How to Install Ubuntu and Windows 8 or 10 as a Dual Boot on your Dell PC

Summary: This article takes you through installing Ubuntu as a dual boot on a Dell PC with a Windows 8 through 10 operating system.

Article Content


This article provides information about how to install Ubuntu onto your Dell PC in addition to an existing Windows (8, 8.1 or 10) operating system.

Table of Contents:

  1. Do you need to Dual Boot your PC with Ubuntu and a Windows OS?
  2. Things to know and check before you start an install
  3. Windows needs to be the First Boot on the Hard Drive
  4. Setting up the Install Partitions
  5. Installing Ubuntu as the Second Operating System
  6. Configuring the Boot Order


Do you need to Dual Boot your PC with Ubuntu and a Windows OS?


This guide takes you through how to set up your PC to dual-boot Ubuntu and Windows.

SLN301754_en_US__1icon Note: If you install an operating system other than the one that shipped with your system, then you do so at your own risk. Dell cannot certify that the hardware is compatible and we cannot support the system in that configuration. This article is provided as information for those customers who want to dual boot, but it is carried out at your own risk.

Where Windows is already installed on your PC, or you install windows first before installing Ubuntu.

It is recommended that a Windows operating system should be installed first. Windows does not include Non-Microsoft operating systems in its boot-menu. Installing windows can also affect any information already on your Hard Drive.

This article deals with recent Windows Operating Systems such as 8, 8.1 and 10.

If you want to install a legacy Windows operating system, please use the article that is linked below:

Have you checked that your system type is one of those certified by Canonical as being suitable for Ubuntu?

  1. If not, then please go to the Canonical site SLN301754_en_US__2iC_External_Link_BD_v1 and check if your model has been tested by Canonical and is suitable.

  2. If you have and it is supported on this list, then carry on.

SLN301754_en_US__1icon Note: If your system did not ship with Ubuntu and you have an issue that requires Technical Support Assistance to resolve. You may be asked to return the system to the condition it shipped from Dell and advise if the issue continues at that point. If it does not, then there would be limited support possible at that point. This guide talks about Windows 8 and 10 alongside Ubuntu 16.04 to current.

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Things to know and check before you start an install


There are three things you need to consider before you start an Ubuntu Install:

  1. To check the type of hardware you are trying to install to?
  2. To check the type of BIOS settings you need for your install?
  3. To check what version of Ubuntu you are looking to install?

What type of Hardware are you installing to and will it change how you go about your install?

The type or format of your storage media can affect how you would go about installing Ubuntu on your PC. That can be anything from installing on one of the new M2 cards. From installing on a standard SATA hard disk drive. Or installing on the same SATA hard disk drives set in an Intel Matrix RAID configuration. Check the PCs hardware allows you to make the install you need. Alternatively, read through the articles that are linked below to get an idea of how to change your installation method to accommodate your system hardware:

SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: USB 2.0 and older removable media devices are not supported on systems using the new Intel SkyLake Processors. The Chipsets for the CPUs no longer support the USB 2.0 Hub.

What BIOS settings do you need to go about your UEFI install?

SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: Be Aware the latest generation of Dell PCs has dropped Legacy support from their BIOS.

The difference between Legacy and UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) BIOS setups can be the difference between an install succeeding or failing. Follow the information below:

Press the F2 key on start up to enter the BIOS. Ensure that the BIOS is set to UEFI, and disable the Legacy option ROMS and disable the secure boot.




SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: Not every Dell BIOS has the same appearance and the page names may change depending on the model type. However, these general instructions work on any Dell BIOS that supports an Ubuntu install.

Which version of Ubuntu are you looking to install?

Ubuntu as with any other operating system is constantly looking to improve and better its usage and performance. What is different with Ubuntu is that you have the option of two updates at any time:

The first is the most recent LTS (Long-Term Support) release.

This update is available every two years and is supported by Canonical with updates for five years. It is considered a tested and stable build.

The second is the most recent Normal release.

This update is available every 6 months and is supported by Canonical with updates for 9 months. These normal releases are considered to be cutting edge but can have issues because of this. These builds are usually used by testers and developers.

If you are looking instead to upgrade to a new version of Ubuntu, then please check out the article that is linked below:

SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: There have been reports that certain Windows setups using the RST (Rapid Storage Technology) driver, can cause issues during the install. You can find out more from Canonical on the following link:

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Windows needs to be the First Boot on the Hard Drive


Windows needs to be installed first.

If Windows is not already installed, one of the guides on the link below shows the correct install guide for the Operating System (OS) you are using:

SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: Remember: While setting up your boot partition in the Windows Setup, partition the Hard Drive to leave space for the Ubuntu install later on. This saves you a lot of time and effort later on. Remember whenever you work on your operating system it is best practice to have a recent backup, in case anything goes wrong.

Windows is already installed.

Most PCs come with a version of Windows that is already installed and it takes up the whole hard-drive. The Windows partition needs to be shrunk. This frees space for the Ubuntu partition. 

