Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

How to Dual-Boot Linux On Windows (Ubuntu 18.04 Gnome)

Derrick Gee
May 20, 2019 · 5 min read

I recently had my first experience installing Linux on my Windows laptop, and it was a lot more simple than I thought it would be. As it is a very simple process, I think anyone should be able to do this following a few steps. The process is pretty much shrinking your storage space to create “free space”, which will be used to create a partition for your Linux distro to be installed in. After creating the empty partition, you go into your Windows BIOS and boot up the USB drive that contains the Linux distro installer. My biggest issue with Windows was creating a big enough partition, as Windows by default has unmovable files that blocks you from shrinking your partition fully.

Note: The only thing I needed was an empty USB stick, for the distro’s ISO. The first step would be to shrink your Window’s storage space partition:

Step 1. Open cmdas admin and type diskmgmt.msc, then right click the volume (drive) that you have free space in and click Shrink Volume... The recommended space for Ubuntu 18.04 is 25GB (25000MB). If you are not able to shrink up to the amount of free space you actually have, then that means you have unmovable files (Go to Step 1a.).

Step 1a. Deleting unmovable files to shrink your partition more:

First, you want to be able to see all system files. Go to your start menu and type show hidden files and folders and open that. Then check the image below to see what needs to be unchecked:

Next go to your start menu again and type view advanced system settings and open that. Then under Performance, click on Settings… (image below):

Then go to the advanced tab and under Virtual memory, click on Change… (image below):

Then you want to set No paging file and hit Ok (image below), then restart your computer:

This should be in your home directory of the drive, just click the drive from My Computer and you should see this file if you had followed the steps from above.

I had ran into this road block myself, and the main issue was the pagefile that you need to delete.

Lastly, go to your start menu and type in Disk Cleanup and run it. Then click on Clean up system files on the bottom (image below). Delete all system restore points, temporary files, and hibernation files.

The rest of these steps from this page should help if you still can’t shrink your volumes far enough. I would really recommend getting a 25GB partition before moving onto installing Ubuntu.

Step 2. Once you have a 25GB empty partition, you need to find out your drive type. Right click where Disk 0 is at the bottom of the window, and click on Properties... Then go to the Volumetab and look for your Partition style: In my case here, it is (GPT), the alternate case would be (MBR) Check the image below for what to look for:

Step 3. Backup your files incase, and download and create the Linux installation USB drive in the meantime:

— Download Ubuntu 18.04 (Desktop Image) and Rufus.

— Rufus creates a bootable USB drive, it is pretty self explanatory. Launch it and fill in the correct information, make sure the Partition scheme is the same as the Partition style from Step 2.

Step 4. Plug in your bootable USB from Step 3 and restart your PC, then enter the BIOS with ESC DEL F12 or F11 Every BIOS will be a little different, but navigate to where it lets you boot from USB. Change to boot from USB and your PC should restart, or save changes and restart.

A GRUB menu should appear saying Try Ubuntu without installing and it should take you to an Ubuntu desktop with an app called Install Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Run this and fill in the correct information.

Preparing to install Ubuntu: I did a full installation, keep Minimal Installation and Install third-party... unchecked and continue.

Installation type: Check Something else for manual partition on your empty 25GB partition from Step 1.

Step 5. Creating your Linux storage partitions (Highlight free space and click + ):

Create partition (Computer): Size: 15000MB, Primary, Beginning of this space, Use as: Ext4 journaling file system, Mount point: /

Create partition (Swap): Size: 4000MB-6000MB, Use as: swap space

Create partition (Home): Size: Leftover, Primary, Beginning of this space, Useas: Ext4 journaling file system, Mount point: /home

Step 6. Install Now, fill in correct information, and you are done! Every time you boot up your PC, you will see the GRUB menu asking if you want to launch Ubuntu or Windows.

Derrick Gee

Written by

Software Engineer | Linux Love | Cat Love | https://github.com/kai-dg

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade