When choosing an operating system, people are normally divided into different groups. On the one hand there are people who are oriented only on Windows, where they can install Office and use Internet Explorer. On the other hand, there are those who love Linux, in any of its distributions: Debian, Ubuntu, Red Hat… where they can feel free and oblivious to the hardships that Windows and its capitalist and business environment offers, just like Pirates of the Caribbean. And, on their part, there are the lovers of the exclusive world of Mac and OS X, happy to live in their exclusive world of Apple, where everything seems to run at a higher speed, there are no virus or spyware (no comments) and it doesn’t matter paying more for the applications, “because they are worth it”.

Advantages and disadvantages of each OS.

Joking apart, the fact is that it is not necessary to choose one. Each operating system provides its advantages and disadvantages, and, in the end, as they are designed to be used, there is nothing else to do but getting used to the management of each one of them. The key is to find which one is better to do one thing or the other.

Windows

It is the most widespread operating system, considering that it is preinstalled on most of the personal computers, thanks to the agreements with the production houses. And due to the wide variety of private and free software that exists. These two reasons mean that no one ever consider to change it but only to replace it with a more recent version. However, we should also weigh up the RAM consumed by windows just for its running, its frequent crashes, blue screen and memory dumps, etc etc.

Linux

It usually provides more strength and stability. Despite the differences between its distributions, most of them are oriented towards the use of free software even if there are payment or private services, and they are based on a core (kernel), which is totally programmable and adaptable to different needs (it sees and tells microsoft or Apple that you need to play their respective kernel). Therefore, at the professional level, most of the web servers use a Linux operating system. In return, you must know that the available software for these operating systems is smaller and it is a world mainly inhabited by “special” people, although this aspect is decreasing.

OS X

It is Mac operating system, of Apple. Whose pillars are exclusiveness and good functioning. Its software is much more professional with highly specialized applications on their themes, however, these advantages have to be paid. It is also true that in recent years, and especially thanks to the appearance of other products from the same company (iPhone, iPod, iPad…) and the operation of cloud services (iCloud), it is being used by more non-professional users.

 

Those who used to buy a PC with Windows in the past, now spend a bit more money on buying a Mac, which makes its first pillar unstable. At this rate, soon we could adapt doctor House’s sentence: “Do you think yourself cool and modern because you are using Mac… Do you really want to be original? Use Windows… or Linux.”

Our choice

As there are too many choices to make in live, we don’t want to be so restrictive of making you chose about it too.
Leaving OS X aside, which can only be installed on a Mac (according to them), Windows and Linux are becoming more compatible and can coexist in the same PC. Now, of course, each one in its partition but getting on well like brothers, and making it easier to use each one of them as needed. Therefore, in this post we are going to explain how to install a Linux distribution on a laptop that already has Windows.

Computer Requirements

We start from a laptop running Windows 10, which should have free disk space available, or any partition that can be formatted. It would be ideal to have a space wide enough. In case that the use we are going to make of Linux is minor or just for testing the operating system, a small space would be enough. Whereas, if we are using it properly, either for a more or a less professional use, we would need at least 100 gigabytes available for the installation of applications and services.

We need to take into account that in the main partition of the new operating system is where the new software and all its data will be installed. The databases, for example, are one of the things that once we start using them, they suddenly increase the memory usage, limiting the number of programs we can install.

We are going to install a version of Ubuntu, considering that it is the most appropiate for beginners of Linux. It is important to follow this order, because the installation of Windows normally removes the current operating system. However, Ubuntu adapts to it and, even though it installs its own operating system (Grub), they are compatible. So, if windows is not installed yet, this is the first thing we should do, removing all the partitions, if possible.

Checking the available space.

reducir Once we have installed Windows on the first partition, we check if it remains free space to install Ubuntu. For that, we go to the Configuration menu, and on the web browser we write “partitions”, we select the appearing tool, which allows us to see all the units we have in the hard disk and its partitions. If we have free space enough in our hard disks, we can continue with the process. If that is not the case, we must reduce or eliminate some of our partitions. As an advise, it is better to leave only the partitions that are essencial for Windows.