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Setting up the Install Partitions


  1. It is best to do this step from within the windows OS.

Windows 8 and 8.1

For Windows 8 and 8.1, you want to use Disk Management:

  1. Press the Win+X keys at the Home Screen.

  2. Select Disk Management on the menu that appears.


  1. You right-click on the partition and select Shrink Volume and follow the instructions onscreen.


Windows 10

For Windows 10, you want to use Disk Management:

  1. Open Disk Management as an administrator

  1. Select the Volume (partition) you want to shrink and click Action from the task bar

  2. Select all tasks and then Shrink Volume from the action menu


  1. Select the correct amounts for your PC and click Shrink


SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: Do not try and create a partition for Linux here. The Ubuntu Install deals with this.
SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: If you have resized the windows boot partition and cannot boot up windows, then you can use the Windows Recovery tools to fix it. See here for guides on this.
  1. Once you have sufficient Unallocated Space on the Hard Drive, then it is straightforward to install Ubuntu as the second operating system. You want to boot from your Ubuntu DVD or USB drive.

  2. Ensure you are logged in as an Administrator and check if Fast Startup is disabled. (This can affect whether GRUB can pick up your Windows installation at a later stage.)

    1. Open Control Panel (The windows key + X is a shortcut on all recent versions.)

    2. Open Power Options

    3. Select Choose what the power button does

    4. Select Change settings that are currently unavailable

    5. Ensure that the box marked Turn on Fast Startup (Recommended) is disabled

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Installing Ubuntu as the Second Operating System


Follow the steps indicated below to install Ubuntu on your Dell PC and configure the BIOS to use grubx64.EFI (Required for normal operation):

  1. Have you got a copy of the latest DVD or USB installation media from Canonical? These include the latest updates and fixes for this operating system. (You may want to use a third-party application like Rufus SLN301754_en_US__11iC_External_Link_BD_v1 to create the bootable USB key.) If you have decided which version of Ubuntu you want to install, you can download the appropriate Ubuntu ISO from Canonical SLN301754_en_US__11iC_External_Link_BD_v1.

SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: Dell does not recommend or support applications like Rufus. Third-party applications are used at your own risk.
  1. Tap rapidly on the F12 key at the Dell splash screen on startup. It brings up and Boot Once menu. Using the Cursor/Arrow Keys, select your method of boot and press the ENTER key.

  2. When the setup boots, choose the Try Ubuntu option. This option checks that your hardware is seen okay by Ubuntu.

  3. When you are ready to proceed, click the Install Ubuntu button. The install wizard appears and prompts you through some choices.

  4. Select your install language and click Continue.


  1. The Keyboard layout window appears. Select the correct keyboard layout for your system and click Continue.


  1. The Preparing to install Ubuntu window appears. Choose the applicable options and click Continue.


  1. If you do not have a wired connection plugged in, the install takes you through setting up a wireless Wi-Fi connection.

  2. The Installation Type window appears. Several options are available.

    1. If you want to Dual Boot install Ubuntu alongside other Operating Systems, read the guide below before you select the Install Ubuntu alongside Option. Go to step 14.

    2. If you want to install Ubuntu over your entire hard drive, click Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu. Then select the Hard Drive that you want to install Ubuntu onto. You want to read the guide below for more information.

    3. If you want to manually set up various partitionings on the Hard Drive, read the guide below before you select the Something Else option.


  1. During installation you will be asked How do you want to partition the disk?

  2. In the setup, choose to install the OS to either:

    1. The largest available free space

      1. Down as Resize IDE1 master, partition #1 (hda1) and use freed space

      2. Choose the size of the new partition as a percentage of the Hard Drive and click Forward.

      3. Continue with the Install.

    2. Select a partition that you have already created for Ubuntu.

      1. Marked down as Manually edit partition table.

      2. Select the partition that you want from the list that is provided and press Enter.

      3. Click Size then ENTER and Yes and ENTER again.

      4. Choose the size in Gigabytes and press ENTER.

  3. You can create further partitions if you use the guide below.

SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: You need at least 20 GB for your Ubuntu install Partition.
  1. Select Finish partitioning and write changes to disk.

  2. Click Install Now. From this point, you cannot cancel the installation.

  3. You need to set up a few configuration settings. The Where are you? Window appears next.


  1. Select the location closest to where you are on the map or enter it into the text box and click Continue

SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: If you are unsure what your layout is, you can now select the Detect Keyboard Layout button for help.
  1. The Who are you? Window appears. You want to fill in your information at this point.


  1. While the operating system installs, the screen scrolls through different screenshots. They give you further information about the Ubuntu revision you are installing on your system.


  1. When the install wizard finishes, you get the Installation is complete message window up. Click Restart Now to restart your computer.


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Configuring the Boot Order


The system reboots into the GRUB menu and sits for 10 seconds while you choose which Operating System you want to boot with. Ubuntu 16.04 to current, or Windows 8 to 10.

Ubuntu is set as the default OS to boot to. That means if you press the Enter key or wait out the 10 seconds, it boots straight to Ubuntu.

Once Ubuntu finishes loading, login in with the username and password you set. Since version 16.04, Ubuntu has provided NTFS file system support automatically. That means you can access information and files from the Windows partitions by clicking the Windows Volume.

If you want to change to the windows installation, reboot the PC and choose the windows partition from the GRUB menu.

You can go to the guide below for some initial setup information:

SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note: If you have completed the installation and there are any issues, the easiest and quickest resolution is to run the install again.

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Additional Information:


SLN301754_en_US__4icon Note:
Software support is provided by Canonical through the following methods:

Technical Support is provided by Dell:

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SLN301754_en_US__37image(13480)  Out of warranty? No problem, click here, enter your Service Tag and view our offers. 
SLN301754_en_US__4icon Currently, offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, and France PC Customers. Server and Storage not applicable.


Article Properties

Affected Product

Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

10 Apr 2021



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