How To Install Ubuntu Linux Alongside Windows 10 (Standard BIOS, non-UEFI)


Updated For Ubuntu 16.04

This is the 2nd guide showing how to dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux.

The reason there are two guides is that the instructions differ enough between machines with a UEFI bootloader and a standard BIOS.

This guide focuses on computers with a standard BIOS. If your computer has a UEFI bootloader read this guide instead.

If you were using any version of Windows up to Windows 7 before upgrading to Windows 10 then it is likely this guide is for you.

Before going on however follow these simple instructions to find out whether your computer is UEFI or BIOS based.

In the search box at the bottom of the screen type “System Information” and when the icon appears at the top click on it.










Halfway down the right panel there is an item called BIOS mode. If it says Legacy (or anything other than UEFI) then this guide will work for you.

Steps For Dual Booting Windows 10 And Ubuntu

The steps required for dual booting Windows 10 and Ubuntu are as follows:

  • Backup your Windows 10 operating system (optional but highly recommended)
  • Create a Ubuntu USB drive
  • Enable booting from a USB drive
  • Shrink the Windows 10 partition to make space for Ubuntu
  • Boot into Ubuntu live environment and install Ubuntu
  • Amend the boot order to make sure Ubuntu can boot

Back Up Windows 10

Before doing any major work on your system you should take a backup as it can be time consuming and expensive to fix your operating system without a decent backup.

I have written a guide (linked below) which shows you how to backup all of your partitions using a tool called Macrium Reflect. There is a free version of the tool available and the most this tutorial will cost you is time and if you don’t have one an external hard drive or a spindle of blank DVDs.

Click here for my guide showing how to backup Windows 10.

Create A Ubuntu USB Drive

I prefer to use the Win32 Disk Imager tool for creating Linux USB drives as it generally provides a good success rate compared to other tools.

Click here for a guide showing how to create a Ubuntu USB drive.

The linked article shows you how to do the following things:

  • How to get Win32 Disk Imager,
  • How to install Win32 Disk Imager.
  • How to format a USB drive.
  • How to create a Ubuntu USB drive
  • How to boot into a Ubuntu live environment

You will obviously need a USB drive for this purpose.

If you would prefer to, you can buy a USB drive with Ubuntu already installed on it.

If after you have finished installing Ubuntu you want to get your USB drive back to being a blank drive again follow this guide which shows how to fix a USB drive after Linux has been installed on it.

Shrink Windows To Make Space For Ubuntu

If your computer only has one hard drive you will need to shrink your Windows 10 partition in order to make space for Ubuntu.

Click here for a guide showing how to shrink your Windows 10 partition.

Boot Into Ubuntu Live Environment

Make sure that the Ubuntu USB drive is plugged into the computer.

Booting into Ubuntu on a computer with a standard BIOS is a lot simpler than UEFI based machines.

Simply reboot Windows 10 and a screen will appear with two options:

  • Try Ubuntu
  • Install Ubuntu

Choose the “Try Ubuntu” option.


Install Ubuntu

The main installation of Ubuntu is the same for BIOS and UEFI based machines.

To start the installation click on the “Install Ubuntu” icon on the desktop.

After clicking on the “Install Ubuntu” option the following screen will appear:

This is the beginning of the installation process and you can select the language which is used to help you through the process.

Choose your language and click “Continue”.

The installer has changed a little bit for Ubuntu 16.04. The pre-requisites screen has been removed as has the option to connect to a wireless network prior to installing.

The preparing to install Ubuntu screen now simply lists the option to download updates (which is only available after you have an internet connection) and the option to install third party software for playing MP3 audio and watching Flash.

If you have a decent internet connection then you might wish to install updates during the installation.

To connect to the internet click on the network icon in the top right corner and a list of wireless networks will be listed. Click on the network you wish to connect to and enter the security key when prompted.

You will need to click the back button on the “preparing to install Ubuntu” screen and then click continue again when you are back at the welcome screen.

If you have a poor internet connection then I would choose not to connect to the internet. You can update your system after it has been installed.

You can choose to install the third party tools for playing MP3 audio as part of the installation process now by checking the box or you can do it after the system has been installed.

Click “Continue”.


The “Installation Type” screen lets you decide whether you want to install Ubuntu alongside Windows or over the top.

Choose the “Install Ubuntu alongside Windows Boot Manager” option.

Click “Install Now”.

