Ubuntu: How to get Ubuntu 14.04 to detect and connect to open WiFi on startup from USB stick


I'm an 8th grade science teacher and I have recently been given 17 mini dell computers. All are in great physical shape, however, none of them have an operating system or hard drive. I can load Ubuntu 14.04 from USB stick, but to get them to detect and connect to an open WiFi, I have to have them plugged into a Ethernet cable then have to run:

  1. sudo apt-get update
  2. sudo apt-get install bcmwl-kernel-source (ask me to click "y")

How do I get them to detect and connect to open WiFi, on startup, when booting from USB and not connected to Ethernet cable?

I thought about batch files on desktop, but there's that Ethernet issue again.

Again, I have no operating systems, no hard drives and I have to boot from USB stick

Is there another version of Ubuntu that would work? Is there some way to install some package onto the USB that would run from start up? I just don’t have a clue. It's practically impossible for schools to get funds for the technology we need and I would hate to see these computers go to waste.

My only other options is to set them up and leave them on all the time but that violates school policy and I'd get in trouble for that.

Thanks for any advise


The software you need to get the wifi going is included, just go to Software and Updates/Additional Drivers

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Then select the Broadcom 802.11 Linux STA and Apply Changes

Do you mean just no operating system, or no internal hard drive?


You can make your own customized Ubuntu in that you can pre install the software you need. . So that you don't have to install packages every time in usb stick... also you can add startup script so that every time wifi will turn on automatically Google for custom Ubuntu Hope it works


As I understand your question, your requirement is:-

  1. You have to run system from pen drive (No HDD or other storage device available)
  2. You want to connect WiFi automatically when you boot system for your pen-drive.


=> I Tested on ubuntu-14.04.2-desktop-i386

=> Windows system to make my pen-drive bootable.

=> 8 GB Pen-Drive (You can use 4 GB pen-drive)

=> Tried in my home WiFi password protected netowrk


  1. Download .iso file of your distribution.
  2. Download Universal USB Installer or direct link
  3. Run Universal USB Installer ---> Click on I agree.
  4. In Step 1 Mention Your distro name.
  5. In Step 2 Browse to the downloaded Your_distro.iso file.
  6. In Step 3 Select your Pen-Drive.
  7. Select "Format X:\Drive (Erase Content)
  8. [Most Important Step] In Step 4 drag that bar up to 2024 MB or 1024 MB (for 4GB pen-drive) will also works, depends on your pen-drive Capacity.

  9. Click on create & wait for complete the process successful.

  10. Now boot your system with pen-drive
  11. Select "Try ubuntu"
  12. After it starts completely, connect WiFi to your desired network manually once, now it will save your connection Settings to pen-drive. So next time when when you boot your WiFi, It will connect it automatically.

Note:- If you use pen-drive everyday for too much read and write, It won't last for long, because its having limited read and write cycles.

Hope It Works :) .... If not Please let me know..

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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