Need Help Changing OS from Windows 10 to PureOS

Hello Dear Community!

I am in the process of joining the Purism Community by changing my operating system from Windows 10 to PureOS.

I have attempted this process several times and with 2 different flash drives. My flash drive indeed gets flashed succesfully using Ecther. However, when this process is completed my USD Drive disappears from my file system. So I cannot access it at all, as if it did not exist. I have done many fixes by following tutorials but it simply does not work. And I don’t know what else to do.

I have attempted this with Pure OS 9.0 (the Stable version) only.

Please Assistance.


Hi @Curiosity.Flow, I am glad you are joining this community and ditching Windows!

I assume you are talking about successful writing of the iso image of PureOS on your USB flash drive. Is this right? Your USB drive “disappears”, probably because it has a Linux-specific filesystem, which is not recognized by Windows. And you do not need to recognize it in Windows.

Once the USB drive with PureOS is ready, you need to reboot your computer and boot it from the USB drive. Then, the installation process of PureOS will begin.

However, be very careful here. I see that you are trying to install PureOS on a device designed for Windows. PureOS is a very strict Linux distribution, which does not contain any proprietary non-free software, including firmware/drivers for typical WiFi devices. Almost every laptop (except Librem 14) comes with a WiFi card which requires such proprietary software. It probably means that your WiFi will not work on PureOS unless you manually install the firmware/drivers for it. It may be hard for newcomers on Linux. If you choose this path, we can try to help, too.


If I understood you right, you may have an easier life with a different Linux distribution. PureOS is made based on Debian and does not differ from it very much. You could install unofficial Debian operating system (“unofficial” means it contains proprietary software) and your device should just work (unless it is a very new model, because Debian support of new devices is slow). It would help if you tell us which device you have.

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Thank you so much for answering! I DO appreciate it. My device is a Surface Pro laptop with Windows 10. The main purpose for downloading Pure OS is that it is definitely safer and more protected than Windows, plus the digital art software I need is perfectly compatible with this OS (krita, inkscape, gimp, except Maya Autodesk which I hope this changes in the future).

I simply want to stay away from Windows and Mac and upgrade to a more respectful OS, of course. I read eveything you wrote. But I don’t really understand how to go about this. One time a friend helped me switch from Windows to Ubuntu on an older laptop. But I have not seen him in years. Besides this 1 occassion, I have not been able to ever make this OS transition myself. I am literally a newcomer as you say.

So I need more step by step instructions. I can post pictures of this process to make it more clear as to what the issue actually is. Let me know how we can proceed.

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Sure, we can try to help you step by step. But first, do you have any specific reason to choose PureOS and not Debian/Ubuntu? The former may be (slightly) more user-respectful but harder to deal with due to your hardware. Later, you could go further.

See also: Can't boot into Live session.

Here are 2 pictures: the 2nd one is below in another post. It didn’t let me post 2 pictures in 1 post. I inserted my flash drive and Etcher recognizes it, but my file system does not. My drive is called D or E (1 of those 2). And it simply does not show up even though the flash drive is inserted into my laptop. The only 2 drives showing in the file system are C and O. Even the address of my Lexar Drive shows as some odd address called Physical Drive. But there is no way for me to access this from my file system.

=> Does this Make Sense?

Here is the 2nd Pic.

If you have prepared your PureOS USB stick according to instructions, you do not need to open it in Windows. You need to reboot your computer, and configure it to start from the stick, not from your Windows installation. For that, you need to enter BIOS/UEFI system by pressing delete, or F12 or something similar during booting. You need to check the documentation and messages on the screen to find out the exact command.

But please read the thread I linked first. It’s about your (or similar) hardware.

To answer your question about installing Ubuntu/Debian instead, no I don’t have another reason to install Pure OS.

My only reasons is that I need and want a more respectful and secure OS that also allows me to use the digital art software I require to create art.

So if Ubuntu/Debian is also more respectful and secure than Windows and Mac OS, AND they are compatible with the art software of Krita, Inkscape and Gimp, then we can take this route if it is indeed an easier process.

I simply was NOT aware that the hardware design would play a role at all, neither that it would be an issue in Surface Pro. I truly am a beginner and was not aware of all these details and knowledge.

So do consider that is wiser to go with Debian and/or Ubuntu then? And if so, which one do you consider is the better option to create digital art? Or is it worth it to keep trying to install Pure OS through this command and the rebooting?

I never used a Surface Pro laptop but I do expect some problems in using it with PureOS. Also, in the link above they say:

So my suggestion would be to try Ubuntu instead. I do not create digital art, so cannot tell you precisely which one is better for that, but Ubuntu typically provides a more updated software, so it could be better for your use case.