If you do not see an option to install alongside Windows then you should click on the “Something Else” option. You may notice that it says the free space is unusable. If co click here for a guide to resolving this issue.

A window will appear showing you what is going to happen to your disk. By default the Ubuntu installer will create an ext4 partition for Ubuntu and all of your personal files and a swap partition used for swapping idle processes when memory gets low.

Click “Continue”.


In order to set your clock correctly a map appears requiring you to choose your location.

Click where you live on the map or start typing it into the box provided and then click “Continue”.

Select your keyboard’s language in the left pane and then the actual physical layout in the right pane.

Alternatively click on the detect keyboard layout option and it will more than likely do it for you.

Test out the keyboard layout that you have chosen by typing into the box provided. Specifically try out symbols such as the dollar sign, pound symbol, hash tags, speech marks, slashes and other special characters as these are the keys that tend to move around on a keyboard.

Click “Continue”.


The final step is to create a default user.

Enter your name and give your computer a name.

Enter a username into the box provided and choose a password and repeat it.

Click on the “Require my password to log in” option. I don’t really recommend anyone letting their machine log in automatically unless it is a virtual machine used for test purposes.

Finally click “Continue”.


The files will now be copied to your computer.


When the process has finished you will have the options to continue test or to restart now.

Click the “Restart Now” option.

You will be asked to remove the USB drive and press enter.

Now when your computer reboots you will have options to boot into Windows 10 or Ubuntu.

Try them both out and hopefully you will have successfully installed Ubuntu alongside Windows 10.

What Next


If Ubuntu still will not boot after running EFI Boot Manager try reading this guide which aims to help with UEFI boot issues.


  1. Hi,
    After try this for several times, i've come across with your tutorial, and i can't get in the instalation type with the recognition of the windows 10 OS.
    Mine says "This computer dones't have any OS. What do you want to do?"
    I want to configure a dual boot instalation and I don't want to erase my windows 10 OS.
    Any help?

  2. Hi,
    After try this for several times, i've come across with your tutorial, and i can't get in the instalation type with the recognition of the windows 10 OS.
    Mine says "This computer dones't have any OS. What do you want to do?"
    I want to configure a dual boot instalation and I don't want to erase my windows 10 OS.
    Any help?

  3. I am not getting option to install alongside windows. I am trying to install it alongside windows10. I have shrinked my harddisk and made about 50 GB of unallocated space on my disk. Tried installing different versions of Ubuntu.. without any success.

  4. I myself prefer to use the Windows bootloader to chainload GRUB (which resides in my Linux partition's boot sector), instead of installing GRUB to the MBR in place of the Windows bootloader. Then, I used EasyBCD to add the linux distro entry and point it to the Linux partition where my GRUB resides.

    All in all, it keeps the Windows Bootloader intact in case a major Windows Update overwrites GRUB that one chose to install to the MBR.

  5. Tried several times, but windows 10 starts over with out any option to chose for Ubuntu. Could not configure ubuntu but lost two pendrives in this operation(now they read 2.1mb used of 2.1 mb). Will not recommend to blow up more flash drives.

    • Hi Gary, there is no section about running efibootmgr in this blog post (that section was in your other UEFI Bios based blog not this one). I too have the same problem whereby after the install I do not get a option of which OS to choose on boot. My BIOS type is Legacy. Any ideas? Thanks.

    • Hey Gary – thanks for this great guide, easy steps to follow. Just wondering if you found out what the issue was? I am another user experiencing the same – BIOS type is legacy and now on restart I don't get the option to choose OS, just goes straight to Win10.

    • To those having this problem, you probably have to change the boot order of your devices. When you first turn on your computer, it will give you the option to press either F2, F12, or some other function key to enter "Setup." From here, you can use your keyboard to change to boot order of your devices. Make sure that the USB Device (Or CD if you installed it on a CD) is the top option. When you save and exit, the Ubuntu installer should start.

  6. It is not giving me the "Install Ubuntu alongside Windows" option. It does say Windows 10 is installed however. When I go to the something else, the part that I shrank says it is unusable. Not sure what to do from here.

  7. I prepared the usb with ubuntu, then I made space for Ubuntu in the SSD, but when I restarted to go install ubuntu, everything is black, there's no VGA signal, and after a while ubuntu starts loading something, but never goes to any menu.

    I have this computer:

    CPU INTEL Socket 1150 QUAD CORE I7 4790 3.6GHz 8MB IGPU BOX
    NVIDIA Quadro K620
    SATA6 USB3.0

    What should I do? Change the x64adm version? Or is something about the ssd? I'm really a noob.

  8. Hello – I wonder if you could help shed some light for me (or maybe even make a guide for my question!?!?). I want to set up my system to dual boot Windows 10 and Linux on two drives, but I want both OS to boot from the SSD I have and both OS to store files on the HDD.

    Suggestions on how to accomplish this?

  9. I cannot get it to work. I used to have Win 7 and Mint – KDE dual boot. I updated to Win 10 and kept dual boot. I am now trying to load a different version of Linux but I am not winning!! I eventually cleaned up to win 10 only on the full disk – no spare partitions etc.! A week later I decided to have another go and have followed your guide. The test says it is 'Legacy' – not UEFI. It refuses to load from the USB though it is second in the boot order after CD/DVD – have tried your shift key trick and cancelled fast boot too. Can and have loaded trial from DVD but the partition screen in install does not see Win 10 and insists on using the whole C drive!! Load along side is not an option. Tried the 'Something Else' option but cannot get that to work. Set EXT4 and Swap partitions but that does not work and when I look at the partitions they have become 'Do not use'. Do you please have any ideas??

    • I have never been able to boot along side windows 98 to 7 with linux.
      I have always created a separate partition, or used a 2nd hard drive and installed linux to that.
      I can give everyone a solution that will work on any desktop pc
      but will require 3 hard drives and a hard drive swap bay.
      First hard drive say 1 tb (as storage) installed in pc, second HDD use in a swap bay and install windows 10, swap with another HDD and install linux.
      There are several hot swap bays, and are cheap plus some even will allow 2 hHDD's even SSD's 120Gb are around £50
      Doing it this way there shouldn't be any conflicts as you are only using 1 OS at a time.

  10. Hi,

    I'm getting the same problem as others where I've downloaded everything correctly but when I reboot it is not showing the install or try it.It prompting the Ubuntu screen and stuck there…I also turn off the fast nothings happened..

  11. Hello,

    Like some other users above this commend I have the problem where even turning off fast boot and doing everything else correctly my PC still boots on Windows 10 and is not letting me choose an operating system. My bios is legacy and I'm with laptop. If I could get any help it'll be great!!!

    Thanks in advance!

  12. Hello

    I have a problem to install Ubuntu like others. When I was at step to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 10, after I pressed continue , showed me one panel about how I want to separate my hard disc. After I did this, my PC never went to the next step(for the hour). And now when I try again, because previous doesn't have result, to install the Ubuntu at step <> doesn't show me the option install Ubuntu alongside Windows 10.( sorry for my English) what can i do?

    Thank you

  13. It seems that Ubuntu is going to be installed on NTFS partition (From shrinking C drive guide). How could I make it installed alongside with my Windows but on Linux file system formats such as ext4?

  14. The installation does detect that I have Windows 10 installed, but the only option I have is to overwrite it.

    When I try choosing "something else", the free space I have from shrinking the Windows 10 partition says unusable.

    Here's what I've tried doing to no avail so far:
    1. Turned off hibernation
    2. Turned off fast-startup
    3. Turned off UEFI in System Setup

    Any ideas on what I could do at this point?

    Thanks for the great tutorial, by the way, I truly appreciate it and hopefully I'll be able to implement it soon.

    Might I add, I'm dual-booting Windows 10 and Windows 7.

  15. Hello,

    Thank you for the post. I cannot see the image 7/13 on my setup. It shows partitioning problem with my setup. I am a complete novice with this problem I tried reading on it on forums but could not understand much. Can anyone help me with this.


  16. On my laptop with
    – EFI mode disabled (windows 10 installed over pre-existing windows 7, 8, etc.)
    – new unallocated partition created with windows tool
    – disabled fast-startup and hibernation
    – boot on ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS live usb
    First issues :
    – install does not display Window's drive (/dev/sda) in the list of devices for boot loader installation, and I cannot choose installation type
    – "unable to mount OS" error when trying to access files from file's explorer
    First fix :
    – sudo ntfsfix /dev/sda1 solves mounting issue
    – run boot-repair
    Second issue :
    – now I can select installation type
    – but "this computer currently has no detected operating system"

    Any ideas?

