ubuntu dual boot illustrated site ubuntu dual boot windows 7 maverick meerkat
Ubuntu With Windows
Edited Tuesday, April 10 2012  Document made with KompoZer

This web-page is part of a larger site
giving examples of how to install Windows+Ubuntu Linux operating systems 'dual boot' in a computer.  Illustrated Dual Boot HomePage

This website contains information that is getting out of date. I don't know anything about Windows 8, EFI or Secure Boot.  I only have old computers and it does not look like I will be buying any new computers in the near future. If you have a new (EFI) computer,  please seek your information elsewhere.

The installation CD
I used for this installation is called ubuntu-12.04-beta2-alternate-i386.iso,
md5sum 6158bf9f895c84eb6719082304d0a521 ubuntu-12.04-beta2-alternate-i386.iso

This webpage illustrates how to: use the Ubuntu 'Alternate Installation' CD to install Ubuntu in a computer and have it share the same hard disk and dual boot with any Windows operating system.

Applies to: The installation technique shown here applies to Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin and all Windows versions from Windows 95/98/ME through Windows XP up to and including Vista and Windows 7.

Preferred Sequence: The Windows operating system should normally be installed first, and then Ubuntu can be installed after it.
This install uses the Ubuntu installer's partitioner to resize the Windows partition to a smaller size to make room for the Linux partitions.  Once that is done, the Ubuntu installer's partitioner  automatically creates a primary partition with an ext4 filesystem in it and a swap area for Ubuntu.
The length of time this install might take will depend on the speed of the hardware, it took me an hour and a half to install Ubuntu with the hardware I'm using. With modern hardware it might take less than half an hour.
Important: Please read this website's entire Pre-install Page  before beginning an installation in your own computer. The Pre-install Page contains information for helping you make the right preparations before you begin installing Ubuntu.
 Backing up your important data before beginning any install is especially important.
Most of the other info in the pre-install Page is optional, but helpful.

        This is not an official Ubuntu website        
These three are  |  Ubuntu  |   Ubuntu Forums  |    Official Ubuntu Wiki
Here is a link to the Official Ubuntu Installation Guide's,
'How the Installer Works',  it explains all about the Debian installer.
You should read that first and look at the illustrations in this website after that.

Here is a link to the Official Ubuntu Installation Guide's,  
'Components Introduction'
I recommend reading the official documentation as well as looking at the pictures below here. 

book pc
Hardware used for making this illustrated example installation is a PC Chips 'Book PC' with a 400 Mhz Celeron CPU with 512 Mb of PC100 RAM and only one 20.0 GB IDE hard drive.
The motherboard is an Amptron Bki810 v1.6a

This computer no longer looks like it did originally when the (above)  photo was taken, it is now in an ATX case instead, but that's another story. If you're curious, here is a link to my other website with more details and photos of my PC Chips 'Book PC' computer, Book PC Gets Big Power Supply.

The advantages of using the 'Alternate' install CD are that more choices are available for people who want to do something special with their install.

With the 'Alternate' Install CD you can,
  • install Ubuntu in a LUKS fully encrypted file system,
  • set up Ubuntu with LVM or software RAID,
  • perform an 'expert' install (for coping with machines with difficult hardware),
  • install ubuntu as a server, (without any 'GUI' (desktop),
  • the 'Alternate' CD's partitioner will work in a computer with 128 mb of memory and maybe less.
  • choose between GRUB and LILO boot loaders, or even install with no boot loader at all,
  • create pre-configured OEM systems,
  • set up automated deployments,
  • upgrade an older installation without network access.
To begin, you need to place your Ubuntu Alternate CD in your CD-ROM drive and re-start your computer.

You should see something like the illustration below in your monitor.
It is generally best to have the PC connected to the internet so the installer can use updated files from the internet if there are any.
If you don't have an internet connection or if you prefer not to use it the installation will be a little quicker and the installer will use the files in the CD. You can get updates later if you want to.
Language Selection Screen

ubuntu languages.png by Elabra sanchez
ubuntu languages.png - credit to Elabra Sanchez - creative commons licence.

Ubuntu features language support for more languages than any other operating system.
Ubuntu language support link: Translations/ReleaseLanguages/9.10 - Ubuntu Wiki

Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select the language you want to use for the installation and press enter.

