How To Dual Boot Linux/Ubuntu and Windows 10 [Beginner’s Guide]

Linux is an open source operating system that requires minimum hardware requirement to work which makes it more robust and its license makes it free for everyone to install and use it on their computers. Linux is available in various flavors and Ubuntu is very popular among them due to its user-friendly environment and vast support for hardware and software.

At times, you may feel exhausted with Windows or you might need Linux for some of your projects, in such case you want to install Linux/Ubuntu and do not want to lose the already installed Windows. You can return to the fully working system, and your favorite games and the necessary programs will always be at hand. It is possible to install Linux and Windows 10 on a computer.

In this guide, we’ll look at how to install Linux next to Windows 10, it’s the latest operating system from Microsoft, but these instructions are equally valid for earlier versions, such as Windows 7, 8 and 8.1.

We assume that you already have Windows installed, you have found and decided which disk to separate a little space for Linux, just do not know how to do it correctly. Here you will receive a detailed answer to this question. We will touch on another important topic – UEFI. This technology is used on all new laptops with Windows, and many users are interested in how to install Linux on UEFI and what can be the problem with it.

A Bit of Theory

To install the Linux operating system next to Windows 10, you will need to create several additional partitions for the OS but don’t worry. If you follow this guide step by step, you won’t lose your data.  Linux uses different file system so we need the separate partitions to keep our windows installation intact and safe.

Download the Ubuntu

Download the image of your desired version of Ubuntu from the official website and here you will find the alternate methods to download. You have also the choice of the torrent. Use your favorite torrent client and download the Ubuntu image. The torrent will speed up downloading.

Tip: You need to download 32 or 64-bit Desktop version.

Create Installation Media

We have various options to create bootable installation media like DVD, USB but we will prefer USB. 4GB capacity of USB is sufficient enough to do the trick.

To create bootable USB installation media, a utility Rufus comes handy here. All you need to insert the USB stick and point the utility to downloaded Ubuntu image.

Above screenshot will help you to configure the settings for utility. Click Start to create the bootable USB installation media.

Prepare Disk for Dual Boot

Minimum disk size requirements for the system partition in different distributions range from seven to twenty gigabytes. But this is enough to install the system itself and several additional programs. If you are going to use a lot of programs and games, especially if they take up a lot of space, you need to take a couple of dozen Gigabytes in reserve. We recommend using the system partition Linux of at least 30-40 gigabytes.

The swap partition is used when the system lacks RAM. At a certain percentage of the usage, Linux is gradually starting to discard the unused data in this file. Therefore, for this section, the volume is half the size of your RAM. But if you plan to use hibernation or hibernation, then under the swap partition you need to allocate a disk space equal to the RAM size, because in these modes all the contents of the computer’s RAM are transferred to the disk. Home section is a section with your files, movies, music, downloads. Estimate how much you need.

To install Linux in dual boot environment along with Windows 10, you need to “resize” one of your partitions to create the space for the system disk and swap usage. Now go to the standard disk management utility in Windows. Right-click the ” My Computer ” icon on the desktop and open the “Management” item. Next, we need the Disk Management utility. Right-click on the desired partition and select the Shrink Volume option. This will open a window where you need to enter the size of the volume you are creating in the field of the shrink space size:

Note: You can not specify a size larger than the amount of free disk space.

Free up space and click the button to shrink, there will be an unallocated space from which you can create the necessary partitions. We resized one of our partitions.

Create three partitions from that unallocated space for system files, home, and swap use. Don’t format any of the partition because we will format them in Linux.

Install Linux/Ubuntu Next to Windows 10

In the initial steps, we already created bootable USB containing the Ubuntu image. All we need to plug the USB into the port and boot the computer from USB. After some pop-up windows regarding your preferred language etc, you will see the screen with the option to try ubuntu or install option.

Before installing the Linux, why not to test drive the OS. Go ahead with “Try Ubuntu” option to test the latest release. You can explore its features, desktop environment etc.

On the desktop, there is an icon to install the Ubuntu. Beware that whatever you have done in testing the OS will not last after the reboot.

Double click will start the installation and you would be advanced to next steps. Select your preferred language and click next.

In the next screen, you will be asked about to install teh updates and 3rd party software, drivers etc.

Select both options and it will install 3rd part proprietary drivers and latest updates.

Next step is very crucial and needs your utmost care.

As we already have Windows 10 on your computer and we want to install Ubuntu in the dual-boot environment. We need full control over next steps in order to retain the already installed OS. Select the “Something Else” option to proceed further.

We already created three partitions, now is the time to prepare them for installation of Ubuntu.

We will use 10GB partition (/dev/sda3) for core OS installation and mount point shall be “/”. Double click the desired partition and use Ext4 Journaling as partition system and set the mount point as discussed above. Don’t forget to enable Format option.

We are using a separate partition (/dev/sda5) to store our documents and other media. This is very helpful in case of any problem with OS as our data will be safe and secure and we can install a fresh copy of Linux. So Mount point shall be Home and set Use as option to Ext4. enable format option too.

The last partition is for Swap which is basically Virtual Memory of Ubuntu/Linux in case if memory consumption goes beyond the installed capacity of physical RAM. So use your last partition (in our case /dev/sda6) as Swap. No file system is required neither format option will display. No issue at all as Swap partition comes without these options.

Set installation of the bootloader to the windows boot hard drive which is in our case /dev/sda. If you have only one drive installed installation will be simple and if you have two drives in your system, you need to identify the windows boot drive and select that drive for installation of the bootloader.

Tip: At this stage, if you have changed your mind or made some mistake, you can simply shut down the system or restart the system as nothing has been done to your system.

Click install now to start the installation of Linux/Ubuntu. The system will confirm from you to write the desired changes to the disks. Select continue and the installation wizard will start its process.

Next few windows will ask for your region, language, keyboard layout, and account settings etc. Provide necessary information as per your region and credentials.

The installation will continue for a couple of minutes (totally depends on hardware isnatlled) and configure various hardware. After installing core OS and various other settings, the system will ask for a reboot. Reboot to enjoy the fresh copy of Ubuntu.

The First Boot

After reboot, you will be asked to choose OS to start with. This is the GRUB interface which is bootloader of Linux. You will see this screen every time you reboot your system for the selection of Windows or Ubuntu. For Ubuntu, Select the first option and for the windows select the last option.

Authored By Imran Yousaf

I am Imran Yousaf, a computer geek, founder of the site I am a die hard fond of open-source software and Linux operating system. In addition to Linux, I am interested in everything related to information technology and modern science.

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