Home Dual Boot Ultimate Guide To Dual Booting Windows And Ubuntu: Seamless Multi-Operating System Setup

Ultimate Guide To Dual Booting Windows And Ubuntu: Seamless Multi-Operating System Setup

A Step-by-Step Guide To Install Ubuntu Alongside Windows

By Karthick
Published: Updated: 6.2K views

This step-by-step guide will take you through the process of installing Ubuntu alongside Windows operating system. Dual booting Windows and Ubuntu opens up a world of possibilities for users seeking to embrace the strengths of both operating systems. With this approach, users can seamlessly switch between Windows and Ubuntu, enjoying the benefits of Windows and Ubuntu.

In this guide, we will focus on setting up a dual boot configuration with the Windows 10 operating system and the latest Ubuntu 23.04 edition. The procedure is same for dual booting Windows 11 with other Ubuntu versions.

Introduction

In the fast-paced world of computing, users often find themselves torn between different operating systems, each offering its unique set of advantages and functionalities.

Windows, known for its widespread compatibility and user-friendly interface, stands as a go-to choice for many. On the other hand, Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution, offers robust security, open-source flexibility, and a vast range of software options.

But why settle for one when you can have the best of both worlds? Dual booting Windows and Ubuntu allows you to achieve precisely that. By installing Ubuntu alongside Windows OS, you can have these two operating systems on a single machine.

Throughout this guide, we will cover essential topics to setup dual boot Windows and Ubuntu Linux. Key topics we'll explore include:

  • The advantages of dual booting Windows and Ubuntu,
  • Preparing Windows machine for dual boot,
  • Configuring UEFI Settings,
  • Creating partitions for Ubuntu Linux,
  • And finally the installation of Ubuntu alongside Windows.

Advantages of Dual Booting Windows and Ubuntu

Dual booting Windows and Ubuntu offers several advantages that make it an appealing option for users. Here are some of the key advantages of dual booting Windows and Ubuntu:

  1. Versatility and Compatibility: By having both Windows and Ubuntu installed on the same machine, you can enjoy the flexibility of using two different operating systems, each with its own strengths and software ecosystems. This allows you to access a wide range of applications, programs, and tools that are specifically designed for either Windows or Ubuntu.
  2. Best of Both Worlds: Windows is known for its user-friendly interface, extensive software support, and compatibility with a vast array of hardware devices. On the other hand, Ubuntu offers robust security, stability, and access to a rich open-source software library. Dual booting allows you to leverage the strengths of both operating systems, giving you access to a comprehensive set of features and capabilities.
  3. Learning and Exploration: Dual booting provides an excellent opportunity for users to explore and learn about different operating systems. If you're new to Ubuntu or Linux, dual booting with Windows allows you to gradually transition and familiarize yourself with Ubuntu's environment, tools, and workflows while still having the safety net of Windows available.
  4. Development and Testing: Dual booting is particularly beneficial for developers and software testers. Ubuntu, with its strong focus on open-source development and command-line tools, provides a favorable environment for coding and testing applications. With dual booting, developers can easily switch between Windows and Ubuntu to test their applications in different operating systems and ensure compatibility.
  5. Security and Privacy: Ubuntu is renowned for its security features and emphasis on privacy. By dual booting Windows and Ubuntu, you can use Ubuntu for tasks that require enhanced security. This separation of tasks helps minimize potential security risks on your Windows system.

Things to do on the Windows System

There are a few things to be done on the windows side to make the installation smooth and successful.

  1. Windows 10/11 should be already installed.
  2. Check the partition scheme. This article is targeted at disks with the GPT partition style.
  3. Check if windows is using BIOS or UEFI. This article is targeted at systems running in UEFI mode.
  4. Disable secure boot.
  5. Disable drive encryption.
  6. Create separate disk partitions for Ubuntu Linux.

Step 1 - Check Disk Partition Scheme in Windows

Open your PowerShell on your Windows system and run the following command.

$ Get-Disk
Windows Partition Scheme
Windows Partition Scheme

As you see in the above output, the last part of the output shows the disk partition type. In our case, it is GPT.

Step 2 - Check if Windows is using BIOS or UEFI

To check if windows uses BIOS or UEFI, type "system information" from the start menu. Under the system summary section, you can find the BIOS mode. For UEFI the bios mode will be set to "UEFI" and for BIOS it will be set to "Legacy".

Windows BIOS/UEFI Mode
Windows BIOS/UEFI Mode

As you see, my system uses GPT and UEFI mode.

