How to Dual-Boot Ubuntu And Windows

This post shows how to install Ubuntu along with Windows for a dual boot Ubuntu-Windows system. Here assumption is that you already have a Windows system and you want to install Ubuntu too on the same machine for dual boot.

For this post Ubuntu 16.04.3 is installed on Windows 10.

Steps for installing Ubuntu along with Windows

Steps that you need to follow for installation are as follows –

  1. Backup your data– Though this step is optional and most probably nothing should go wrong but be prepared if it is not your day!
  2. Ensure a free space of at least 5 GB– Ubuntu itself needs around 4.5 GB for a minimal installation. So 5 GB is bare minimum though you should provide at least 20 GB for your Ubuntu installation.
  3. Verify the boot mode– Check the boot mode of your existing Operating system whether it is UEFI or legacy. This post covers from UEFI perspective which is the firmware of choice from Windows 8.
  4. Create a bootable USB/DVD– Make sure you have downloaded the version of Ubuntu you want to install and created a bootable media with that downloaded image.
  5. Disabling fast startup and secure boot in windows– You may need to disable fast startup and secure boot in Windows for dual boot.

Once you have taken care of all these steps you are ready to install Ubuntu along with Windows. So let’s see these steps and other activities while installing in detail –

1- Backup your data
First thing to do is to back up your existing data as a precaution. For an added measure ensure that you have a bootable USB/DVD for Windows ready too.

2- Create free space (Partition) for Ubuntu installation
You do need to create free space for your Ubuntu installation. For that you need to create a partition in your drive. You may already be having several partitions in your Windows system so you can use any of these partitions to create a free space. In case you have a single partition you will have to use that to create free space.

For creating a partition you can use Windows Disk Management tool. In the “Type here to search” box in the task bar you can type “Disk Management” that will give you an option “Create and format hard disk partitions”. Alternatively you can open Control Panel – Administrative tools – Computer management – Storage – Disk Management or search for “Disk Management” in Control Panel window.
Once you have opened the Disk management tool and decided from which partition you want to allocate free space, right click on that partition and select “Shrink Volume” option. In the Shrink<Partition Drive> window enter the amount of space to shrink in MB.

Creating partition

3- Create bootable USB/DVD
Now is the time to create a bootable media with the Ubuntu image. Before that you can also verify the boot mode.

If you are installing Ubuntu as dual boot with another OS then the boot mode should match for both Operating Systems. To check the boot mode for Windows you can follow the given steps –

Go to RUN dialog and type msinfo32, press enter.

For System Summary look for “BIOS Mode” in the right pane.

Check for its value if it is “UEFI” or “Legacy”.

Interested in reading more about UEFI, try this – https://knpcode.com/firmware/uefi/uefi-compatibilty-for-ubuntu-installation/

Once you have verified the boot mode you can carry on and download Ubuntu image from here – https://www.ubuntu.com/download/

Here are the steps to create a bootable Ubuntu USB drive using Rufus tool – https://knpcode.com/ubuntu/installation/how-to-create-bootable-usb-drive-for-installing-ubuntu/

4- Disabling fast startup and secure boot in windows
Now you are almost ready to start installation of Ubuntu. Just take care of two more things.

From Windows 8 a new feature Fast Startup has been added for quick boot. You may need to disable it for ensuring dual boot.

For that go to Control Panel – Power Options – choose what the power button does

There, in Shutdown settings section uncheck “Turn on fast startup” option to disable it.

5- Installing Ubuntu
Once all the preparation is done boot your system with the bootable drive you created as stated in Step 3. You may require to change the boot option while restarting the system by pressing F12, ESC or the key that brings up your system’s boot menu.

USB Boot - installing ubuntu along with windows

Once the system is booted using the bootable media the installer will start and you will get option to install Ubuntu along with few other options. Choose Install Ubuntu.

Ubuntu installation

After that you will get option to choose language. Choose the preferred language and press continue.

Ubuntu installation - Select language

In “Preparing to install Ubuntu” window you may choose options to “Download updates while installing” and “Install third party software” or leave them for now. You can do that after installation too.

Ubuntu installation options

After that comes the screen “Installation Type” where I’ll recommend to create partition manually by selecting “Something else” option.

Ubuntu Installation

You should at least create two partitions root and home and better to have swap area too.

  • /root – It is the area that will have your OS files like kernel, boot files, libraries etc.
  • Swap – It is the area where inactive memory pages can be moved when physical memory (RAM) is full.
  • /home – It is the area where user’s file are kept like documents, music, images, videos.

Once you select “Something else” option window with all the partitions and free spaces in your drive will be displayed, there you will have to select the free space you created in Step-2 and press ‘+’ sign.

Ubuntu partitions

Create /root partition

Select mount type as “/” and enter size as per your convenience but it should better be more than 5 GB, ideally 10-20 GB range. Let the file type (Use as option) be the default file system – Ext4 journaling file system. Refer image for other options –

root area - ubuntu installation

Create Swap area

Press the ‘+’ again and this time select “Use as” option as “Swap area” and enter size as anything between 4 GB – 8 GB. It should be as much as the size of RAM in your system or double of that. Refer image for other options –

swap area - ubuntu installation

Create /home partition

Again click the ‘+’ sign for creating the /home partition. You can allocate rest of the free space to /home partition. Rest of the options are almost same as selected for /root partition. Refer image.

home partition - ubuntu installation

Clicking OK will bring you back to partitions screen. Creating partition is supposed to be the last major task, just ensure that all the created partitions are displayed and click “Install now”.

You will get options to “Select your location”, “Keyboard layout” and for setting user name and password. Installer will complete the installation in background.

ubuntu installation

Once the installation finishes you will be asked to restart the system.

While restarting you may need to change the boot option – Change the boot order to boot using Ubuntu boot manager. If every thing went smoothly then you should get a GRUB (Grand Unified Bootloader) screen with dual boot option to boot Ubuntu or Windows.

That’s all for the topic How to dual-boot Ubuntu and Windows. If something is missing or you have something to share about the topic please write a comment.


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  1. Pingback: UEFI Compatibilty for Ubuntu Installation – Technical Tutorials

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