Dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu is a common scenario when someone needs these two operating systems in a single machine. Unlike a virtual machine, dual-booting allows operating systems to use real hardware resources.
If you are a long-term Windows user and you want to switch to Ubuntu or any other Linux distro, the virtual machine is a good way of distro-hopping. But if you want to install your favorite Linux distribution with your Windows 10 installation, follow this article to enjoy dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux.
What Is Dual-Booting?
Dual-booting is the process of having two operating systems in a single machine. It allows you to carry Windows and Linux at the same time. If you are a cross-platform app developer or just want to switch to Linux, dual-booting is a helpful choice.
You can dual-boot the same operating system or completely different operating systems. Windows and Windows, Windows and Linux, you can dual-boot at any configuration.
Dual Boot Windows 10 And Ubuntu Linux
In this tutorial, I am going to install Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS alongside Windows 10 on a virtual machine. This tutorial applies to any flavor of Ubuntu like Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, or any Ubuntu-based Linux distribution like Linux Mint, Zorin OS, Elementary OS, etc.
Dual-booting is not a complicated process. But precautions should be taken for any data loss. If this is your first time then I would highly suggest reading through this whole article and understanding the process.
Back up your important files and follow the steps. If you follow the steps correctly, you should be fine and all your data will remain untouched.
Previously I discussed What is dual-boot? And How does dual-boot work? You can read that article to know more about dual-booting.
There are certain things required to dual boot Windows 10 And Ubuntu Linux.
- Windows 10 ISO.
- Ubuntu ISO disk image.
- 8 GB flash drive.
- Bootable USB creator. I use Rufus.
- Available free disk space – 50 GB or more for Windows 10 and 20 GB or more for Ubuntu.
- Disable Secure Boot in the UEFI/BIOS.
Now we can go to the next process.
It is very important to know how UEFI/BIOS works. UEFI stands for Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, a firmware that stores all the boot information and connects all the components to the main operating system. BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) also works similarly but UEFI has its advantages.
- UEFI stores boot info at the hardware level which causes faster boot time.
- It supports up to 9 zettabytes whereas BIOS only supports 2.2 terabytes of storage.
- UEFI allows having more than 4 partitions with a GPT (GUID Partition Table).
- It has a Modern interface with better memory management, secure boot, and power efficiency.
- UEFI supports networking functions to remotely access and configures UEFI.
- It is also backward compatible with legacy BIOS.
All modern desktops and laptops have UEFI/BIOS built-in. If you have a desktop or a laptop purchased in 2004 or later, you should have UEFI on your machine.
Download Windows 10 ISO And Create A Bootable Media
Creating a bootable flash drive is necessary to boot from USB. Before creating a Windows 10 bootable USB flash drive, download Microsoft Media Creation Tool from this link. This tool will allow you to download the Windows 10 ISO file. Download the ISO file and proceed to the next step.
Now, I am going to use Rufus to create the bootable media. Rufus is free and works well in Windows 10. You can download the Rufus from here.
After downloading the Rufus, open it. It’s a standalone program that requires no installation. Follow the steps to complete the process.
- Insert the USB flash drive.
- Run Rufus
- Select the device and the .iso file you have downloaded from the Media Creation Tool. By default, the GPT partition scheme is selected for UEFI motherboards. You can use MBR if your motherboard doesn’t support UEFI or you want to use legacy BIOS.
- Click on Start and ‘OK’ to Erase the flash drive. Note: This will delete all the files in the flash drive.
- Wait until the writing is done.
- Close Rufus and proceed to the next step.
Install Windows 10
Installing Windows 10 is a simple process. You need to follow these steps to properly boot from the flash drive and install Windows 10.
- Plug the bootable flash drive into a USB.
- Enter into the UEFI/BIOS configuration by Pressing the F2, Del, or Esc keys.
- If your motherboard supports UEFI, you can set up the boot order in the UEFI settings. Or you can override the boot order by selecting the flash drive from the boot menu. If you have the legacy BIOS then select the boot order from the boot menu and save it.
- Reboot the computer and let the computer boot from the USB flash drive. You may need to press any key to boot from USB if you are in a BIOS configuration.
- Now select your
- Time and currency format
- Keyboard or input method
- And click on next.