We must take into account that in a hard disk we can create only 4 primary partitions at the most. So, we are organizing the partitions in the following order:

  1. Windows boot partition, created by itself. (Primary)
  2. Windows installation partition. (Primary)
  3. Linux partition. (extended)
  4. Data partition, NTFS, for both of the operating systems to operate on it, and to share information. (Primary)

Preparing the Ubuntu installation

rufusOnce we have the storage ready, we get down to business. The first thing we have to do is to create an installation device. For that, we open the browser we normally use in Windows, and we access the Ubuntu official website (www.ubuntu.com). Once we enter, we go to download section. In this section we will find the entire catalogue of offered products. What we need is the Desktop version, so we follow the instructions of the website, depending on the characteristics of our computer. If we start from the Windows 10 version, it is normally due to our laptop has 64bits, so the Ubuntu version must have 64bits too.

The downloaded file is an ISO image. We must record it into an installation device, like a DVD or USB. We are going to choose the second option for its convenience. To record it we need to download a programme called Rufus, from its website, https://rufus.akeo.ie/. We recommend the portable version, since it doesn’t need to be installed. Running and ready. Once it is opened, we just need to choose the unit we want to prepare, to select the ISO we have downloaded by pressing the button in the section “Creating bootable disk”,  and on the pull-down menu we select the ISO image.

BIOS Settings

The next step is to install Linux.  For that, the first thing we must do is to configure our computer from the BIOS, to allow it to boot from the USB. We must take into account that if the computer is recent (Windows 8 or superior), the BIOS will be the EFI model.

At the beginning, the image we have recorded has been configured to be adapted to BIOS or EFI. If it isn’t recognised, it will be needed to deactivate the secure boot and to indicate to accept unsigned operating systems. This is a protection system, designed to allow only the installation of the original operating systems, and Ubuntu fulfills it. But just in case, it is good to know.

Finally, we configure the boot order, so that the USB is the first. After that, we save the changes and restart the computer with the USB plugged in. It is good not to have more USB devices plugged. If we choose the DVD, the steps are the same, but changing the boot part.

Ubuntu installation

ubuntu_installWhen we restart it, it will divert us to the Ubuntu installer, And the first thing it will ask us is if we want to install Ubuntu or to try it. We choose the installation. Next, it will show other displays of general aspects: connect to a wifi, connect to the internet to download updates, etc. We can choose any option, despite the connection at first. The next display is more important: You have to choose between installing Ubuntu besides Windows 10 or customizing the installation. In this case, we will choose the last option, which will direct us automatically to the screen for the partitions creation.

Creating the Ubuntu partitions

Here, we must see that the main hard disk (/dev/sda) is divided into at least two partitions, which are the Windows partitions.  Then, we will have either free space or two more partitions. If we are going to eliminate any of them, we should do it now. We select them and eliminate them. We will see how our free space has increased. Once we have space enough, we start creating our partitions.

  1. Extended partition with anchor point “/”. In our case it will have 230GB. It will contain all the operating system and the applications.
  2. Extended Data partition, /home. It is not the essentials but we believe it is a good idea. We will use it to host data files and configuration strictly necessary for Linux. The pure information (films, images, music, etc.) will be host in a partition we will create later, which will be accesible for both operating systems. We could manage without it and to add its storage to the main Ubuntu partition (1). We have asigned 4GB to it.
  3. Extended exchange partition or swap. It is recommended to asign the double of the size of our RAM, so in our case we give 16 GB.

In our case, we have left 116GB free in the hard disk to create the partition we have been talking about. We will do it once the installation has finished.

Last aspects

When all the partitions are created, we continue with the installation. The last thing we have to do is to create the main user. We introduce the username and the password we wish. We let it to do what is needed. And, when it finishes, it will say that the installation is complete and we need to restart. When we restart we will have to choose the operating system we want to boot. We select Ubuntu, and we enter our installed operating system.

Ubuntu is already installed

First of all, we are going to create the other partition we need. To do this, we must search for the Disks application. If we have followed the instructions above, it must show the Ubuntu partition, with its three sections and the free space. We select it and we press the + button to create a new partition. We choose NTFS files system, to be recognised by both of the operating systems, and we assign the maximum size. In this way,  we have our hard disk complete.particiones

At this moment, we can restart the system and to choose Windows for the startup. When it boots, we must see the main partition C:, and another one that will normally have assigned the letter D:. If we want to check, we can host in that partition a file. When we run Ubuntu, we could access that file.

Now, we do have all the installation finished. Do you have any problem? Leave your comments and we will try to help you.