If your CD didn't boot, enter your computer's CMOS (BIOS) and check to make sure your CD/DVD drive is set before the hard disk drives in the BIOS boot order. See this website's BIOS Page.
From here you can choose one of the following,

Install Ubuntu -
Press your 'Enter' key to begin installing  Ubuntu right away

Check the CD-ROM for defects
I recommend checking the CD for defects before using the CD for the first time. It only takes about five or six minutes.  The intergrity of your downloaded .iso and subsequent CD burn is important for your security and for the

Test Memory
This option starts memtest86+, here's a link about that, 
There are 8 tests, and it takes about 1/4 to 1/2 an hour to complete one cycle. It's designed to keep repeating the cycle so you can let it run all night. Press'Esc' to exit memory testing after you try it out.
Note: To ensure you are testing the RAM modules and not your CPU internal and external caches (L1 and L2), you can enter your computer's CMOS (BIOS) first, and temporarily disable caching. Do remember to re-enable those again when you are finished or your computer may perform slowly.

Boot from first hard disk
this re-boots the computer. It's useful if your CD drawer gets stuck and your computer reboots to the CD when the installation is finished.

Rescue a broken system
(Rescue mode) is useful to people who already have Ubuntu installed and want to carry out maintenance and repair tasks. 

F_ keys
You should try using your F1 to F6 keys to take a look through the menus listed across the bottom of the screen to see if there's anything useful to you there.

I selected 'Install Ubuntu' from the menu illustrated above and I pressed 'Enter'.



Language Selection
This menu is for choosing the language you want for the operating system you are installing.
We already chose English for the installation process, but we could be installing Ubuntu in a computer that will be used by a friend who speaks some other language.

You need to use your arrow keys to scroll up or down the menu to select the language for the new operating system.


USA is the default. 
If you live in any other country you need to use your arrow keys to scroll up or down the menu to select your country.



Detect Keyboard
I always choose 'No' here, it saves time.
Use your 'tab' key to select 'Yes' instead if you have a special keyboard.

Keyboard Origin
We mostly use the USA type of keyboard, even in Australia.

Keyboard Layout
If you have some special kind of keyboard you may scroll up and down this menu and look for it.
Detecting Hardware
The 'Detecting Hardware to find CD-ROM drives' step works fine when we're using a real CD or DVD as an installation media, but so far I have not been successful using the 'Alternate CD' when it has been copied into a USB drive. This thread in Ubuntu web forums looks as if it might contain the answer, Install 11.04 server from USB; fails, can't mount /cdrom , see post #3 by darkod. I haven't tried it yet.

Scanning CD-ROM

Loading additional components

Detect network hardware

Waiting for link-local address; please wait ...

Attempting IPv6 autoconfiguration; please wait ...

Configure the Network with DHCP
Network autoconfiguration has  succeeded
If your computer is connected to the  internet  and there are updates available, newer versions of some files will be automatically downloaded so you'll have an up to date installation even if your CD is a few months old. If your computer is not connected to the internet the installer will use all the files in the CD and the installation will be a little faster. In the long run though, it will be quicker to install the most up to date files at installation time. Some of the updates could be important ones too.

Configure The Network

You can make up any name you like here for your operating system.
Just press your backspace key to move the cursor a few places to the left to erase the name  'ubuntu', and then type in the name you  want  your  new operating  system to be called.

users and passwords 
I just type in my first name and surname here. You are allowed to use capital letters.
Whatever you type here will be remembered by your new system and used for automatically configuring some things like parts of your email account. Make sure you don't type anything foolish here because your e-mail recipients might be reading this some day.
When ready, press enter or  tab to select '<Continue>', then enter.
Your first name should automatically appear here as a default username. You can change it to a nickname if you want, and with numbers too if you like. (Check your numlock). Lower case letters only though, no capitals.
password for new user
It is of vital importance to create a good, strong password for yourself in Ubuntu.

I suggest using a program to generate a random mix of upper and lower case letters and numbers and other characters and then using a pnuemonic to remember it with.

Make sure you don't forget your password or you won't be able log in to your new system.

