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How to install Ubuntu with BtrFS

The BtrFS file system (AKA Butter FS) is an advanced file system for Linux. It has a lot of impressive and exciting features, most notably, the “snapshot” feature. This feature allows users to take a snapshot of the system and restore it later for any reason.

This guide will go over how to install the latest Ubuntu Linux with this file system. To start the process, ensure you have a 4 GB (or larger) USB flash drive, as well as a reasonably fast internet connection.

Downloading the latest Ubuntu

To get Ubuntu working with BtrFS, you will need to download the latest release of Ubuntu. To download the newest release of the operating system, head over to Ubuntu.com. Once on the website, look for the “Download” button at the top of the page, and select it with the mouse.

After you select the “Download” button at the top of the page with your mouse, a menu will appear. In this menu, there is “Ubuntu Desktop,” along with other choices. Select the “20.10” button under “Desktop.”

Upon clicking on the “20.10” button in the download menu, Ubuntu.com should automatically start downloading the Ubuntu 20.10 ISO file to your Linux PC. Alternatively, select the “20.04” option if you prefer the LTS release.

The download for the Ubuntu ISO file will take a couple of minutes to complete as it is 2.7 GB in size. When the download is complete, move on to the next section of the guide.

Making an Ubuntu USB installer

To install Ubuntu with BtrFS, you will need to make a USB installer. There are many ways to make a USB installer with the Ubuntu ISO, and we covered that in this list. 

This guide will show you how to make the Ubuntu USB installer using the Etcher USB/SD card flashing tool. To get started, head over to Etcher.io. Once on the website, download and install the Etcher flashing tool on your computer.

Note: Etcher works on Windows, Linux, and Mac! You’ll be able to make an Ubuntu USB installer on any platform with the same UI! 

After installing Etcher on your computer, follow the step-by-step instructions below to get your Ubuntu USB installer created.

Step 1: Locate the “Flash from file” button in the Etcher app, and click on it with the mouse. After clicking on it, a window will appear. Using this window, browse for the Ubuntu ISO file you’ve downloaded previously.

Step 2: Find the “Select target” button, and click on it with the mouse. Once you click on this button, you will need to select your USB flash drive in the UI to tell Etcher to flash the Ubuntu ISO file to it.

Step 3: Locate the “Flash” button, and click on it with the mouse to start the flashing process. The flashing process will take a few minutes. Be patient.

When the process is complete, reboot your PC into the BIOS and configure it to boot from the USB flash drive.

Install Ubuntu with BtrFS

Once you start up the Ubuntu installer, you will see a startup message. In this message, locate the “Install Ubuntu” button, and click on it with the mouse. After selecting the “Install Ubuntu” button, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Select your keyboard layout in the Ubuntu installer. Then, click on the “Continue” button to move to the next page.

Step 2: On the next page in the installer, you will see “Updates and other software.” On this page, use the checkboxes to choose precisely how you want Ubuntu to be installed. 

Be sure to select the “Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware and additional media formats” box. Click “Continue” when done.

Step 3: Following “Updates and other software,” you will see “Installation type.” On this page, click on the “Something else” button to go to the Ubuntu partitioner.

On the “Installation type” page, look through the list of devices for your Ubuntu hard drive. Then, delete all partitions on it, so it is blank. It should look similar to the screenshot below.

Step 4: After clearing out your Ubuntu hard drive of partitions, you will see “free space” where your partitions used to be. Select the “free space” with the mouse. Then, click the “+” symbol.

After clicking on the “+” symbol, a partition creation window will appear. If you have a UEFI/Secure boot set up, do the following. If you use BIOS to boot Ubuntu, do not create this partition.

In the “Size” box, type in 512 MB. Then, set “Use as” to “EFI System Partition.” Then, click on the “OK” button to create the partition.

Step 5: Select on the ‘free space” area, then click on the “+” symbol to create a new partition. Then, in the partition creation window, enter the size you wish your root partition to be in MB.

Can’t figure out the size in Megabytes? Use this handy conversion calculator!

Step 6: After entering your size, find the “Use as” area and change it from “Ext4 journaling filesystem” to “btrfs journaling file system

.”Once the new partition is set to BtrFS, locate the “Mount point” area, and set it to “/.” Then, click the “OK” button to continue.

Step 7: Click on the “Install Now” button at the bottom of the screen to start installing Ubuntu with BtrFS! 


  1. I just wanted to express my thanks for the time and effort you put into this tutorial, It helped me greatly in implementing what I knew to be of benefit for my Ubuntu OS but not having the experience with Linux I failed at the process of implementing the “How To” of it. If you could possibly tell me how to create additional @Subvolumes during the installation of Ubuntu 22.04 in combination with TimeShift it would be greatly appreciated, perhaps you have done so already? Again thanks for this excellent tutorial that made for a much better computing experience. Kindest regards!

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