HowTo: Easiest Way to Install or Dual Boot Ubuntu on Windows


Previously, if you wanted to try or install or dual boot Ubuntu you’d have to use the live CD or create a partition on your computer with the latter being a daunting task for most users, especially those who don’t have much technical knowledge.

Now, with the help of the Wubi installer, you can try or install Ubuntu quickly and conveniently with your existing Windows-powered computer just like any other Windows program.

Wubi is an officially supported Ubuntu installer for Windows users that can bring you to the Linux world with a single click. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other Windows application, in a simple and safe way. Are you curious about Linux and Ubuntu? Trying them out has never been easier!

I’ve used the Wubi installer to install Ubuntu on my old laptop the Compaq Presario C714NR and if you’ve noticed from my comments on this blog, I’ve been using Ubuntu a lot the past few months because I also installed Ubuntu on my Toshiba Satellite A305-S6872.

System Requirements:

  • Processor: 1 GHz or faster Intel/AMD processor
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Disk space: 5GB

If your computer meets the minimum system requirements then the next thing you need to do is download Wubi. Note that even though Wubi automatically downloads the Ubuntu installation file for you, you can also use an existing Ubuntu ISO/CD for installation. You can download the latest version of Ubuntu here. If you have a pre-downloaded ISO, it should be placed in the same folder as the wubi.exe.

In my experience, having/using a pre-downloaded ISO made the installation faster. Downloading it via Wubi took longer (this also depends on your Internet connection). When downloading your Ubuntu ISO, make sure you choose the right version for your computer 32-bit or 64-bit. To check what version your computer is running on, click on Start/Windows logo, right click on Computer, select Properties and look for System Type (either 32-bit or 64-bit Operating System).


Once you have the wubi installer and/or the ISO/CD, run the wubi.exe file and it will open this window:

Wubi Install

1. Choose installation size (default is 15 GB).
2. Create a username.
3. Create and confirm a password.

You can also choose what Desktop Environment to install: Ubuntu/default (GNOME), Kubuntu (KDE) or Xubuntu (XFCE).

When you’re done, click Install and wait until installation process is finished then it will ask you to reboot your computer to complete the installation.

Wubi Reboot

When the computer boots up again, the Windows Boot Manager will ask you which operating system to use. Select Ubuntu.

Wubi Boot Screen

Ubuntu will be loaded and will continue/complete the installation process. Once the installation process is complete, it will reboot again. To start using Ubuntu, wait for the Windows Boot Manager screen and select Ubuntu then login using the username/password that you created earlier. To switch between Windows and Ubuntu, simply restart your computer and select with Operating System to run.

Uninstalling it is as easy as the installation. Just open Window’s Control Panel, select Add/Remove Programs, select Wubi/Ubuntu and uninstall it. Btw, Wubi works on all versions of Windows from Windows 98 to Windows Vista with the exception of Windows ME. If you have Linux/*nix/*BSD, you can use Lubi. Future plans include Mubi, a version for Mac OSX.

Here’s a screenshot of a regular Ubuntu desktop:
Ubuntu Desktop

Here’s how my Ubuntu desktop looks like:
Intrepid Mac OSX Desktop

As you can see, I’ve customized it to imitate a Mac OSX Leopard desktop. If you want to know how to do this, I’ll be publishing a tutorial on how I did this in the coming weeks, so make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed so you won’t miss it.

Hope this simple tutorial helps you and give you the motivation to try Ubuntu. If you decide to try it out and install or dual boot Ubuntu using Wubi and experience any problems, let me know by leaving a comment below or sending me a message via the Contact form and I’ll see what I can do to help.

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  1. @Perry – You’re welcome! I’m not sure whether it would work because if you upgrade to Windows ME, then it means that the bootloader would be changed as well and WUBI doesn’t work with ME’s bootloader.

    But if you want to try it you can. Who knows, it might work. :)

  2. Thanks for the reply JAYPEE,

    Would it be possible for me to install Windows 98 and then use WUBI to install Ubuntu – and then install my Windows ME upgrade disk over 98 (while retaining my old files) and expect the Wubi program to still work?

  3. @Perry – As far as I know Wubi won’t work with Windows ME because this version of Windows uses a different type of bootloader that won’t let Wubi install and run properly.

    If you really want to use Ubuntu, the only solution I can think of is partitioning your hard drive and installing Ubuntu so you can dual boot it with Windows ME.

  4. makes life easier!
    thanks Wubi.

    everytime I want to check Ubuntu I use Live CD not installing it as I dont want to mess with my windows installation. with this I am more confident.

    thanks, good help.

  5. Thanks been struggling for a while with this, now am up and running, great detail in the post thansk for the help x

  6. @jan – So you’re a gamer too huh? I haven’t played DOTA and those type of games are not my type. I like FPS games like CounterStrike but I also play Red Alert and StarCraft once in a while. :D

    Maybe the NBI should conduct those raids regularly so that people would stick to Ubuntu. Hehe

    I think I’ve also come across that article a long time ago, but I’m not sure if that’s true.

  7. Good to know – I get to play DOTA on Windows and use other applications on Ubuntu.

    When the NBI conducted inspections in our province, you know the drive against piracy and IPR, we migrated to Ubuntu. Tried its office apps and I can guarantee it’s surprisingly just as good as MS Office. Of course, when the drive slacked off it’s back to Windows for the townsfolk.

    Does open source software make your hardware lasts longer? I can’t remember where I got this, but I recall reading it somewhere.

