How to install Windows and Linux on the same computer

Installing Windows and Linux on the same computer is an excellent option to use both operating systems. Allow these types of facilities Install different systems together, but without interfering with each other and with the ability to start them quickly and easily.

The idea is that a normal Windows user who has bought a computer with a Microsoft system pre-installed and has certainly never tried anything else can install a GNU / Linux distribution on the same computer without affecting your main system. On the contrary, a Linux user can try the latest version of Windows for the pleasure or need of some tasks and keep the system free for everyday use.

We take advantage of the introduction of the new versions of the most commonly used versions of Windows and Linux (Windows 10 2004 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS) and have set ourselves the task of updating a manual that we offer you year after year to make it so practical as possible. We'll deal with two use cases, zero installation of both systems and another installation of Linux from an already installed Windows computer that we want to maintain

Of course You can use Linux distributions other than Ubuntu. And the same Windows. If you don't like Windows 10 and want to use Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, the basic method is the same. We could even install macOS in the middle on Hackintosh or other additional systems as long as we have enough space in the device's storage units and do the operation in the correct order.

Windows and Linux hardware

The hardware requirements to run both systems They are very similar Linux can be run on any computer that can run Windows 10. Note that some special GNU / Linux distributions can run on computers with lower hardware. Microsoft's official minimum requirements for Windows 10 give us an idea:

  • 1 GB RAM for 32-bit versions, 2 GB RAM for 64-bit versions.
  • 32 GB free space.
  • 1 GHz (x86) processor with PAE, NX, SSE2 and support for CMPXCHG16b, LAHF / SAHF and PrefetchW.
  • Screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.
  • Graphics card with DirectX 9 and WDDM 1.0 support.
  • Internet connection for updates.

As you will see, these requirements are too "minimal" and, although they do allow the systems to operate, they are not a satisfactory experience. In fact, the current hardware average is much higher. To do this practically, we use a desktop PC with a 6th generation Intel Core processor, 32 GB RAM, RTX 2080 super graphics and a PCIe solid-state drive as storage.

As for Linux hardware support, it is known that it is not as complete as Windows, however has improved a lot in recent years The primary hardware (motherboard, processor, graphics, memory, and memory) works on most computers, as Linux distributions now support the main architectures and drivers excellently, with either free or proprietary drivers.

Windows installation from scratch

We start from a computer with a completely empty storage device (in this case an SSD) on which we have previously made a backup copy of the files and data that we want to keep. With this type of two-system installation, Linux should always be the last one we install, as it's its boot loader that gives us access to one or the other.

Step 1. Get the system image

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  • Run the downloaded "MediaCreationTool2004.exe" file and accept the license terms.

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  • Click the second Media Creation option to download the system ISO image.

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  • Select the language, architecture and edition of the system or use the standard options recommended for the device.

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  • Select the medium to be used. Although the tool can burn a USB directly, we recommend downloading the ISO file and burning it later with another application.

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  • Select the path where you want to save the downloaded image.

Step 2. Prepare the installation media by burning the ISO

  • Once you've saved the image on your computer, use your favorite application to "burn" the image. You already know that we have a fondness for Rufus, free and that works perfectly, especially with Windows images. We download it.
  • Insert the medium that we want to use for the recording. You can use a DVD, but we recommend using a Pendrive or USB drive that is faster and safer. The minimum capacity must be 8 GB.
  • Let Rufus run. You will see a very simple interface in which you must first select the downloaded Windows image by selecting the "Start" option.
  • Only the configuration of the remaining options remains. GPT in «partitioning scheme», target system «UEFI (not CSM) and NTFS or FAT32 as file system. Click Start to get the installation media.

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At this point we have to remember the problems of this kind of "GPT" partitioning scheme with older computers and operating systems like Windows 7 and older Linux distributions. If you have problems managing this type of installation that mixes Windows and Linux, you must use them MBR partition scheme and disable Secure Boot in the BIOS, the secure boot system for which firmware and software must be signed. Note that the new Linux distributions have no problems with this type of partition, and Ubuntu, for example, supports UEFI for some versions through the official Microsoft Secure Boot System for Linux, published by the Linux Foundation.

Step 3. Install Windows 10

Insert the created medium into a USB port on the device, restart the computer and access the BIOS / UEFI to ensure that the USB stick is the first boot medium. If you know how to access the computer's internal start menu, you can activate it without entering the BIOS.

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(If you do not know how to access the BIOS or the Start menu, read this article, in which we have offered you the special keys programmed for access. Press the appropriate button during the hardware test phase that occurs when the PC starts up Button.)

  • As soon as you have ensured that the pendrive is the first boot medium, start the installation of Windows 10 from there.

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  • The installation is fairly automated. Select the version of Windows 10 to install and remember that it must match the license type you have.

