Want to try out Ubuntu without saying goodbye to your lovely Windows OS, or without having to setup a new PC?
There are several ways with which you would be able to install Ubuntu on Windows. We have something for everyone, you might consider following the toughest solution or the easiest one. Nevertheless, in the end, you’ll be able to try out Ubuntu on Window (that’s what matters!).
In this article, we give you four options to install Ubuntu inside Windows (virtual machine), or alongside to Windows (dual-boot).
- Solution #1: use a VMware virtual machine
- Pro: no dual boot, very easy
- Con: lower general performance
- Solution #2: easy dual-boot with Wubi
- Pro: no need to partition/re-partition the drive. Could be a long-term solution
- Con: no separation of Windows and Linux drives
- Solution #3: use Ubuntu directly from a removable media (USB/CD/DVD)
- Pro: Easiest way to get a taste of Ubuntu
- Con: not a long term solution
- Solution #4: Manually install Ubuntu alongside Windows (dual-boot)
- Pro: Long term solution, with the highest performance. Separation of Windows and Linux
- Con: a bit more complicated
Solution #1: Using VMware / Virtualbox
It’s an easy comparable solution as booting up from a live USB drive seems to be. With the help of VMware / Virtualbox software, you’ll be able to install possibly any OS, virtually, without making a mess out of your Windows OS installation.
Though, there’s one deal breaker here. Using VMware / VirtualBox is recommended only if you have a very fast computer, with plenty of memory . Let’s just say if you have a system which has a hard time handling multiple tabs of Chrome/Firefox, do not pick this option
Steps to Install Ubuntu through VMware on Windows
- After installing VMwareCreate a New Virtual Machine on VMware Workstation Player.
- Browse and select the ISO image file that you’ve downloaded.
- Set up the account credentials for Ubuntu which you would use to access after installation.
- Specify a name to the Installation
- Check out the Hardware Configuration for your virtual system or customize by clicking on “Customize Hardware”.
After you click on customize hardware, you’ll get several options to configure which includes memory allocation (as RAM), processors allocated and lots more as you can observe in the image below.
Solution #2: Installing with Wubi
If you don’t want to shrink the drive or resize partitions in order to install Ubuntu, you would be impressed with Wubi as it installs a dual-boot without needing a dual disk partition. Wubi is an application (Ubuntu) installer. It lets you install Ubuntu alongside Windows in a few clicks.
You don’t need to adjust the boot settings, nor worry about losing the files while installing Ubuntu with Wubi. It makes the installation process hassle-free. Follow the on-screen instructions, select the required disk space and set up the user account.
And, that’s it! Voila! Ubuntu has been successfully installed and when you restart the computer you would get an option to choose from – Ubuntu or Windows.
Wubi installs Ubuntu in a Folder which acts as a partition and it enables the dual-boot option after you successfully install it. It makes dual-boot an easy-to-achieve thing, without actually creating a new partition as it shared the same one as Windows.
Solution #3: Use Ubuntu from A Removable Media USB / CD / DVD
It’s rather the best option in my opinion if you are willing to just “try” Ubuntu, without actually installing it on your PC. The Ubuntu install procedure offers an option which lets you simply try it without hurting anything.
We’ll assume that you’ve created a bootable USB / CD / DVD drive from the instructions mentioned above. All you have to do is insert the USB drive and restart the computer. Upon restart, the computer would automatically boot into Ubuntu.
Now, you can observe two options stating “Try Ubuntu” and “Install Ubuntu”. Here, we’re going to click on “Try Ubuntu” to go for a test drive. Have fun!
Note: On the off chance, If your computer doesn’t directly boot from the USB drive, make sure you have adjusted the Boot priority.
Solution #4: Install Ubuntu Alongside Windows Manually
You would definitely want to utilize Ubuntu’s benefits and still be flexible using Windows. And, for that, the best way to achieve that – Windows Dual Boot. Trust me, it’s the best way you can experience the true performance while switching over when required.
It’s not that difficult as well, but you’ll have to be careful.
Install step zero: 5 things to do before installing Ubuntu Alongside Windows
- Download Ubuntu 16.04: To start off with the procedure you need to have the latest version of Ubuntu (ISO image file). Normally, you would get 5-years of development support (software updates) from the date of release. So, we’ll recommend having the latest available. You can download it at the official Ubuntu website.
- Keep A Backup Of Your Data: You know well that prevention is better than cure. So, If you have an external hard drive or any other portable storage media. You should consider backing up the files that are present on the Computer. You won’t be needing to clone just everything you’d find, but only important files which can’t be recovered from the cloud or from other backup storage devices. We’re not trying anything super dangerous here, but we want you to be on the safe side.