Step 3 - Disable Secure Boot

Secure boot allows only OEM-signed bootloaders to be loaded during the boot. This eliminates the possibility of any malicious attacks. Some linux distributions go well with secure boot and some do not, so I suggest you disable it.

Open the Advanced Startup and press restart.

Restart Windows
Restart Windows

After a few seconds, you will see a window with the following options. Select Troubleshoot.

Choose Troubleshoot
Choose Troubleshoot

Next, select Advanced Options.

Choose Advanced Options
Choose Advanced Options

Now choose UEFI Firmware Settings.

Click UEFI Firmware Settings
Click UEFI Firmware Settings

Click Restart to reboot the machine to change the firmware settings.

Click Restart
Click Restart

The BIOS window appearance can vary depending on the Desktop/Laptop manufacturer. In the case of Dell laptops, you will have the option to enable or disable secure boot under the "Boot Configuration" section.

BIOS - Secure Boot Option
BIOS - Secure Boot Option

Switch the toggle button to the "OFF" position to disable secure boot. Click Yes to disable secure boot and save the profile. Finally, press the "Exit" button to restart the machine using the saved settings.

Disable Secure Boot Confirmation Message
Disable Secure Boot Confirmation Message

You can also check the state of the secure boot from within Windows. To verify the status of secure boot from within Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Open the "RUN" dialog by pressing the Windows key + R.
  2. Type "msinfo32" in the dialog box and hit Enter.
  3. In the System Information window that appears, search for the "Secure Boot State" entry.
  4. In your case, if the state shows as "OFF," it indicates that secure boot is currently disabled on your system.
Check Secure Boot State via System Information
Check Secure Boot State via System Information

Step 4 - Turn Off Device Encryption

By default your drives are encrypted in windows. Turning it off would be a good choice to avoid any unknown conflicts. Open Settings, search for device encryption, and press "Turn Off".

Turn Off Device Encryption
Turn Off Device Encryption

Windows will now start decrypting the existing files. Please note that it will take some time depending on the data size.

Decrypting Data
Decrypting Data

Step 5 - Create Partitions for Linux

In dual boot separate partitions should be created for both windows and linux. Open "Disk management" tool. Depending upon the layout of your disk, you need to create partitions. In my case, I have a 1 TB drive with a single NTFS partition for the C: drive. I will keep 300 GB for the C: drive and allocate the remaining for Ubuntu use.

C: Drive Size
C: Drive Size

To resize the partition, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the partition you wish to resize. In my case, it is C: partition.
  2. Select "Shrink Volume" from the context menu.
  3. Enter a suitable value in megabytes (MB) for the amount of space you want to shrink from the partition.
  4. Click on the "Shrink" button to initiate the shrinking process.
Shrink Disk Partition
Shrink Disk Partition

Now I have approximately 600GB of unallocated space. This unallocated space will be utilized for creating the Linux partitions.

Windows and Ubuntu Dual Boot: Step-By-Step Installation

As I mentioned already, I am going to use Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster in the Dual boot setup. But the steps are common for other Ubuntu versions, for example Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Step 1 - Download The Ubuntu ISO Image

Visit the official Download Ubuntu Desktop web page. You have the option to download the ISO image directly or through a torrent.

Ubuntu 23.04 introduced a new flutter-based desktop installer. They have also provided an option to download Ubuntu 23.04 with the legacy desktop installer. Choose whichever you prefer. I am going with the new desktop installer.

Download Ubuntu 23.04
Download Ubuntu 23.04

Step 2 - Create Ubuntu Bootable Medium in Windows

Create a bootable medium with the downloaded Ubuntu iso image. Here I use a pen drive as a bootable medium. There are a lot of tools available to create the Ubuntu bootable medium. For the purpose of this guide I am using the Etcher tool.

To create a bootable Ubuntu medium using Etcher in Windows, follow these steps:

1. Visit the official Etcher website and download the Windows version of the software. Once downloaded, run the installer and complete the installation process.

2. Open the Etcher application on your Windows computer. It should be installed and accessible from your Start menu or desktop.

3. In Etcher, click on the "Select image" button. Browse to the location where you saved the downloaded Ubuntu ISO file and select it.

4. Connect a USB flash drive to your computer. In Etcher, click on the "Select drive" button. Choose the connected USB flash drive that you want to make bootable. Be cautious, as the selected drive will be completely erased during the process.

