How-To :: How to make a Dual-Boot (2 Operating Systems) Laptop/PC with Windows and Linux

by cahenry829

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This How-To article is going to show you how to add a second operating system to your laptop/PC and the benefits of having more than one operating system on your computer.  The two operating systems I chose are Windows 7 (Windows XP/Vista will also follow the same steps) and Ubuntu (An open source operating system used all around the world).  Ubuntu has yet to gain mainstream popularity within the U.S., although it is one of my favorite operating systems and I have installed on all of my personal computers.



One of the benefits of adding a second operating system to your computer, namely a linux distribution such as Ubuntu, would be due to the fact that Ubuntu is a truly open source operating system.  Meaning that the applications and software that run on Ubuntu are free and the source code is openly shared and can be improved and changed by professionals all over the world.  Commercial operating systems such as Microsoft do not allow people to see the code that makes up their applications and software, this gives them the authority to chose what and when things get updated, which makes the process take much longer.  Furthermore the technical support of an open source community tends to have a much quicker response time and also be of far better quality more often times than not.




Latest Distribution of Ubuntu Operating System Disc (Can be obtained from

PC/Laptop (With Windows OS installed)


Windows XP

1.  First, you will need to turn your computer off if it is turned on.  When your first turn your machine back on watch in the top right corner for "Boot Order" next to a key beginning with F (eg. F12, F2, etc.).  You may need to restart the computer a couple of time before you actually get it, but you want to press those numbers.  After doing so you want to make sure CD ROM is at the top of the list or underneath of Hard drive.  This will allow us to modify our "Boot Order" in order to have our machine boot into our CD instead of the Hard drive.  

2.  Next, you will have to restart the computer again but this time make sure the Ubuntu OS disk is in the CD tray when you do so.  If done right, a list will appear with the Ubuntu logo above it. 

3.  Follow the on-screen instructions until it is time to Prepare or Partition the disk, at this step you want to chose the Guided option and give about half of the total size to be used for Ubuntu.

 4.  Follow the rest of the on-screen instructions and there you have it, your first Dual-Boot PC/Laptop with Linux!

Windows Vista/7


For this installation the only thing that will change is that the partitioning will be done on the Windows side instead of having Ubuntu do it.  

1.  With Windows open click Start and right-click My computer and select Manage.  

2.  Next go click Disk Management, and from there right-click the C: and then click Shrink Volume.

3.  From here you want to shrink the volume to about half of the total size and click shrink.

4.  Follow the same steps as the Windows XP installation, except instead of selecting Resize the partition, you simply select "Use the largest amount of continuous free space".

5.  Follow the rest of the on-screen instructions and there you have it, your first Dual-Boot PC/Laptop with Linux!