for beginners who are not familiar with manually creating Linux partitions. The installer automatically does it on the fly and makes it easier to install POP!_OS.

For more advanced users, the second option comes in handy. It allows users to manually create partitions according to their preferences. For this guide, we will go with the second option and show you how to manually create the partitions.

So select the 'Custom (Advanced)'  option and click on the  'Custom (Advanced)  button.

Select custom partitioning

The next screen will display the hard drives available and the total size. To proceed with creating the partitions, click on the 'Modify partitions' button as shown.

Modify partitions POP! OS

This launched the Gparted partitioning utility which is used for manually partitioning and repartitioning a hard drive. Initially, your hard drive will be indicated as 'unallocated' as shown.

Unallocated partition POP! OS

To begin partitioning the hard drive, click on the 'Device' option on the menu bar, and select 'Create Partition Table'.

Create a partition table POP! OS 20.04

You will get an alert concerning the action you are taking and the fact that all data will be erased. For the partition type, select GPT if your BIOS is set to UEFI mode. For Legacy boot, select the  'msdos' option. If you are satisfied with your selection click the 'Apply' button.

Select partition type POP! OS 20.04

We are going to create 3 essential partitions required by any Linux system as follows:

/boot  - 2048 MB

/home - 4096 MB

swap - 2048MB

/  (root partition)  - Remaining disk space - 12429 MB

Step 6:  Partition the hard drive

So. to get started with partitioning the hard drive,  right-click on the 'Unallocated partition' and select 'New'.

Create new partition POP! OS

To create the boot partition, specify the boot size as indicated in the 'New Size (MiB)' section. Also, select the partition label as /boot and leave all the other options as default options. However, feel free to change the file system type to either XFS or one of the EXT formats. Once done, click the 'Add' button to create the partition.

Create boot partition POP! OS

From the image, you can see that the boot partition has been created. We still have some allocated space from which we are going to create the remaining partitions.

Partition created POP! OS

To create the /home partition, right-click on the unallocated space and select 'New'.

Create a new partition POP! OS

 On the pop-up window, specify the size of the home partition, partition label, and click the 'Add' button to create the partition.

Create home partition POP! OS

So far, we have two partitions on our partition table - /boot and /home partition.

Home partition created POP! OS

Let's now create the swap partition. As before, right-click on the unallocated partition, and select the 'New' option. For the swap area, select the file system as Linux-swap as shown. Then click the 'Add' button.

Create Swap space POP! OS

We have created 3 partitions so far as you can see. For the remaining unallocated partition, we will allocate it entirely for the  / ( root ) partition.

Linux swap created

So, right-click on it, and select the 'New' option. Define the partition name, leave the filesystem as it is, and click the 'Add' button.

Create root partition POP! OS

Now the partition table includes all our partitions as shown.

All created partitions POP! OS

Step 7:  Write changes to the  hard drive

To create and write the partitions onto the hard drive, click the checkmark icon shown below.

Write changes to disk install POP! 20.04 LTS

On the notification pop-up that appears, click the  'apply' button to proceed with writing the partitions on the disk.

Apply changes to POP! 20.04 LTS

Once all operations are concluded, click the 'Close' button.

Partition table POP! 20.04 LTS

On the next step, locate the partition that will logically be used for the /boot partition. Click on it and ensure you turn on the 'Use partition' option and set 'Use as:' to /boot/EFI.  

Select boot partition POP! 20.04 LTS

Next, define the / root partition as shown. Turn on the 'Use partition' and 'Format' options and set 'Use as:' to  Root /.

Select root partition POP! 20.04 LTS

When it's all done, click on 'Erase and Install' to proceed with the installation process.

Click Erase and install POP! OS

The installer will start extracting all files and packages and installing them on your system. Depending on how fast your system is, this process should take roughly 10 - 15 minutes to complete.

Install POP! 20.04 LTS

When the system is done installing all the required files and packages, you will be prompted to restart the system. Therefore, click the 'Restart device' button. At this point, we are halfway through how to install POP 20.04 LTS.

Step 8: Finalizing the installation process

Upon rebooting, a welcome screen will be displayed as shown. Click the 'Next' button to proceed.

Welcome screen install POP! OS 20.04

Next, select the keyboard layout and click the 'Next' button to go to the next step.

Select keyboard layout POP! OS 20.04

In the next step, you have the option of turning on your location. If it's okay with you, go ahead and toggle ON the location setting. If you'd like to remain discreet and block applications from determining your geographical location, just leave the setting as it is and click the 'Next' button to go to the next step.

Select Location on or off POP! OS

In the 'Time zone' section, your timezone and location are automatically configured if you are connected to the internet. However, if you may, you can still set your preferred location and timezone and click the 'Next' button to move along.

Select Timezone POP! 20.04 LTS

In the next step, feel free to configure your online accounts as shown. If you are keen on this, you can skip to the next step.

Configure online accounts POP! 20.04

In the next step, fill out your name and click 'Next'.

Fill our name POP! OS 20.04 LTS

As you would have guessed it right, the next step will prompt you to create your password. For that reason, type in your password and confirm. Thereafter,  click on the 'Next' button to complete the installation.

Create a password POP! OS 20.04 LTS

When the installation is complete, click on 'Start using POP!_OS' to finish the installation.

Start using POP! OS 20.04

This ushers you to the desktop below.

POP! OS 20.04 LTS desktop

And here's the appearance of the windows and icons.

POP! OS 20.04 desktop


You might have noticed that POP OS has a  default theme that looks quite bland. This should not worry you any tiny bit as you can proceed to customize the theme to your satisfaction.

Above all, be sure to be on the lookout for the newly revamped POP! shop center. This is where you can install your applications in an easy and efficient way.

We do hope that you can now install POP 20.04 LTS without a hitch.

8 Comments... add one

  1. Great. But what about those who want to boot from their HDD, not a slow-boot off USB/DVD? i.e. I think it's called dead install since using a USB is "Live".

  2. Hey Sharon, during installation, you cannot boot from your HDD. An installation medium is required, and for this guide, we chose to go with a bootable USB drive since it's more convenient to use one compared to a DVD drive. Once POP is installed, eject your installation medium and you can thereafter boot from your HDD in subsequent sessions.

  3. Hi, I wanna try Pop OS but my macbook 2009 only has 1 usb port and wont boot from a pendrive, do you know if the iso version can be safely burnt into a bootable dvd for use in my case? thanks in advance

    • Hey Juan, sure, you can safely burn the ISO on a DVD and install it. Alternatively, a better way of trying out POP! OS would be using a hypervisor like VirtualBox or VMware. This way, you will be running POP inside your host environment.


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