You should avoid using the same passwords for more than one account, whether it be for banking or email or any other purpose.
It's a good idea to use a password manager to store all your passwords and keep them safe in encrypted form.
re-enter your password to verify
p2/021-12.04-alternate.png p2/021-12.04-alternate.png
encrypt the home directory
Advantages of having an encypted /home are that your personal files will be protected from being accessed by unauthorised people without you needing to do anything special every time you want to open your files. The operating system will still be fairly quick.
Disadvantages are it might be more complicated to carry out some regular maintenance and repair tasks or rescue files after an operating system disaster.

For the ultimate in security, consider Installing Ubuntu in a fully encryped LUKS file system, illustrated in a different page of this website, see Ubuntu LUKS Encrypted Flash Memory Installation .
Disadvantages of a fully encrypted installation are that it runs a little slower, (detectable with benchtesting software), and it's a little more complicated to maintain and to rescue files from if things go badly wrong.

Without any encryption at all, maintenance and repair tasks and file backup and recovery will be simple.
I will still be able to use the seahorse program to encrypt certian individual files when I need to. See this website's Set up Seahorse.

I choose not to have an encrypted /home this time.
Setting up the clock

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Configure the Clock

You need to use your arrow keys to scroll up and down the list and select a City in your time zone.

Detecting Disks and Other Hardware

Loading additional components

Starting up the Partitioner

This is the END of STAGE 1 of the installation.

We are now about to begin the Partitioning and Mount Point Selection phase of the installation. Please refer to the above link to the official Ubuntu documentation for a  more detailed explanation of what can be done here.                                                  

Start of the partitioning stage of the install

This is an important decision.

(1) The first choice can be seen by scrolling down on this web-page, because that's the one I'll be explaining in detail shortly.

(2) The second choice would erase the entire disk including your Windows operating system and all your data! That's for people who want Ubuntu by itself and they want to completely erase whatever other operating system was there before.

(3) The third choice, to erase the entire disk and use LVM, is one I have in a different web page.
Here's a link to a website that explains what LVM is.  (You'll need to scroll down a ways to get to the table of contents, from there it gets more interesting).
You can also configure a RAID array with the 'Alternate CD'.

(4) You may also choose the fourth line 'manually edit partition table'. It would be alright to choose that option, it just takes a little longer but it offers more choices. If you want to have more control over exactly what the partitioner does then it is a good idea to choose this one. You might want to install on an existing partition which has already been made beforehand for example. 'Manually edit partition table', will allow you to specify which partition Ubuntu will install on.
The top option 'Resize /dev/sda1 and use freed space', is best choice in my opinion.
This is the one I'm using, it will do all we need for this type of installation, and will be the quickest (and best). There is nothing much to go wrong when you keep everything nice and simple.
I have highlighted that one, and I press 'Enter'.
Write Previous Changes to Disk
This panel is asking me to type in the new size for my existing Windows partition.
The reasoning and logic behind this is that two steps before this I selected 'Resize /dev/sda1 and use freed space', and that is the partition the program is asking the question about now.
It is only human to be thinking of the new partition we are planning to install Ubuntu in, and think the installer means that one, but that one is not actually in existence yet. The program is not looking into the future, it's only talking about what's there right now.
In this example, I have a 20 GB hard disk, and I want to leave 9.3 GB for Windows.
Therefore, I use my backspace key to move the cursor to the left and erase the default size suggested here, and type '9.3 GB' on the line instead, and press 'Enter'.
This will shrink my Windows partition to a 'new size' of 9.3 GB, and create 10.7 GB of 'free space' to install Ubuntu on. Then the partitioner will automatically partition the 'free space' into a new partition for Ubuntu, plus a small 'swap' partition. You don't have to worry about it, but a 'swap' partition is something like a page file that Linux operating systems use in conjuction with the RAM modules.
2/2_003 New Partition Size
 Resizing The Partition
Computing New Partitions

Confirm Partitions
This is called the 'confirmation screen'. This is my last chance to change my mind.
If I select  <No> from here it takes me to a different 'Partition Disks' screen from where I can choose advanced options or <Go Back and gain access to the Ubuntu Installer Main Menu.
From there I can scroll down and 'Abort the installation' without any changes having been made to my hard disk.  There will be warnings to the contrary, but those can be ignored.
I used my 'Tab' key to choose 'Yes', and from here on I'm committed. On with the installation

Partitions  Formatting

End of the partitioning stage of the install

Start of the final stage of the install

We are now about to begin the Setting up the System stage of the installation.
Please refer to the above link to the official Ubuntu documentation for more detailed advice about the questions you will be asked next.                                                  

Installing The Base System 
This takes a little while ...

p2.3/035-12.04-alternate.png p2.3/035-12.04-alternate.png
configuring apt

The apt system of package management is one of the great features Ubuntu inherits from Debian, which is the operating system Ubuntu is based on.

Packages are uploaded to certian internet repositories exclusively by registered programmers using the proper credentials. This is one reason why we're not bothered by malware in Ubuntu.
It is possible to enable  other repositories with varying degrees of support and security.
If you still can't find the software you want, it's also possible to add extra repositories at your own risk.
http proxy settings

Those who require these settings will know what to enter here.

I always just press enter to skip this question.

We are now about to begin the Installing the Base System and Installing Additional Software stages of the installation. Please refer to the above links to the official Ubuntu documentation for more detailed advice about what happens next.       

configue apt

select and install software

This process takes far more time than any other part of the installation.

In my PC Chips 'Book PC', this takes just over an hour, about 61 minutes.

Even in a fast computer a person would have time to go and do something else for a while.
p2.3/039-12.04-alternate.png p2.3/039-12.04-alternate.png
install grub
We are now about to begin the Making Your System Bootable part of the installation.
Please refer to the above link to the official Ubuntu documentation for more detailed advice about the options you can expect to be offered here.                                         
install grub to mbr
The best choice for most of us is to choose <Yes> and install GRUB to your MBR.

GRUB is the world's most advanced boot loader and even has its own command line interface, is fully customizable and functions as a boot manager as well.
Ubuntu will write  the boot.img code for the GRand Unified Bootloader, known by the acronym GRUB, in the  area of the MBR reserved for boot loader code. This will overwrite any boot loader code in the MBR that was previously put there, without affecting the disk 'signature', (UID) or the partition table.
This process will also embed sectors in the normally vacant first track of the hard disk with GRUB2's core.img file. The core.img file is for helping the MBR code to locate the Ubuntu partition, read the file system there and find the main body of GRUB, which is inside Ubuntu.
I have added some information in the 'MBR Page'  of this web site for a more detailed explanation of what actually happens here.

When you should NOT choose <Yes> to install GRUB
  •  If you have Bitlocker disk encryption in Windows or disk encrytion from a third party vendor such as Symantec or McAffee, you should not let any other boot loader touch the MBR of that particular hard disk, choose a different disk to install GRUB to and chainload the MBR of the Windows disk instead.
  • If you have some other special kind of setup like a hardware or software RAID array, you will need to do your own research about how GRUB will affect your particular setup.
If you choose <No> (not to install to MBR), you will be given an opportunity to specify somewhere else you might like GRUB installed. To view illustrations about what you can do if you don't want to install GRUB to MBR, visit the following link, <No>.

If you choose <Go Back> you will be placed in the 'Ubuntu Installer Main Menu', where you can scroll down just one line and install Lilo bootloader instead. See this website's LiLo Page.
There are choices available as to where you would like to install Lilo as well. The first sector of your Ubuntu partition is a popular choice for Lilo. To see illustrations about what you can expect if you take that route, visit the following link, <Go Back>.
If you are really worried, try making a GAG Boot Manager floppy or CD. Of course, you are not expected to make one in the middle of an install, but you can make one beforehand or afterwards if you need one.
GAG will boot Windows, but not Ubuntu. GAG will boot Ubuntu if either Lilo or GRUB is installed to the first sector of the Ubuntu partition or a /boot partition. Read this website's GAG page first. You'll find illustrated instructions on that page about what to choose in this step of the installation to set Ubuntu up for booting with GAG Boot Manager.

It is possible to continue the installation without installing any boot loader at all.
If you choose that, you will be able to boot your new Ubuntu from GRUB in another Gnu/Linux operating system or from GRUB in a CD, floppy disk or USB device. A basic knowledge of boot loaders and GRUB may be required to achieve this though.

