How to install Ubuntu 16.04 alongside Windows

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Dual boot the easy way

Windows can stay on your computer, when you install Ubuntu! It's handy to turn your computer into a dual boot machine. That way you can choose each time you turn on your computer, what operating system you want to boot: Ubuntu or Windows.

It's easy to turn your computer into a dual boot:

Create an external backup of your documents

1. Backup all your documents, pictures, music et cetera, on an external storage medium (DVD-RW, external USB hard disk, flash memory stick).

Let Windows perform a disk check

2. Make Windows perform an error check on the hard disk. In Windows 7, you can do that as follows:
Menu - click the button Computer - click Local Disk (C:) - in the menu bar, click Properties - tab Tools - Error checking: click the button Check now...

Check only the first option box:
Automatically fix file system errors

Click Start.

See this screenshot (click to enlarge):

In Windows 8.x and 10 the procedure is as follows:

- Swipe in from the right edge of the screen and tap Search. Or if you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search. Enter This PC in the search box, and then tap or click This PC.

- Right-click the drive you want to repair, and then tap or click Properties.

- Tap or click the Tools tab, and then, under Error checking, tap or click Check. Administrator permission required! You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

- Follow the instructions. You might need to restart your PC after the error checking has finished.

Note: defragmentation is unnecessary! That saves a lot of time....

- Shut down your computer.

Simplify your hardware

3. Simplify your hardware: temporarily unplug all peripherals from your computer, except for display, mouse, keyboard and printer. Do you use an USB hub? Then remove that temporarily as well, and connect mouse, keyboard and printer directly to the USB ports in your computer.

After the installation you can reconnect all your peripherals again; they'll probably work out of the box then.

Wire your computer: temporarily establish internet connection with an ethernet cable, wired internet therefore. If you have a laptop, connect the power cord as well: you definitely don't want to run the risk of an empty battery during the installation of an operating system.

Important: the next step, step 4, is only necessary for computers with Windows 8.x or 10. If you have an older Windows, then skip step 4 and proceed with step 5.

Windows 10 or 8: change a couple of settings

4. Windows 8.x and 10: change some settings: for Windows 8.x and 10, you have to do some settings changes before you can install Ubuntu next to it.

The actual installation

5. a. Boot your computer from the Ubuntu DVD (are the BIOS settings OK for booting from a DVD?), hit the space bar and choose "Check disc for defects", thus performing an integrity check on the DVD.

The DVD has to be completely error free. If it's not, burn a new DVD at low speed (4 x).

b. Then choose "Try Ubuntu (without installing)" in the boot menu of the Ubuntu DVD. In the trial (live) session you can find out if all the hardware works like it should. Note: in the live session Ubuntu functions much slower than usual!

c. You can start the installation by clicking the special desktop shortcut. The installer will start by asking you a couple of questions. Only after you have made a choice for partitioning, installation will begin.

You'll be presented with this window (click on the picture to enlarge it):

Tick "Install third-party software (etc.)". If you need to install third-party drivers and you haven't turned off Secure Boot before starting the installation (which would have been advisable), tick "Turn off Secure Boot" as well. Then click "Continue".

(continued in the column on the right)

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(continuation of item c)
Then choose the "alongside Windows" option, so that your Windows will be safe. Click on the picture to enlarge it:

Note: When you don't have much experience with Linux yet, then do not select the LVM option! Because that drastic option is only meant for advanced Linux users. This option can cause a lot of trouble for people with little Linux experience....

The Encrypt option is also potentially risky; only use it when it has a clear security advantage. For example on a computer that sometimes leaves your house and which contains sensitive information (like a laptop that you take with you to your work).

But don't apply the Encrypt option on a computer that's always in your house, like a desktop computer which is only in use by you and your family.

The disadvantage of encryption is, that your important data will be forever unreachable when you, for example, forget your password. Encryption is a very powerful tool; like all powerful tools, it should be handled with care.

Potential problem: no option to preserve Windows

6. Doesn't the installer offer you the option to preserve Windows and install Ubuntu alongside Windows? Then cancel the installation and have a look at this potential solution.

Disk partitioning

7. One of the last questions will be a disk partitioning proposal. The installer will namely propose to free up some space on the hard disk. Thus leaving somewhat less space for Windows, and allowing Ubuntu to be put on the cleared space.

Don't worry: the installer respects the disk space that's already in use by Windows files, and only proposes to divide the remaining unused space on the hard drive.

This proposal looks approximately like this (click on the picture to enlarge it):

The mouse pointer is at the divider: move the divider at will. Ubuntu is on the right.

Click Install now.

In principle, you could simply agree with this proposal of the installer. However, on small hard drives the installer tends to underestimate the disk space (the surplus empty "breathing space") needed by either Windows or Ubuntu. So you may want to increase the disk space for either Windows or Ubuntu, by moving the slider with your mouse.

Note: Give Ubuntu preferably no less than 20 GB. Ubuntu is the block on the right.

In other words: the installer assumes automatically (by default) that you don't want to wipe Windows and that you want a dual boot computer. Ubuntu is user friendly!

Note: Can't you finish the installation because it stalls halfway? Then maybe removing the slideshow can solve it (item 4, left column).

Now the installation of Ubuntu takes place and in the end you have a dual boot computer.

Is there no boot menu and does Windows 10 start rightaway?

8. On modern computers who were sold with a pre-installed Windows 8 or 10, sometimes you don't get to see a boot menu after a seemingly succesful installation of Ubuntu. Instead of that, Windows boots rightaway, just as if no Ubuntu has been installed at all.

Usually you can fix that by another change of the configuration of the UEFI (BIOS). In the "boot options" of the UEFI, find the item "OS boot manager". Select it, press Enter and place Windows Boot Manager at the bottom (for HP laptops you can do that by means of the F5 key).

See the screenshot below, of the relevant part of the UEFI settings of an HP laptop (click on the image to enlarge it):

Windows has to adjust itself

9. The first time you start Windows in the dual boot configuration, Windows will discover that its disk space has shrunk. Windows has to adjust itself to that.

During the first Windows boot you might therefore see a blue screen with white letters, informing you that Windows is checking the hard disk and "repairing" it. Simply let it do its job.

Afterwards Windows will want to reboot. Go along with it. Then Windows will be used to its new disk space and will function normally.

Done! What's next?

10. That's it! You're done. Now you can reboot into Ubuntu and start polishing your new operating system.

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