Dual Booting – Windows & Ubuntu 9.10

*** Although this may seem obvious, do please backup your important data files to another media before attempting a dual boot install. Many backup solutions exist for Windows users, but the easiest one may be to just plug in a USB flash drive or other external storage with enough space on it, or create as many CDs or DVDs with copies of your data as required. (Maybe you can borrow a USB hard drive from a friend if you don’t have one.) ***

Assuming that you are interested in setting up a dual boot environment for your Windows Laptop, Netbook, or desktop. It doesn’t need to be complicated, or frustrating. First things first, there are two very easy ways to do this…

  1. We can install the Ubuntu OS “inside” of the Windows OS – wubi
  2. We can create a true dual boot configuration, with separate partitions for the different OS’s. – Ubuntu Install Disk

1. With installing Ubuntu “inside” of Windows, what we need is a program called Wubi, the two ways that you can get this software is by downloading it from their website, http://wubi-installer.org or if you have a copy of Ubuntu 9.10 ( you can get this from Ubuntu, a good computer technician, local LUG, or it may be possible one of your friends may have it). The wubi installer is actually already on the disk, just put the Ubuntu disk into the drive while in Windows, and the software is already there.

One thing that I like about the program is that if you are not familiar with, or are curious as to what the Ubuntu OS is about; and are affraid that something may go horribly wrong with the install, it just turns out to be as simple as installing software the way you would with any Windows software.

wubiWhat happens is…
You keep Windows as it is, Wubi only adds an extra option to boot into Ubuntu. Wubi does not require you to modify the partitions of your PC, or to use a different bootloader, and does not install special drivers. It works just like any other application. Wubi is free of spyware and malware, and being open source, anyone can verify that.

Wubi keeps most of the files in one folder, and if you do not like it, you can simply uninstall it as any other application.

Beginning Ubuntu Installation


  1. Backup any valuable documents/photos etc. onto removable media such as CD-R/DVD-R. Boot into Windows or using an Ubuntu Live CD or unetbootin.
  2. Run the Windows defragmentation tool on C: (My Computer, Right click on drive, Properties, Tools, Defragment Now) * Very Important to do this step * This also must be done if one was to do an install of Windows on a Mac with Bootcamp ( but that is another tutorial in itself)
  3. Download and burn, order a CD, or Use Netbootin.
  4. Once you have the CD, insert it into your CD-ROM drive and reboot your PC.
    • If the computer does not boot from the CD (eg. Windows starts again instead), check your BIOS settings and fix as appropriate.
  5. If successfully booted from CD, the Ubuntu logo will be displayed on the screen. Press Enter to continue.
  6. Follow the prompts until you are asked this question: “How do you want to partition the disk ?”.

Resizing Partitions Using the Ubuntu Installer

Automatic partitioning

  1. Choose the First Option (It should be something like: “Resize IDE1 master, partition #1 (hda1) and use freed space”).
  2. Specify the size of the new partition as a percentage of your entire hard disk.
  3. Click on “Forward”.
  4. continue to Finishing Ubuntu Installation

Manual partitioning

  1. Choose “Manually edit partition table”
    • Listed will be your current partitions
  2. Select the partition you want to resize and press Enter.
  3. Select “Size:”, press Enter.
  4. Select Yes, press Enter.
  5. Type in a new size in Gigabytes for your partition, it’s recommended you free up AT LEAST 10 GB of free space for your Ubuntu install. Press Enter when happy with your changes. It may take some time to apply the changes.
  6. Create a swap partition of at least your amount of RAM (if you don’t know, 2000 MB is a good value).
  7. Create a partition for your Ubuntu installation, at least 10 GB.
  8. Select “Finish partitioning and write changes to disk”.

Finishing Ubuntu Installation

  1. Finish installing your Ubuntu system.

*Note* One thing that I really like here is, that if you have any documents, photo’s, music, or anything else that is in you Documents folder, is that Ubuntu will ask you if you would like to transfer those to your Ubuntu Home folder. So then you don’t have to copy them over with a flash drive, CD/DVD, or whatever you had them saved onto.

  1. On reboot, remove your Ubuntu cdrom from the cdrom drive, you should be presented with a list of operating systems to boot. Ubuntu should have automatically detected your Windows installation and added an option to boot it on this screen.

*** Just a note —- This works for all versions of Windows, XP, Vista, Windows 7, The Ubuntu installer is the one that takes care of repartitioning of the drive.  ****

8 Responses to Dual Booting – Windows & Ubuntu 9.10

  1. Toni Tortosa says:

    Hi, congratulations for your blog.

    I’m an open source engineer, and I’m having troubles with doing dual boot. I’ve seen that Ubuntu 9.10 uses grub 2, I’ve searched for solutions and manuals but I’m still getting problems.

    I’ve a primary partition for my windows xp sp3, another partition for windows documents (data) and another for a downloads. And another partition, in second place for Ubuntu, firstly I created with ntfs format because I know that I will resize / format it using Ubuntu installer. I’ve resized a partition to ext4 10 GB, 2 GB for swap, and the rest (40 GB) for my home directory. Well, all is installed correctly, but when I restart, I can’t see the grub menu. I think that grub is not installed in the MBR disk, I’ve tried the grub 2 commands using the live cd but I can boot from grub. I’ve used RC version, I’ve seen that now is launched the final version, and I’m going to try it. But, can you have any idea about my problem or how to solve out?


  2. phil says:

    you can run fdisk /mbr to reset the boot record, or if yo have a vista install disc, it can do a repair option, or use easy bcd.

  3. Toni Tortosa says:

    Hi phil, thanks very much but not worked for me. It seems that I’ve a boot registry in the other hard disk!

    I’ve 2 x 250 sata hard disk. And the grub was installed in the other hdd! Because is the first sata that I’ve. However, in the boot setup in the bios I had selected the second hdd, where is only windows xp (and now Ubuntu) but not mbr for grub. I’ve changed the order of the hdd on the bios, and now is starting both windows xp and Ubuntu.

    Do you think that having grub using the mbr on other hdd but calling the OS of the other hdd can be a problem? I think that in the worst case I would be able to enter to windows xp without using mbr grub management from the second (really first) disk, because using bios I can always enter to windows, without grubbing.

  4. Tech News says:

    My husband would fall in love this post. We were just discussing about this. lol

  5. Pat says:

    Hey guys,..Um wuick question…How about having Ubuntu 9.10 karmic and wanting to install Win7 and still have a dual boot BUT clean installs of both…i.e.

    “2. We can create a true dual boot configuration, with separate partitions for the different OS’s. – Ubuntu Install Disk”


  6. Toni Tortosa says:

    Hello Pat

    There’s no problem. I have a new laptop that came with installed windows 7, and then I’ve installed Ubuntu 9.10 using a half of hard drive.

    If you have installed Ubuntu 9.10 first, you can install windows 7 using a new ntfs partition. When installation finishes use the Ubuntu Live CD to reconfigure Grub (Boot loader).

    Use these howtos:

    First Windows 7 preinstalled + Ubuntu. See how to make a partition for you windows 7

    Reinstall grub:

  7. Pingback: Why the possibility of installation was removed from ubuntu 10.4?

  8. You have noted very interesting details ! ps nice site.

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