I always choose <Yes> and install GRUB's boot.img to MBR and core.img to the first track of the hard disk.


finishing the installation
Here is the link to what the official Ubuntu documentation has to say about Finishing the Installation and Miscellaneous.

Please refer to the above links for the correct details about what happens.                   

 installation complete

At this point, my CD drawer pops open automatically and I remove my CD from it and press 'Enter'.
Some computers might not have a CD drawer with a mechanism to open the CD-ROM drawer automatically. If this is the case, you should remove your CD manually.

When I have installed GRUB to MBR, as most of us do, all I need to do is press 'enter', for the computer to re-boot and continue with the rest of the install.
For those who chose not to install Grub to the Master Boot Record of their first hard disk, now is the time to make sure that whatever you are re-booting with, (Super Grub Disk or GAG Boot Manager or the like), is ready and placed in its drive to re-boot the computer after you press 'enter'.
 finishing the installation
For some people, this will be the first time they will have ever seen the GRUB boot loader's Main Menu!

To use the GRUB boot loader, you just click 'Enter' and it will boot into Ubuntu.

If you don't click 'Enter', it will still boot Ubuntu anyway after ten seconds.

The GRUB boot loader will appear from now on every time you start or re-boot your computer.
It is possible to change the timer in it, and also to change the default boot preference, and a few other things.
For more detailed information about how to use GRUB Boot Loader in Ubuntu, visit this website's GRUB2 Pages and Legacy GRUB Page.
Don't do this now (we are still completing the new install), but in the future, if you wanted to boot Windows, or any other operating system on the list, you just use your arrow keys to highlight it with the white rectangle, and hit 'Enter'.

If you want it to wait until you make up your mind, press your 'pause' key.

ubuntu starting up

I get this neat vertical black and white striped pattern in my PC Chips Book PCs monitor.
  ... I don't know if it's normal.
Probably there's a nice usplash here that my old book PCs graphics can't support.

This image is from a camera photo, it was the only way, sorry about that.
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logging in

The new Precise Pangolin Login Screen is really nice!
I'm sorry I haven't been able to get a decent screen cap of it yet. All I have is this ugly digital photo which does not do the new login screen justice at all.

The mouse pointer is active in the login screen.

The top left-hand corner of the new log-in screen displays the system name.

In the top right-hand corner there are five icons.
The first icon offers 'Onscreen Keyboard,High Contrast or Screen Reader'.
The second icon gives me 'English (US), I imagine it might offer a selection of languages in a multi-lingual operating system.
Thr third icon is a volume control is case you don't want to wake the baby up with the Ubuntu Desktop opening drum-roll.
Then there's the clock with the drop-down calendar in month view - very nice, I like that!
Finally, the fifth button is the shut-down button.

Over on the left of the screen at mid-height we have the choice of loggin in to our own user account or a guest session. I imagine there would be a list there of all the user accounts in the same PC if I had any created.

If you hover your mouse over the Ubuntu Symbol after your username, you may notice it becomes active and it's really an icon. Click on the Ubuntu icon and you'll get a menu where you can choose between Unity 3D and Unity 2D. Unity 3D is meant to be fancier, with more eye candy and special effects. Unity 2D is supposed to be faster.

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new desktop
This took one hour and thirty five minutes in my PC Chips 'Book PC'.

The next thing most Linux users want to do immediately after our new installation boots for the first time is to
get updates and start configuring, customising and adding software.

This website has its own
Post-install Page  which you're welcome to make use of, especially if you're a new user and not familiar with Ubuntu yet.
This is my Windows 98 desktop, just to show you it still boots.

This installation procedure is the same for other versions of Windows, including but not limited to Windows XP, Vista and Windows7.

The point of this how-to has been to show you how easy it is to install Ubuntu and to demonstrate that Ubuntu doesn't necessarily require you to go out and spend money on a new computer every time a new Ubuntu comes out.
This particular computer has been having Ubuntu installed in it since the very first Ubuntu release, Warty Warthog 4.10. It still runs Ubuntu successfully eight years later with version 12.04 Precise Pangolin. It is better to run Ubuntu in a more powerful computer if you can though. When I used this computer seriously as my full-time PC I didn't know any better and it was all I could afford at the time.

I have also performed low RAM installs in this computer, the Alternate CD can install Ubuntu in a PC with only 128 MB of RAM or less.