  8. @elmot – No, it won’t replace Windows. Wubi will install Ubuntu like its a regular Windows application and will create a virtual partition making it possible for you to dual boot Windows and Ubuntu.

    About choosing a laptop, you need to ask yourself these questions: What will you use it for? What is your budget? From there, you can narrow down your choices. If you want, you can email me the details and I can give you some suggestions. :)

  9. @JP – Hehe..glad to know that you like it. Btw, is this your first time to try Ubuntu or not? So are you gonna keep using Ubuntu?

    Yeah, I forgot to mention about that in the post about how you can access your files from the Windows installation in Ubuntu.

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  10. yes, jayps…like loy, woundn’t it be a prob, won’t it replace windows?

    been to megamall today to scout for some laptops and saw there some laptops primarily working ubuntu. would it be a nice choice for me?

  11. I tried it and it sooo cool! It only puts a file folder “ubuntu” on the drive where you installed it. It doesn’t change my files too. I need this if ever something happens to XP and I can’t open it and backup my files. With ubuntu, you can still access your files through the HOST folder on ubuntu’s Filesystem. Runs smoothly on my Acer laptop.

  12. @loy – No it doesn’t. Like I said in the post, Wubi installs Ubuntu like an ordinary Windows application which you can install/uninstall anytime and doesn’t mess up the Windows file system.

    About your hard disk space, I think you really need to buy that new hard drive or maybe an external hard drive. If its a Windows-only application, most likely you won’t be able to use it on Ubuntu but you could try installing using Wine. If it doesn’t work, then you don’t have to worry coz you can dual boot Windows and Ubuntu, so all you need to do is reboot and login to Windows. :)

  13. So it doesn’t replace Windows completely? That’s nice. However, my disk space has less than the 5GB required (mainly because of all the downloaded movies haha!), so I’m considering buying a new hard drive. By the way, there are some applications that works (only?) with Windows, so wouldn’t that be an issue with Ubuntu?

  14. @jan – I also play online games whenever I don’t have anything to do. Installing Ubuntu via Wubi doesn’t affect your Windows installation whatsoever. You can continue playing online games like WoW from Windows not from Ubuntu. Although you can run and play some Windows apps and games on Ubuntu using Wine.

  15. Playing online games is one of the things I reward myself with whenever I have posted. Pardon my ignorance, can I play my online games with Ubuntu installed, say WoW?

  16. @loy – You think its cool? Wait til you try it out. You don’t have to be afraid of trying Ubuntu out especially with Wubi. It installs Ubuntu like any other regular Windows application and if you don’t like it, you can uninstall it w/o having to worry about Windows getting messed up.

    Installation requires a minimum of 5GB free hard disk space. If you want a version of Ubuntu that uses very minimal amount of resources, choose Xubuntu. That’s what I installed in my old laptop, that had 128 MB of RAM and it worked smoothly. :D

  17. Wow! Ubuntu looks really cool. I’m getting sick and tired of my cluttered Windows XP desktop. But knowing me, I am afraid of trying out new things..hehe.. I’m still in my comfort zone. :-)

    By the way, how much disk space does Ubuntu uses? My hard drive is fast becoming crowded and I hope that memory usage is not much of an issue.

  18. wow! this is a great help jayps…i will try to make this my reference when i install ubuntu to my new laptop (very soon i will have one, still scanning the different models and brands around)

  19. @JP – You definitely should try it and you don’t have to worry about it messing up Windows. Installation and uninstallation is quick and easy. Btw, make sure you read the instructions before you install to make sure everything goes smoothly.

    Maybe you can share with us your experience with using Wubi or installing Ubuntu. You’re welcome!

  20. might try this. i’ve already downloaded wubi and the iso file of ubuntu. i’ll install this when i get back in romblon. thanks for sharing this.

  21. @K – I couldn’t afford a Mac so the best thing I could do is this. Hehe It does look like the reacl mccoy. Most people won’t know the difference but experienced Mac users will.

    I don’t have Adium, its actually Pidgin, a cousin of Adium and I used Adium’s icon for the dock shortcut. :D

  22. @jhay – Haven’t you tried Wubi before? Or did you do a native install of Ubuntu?

    What you can do is use Wubi to install Ubuntu and have it dual boot with Windows so anytime you need to use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom 2, you just reboot and load Windows. That’s what I do. Although for basic image editing/manipulation I just use Gimp so I don’t have to reboot. :D

  23. @jan – Ubuntu is awesome! I believe that the Philippines is one of the countries that should use and benefit from using Ubuntu. The government should also promote it more to help minimize software piracy.

    Whats keeping people from using it is familiarity. We grew up using computers running on Windows and most of us are afraid to try new things. Ubuntu would be ideal for our public schools since its free and it has all the necessary programs like Open Office which is equivalent to MS Office, Gimp an alternative to Adobe Photoshop just to name a few.

  24. Had Wubi lying around in my hard drive for weeks now but had not yet found the time to actually install it and relieve the glory of using Ubuntu once more.

    Plus, I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop CS and Lightroom 2 so much this past weeks it would take longer for me to switch back to Ubuntu again. ;)

  25. Ubuntu is great. In our town, however, only the municipal government uses it and perhaps a select individuals. With the functionality of dual boot I think a lot of Filipinos’ reluctance to using open software will be overcome. Even in small increments that’s a lot of help. Very valuable post. And the promise of a tutorial to come? Bingo! :)

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