5. Verify that you have selected the correct USB flash drive, as all its data will be erased. Once you have confirmed the selection, click on the "Flash!" button to start the process. Etcher will begin writing the Ubuntu ISO to the USB flash drive.

Create Bootable Ubuntu Medium using Etcher
Create Bootable Ubuntu Medium using Etcher

6. Etcher will perform the flashing process, which may take a few minutes. Be patient and avoid interrupting the process.

7. Once the flashing process is complete, Etcher will automatically eject the USB flash drive. You now have a bootable Ubuntu medium ready for installation.

Now you can use this bootable medium to install Ubuntu on your system by booting from the USB drive.

If you are creating bootable media from a Linux system, there are many bootable USB creation tools available. You can choose any one of the following tools to create Ubuntu bootable USB.

Command line bootable USB creation tools:

Graphical bootable USB creation tools:

Step 3 - Start Ubuntu Installation

1. Plug in the bootable medium and restart the machine. Keep pressing the boot loader shortcut key during restart to open boot settings. Select the USB device as the boot device and press ENTER.

Select Boot Device
Select Boot Device

NOTE: The boot loader shortcut key and the UI varies according to the manufacturer. In my case, the shortcut key to open the boot settings is F12.

2. After a few seconds, the GRUB boot menu will appear. Choose "Try or Install Ubuntu" and hit ENTER.

Select Try or Install Ubuntu Option
Select Try or Install Ubuntu Option

3. The Ubuntu installer will launch automatically from the USB drive. The installer will prompt you to select your preferred language for the installation process.

Select Ubuntu Installer Language
Select Ubuntu Installer Language

4. Choose the keyboard layout in this step. You can also provide inputs from your keyboard to test it.

Choose Keyboard Layout
Choose Keyboard Layout

5. In this step, you will be prompted to select your preferred method of connecting to the internet. You can choose either a wired connection or a WiFi connection.

Connect to Internet
Connect to Internet

6. In this step, you will be presented with the installation type options and the choice of installing additional drivers.

  1. Normal Installation: This option installs standard utilities, software, and games.
  2. Minimal Installation: This option installs basic utilities and a web browser, offering a more streamlined and minimalistic setup. It is suitable if you prefer to manually install additional tools and software after the installation process.

Choose the installation method that best suits your needs. If you have your own preferred set of tools or want a more customized setup, the minimal installation option may be ideal.

Additionally, you have two more options under the "Other Options" section:

  • Third-Party Drivers: Enabling this option will install additional third-party drivers for WiFi and graphics hardware. They are proprietary.
  • Additional Media Formats: Enabling this option is recommended as it ensures the installation of supported media codecs for various audio and video formats that might not be included by default in Ubuntu ISO.
Choose the Installation Method
Choose the Installation Method

Consider your preferences and requirements, and make the appropriate selections for the installation type and additional options.

7. This is an important step where you determine how your disk will be partitioned and for what purpose. You will be presented with three options, as illustrated in the image below:

  1. Install Ubuntu alongside Windows Manager: By selecting this option, the installer will allocate all available free space in the root file system. This is a straightforward choice, especially for beginners, as it simplifies the process of dual booting Windows and Ubuntu.
  2. Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu: This option removes all existing partitions and files from the disk, allowing you to install Ubuntu as a fresh operating system. Exercise caution with this option, as it will erase all data on the disk.
  3. Manual Partitioning: By choosing this option, you gain full control over creating partitions and allocating space. This option is recommended if you prefer a more customized partition setup or have specific requirements for partitioning your disk.

Consider your needs and expertise level when selecting the partitioning option that best suits your situation. I am going with Manual Partitioning since it gives me full control of creating partitions and allocating space.

Choose Manual Partitioning
Choose Manual Partitioning

After selecting the "Manual Partitioning" option, you will be presented with the disk partitioning interface. Locate the free space on your disk and select it for creating the partitions.

I am going to create the following three partitions:

/150 GB
swap16 GB
/home419 GB
My Partition Choice

Click the + icon which will open a UI to create a partition.

Create New Partition
Create New Partition

You will have three options.

  • Size: Select your preferred size for each partition. You can specify the size in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), or terabytes (TB) using the drop-down menu.
  • Used As: Choose the appropriate file system type for each partition. Typically, the root partition ("/") uses the EXT4 file system, and the swap partition is set to "swap."
  • Mount Point: Assign the desired mount points to the partitions. Common mount points include "/", "/home," "/boot," and "/tmp." You can also create custom mount points based on your needs.

The first partition I created is a swap partition where I allocate 16GB of swap space which is double of my RAM capacity.

Create Swap Partition
Create Swap Partition

Proceed to create the root partition, which will serve as the primary storage location for the Ubuntu system files. Follow these steps:

  • Select the free space and click the + sign.
  • Enter the size for the root partition.
  • Choose the file system type as EXT4.
  • Set the mount point as "/". The forward slash ("/") denotes the root directory.
Create Root Partition
Create Root Partition

Next, create the home partition, which is where all your personal files and data will be stored. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the remaining free space on the disk to create the home partition and click + button..
  2. Assign the rest of the space for the home partition.
  3. Choose the file system type as EXT4.
  4. Set the mount point as "/home". This ensures that the partition is designated as the home directory, where user-specific data and files will be stored.
Create Home Partition
Create Home Partition

Once you have successfully created all three partitions, proceed by clicking the "Next" button and then press "Install" to initiate the Ubuntu installation process.

8. In this step, you will choose your desired time zone. You can do this by either selecting the appropriate time zone from the drop-down menu or by directly selecting the geographic location on the provided map.

Select Timezone
Select Timezone

9. In this step, you will create and set a password for the user account you will use to log in to Ubuntu. The user account will be automatically added to the sudo group. This provides the user with administrative privileges, allowing them to use the sudo command to perform administrative tasks.

Create New User
Create New User

10. Select a preferred theme, either light or dark. The selected theme can be changed after the installation is completed.

Choose Theme
Choose Theme

11. The Ubuntu install process will start now.

Ubuntu 23.04 Installation in Progress
Ubuntu 23.04 Installation in Progress

12. Once the Ubuntu 23.04 installation is completed, restart the system.

Restart Ubuntu 23.04
Restart Ubuntu 23.04

13. After the installation, the GRUB loader will be displayed whenever your system starts up. By default, it will boot into Ubuntu. However, if you want to boot into Windows, you can easily select the Windows Boot Manager option from the GRUB menu.

Windows and Ubuntu Dual boot
Windows and Ubuntu Dual boot

Congratulations! You have successfully completed the Windows 10 and Ubuntu 23.04 dual boot configuration!! By having both Windows and Ubuntu at your disposal, you now have the best of both OSes on a single machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here is the FAQ about Ubuntu and Windows Dual Booting.

Q: What is dual booting?

A: Dual booting is the process of installing two different operating systems, such as Windows and Ubuntu, on the same computer, allowing users to choose which one to boot into at startup.

Q: Why would I want to dual boot Windows and Ubuntu?

A: Dual booting Windows and Ubuntu offers the advantage of utilizing the benefits of both operating systems on the same system.

Q: Is it possible to switch between Windows and Ubuntu easily?

A: Yes, dual booting allows you to seamlessly switch between Windows and Ubuntu. During the boot process, you can choose which operating system to start, giving you the flexibility to use the one that best suits your needs at any given time.

Q: Can I keep my files and data intact when dual booting?

A: Yes, dual booting allows you to keep your files and data intact. However, it is essential to back up your data before proceeding with the installation process to ensure its safety.

Q: Do I need separate partitions for Windows and Ubuntu?

A: Yes, it is recommended to create separate partitions for Windows and Ubuntu. This allows each operating system to have its own dedicated space on the hard drive, preventing conflicts and ensuring smooth operation.

Q: Can I install Ubuntu alongside an existing Windows installation?

A: Yes, you can install Ubuntu alongside an existing Windows installation. During the installation process, you will be given the option to choose the installation type and allocate space for Ubuntu while keeping Windows intact.

Q: Can I uninstall Ubuntu if I no longer want to dual boot?

A: Yes, you can uninstall Ubuntu and revert to a single Windows installation if you decide to no longer dual boot. This process involves removing the Ubuntu partition and adjusting the bootloader configuration.

Q: Is dual booting Windows and Ubuntu suitable for beginners?

A: Dual booting requires some technical knowledge, but with proper guidance and following step-by-step instructions, beginners can successfully set up a dual boot configuration.

Conclusion

Dual booting Windows and Ubuntu offers a seamless multi-operating system experience. By installing Ubuntu alongside Windows, you can utilize the benefits of both operating systems, switching between them as needed.

At this stage, you should have gained the knowledge and confidence to embark on your Ubuntu and Windows dual booting journey.

We will come up with more Linux and Windows dual boot guides in the days to come. Stay tuned!

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