- Create A Recovery Drive/CD/DVD4: Now, that you have personal files backed up. What about the Windows installation? Don’t I need a backup of Windows? Yes, I definitely need it. It’s a real simple process where you would have to follow the on-screen instructions to create a recovery media.
Note: We’ve used Windows 10 to show how’s it done, the options may vary a bit on older instances of Windows. If you have Windows 8 or below installed, you might want to check the official documentation.
- Method #1: Backup to a drive using File history.
- Method #2: Backup using the traditional Windows 7 backup wizard.
- Prepare a Bootable USB Drive: The file that you have now with the .ISO extension is just an image file. You can’t just run it in order to start the Ubuntu installation. So, you’ll have to create a bootable USB drive. Make sure you have nothing important stored on the USB drive because it would be cleaned and overwritten while making it as a bootable drive.There are several tools available on the web in order to create a bootable Pendrive.
However, I used – PowerISO. It would come handy to use not only to achieve this but also to mount images, burn, encrypt, create virtual drives and the list goes on.
- Steps to create a bootable USB drive
- In PowerISO, click on “Tools” and select “create bootable USB drive”
- Select the appropriate ISO image file and click on “Start”. You’ll have to wait for around a minute for it to complete.
- Steps to create a bootable USB drive
- Make sure to have Unpartitioned Space
- If you have unused space, you can use it to install Ubuntu. But, if you don’t have any, one of the drive needs to be shrunk. You can choose any of the drive (Except the one on which Windows OS has been installed) and shrink the volume to offer free space for Ubuntu to be installed with ease. Consider shrinking the volume to free at least 80 GB of space.
- All you will have to do is – head over to the Disk Management option and shrink the volume of the desired drive. If you’re not aware of how to achieve this, you can refer Microsoft’s guide to shrink a drive.
- After you’re done with the above-mentioned things, we could now proceed to install Ubuntu. Given below are the steps which let you install Ubuntu on Windows manually.
Install step 1: Adjusting Boot Priority (Optional)
If your computer doesn’t boot into Ubuntu setup but directly to Windows, then there’s a need to change the boot priority. First of all, you’ll have to head over to the Boot options to manually configure the boot priority device and select the USB drive as the #1 preference. There are few ways to get to the Boot options.
If you’ve Windows 8/8.1/10 then hold down the Shift key while you click on restart. Now, from the boot menu options, navigate your way through Troubleshoot->Advanced Options->Startup settings.
If you have Windows 7 or lower installed, you should try reading this.
Install step 2: Manual Ubuntu Setup & Installation
Now that you have a bootable USB Drive and assuming that you’ve correctly configured the boot priority, let’s install Ubuntu alongside Windows.
1.: Insert the bootable USB drive and restart the computer. The computer will boot directly into Ubuntu.
- Select “Install Ubuntu” from the options available. And, carefully after that, uncheck the boxes which ask you to download updates and install 3rd party software.
- Select “Something Else” from the given options.Additional Note: If you are trying to install Ubuntu 15.04 or lower, you may select the option – “Install Ubuntu Alongside Windows”
- Now you may have realized why we had shrunk a volume in order to free up some space. From the partitions mentioned, select the “free space” and then click on the “+” sign.
- Now, to successfully create a partition, you need to take care of the following points and then click “OK”:
- Type of partition should be – Primary
- Location should be – Beginning of this space
- Use as – Ext4 journaling file system
- Mount on – “ / “
- After clicking on OK, you’ll be directed to the previous screen. Now, click on the “+” sign again. This time, everything would be the same as mentioned just above, but the “Use as” field would be set as “Swap Area”.
Allocate the memory as double the RAM you have. However, if you’re equipped with 8 Gigs of RAM, you can set it as 8000 only, not necessary to double the swap memory in that case.
- In a similar way, by clicking on the plus sign again, you’ll have to create a “home” partition by making sure everything remains the same, but allocating the maximum space left and setting the mount point as “home”.
- After you are sure that you have created three required partitions. Now, it’s time to fire the missile! In other words, it’s time to click on “Install Now”.
Finally, you’ll be asked to set the location, username, and password along the way. Continue following the onscreen instructions to start installing Ubuntu on Windows.
If you’ve done everything the right way, you’ll be greeted with the Dual boot option where you can select either Windows or Ubuntu.
Now you are aware of the best four solutions to install Ubuntu on Windows. It’s up to you which one would you choose. If you want to just try it out, I would recommend following VMware setup and trying the live USB drive solution. However, if you want to try it out and utilize it as well to boost your productivity at the same time, installing Ubuntu with the help of Wubi and the manual installation seems feasible in my opinion.