  17. Hi,

    I'm a beginner. Following your instructions, I tried to install Ubuntu 16.4 alongside Windows 10 on my new notebook. Since I didn't have any USB stick at hand, I burned the ISO image to a DVD-ROM. I resized the Windows partition to half its former value, and turned fast run and hibernation off. Now, during installation, the freed space is still indicated as "unusable partition." I don't see any partition ready to be used for the Ubuntu installation! On the other hand, there are already four partitions present that belong to Windows in one way or another. Maybe that's where the problem is?

    Please give me instructions. I have no idea what to do right now.


  18. After doing back and forward, i found the best way to install dual boot as my mother board is Legacy, first using live CD, on Gparted, make partitions for windows(NTFS), and 2nd partition as Linux partition.then shutdown ubuntu live CD:
    1. change to my Windows cd and install windows first, but do not need format again.
    2. when windows all setted up. shutdown.
    3. Put back ubuntu Cd and install as usual and on this time i can see my all partition including windows.
    4. install my ubuntu 16.04 including boot loader (grub).
    and done dual boot.

  19. Hey Gary,

    Thanks for the guide here, it got me through to Ubuntu just great. The problem that I am having is getting back over to windows 10. When my Lenovo v570 boots up it takes me straight to Unbuntu. If I just into the boot manager using F12 I can select Ubuntu or Windows boot manager, the problem is that windows boot manager takes me back into Ubuntu. Any suggestions? Can I boot windows from Grub? Thanks for you help both in the guide and with this issue!

  20. I've partitioned my hard drive, turned off fast boot, made sure UEFI mode is disabled, and mounted and accessed OS drive from within Ubuntu with no problems but I'm still not getting the Install alongside Windows 10 option when I try to install. I'm running a Dell Windows 10 PC upgraded from Windows 7. In Legacy "Standard" BIOS mode.

    I tried to use the "Something Else" option but after creating a swap partition out of the unallocated part the rest of the unallocated part changed to "Unusable".

    Please HELP!

  21. I have a Standard BIOS laptop and after following your instructions, get no boot menu and it boots straight to Windows. After reading all these posts I don't see an answer for my problem. Any ideas? BTW-Thanks for taking the time to create this.

  22. Hello,

    I dual booted my Windows 10 HP laptop(Legacy) with Ubuntu 14.04
    While trying to install Ubuntu, the installer did not recognize the existing OS and hence i went ahead with #something else# option and created the partition. I made a successful installation. However I cannot find a way to boot into my windows OS. Any help on this one will be appreciated. 🙂

    Sanket (Germany)

  23. Hello,

    I dual booted my windows 10 HP(legacy) laptop with Ubuntu 14
    I folowed with the something else option during the ubuntu installation and successfully installed the system.

    The problem is that now i cannot figure out how to boot into my windows now. Can anyone help?

    Sanket (Germany)

  24. Have shrunk C drive by 20000MB and it show up as 19.53GN Unallocated on that disk.
    Linux Mint 18 Sarah Cinnamon starts to install but when it comes to using the partition, the closest line item shown is 20971MB which is labeled "unusable" and I should be seeing a "free space" to install my LM18.
    Iam using Windows 10.Thanks for your great tutorial!

    • If your newly shrunk space shows up as "unusuable" in Linux, one reason may be that you have hit the max limit of the number of primary partitions, which is 4. I used MiniTool Partition Wizard to convert one of my "primary" (you typically want to pick a non-boot, non-recovery, non-OEM primary drive; in my case this was D-drive) partitions to "logical".
      Like with any partitioning activity, you'd want to tread carefully and ensure you have a backup, as there is risk of data loss.

  25. Hi. I followed this guide and installed ubuntu successfully "alongside Windows 10", having previously shrunk the disk space to make ~42GB unassigned.

    I now cannot access Windows 10, when I reboot it goes straight to GRUB with Ubuntu and Advanced Settings being the only options.

    Has it erased all my Windows and files? Help!?

  26. I have followed all the steps in the tutorial, but the installer says "This computer currently has multiple operating systems on it. What would you like to do?". It gives me the option to erase the disk and install, encrypt the new Ubuntu installation for security, use LVM with the new Ubuntu installation, and manually partition the drive ("Something else"). The installer gives me these options every time, and I have even tried running it from a disc. How do I fix this? (Ubuntu 16.10)

  27. I am running Win10 over win7 (so BIOS Legacy)and want to dual boot with Ubuntu 16.4. I've done all as described in this great tutorial. When I try and boot from either USB or DVD I keep getting stuck! A pink screen quickly changes to a black screen saying NMI softbug lockup 22s etc and I can't get anything on Google that is helpful.

Leave a Reply