- Click on ‘Install now.’
- Enter your product key if you have one or click on ‘I don’t have a product key.’
- Select the operating system you want to install. I am going to select Windows 10 Pro for this tutorial.
- Accept the license and click on ‘Next.’
- Select ‘Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).’
- Create your partition and click on ‘Next.’
- Windows installer will start installing Windows. Wait for the process to be completed.
- After completing the installation process your computer will reboot and Windows 10 will start configuring your device. Wait until your device gets ready.
- Now set up your region, keyboard layout, Microsoft account, privacy settings, and Cortana.
- After setting everything up, your desktop is ready.
If you don’t want to use your Microsoft account, you can create a local account instead. Follow the steps to create a local offline account.
- Click on ‘Offline account.’
- Click on ‘Limited experience.’
- Enter the username & password.
Shrink Windows Volume To Create Space For Ubuntu
Now I will shrink the Windows volume to create space for our Ubuntu installation. To shrink Windows 10 partition, follow the steps below.
- Press Windows Key+R to open Run. Type ‘compmgmt.msc‘ and press enter. This will open the ‘Computer Management‘ tool.
- Click on ‘Disk Management.’ Select the ‘(C:)‘ drive, right-click, and select ‘Shrink Volume.’
- Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB. Shrink at least 25 GB of space to properly install Ubuntu.
- After that, you will see an Unallocated partition you have shrunk from the C drive.
Download Linux Image And Create A Bootable Media
After installing Windows 10, now I am going to install Linux. To install Linux, we need the Linux ISO and a USB flash tool. In this case, I am using BalenaEtcher.
BalenaEtcher is a simple and easy tool to create Linux installation media. It is free and you can download it from here.
After downloading the ISO and BalenaEtcher, follow the steps below.
Insert the USB flash drive.
- Run BalenaEtcher and select the Ubuntu ISO file.
- Select the USB flash drive.
- Click on Flash and wait for the flashing to be completed. (Caution: Everything on the flash drive will be deleted.)
- After that, your Linux flash drive is ready to boot.
Install Linux Alongside Windows 10
Now I am going to install Ubuntu 20.04 alongside Windows 10 to create a dual-boot machine. After installing Windows 10 it is not possible to enter UEFI and change the boot order. In this case, read ‘How To Enter UEFI/BIOS After Installing Windows 10?‘ and follow the steps.
- Boot from the USB flash drive. Let Ubuntu verify the checksum.
- Click on ‘Try Ubuntu’ from the welcome app to start a live session. You can also go for ‘Install Ubuntu’ without starting a live session. But for now, I am going to start a live session.
- Run the Ubuntu installation from the desktop by double-clicking the ‘Install Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS’ icon.
- From the Welcome app, select your language and click on continue.
- Select your keyboard layout.
- Now select Normal installation and check Download updates and Install third-party software.
- Install Ubuntu alongside Windows Boot Manager will do the job but I will manually partition my hard disk to install Ubuntu. Select Something else and Continue.
- Select your free space and click on the Plus button to configure the partition.
- Create the partition by using the ‘Ext4 journaling file system’ and the ‘Mount point’ to /.
- After that click on Install Now.
- Click on Continue to format the selected partition.
- Set your local timezone.
- Create a Username and Password.
- Wait for the installation to be completed.
- After finishing the setup process, click on Restart Now to reboot the computer.
- Finally, remove the installation media and press any key to reboot.
After that, you will see the GRUB boot menu to start Ubuntu or Windows 10 by selecting the Windows Boot Manager.
Pros And Cons
|Dual boot allows you to install two different operating systems into your machine.
|Dual boot takes too much hard disk space.
|It helps you to switch to Linux while having Windows 10.
|Windows will not read the Linux filesystem.
|100% performance gain than VMs.
|Windows updates may sometimes break the GRUB bootloader and will not let you boot into Ubuntu. Repairing the GRUB bootloader is a bit of a hassle.
|Cross-platform applications can be used with full hardware resources rather than virtual machines.
There you have it, dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux. I hope this article will help you to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 10. I have tried to break down every single detail for easy understanding. If you have any queries or you are facing any issues regarding dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux, let me know in the comment section below. I will be very happy to help you get started. Till then, stay safe.