This is often a problem with “Windows-certified” hardware: the vendor does not care about Linux and when installing it you might have problems with small things like WiFi or suspend because of that. If you want a truly reliable Linux experience, consider buying a preinstalled Linux if you can.

Looks like Krita is available in Ubuntu:

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I did see the thread you shared. Thank you for referring me to this to get more info about this topic. I simply forgot to mention that I saw it indeed.

Ubuntu is more updated than Debian? Also, Jao Azevedo from Purism Support suggested that I can try installing Pure OS 10.0 (the beta version), instead of installing the Stable or the 9.0 one I was attempting to install. But it will probable be the same issue with the hardware, unless the Beta Version solves those hardware issues. But I simply don’t know if this is true.

Yes, Debian-stable is rock solid (it never ever fails), because it mostly runs outdated software. This is their compromise. But many people say Ubuntu is stable enough, too. AFAIK Pure OS 10 is based on Debian-stable, whereas Pure OS 9 on the previous version of Debian (old-stable). You would still have problems with proprietary drivers.

Of course, the best way to see if everything’s working is to boot into the Live USB without installing and check things out. Install if it seems good, or download another distro.

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Proprietary drivers means that it is not open source software? I don’t truly understand what this means or what issues this would give me.

I just checked if Gimp and Inkscape are available in Ubuntu, and yes they are for more updated versions. The other person that also responded to this same post already checked that Krita is indeed also available for Ubuntu.

Ok, so I will have problems with proprietary software does not matter if I try to install Pure OS 9.0 or 10.0? And this is because of the hardware of the Surface Pro Laptop?

Lastly, have you used Ubuntu yourself? I used it very briefly in the past, only for some weeks or even a few months, and it was a nice experience. But I never verified or knew for sure if it is indeed more secure or not. Is there a way to confirm if an OS has spyware or test how secure it actually is for a user?

After all of this, and assuming Ubuntu is indeed more secure, can you walk me through the steps of rebooting it please?

Thank you for Helping! :blush:

UPDATE 2: They still have not enabled me more posts, so I will keep updating my existing posts to keep communicating until we accomplish this! :slight_smile:

Write something, so I know you are still here and read this update.

UPDATE 3: I had this same error in the past. I followed some Windows tutorials to fix it and it indeed appeared to have gone away, but nope and it’s back. I cannot even reboot anything, because my Flash Drive (or Drive D) needs its disk to be formatted. I don’t even know what exactly this means or why this is showing up.

I go ahead and press “Format Disk”, but different error messages show up. I can’t include them here since I am limited to 1 picture per post. So I am basically prompted to format the disk, but when I press that option it does Not work either.



Yes, PureOS is a distribution endorsed by the Free Software Foundation, because it avoids any proprietary (non-free) software. Since your hardware requires such software to function, PureOS will not work (more precisely, AFAIK certain devices won’t work).

I never used Ubuntu myself. I use Qubes OS with virtual machines of Debian and Fedora. Ubuntu is based on free and open-source software, which means it is verifiable by the community – except proprietary pieces, which you need. It should be much more user-respecting and secure than Windows anyway.

So you create the USB stick with Ubuntu in the same way as with PureOS and reboot your computer from the stick as I explained above. It seems they offer two versions, more stable (20.04 LTS) and more updated (21.04). This is your choice to make. They have all the instructions, too.

Ubuntu is both open source and has some proprietary pieces as well? So it’s not completely open source?

I thought open source meant open source All the way. Maybe I am mistaken here. I am sure you will clarify this when you respond. If open source is indeed open source All the way, then obviosuly that if there were any spyware on Ubuntu, for example, or any honest flaws in the code then the Community would have spotted it already by now, correct? I can’t imagine bugs and/or spyware going unnoticed for months, or even years, in any open source software.

I actually looked into Qubes OS. I saw on Youtube that Edward Snowden actually uses and recommend this. But I was a bit sad to find out that the art software I need is not compatible with this OS. The art software alternatives are quite limited, but I am thankful that there is at least an alternative out of Windows and Mac through Linux. I hope this drawing software becomes supported in other OSs, including the one you use.

Ok, I am going to go through this process. Please do not go anywhere in case I run into a bug.

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By the way, you said something about buying a pre-installed linux if I can? What exactly is that? And where can I buy it?

I left you a message right above. And an Update below.

Ubuntu is fine; it’s just that some Linux distributions include some manufacturers’ drivers so that your hardware will work with Linux (if there doesn’t exist a free and open-source alternative to the driver). (PureOS is not one of those distributions.)

From Wikipedia, bold text is mine:

“All of the application software installed by default is free software. In addition, Ubuntu redistributes some hardware drivers that are available only in binary format, but such packages are clearly marked in the restricted component.”