What if you are able to enjoy the security and features of Linux as well as applications developed solely for Windows, both on the same machine? Yes, you can do this, by using dual boot. So, let’s see how to dual boot Windows 10 and Linux.
But before jumping to the steps of dual booting, let’s have a brief glimpse of what is dual booting? What are the pros and cons of doing it? What are the requirements? Then we will be good to see how to dual boot Windows 10 and Linux.
What is Dual Booting?
In simple words, dual-booting refers to running two operating systems on a single machine at the same time. It’s about installing two operating systems on a machine and selecting which one to use during boot time.
If you are using a dual boot system, a menu is displayed by the boot manager program loaded in your system during booting, allowing you to choose which operating system you wish to continue with.
In case if you don’t know booting refers to the process of switching on the system and loading the operating system.
Well in dual boot, you can have a combination of any operating systems installed on your machine. It can be a combination of different versions of Windows, Windows and Linux, Linux and Mac, or Windows and Mac. Sounds great, right!
How many Operating Systems in a Single Machine?
Technically, the term ‘dual boot’ refers to installing just two operating systems on your machine. But that’s not the case!
There is no fixed limit on the number of operating systems that can be installed on your system. It just depends upon the RAM, secondary storage, graphics memory, and processor speed of your machine.
Well, a number of operating systems installed on your machine also depends upon the hard disk of your system, whether your hard disk is formatted/Supported MBR or formatted/ Supported GPT.
You can also install a secondary hard drive on your machine and install an Operating System in it and select which hard drive to boot at the time of booting. Or, you can even boot an OS from an external drive.
And in case, if you have only a single hard drive, you can install multiple hard drives in it just by partitioning. So there is no hard and fast rule for the number of operating systems you can have installed in your machine.
Is it safe to Dual Boot?
Before moving to how to dual boot Windows 10 and Linux, let’s see why should you dual boot your system. And what are the harms it might cause to your system if any?
Firstly, let’s see what are the pros if you dual boot your system by discussing a few points.
- You can switch between the operating systems installed on your machine as per your requirement.
- In case, if anyone of your operating systems stops working, then you can always boot into the other one.
- It prevents you from increased overhead and reduced performance of using a virtual machine, in case you need to use multiple OS.
- It gives you the advantage of using completely dedicated resources to your currently running OS as compared to VMs where the resources get divided between the OS.
- It is much faster than virtual machines.
- You can easily test cross-platform applications without using virtual machines.
But, the dual boot also has some limitations associated with it. Let’s see how it affects your system. We will also discuss the criticality of this process to see if it causes any severe harm to your same.
- The major problem with the dual boot is space. Installing multiple operating systems decreases your storage space to a large extent.
- In order to choose which operating system is to be currently used, a Boot Loader is required which increases the boot time of your machine.
- You can run only one operating system at a time. For switching to the other one, you always need to reboot your machine.
- If not installed properly or any mistake in configuration can lead to overwriting of your current operating system.
Dual Boot is totally safe for your system if you are careful with the installations and follow the instructions properly. Setting up a dual boot is not a tough process if proper guidelines are followed.
Pre-requisites to dual boot Windows and Linux
Before starting to dual boot windows 10 and other operating systems, you need to fulfill a few pre-requisites for completing the process efficiently. Make sure you are done with each of them before starting the actual process.
- Sufficient hard disk space
Although space above 50 GB can do the job efficiently, yet it’s recommended to have free space around 100 GB or above. This space will be dedicated to the Linux OS and once installed, cannot be used by Windows again.
- Flash drive with 8 GB space
You will need a flash drive with a minimum of 8 GB space to serve as a boot drive. Remember creating bootable media will delete all files on your flash drive.
- Windows 10 license
Make sure you have genuine Windows installed. If you are using a retail version, be ready with the product key. You might need it.
- UEFI or Legacy BIOS mode
Though not mandatory for all machines but make sure you have Windows 10 installed in UEFI or Legacy mode.
- Backup of important files
Make sure you have backed up all your important files in an external drive or using any cloud services.
How to Dual Boot Windows 10 and Linux
In this article, we will go with installing Windows 10 first and then proceed with installing Linux. Though you can always go the other way but installing Windows 10 first and then installing Linux is always easier as well as an ideal approach.
Let’s go step by step and see how to dual boot Windows 10 and Linux.
- Installing Windows 10
If you have Windows 10 already installed on your machine, then you can ignore this step and move ahead. If not, visit Microsoft's official site for detailed steps on how to install Windows 10.
You can easily create Windows 10 installation media and proceed with the installation. For detailed instructions, please visit the link.
- Installing Ubuntu
In this article, we will be installing Ubuntu as a Linux OS. You can proceed with any other version of Linux OS. To check out other Linux OS(s), here is our article on Best Linux OS. The installation of all this is almost the same.
We will create a bootable Linux USB drive to load the operating system into our machine without installing it.
- Go to the official Ubuntu website and download the latest version of the Ubuntu image file (.iso file). We have provided you with the link below.
- Download Ubuntu here
- Now, to create a bootable drive, download Rufus software using the flash drive. Rufus can be downloaded from the official website.
- Download Rufus here
- Launch Rufus once the download is completed. Make appropriate settings. After completing the steps, your bootable drive is ready.
- Creating disk partition for Ubuntu
Now, we need to create the necessary disk space for allocating it to Ubuntu. Be careful with space you allocate to Linux OS because once allocated, this space can’t be used by Windows.
- Go to ‘Disk Management’ in your windows. This can be done in two ways.
- Go to ‘Run’. Enter ‘diskmgmt.msc’ and click ‘Run’
- Right Click on Window 10 ‘Start’ menu and open ‘Disk Management.
- Right Click on the drive you want to partition and click on ‘Shrink Volume’.
- In ‘Enter the amount to shrink’, enter the space in MB required for Ubuntu. You will need 64 GB to 100 GB space for proper installation. Click on ‘Shrink Volume’.
- In the dialog box which appears, again enter the space and click ‘Continue’. The amount was space you entered will be shown as unallocated.
- Turn Off Fast Startup
This step needs to be followed if you are using Windows 8/Windows 10.
- Go to ‘Power Options’ in your Windows and select ‘Choose what the power buttons do’ from the menu at the right.
- Then, click on ‘Change settings that are currently available.
- Under ‘shutdown settings’, uncheck the checkbox ‘Turn on fast startup (recommended)’ and then click ‘save changes
- Disable Security Boot and Fast Boot
Even this step needs to be followed only for Windows 8/windows 10. The step-by-step guide is provided below.
- Open PC BIOS menu by pressing keys like F1, F2, F12, or Esc during PC booting (after turning on the machine and before Windows starts loading).
- Under the ‘Secure Boot’ setting, set it to ‘Disabled’
- Under ‘Fast Boot’, again set it to ‘Disabled’.
- For more detailed instructions on how to fast boot and secure boot, please visit the Microsoft site.
- How to disable secure boot
- Booting Linux from External Drive
Restart your PC and open the ‘Boot Menu’ or ‘UEFI Firmware’ settings during booting of the system. Under ‘Boot Options Menu’, boot Ubuntu from the external drive.
- Installing Ubuntu
After booting, a desktop will appear on your screen. Now we need to install Ubuntu on our machine.
- Double Click on the 'Install Ubuntu’ icon on the desktop.
- Select your preferred language and keyboard layout.
- Under ‘Installation type’, select ‘Something else’.
- In the next screen, select the partition you unallocated while freeing up the disk space and further do as prompted.
- Restart your machine
After successful installation, restart your machine. Next time you start your machine, Boot Manager will ask you to choose the operating system in which you want to boot.
So, now you know how to dual boot Windows 10 and Linux OS.
So, summing up the steps about how to dual boot windows 10 and Linux OS
- Back up all your important files.
- Install Windows 10 on your machine, if not already installed.
- Create a bootable Linux USB drive.
- Create a partition for Ubuntu in the hard disk.
- Disable fast startup, secure boot, and fast boot for Windows 10.
- Install Ubuntu on your machine.
- Finally, restart your system.
Dual boot Windows 10 and Linux OS provides us with features of both OS on a single machine. And it’s also totally safe; provided you follow all the instructions carefully. So, just try it out today. In case of any queries, please do contact us.