Dual Boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

This is an installation guide for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx especially targeted at people who want to dual boot with Windows 7 (would work for any version of Windows) and Ubuntu 10.04. I have chosen the most basic setup with Windows 7 already installed and occupying the entire hard drive. An alternate setup could be, that you have a second hard drive which you want to install Ubuntu on. If you already have Ubuntu installed and want to install Windows, read this post. People who don’t want to partition their hard drives can use Ubuntu 10.04 by virtualizing them from inside Windows by either using Virtual Box or VMware Player (both free softwares). This approach, described here for Ubuntu 9.10 (its identical for 10.04), works very well if you are not planning on using Ubuntu extensively and also if you have a multi-core CPU (dual, quad etc) which supports virtualization, because then, you won’t feel any lag or delay while running two operating systems simultaneously. If you are going to install Ubuntu on a second hard drive you can skip Step 0, and go directly to Ubuntu installation process. You would not need to resize your Windows partition either. But, you must install the Grub on second hard drive! More on this later in the post.

dual boot

Step 0: Since we are going to resize the partition on your windows disk, it is strongly recommended that you backup all your data on windows machine, while chances of any problems arising are minimal, it is better to be safe than sorry. After backing up all data,  run disk cleanup  and disk defragmentation (for older Windows) from theAccessories > System Tools Menu. This is highly recommended if you have an old Windows installation, as this facilitates smooth and fast partitioning.

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Put the Ubuntu Lucid Lynx installation disk, iso for which can be download from www.ubuntu.com,  in your CD/DVD drive and reboot (make sure your DVD/CD Drive is the first boot device or at least ahead of your hard drive in boot order).  Alternatively you can use your USB drive to transfer the Iso image and make it bootable by using Unetboot in as described here. Ubuntu should start to boot from CD

  • Once the boot process completes you would be shown with a screen asking you to choose between installing and trying Ubuntu, at this point hit on Try Ubuntu 10.04 button as we want to make use of tools available inside Ubuntu to resize the partition.
  • Wait for the Ubuntu trial session to boot up.
  • Now from the System Menu launch the Gparted Partition manager.
  • In Gparted select the single largest partition which has atleast 10 GB empty space  (possibly the one where Windows is installed, unless you have multiple partitions), in the screenshot below it is /dev/sda2 it already has Windows 7 on it.
  • Right click on it and choose to resize the partition.
  • Now drag the slider or enter the desired new size for this partition in MBs
  • Click on Resize/Move followed by apply to shrink the Windows partition to make space for your new Ubuntu installation. A minimum of 8GB is recommended, 15-20 GB should be a more appropriate size if you want to give Ubuntu some serious spin.
  • Wait for the partition operation to finish, this can actually take minutes to a couple of hours depending on the amount of data and data fragments on your hard drive. This is the critical step, after this installation is quite straight forward.
  • Now exit Gparted and Launch the Ubuntu 10.04 installation by double clicking on the icon on the desktop.
  • Click forward button to advance to the next screen to select your time zone.
  • Now select the keyboard layout for your installation.
  • At the next screen we setup the partition layout. If you are too lazy to set up the partition manually you can go for the Use the largest continuous free space option. This would create the default layout as per Ubuntu’s recommendation, but I have observed that it always creates too large a swap space than what would be actually needed. So I would tell you how to specify partitions manually to minimize disk space wastage (swap space is not available for user’s usage).
  • Click on forward to start manual partition creation. You should be able to see the empty space that we left after resizing the Windows partition.
  • Click on the Add button to create the first partition. Remember, you need to leave some space from the total free space available for creation of swap space. Typically for systems with less RAM (512 MB – 1 GB), the recommended size is 200-150% (1GB – 1.5GB) for the examples listed. For systems with 2 GB or more, anything between 100-150% should be good enough, e.g. for 2GB machine I would go for 2.5GB for a 4GB machine 4.5 GB max. So, take out enough space for creation of swap and choose the size for your “/” i.e. the main partition as shown below. BUT if you use anything less than the RAM on your machine, your system won’t hibernate, as there won’t be sufficient space to dump the contents of RAM in your swap space.
  • Add another partition on the remaining space this time for Swap.
  • Click on in the screen above and then click forward to continue with the installation process.
  • Enter your personal information on the next screen.
  • Continue clicking on the Forward button to launch the install process. If you are using a second hard drive to install Ubuntu, at this step, click on Advanced and change the disk on which the Grub would be installed. Select the second hard drive. If you choose first hard drive, Windows 7 might over write on the MBR and screw up your Grub!
  • Wait for the installation to get over, you would be prompted to restart the system to start using your fresh Ubuntu installation. After which you would be prompted to eject the installation media from the CD/DVD drive and press enter to continue.
  • After the reboot you would be prompted with the Grub menu to choose the Operating system you want to boot. The default boot choice is Ubuntu at this moment, if you want to change the boot order in Ubuntu 10.04 or make Windows the default boot choice, read the post here. Highlight the OS you want to boot into and press enter to continue.
  • Select Ubuntu to boot in to it. Hope you found this tutorial useful. Ubuntu is a powerful and modern operating system, give it some time and you won’t be disappointed. I have it installed on all my machines (3 desktops and 3 laptops and 1 net book). The fact that Linux remains virus free and spyware free is certainly a big plus and you get all this  absolutely FREE. Linux has also grown to support widest range of hardwares out there and the vast open source community is always there to help you when you are stuck, and that too for free. Continue with Ubuntu 10.04 configuration to make it a perfect desktop. To install and configure Compiz and Emerald on Ubuntu 10.04  read this post.