Tutorials/Tips, Ubuntu, Ubuntu Netbook

How to dual-boot Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7

You can see that there are two ntfs partitions on the disk already. The first one, /dev/sda1, is the Windows 7 Loader partition, and the second, /dev/sda2, is the main Windows partition. The task now is to start creating partitions for Ubuntu. The objective is to create four partitions for the following mount points:

  • /boot
  • swap
  • /, the root directory
  • /home

Keep in mind that a new installation of Ubuntu takes up less than 3 GB of disk space, with the bulk of that used by root directory. To start, select the free space as shown and click on Add.

Select free space

The first partition to create will be one for /boot. The default file system is Ext4, the mount point should be /boot, and a size of 100 MB to 500 MB is good. OK.

Create /boot

With /boot created, select the free space and click on the Add button to create the next partition. Note: This step will need to be repeated to create all the other partitions.

Select free space

The second partition will be for swap space. Recommended size for swap is slightly higher than the system memory. For “Use as,” select “swap area.” OK.

Create swap

Ubuntu 10.10 will install in less than 3 GB of disk space, so anything higher will do. Be generous here. Ensure that the mount point is /, and the file system is “Ext4 journaling file system.” OK. Note: If you need to install Ubuntu on a B-tree File System, select btrfs from the menu. If you choose btrfs, then it is no longer necessary to create another partition. This should be the last one, and you will then assign all the free space to it. For a guide on this, see how to install Ubuntu on a btrfs file system.


The last partition will be for /home. The rest of the free space will be allocated to this partition, file system will be the default (Ext4 journaling file system), and the mount point will, of course, be /home. OK.

Create /home

With all the Ubuntu partitions created, you can now continue with the rest of the installation by clicking on Install Now.

Note: It has been reported that Windows 7 tends to mess with the GRUB menu after a Windows update/upgrade. To avoid any issue that might arise from that, you need to install GRUB to the boot partition of the Ubuntu installation, then use EasyBCD to edit the Windows boot menu and add an entry for Ubuntu. This method was used in how to dual-boot Fedora 14 and Windows 7. If you opt for this method, select the boot partition (/dev/sda3 in this example) from the dropdown menu under Boot loader section.

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  1. Thank you .I used to have a problem with the dual boot but now it’s solved 🙂

  2. Great simple solution. I have been running ubuntu on Vmware workstation within Windows 7. Been running super stable, but I always wanted the dual boot solution. I prefer it actually.

  3. thnkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkks
    very veryyyyyyyyy muchhhhhhhh

  4. Thanks for a really clear example of how to set up multiple partitions, with an idea of sizes… the screenshots really help, too. I couldn’t remember how to set up my swap space. My new install of Ubuntu has been working like a charm. I set up my /home on my secondary partition.

  5. Pingback: Dual-boot Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7 | TurboLinux Blog

  6. Spectacular guide. Lots of screenshots and very detailed.

    You have my thanks, great job!

  7. Pingback: Installing Windows 7 is tough! - Digit Technology Discussion Forum

  8. Wondering whether you can dual-boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution on an external hard drive? See this post for the answer

  9. Symon@sid u really have to stop complaining, i got Windows XP Professional running on the version of virtualbox that supports external devices and its got iTunes installed and can sync my ipod touch with NO ISSUES. So next time, google a fix instead of complaining. 😉

  10. Can you use the same method to install ubuntu in the secondary usb external hdisk

    • If you are going to install Ubuntu or any other distribution on an external storage, you should not be thinking about dual-booting. That;s not what dual-booting is for. That type of installation should be stand-alone.

  11. i think this will work with crunchbang too, because the cruchbang installer is very similar to ubuntu’s.

    any thoughts?

    • Yep, it should work. The key is to remember where you installed GRUB, and whether you want GRUB or the Windows boot manager to be responsible for dual-booting.

      • i’d like GRUB to be responsible for dual boot.
        so i shall install it on the /boot partition.
        i hope it works, going to install #! right now. see ya on the other side!


        • If you want GRUB to be responsible for dual-booting, then install it on the MBR, not on the boot partition.

          • yes, i did that. it works!!!
            but on booting, it didnt show the windows partition, so i ran sudo update-grub. it found the correct settings and i now have a dual booting laptop!!!

            thanks finid, i’ve referred your page to all my friends.

  12. Pingback: How to dual boot Windows & Ubuntu? - Digit Technology Discussion Forum

  13. Thanks! Nice an easy.

  14. I had a windows installed. also had WUBI working. Tried installing Ubuntu newly uninstalling wubi. When i did this, I had to lose the 1TB of data because of the ubuntu which used the whole hard disk instead of using the largest partition in the 1 TB drive which was supposed to be used. I never knew that it was formatting the whole drive and installing ubuntu there until i was done with installation and tried to boot into Windows. I never was so sucked up with this ubuntu. I thought it made me love itself. But it failed now.

    • ubuntu did not fail. your ignorance did.
      frankly, you should have at least read the install instructions.

      i researched for 2 days before installing my first distro(ubuntu). if you had done the same, you would be enjoying it too, not cursing it.

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