How I fixed a no-ethernet ubuntu first install

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I have an HP envy14spectre laptop that’s got dead Ethernet and only partially functional USB ports. When I tried to install Ubuntu desktop 20.xx, I got the dreaded blank screen. I tried other distros to the same result.
BUT Ubuntu server live did installation.
Once that was done, the video card driver and Wi-Fi (Broadcom) modem were installed automatically by simply inserting the bootable USB and setting the boot order to USB first in BIOS. (on my HP it was the Esc key to enter bios and set USB as primary boot). Ubuntu installed normally and the only thing I had to remember to do was remove the USB stick immediately after pressing reboot.
RECAP: Ubuntu server live (the latest distro) on USB, Ubuntu desktop (latest) on another USB, install server, install desktop over server — problem solved.
The trick is this: once server was installed I still didn’t have access to Wi-Fi and could not get updates. Server fixed the display issue on install though — which allowed me to install desktop, and automatically updated the drivers for the modem. I suppose I could even switch back to server now, and install desktop as an instance running on the server…. Maybe tomorrow.
I am posting this because it was a lot faster and ‘noob friendly’ than any of the other solutions I could find on the web. It’s a literal ‘plug and play’ solution. (*or plug/play and plug/play!) Either way — I’m posting this inside Firefox running on Ubuntu desktop. =)

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Marisa

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