A system of Dual boot with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20 installed on the same computer It is an excellent option to use the operating system that leads the computer desktop market share and the most popular GNU / Linux distribution among the various versions of the free system. Although there are other methods such as virtualization or the Linux subsystem for Windows offered by Microsoft itself, this type of installation is ideal in order to take advantage of the full power of the computer.
Aside from minor debates about which system is “best”, both developments offer features that any user can leverage based on the team’s focus, type of tasks being performed, or machine hardware. And the desire to do so try and enjoy alternatives that a typical user is certainly lost out of convenience or ignorance.
We are taking advantage of the recent introduction of the new versions of Windows 10 20H2 and Ubuntu 20.10 and are updating a user manual that we offer you year after year to make it as practical as possible with all the necessary steps. We’ll cover two different use cases. An installation completely from scratch with the latest versions and another with the Linux installation on an already installed Windows computer.
The goal is twofold. A normal Windows user who has bought a computer with a Microsoft system pre-installed and has likely never tried anything else can install a GNU / Linux distribution on the same computer without affecting their main system. And also that a Linux user wants to use the latest version of Windows, either for pleasure or out of necessity for some tasks.
Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20 Hardware
The hardware requirements for both developments are similar and Any computer that can run Windows 10 can run Ubuntu. Microsoft has left the official minimum requirements for Windows 10 almost unchanged from the first version five years ago.
- Processor: 1 GHz
- RAM memory: 1 GB RAM for 32-bit versions, 2 GB RAM for 64-bit versions.
- Memory: 16 GB for a 32-bit operating system or 32 GB for a 64-bit operating system.
- Graphics: Graphics card with DirectX 9 and WDDM 1.0 support – screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.
- Internet connection for updates.
These requirements are complete not enough to get a minimally acceptable experience. Fortunately, the average number of PCs is much higher. For this guide, we used a desktop PC with Ryzen 3000, 32 GB of RAM, an RTX 2080 Super graphics and a PCIe solid state drive for storage. It doesn’t take that much for a good double installation with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20, but forget about it if your hardware is close to the minimum.
If you don’t get there, it’s preferable to use specific GNU / Linux distributions directly to run on computers with lesser hardware. In terms of compatibility, Windows 10 supports a very wide range of hardware. And Ubuntu too. Without being as complete as Windows, the primary hardware (motherboard, processor, graphics, memory, and storage) will work on the vast majority of computers, as Linux distributions nowadays provide great support for the major architectures and drivers. either with free or proprietary drivers.
Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20 – From scratch
It’s a method where we do a completely clean install (from scratch) of both operating systems. We can do this on a new or a used storage device that we will format once the appropriate backups have been made of the files that we want to keep.
In this type of dual-system and dual-boot installations Linux should always be the last system we install because it will be your bootloader that gives us access to one or the other. We selected the latest versions of Windows and Ubuntu, but if you want to install other versions or distributions the method is similar. Or add more than two systems under Hackintosh and combine Windows 7 with Windows 10 or MacOS, as long as we have enough storage space and take care of the installation sequence.
Windows 10 20H2
If you follow us regularly you will know the process by heart as it repeats itself on all versions. It consists of three steps: download the system ISO image, burn the image to removable media, and install it. We remind you step by step:
Step 1. Get the system image
- Run the downloaded file “MediaCreationTool20H2.exe” and accept the license terms.
- Click the second Media Creation option to download the system ISO image.
- Select the language, architecture, and system version, or use the standard recommended options for your computer.
- Select the medium to be used. Although the tool can burn a USB directly, we recommend downloading the ISO file and burning it later using another application.
- Select the path where you want to save the downloaded image. The image will be downloaded from the Microsoft servers up to the maximum of your connection.
Step 2. Prepare the installation media by burning the ISO
- Once you’ve saved the picture on your computer, use your favorite application to “burn” the picture. You already know that we have a thing for Rufus, it’s free and that it works perfectly especially with Windows images. We download it.
- Paste the medium we want to use for the recording. You can use a DVD, but we recommend using a pendrive or USB drive which is faster and safer. The minimum capacity must be 8 GB.
- Run Rufus. You will see a very simple interface where you must first select the Windows image you downloaded by selecting the “Start Chooser”.
- All that remains is to configure the remaining options. GPT in “Partition Scheme”, target system “UEFI (not CSM) and NTFS or FAT32 as file system. Click on Start to get the installation medium.
At this point we need to remember the problems with this type of scheme “GPT” partition For computers and operating systems such as Windows 7 and older Linux distributions, we recommend using the MBR partition scheme in these cases.
Also disable that in the BIOS Safe startup, Although you shouldn’t have any problems with Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20 as the Canonical distribution supports the secure boot system in UEFI for some versions. Many Linux users report installation problems and it is best to disable Secure Boot.
Step 3. Install Windows 10 20H2
Insert the created medium into a USB port on the computer, restart the computer and access the BIOS / UEFI to ensure that the pendrive is placed as the first boot medium. (If you don’t know how to access the BIOS or the Start menu, read this article where we offer you the special keys programmed to access it. Press the appropriate key during the hardware test phase that occurs when the PC starts up .) If you know how to access the computer’s internal boot menu, you can enable it without entering the BIOS.
- As soon as you have made sure that the pendrive is the first boot medium, start the installation of Windows 10 from there.
