Introduction to autoinstall

Automatic Ubuntu installation is performed with the autoinstall format. You might also know this feature as “unattended”, “hands-off” or “preseeded” installation.

This format is supported in the following installers:
  • Ubuntu Server, version 20.04 and later

  • Ubuntu Desktop, version 23.04 and later

Automatic installation lets you answer all configuration questions ahead of time with an autoinstall configuration and lets the installation process run without any interaction.

For more details on the relationship between autoinstall and cloud-init, as well as their respective functions, go to:

Differences from debian-installer preseeding

preseeds are the way to automate an installer based on debian-installer (also known as d-i).

Autoinstalls differ from preseeds in the following ways:
  • The format is different: autoinstalls use YAML instead of the preseed debconf-set-selections.

  • When the answer to a question is not present in a preseed, d-i stops and asks the user for input. By comparison, if there is any autoinstall configuration at all, the autoinstall takes the default for any unanswered question (and fails if there is no default).

  • You can designate particular sections in the autoinstall configuration as “interactive”, which means the installer will still stop and ask about those.

Error handling

Progress through the installer is reported via the reporting system, including errors. In addition, when a fatal error occurs, the error-commands are executed and the traceback printed to the console. The server then just waits.