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  • Select "Custom" under Installation Type to go to the Hard Disk Partitions section. If you have partitions from previous installations, delete them all to clean up the SSD or hard drive as follows:

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  • In this section we can create the partitions, taking into account that there is empty space left for the later installation of Linux. The reserved capacity depends on the use you will give to both systems. Or, if you have multiple storage units installed and want to use one for each operating system, you can, and even recommend, although it works the same way if you install the two systems on a single hard drive.
  • In our case, we only have a 1 Tbyte unit. Click New to create a 700 GB partition for Windows. The rest of the space is not allocated for the later installation of Ubuntu. The installer creates additional partitions, but does not affect the Linux installation.

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  • The installation starts on the partition created for Windows:

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  • The rest of the process is trivial and we won't stop because if you follow us you will know it by heart. Windows 10 is installed in 7 minutes on such a PCIe SSD.

Linux installation from scratch

Installing a GNU / Linux distribution is just as easy these days as installing Windows. At this point we would like to point out again that we have chosen Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. However, you can also use your preferred version, be it one of the variants (Kubuntu, Xubuntu …) or one of the distributions of other providers. The method is similar for everyone and as simple as for Windows.

Step 1. Get the system image

  • Access the Ubuntu web portal and download the Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 LTS version.
  • In contrast to the "bullshit" of the Windows download and its "installation medium", Canonical allows you to download the system's ISO image directly, in this case the "ubuntu-20.04-desktop-amd64.iso" file.

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Step 2. Prepare the installation media by burning the ISO

  • Use your favorite program to record the ISO. From here we still recommend a Rufus that is just as suitable for "burning" Windows or Linux images.
  • Load the media you want to use for recording. You can use a DVD, but we recommend using a USB stick or USB hard drive with a minimum capacity of 8 GB.
  • Run Rufus, select the downloaded Ubuntu image by selecting "boot selection" and keeping the rest of the options, GPT in "partitioning scheme" and target system "UEFI (not CSM). Click Start to do this Get installation media.

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Step 3. Install Ubuntu

We have already said above that the installation of Linux has progressed in an extraordinary way in a process that is almost completely automated and very fast. As follows:

  • Insert the created medium into a USB port of the computer and make sure that the USB stick is the first boot medium in the BIOS / UEFI, as shown in the Windows installation.
  • Restart the computer to start the installation and click "Install Ubuntu".

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  • You will get to the graphical installation mode, which is explained alone. Click Install and select the language.
  • Select the keyboard layout, the type of installation and whether you want to download the latest updates.
  • You will come to an important section that shows the tremendous simplicity of installing Ubuntu. As you will see in the following figure, the installer detects the installed Windows system and allows you to install Ubuntu along with it without touching the existing partitions and creating your own. (Advanced users can choose, resize, etc.)

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  • Click "Install Ubuntu with Windows Boot Manager". The rest of the screens are trivial and the installation will complete easily. On a computer like the test computer with NVMe SSD, the process is completed in 6 minutes.

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As soon as the Ubuntu installation is complete, the GRUB boot loader is available, which is activated every time the computer is started and enables Windows or Linux to be started. For this reason, Windows and Linux must first be installed with this type of configuration.

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You can also select the system to be started in the BIOS / UEFI. However, access to it is always more cumbersome. If you select Ubuntu as the first boot partition, you have access to the boot manager and can start both systems. If instead you use Windows Boot Manager first, the system will start directly in Windows 10.

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Install Linux on a Windows computer

A second case study can be done for a user who wants to install Linux but maintains the installed Windows system. It's as simple as the previous case, except for the previous step of free space to install the GNU distribution later because the new computers that have Windows preinstalled usually take up all the space.

You can read our guide on Windows partitions if you want to know how to handle them. A step by step of the essential would be the following:

  • We access the Windows 10 disk manager via Control Panel> Administrative Tools or via the command "compmgmt.msc" in the execution window.

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  • As you will see in the example, the computer has a 1-Tbyte SSD with three partitions, two small ones for UEFI firmware and recovery, and the rest in a primary partition "C", which is used to install Windows 10 to reduce to reach space. To do this, right-click on it and click on "Volume down".

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  • The tool analyzes the "C" partition and shows the maximum size by which we can reduce it, which corresponds to the empty space. In our case, we have enough and set the size so that it is reduced to 99999 MB. This corresponds to the size of the SSD partition that the Ubuntu installation occupies.

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  • We'll see how quickly an additional empty space was created. Don't touch anything elseDo not create new partitions and do not format them. The Ubuntu installer is already responsible for creating the necessary partitions in the free space we created.

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The partition size is indicative. A user who works with Ubuntu on a daily basis needs to free up more capacity, but in our case we have a lot for testing. As I said, you need more space in a production team. If your computer has a second storage device (either SSD or hard drive), you can reserve one for Linux. After creating the free space, follow the steps above to install Ubuntu 20.

We conclude that we insist that this is some kind of facility an excellent combination Take advantage of the most advanced version of the leading desktop operating system and the latest version of the most popular GNU / Linux distribution on the market. Together in the same team, but not confused and with one Dual Boot, with which you can start one or the other in seconds.

You can choose distributions other than Ubuntu, use Windows 7 and even a MacOS on Hackintosh. You just need to have free space, take care of the installation order, deal with the partition types, cancel Secure Boot in your case and have time and desire to do the whole process.

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