- The installation is pretty automated. Select the version of Windows 10 to install and note that it must match the license type you have.
- Select “Custom” in the Installation Type to go to the Hard Drive Partitions section. If you have partitions from previous installations, delete them all to keep the SSD or hard drive completely clean.
- In this section we can create the partitions, taking into account that there will be empty space left for later Linux installation. The reserved capacity depends on how you use both systems. Or, if you have multiple storage units installed and want to use one for each operating system, it is possible and even recommended, although it works the same way if you install both systems on a single hard drive.
- In this example we have a single 1 Tbyte unit. Click New to create a 700 GB partition for Windows. The rest of the space is not allocated for later installing Ubuntu. The installation program creates additional partitions, but these do not affect the later Linux installation.
- The installation begins on the partition created for Windows.
- 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 20H2 can be installed in 7 minutes on this computer with a PCIe SSD.
The installation of Ubuntu and generally that of a modern GNU / Linux distribution Today is as easy as installing Windowsin a process that follows the same steps.
Step 1. Get the system image
Canonical offers to download the Ubuntu image directly without wasting time on media creation tools like Windows. Simply go to the Ubuntu web portal and download the ubuntu-20.10-desktop-amd64.iso ISO image. We remind you that you can choose another version like 20.04 (generally recommended for long term support and stability) or variants of it like Kubuntu or Xubuntu or any other GNU / Linux distribution you prefer over Ubuntu. In all cases the process is the same.
Step 2. Prepare the installation media by burning the ISO
- Use your favorite program to burn the ISO. If you do this on Windows, we still recommend a Rufus, which is just as good for “burning” your own Windows images as it is on Linux.
- Load the media you want to use for recording. You can use a DVD, but we recommend a pendrive or USB drive with a minimum capacity of 8 GB.
- Run Rufus, select the downloaded Ubuntu image by selecting “Boot Choices” and keeping the rest of the options, GPT in “Partition Scheme” and Target System “UEFI (not CSM). Click Start to run the Installation medium.
Step 3. Install Ubuntu 20.10
- Insert the created medium into a USB port on the computer and make sure that the pendrive is the first boot medium in the BIOS / UEFI, as shown in the Windows installation.
- Restart your computer to start the installation and click Install Ubuntu.
- This takes you to the graphical installation mode, which is explained on its own. Click Install and select the language.
- Choose the keyboard layout, how it will be installed, and whether you want to download the latest updates.
- You will come to an important section that shows how easy it is to install Ubuntu. As you will see in the figure below, the installer detects the installed Windows system and allows you to install Ubuntu next to it without touching the existing partitions and creating your own. (Advanced users can choose, resize, etc.)
- Click “Install Ubuntu Next To Windows Boot Manager”. The rest of the screens are trivial and the installation will complete without further ado. On a PC like the test PC with an NVMe SSD, the execution is even faster than under Windows.
Dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20
Once the Ubuntu installation is complete, it will be available to you GRUB boot loader, which is activated every time the computer starts and enables Windows or Linux to be started. For this reason, Windows must be installed first and Linux later in this type of configuration. The following picture is self explanatory. Every time you start the computer, you access a menu that allows you to start Ubuntu or the Windows Boot Manager, which starts Windows 10 20H2 directly.
You can also select the system to be started in the BIOS / UEFI. However, it is more cumbersome to access each time the computer starts. Yes, there is an option in case you just want to use Windows at any one time without going through GRUB. When you access the UEFI, you will find that it separates the Linux boot loader and the Windows Boot Manager boot loader. If you put this in boot priority before Linux, you will access Windows 10 20H2 directly, although you will not be able to access Ubuntu until you change it again.
Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20 – From a Windows installation
Given Windows’ huge market share and the fact that much of it comes from the OEM channel, you are likely using the version of Windows that the manufacturer preinstalled on your computer. While we recommend the above method for both installations from scratch, you may want to save the Windows step yourself.
There is a method of doing this that is also simple, although it requires the previous step of free space to install the GNU distribution later, as new computers with pre-installed Windows usually take up all the space. You can check out our guide to partitions in Windows if you want to know how to use them. A gradual introduction of the essential would be the following:
- We access the Windows 10 hard drive manager via Control Panel> Administrative Tools or via the command “compmgmt.msc” in the execution window.
- 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 “C” partition, which is occupied by the installation of Windows 10. reduce to make space. To do this, right-click it and click “Volume Down”.
- The tool will analyze the “C” partition and display the maximum size we can reduce it to, which is the empty space. For the example we will 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.
- You can see how quickly an additional empty space was created. Don’t touch anything else, neither create nor format new partitions. The Ubuntu installer will take care of creating the required partitions in the free space we created.
The size of the partition is indicative as we have explained. A user who works with Ubuntu on a daily basis may need to free more capacity. If your computer has a second storage device (SSD or hard drive), remember that you can assign one to Windows and the other to Linux. After creating the free space, follow the steps above to install Ubuntu 20.10.
By doing one process or another, you’ll be able to install Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20 on the same computer and have access to one or the other in seconds. without disturbing each other and get in both maximum performance that your machine allows without the penalties associated with alternative methods like virtualization. Aside from disputes between the two, having the best of both worlds is an excellent combination.
And if you have the time and desire to “tinker”, enough storage space, and a lot of patience, you can try out advanced installations that integrate others like Windows 7 or MacOS under Hackintosh into the two proposed systems.