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WARNING! This is an old post and I wrote it when Ubuntu didn’t support UEFI modes very well. Please follow the steps in this post only after you exhausted all other solutions online. MAKE BACKUPS of everything, including your Windows partition. You will lose all your data !

Most newer laptops these days have UEFI enabled by default. Even though UEFI is an improvement over traditional BIOS booting methods it is still a very recent technology and has it’s own quirks and bugs. Support for UEFI on Linux is at an early stage. Installing Linux on a such a system along with Windows might not work out smoothly for everybody. This guide assumes that using UEFI and GPT is not very important to you and your only concern is to dual boot both Linux (Ubuntu) and Windows on your newly bought system. It also assumes that you are ready to delete all your partitions. Hence creating a complete backup of your data is absolutely important before proceeding. I tried these steps on an Asus laptop but it should work on most laptops with an option to disable UEFI in their BIOS settings.

  1. Go into BIOS and disable UEFI. Save settings and restart and go into BIOS again
  2. If somewhere there is a setting to delete boot options then delete all the boot options.  Else skip this step. Even though I am pretty sure that you cannot delete CD/DVD from boot option but if you can then don’t do it. Save all settings and restart and go into BIOS again.
  3. Put your windows DVD in the optical drive.
  4. Somewhere (mostly on the last tab of your BIOS if it’s an Asus laptop) you will find an option for boot override. Select your DVD drive and press enter. Remember that this boot over ride option should NOT contain UEFI in it’s name.
  5. You will now boot from windows DVD non-UEFI mode.
  6. During windows installation select “custom install” and then delete all existing partitions on your harddisk. Create partition for windows. When creating this partition windows will automatically make another small partition of about 100MB size as system reserved. Leave the rest of the unallocated space for now. We will take care of that space while installing Ubuntu.
  7. Once windows installation is done put your Ubuntu CD in the drive and boot from it again
  8. During installation of Ubuntu select the option “do something else” and create a primary partition for Ubuntu.
  9. Now after creating partition for Ubuntu click on the rest of the unallocated space and click on create new partition again. But this time slected extended partition
  10. Once you create extended partition you should be able to see all your unallocated space in a sub menu under this newly created extended partition. In this unallocated space you make rest of your partitions like linux-swap (necessary for linux to work efficiently and for hibernate to work correctly) and other partitions for your data.
  11. Make sure that the bootloader device is sda without any partition number after it.
  12. Proceed with installation. If everything goes well you should be able to dual boot to both Ubuntu and Windows.

Note : If using UEFI is important to you then this guide might help –



  1. Replying to Jayneil’s comment :

    It seems like you just disabled the UEFI mode but did not follow the other steps I mentioned. Please make a backup and try to follow those steps and let me know if you have any problems.

    Edit : UEFI doesn’t work in Ubuntu out of the box yet. So I would suggest you to just not use it.

  2. I have no way to R/R windows if I delete my partitions. No disk was supplied and no way to make one other than a windows backup. But that only works if you already have windows running.

    Pretty much you get choice – either stuck with windows or stuck with linux and no dual booting under uefi.

    I removed my factory hard drive, disabled uefi in bios, installed linux to a flash drive. Linux worked.
    I then reinstalled he hard drive to boot from windows (reactivated uefi in bios) and windows forced a reinstall, then linux was inaccessible.

    I want to preserve my intact hard drive for warranty purposes on my new laptop. Otherwise if I remove win7 home premium then have a problem they will charge me to reinstall everything back to factory.

    Run fro DVD/CD is out of the question. It takes a long time to boot and is much slower than booting from a flash drive.

    Pretty much I want to use different flash drives to run different versions of linux without tampering with windows. Plug in and unplug at my whim, just like I could do when dual booting with XP. I do NOT want either to boot manage the other. If one gets damaged then neither will work. Had it happen before many times. I used to select which drive I waned to boot from by pressing F12 at boot up. I could choose XP drive or a different drive with Linux on it. This worked very well, especially when I ran a RAID 5 array for windows xp. But now I have Win7 Home Premium and things don’t work like I want them to.

    Please remember, if windows gets damaged it will cost me a lot of money to ship the laptop back for repairs and the cost of repairs too.

    If linux would support Cricket USB ZTE mobile inernet dongle I could just pull the hard drive and save it if I needed warranty issues resolves. That dongle isn’t even recognized in the hardware of linux at all! And only works with Windows.

    Please note: I am a computer user, not a command line user. If I can’t point and click to get things done I go elsewhere.

    Any realistic suggestions other than buying Acronis True Image Plus to copy my Win7 C: partition to another hard drive and installing some version of Linux on that drive as well? This would preserve my factory hard drive and if the smaller SSD drive gets messed up I can simply copy things back and reinstall linux.

    I am on a new ASUS K55a laptop from best buy. Core i5 (3rd gen I think), 4gb ram.

    Until any decent user friendly version of Linux like Ubuntu, Mint, PCLOS, Puppy and similar come up with a way to recognize and work with my cricket prepaid usb zte internet dongle I am stuck with windows.

  3. The main problem with deleting partitions and reinstalling is that manufacturers do not provide a recovery imaging disk.
    I have had very little success with imaging windows then trying to get the image to reinstall windows.

    Most new computers have a warranty. Installing another operating system or tampering with partitions can result in having to pay to get the computer put back to factory condition before diagnosis. So disabling uefi can cause warranty issues.
    Note: So far, all versions of linux work when running from DVD/CD. I cannot get any to work from a flash drive. If you installed Linux to a flash drive alongside windows, then subsequently removed the flash drive will windows scoff?

    Ideally if you can image the C: partition for windows, remove the hard drive, restore the image onto another hard drive and install Linux alongside windows you can do what you want. Keep the factory hard drive intact someplace safe, just in case.

    It is absurd that they put uefi on computers with less than 2GB hard drive.
    They put it on mine (500GB).

    As a result I cannot install Linux. If I disable uefi windows forces a reformat and reinstall from the recovery partition.
    I haven’t tried that – at the recovery screen I rebooted and went back into BIOS and turned uefi back on then did the R/R.

    If Linux found a way to detect my usb dongle and get it to work properly I would pull the drive out and install Linux on an SSD drive.

    I can find no mfr that makes a USB internet dongle that works with Linux, let alone one that is a (local – cash) prepay one.

    So, between uefi and no internet (mobile) dongle, everyone that wants to roam away from a WiFi is forced to use Windows.

    I miss my Linux…
    And HATE Microsoft forcing me to keep windows if I want to use Linux.

    I don’t want ANY part of windows even knowing I have or use Linux.

    Please somebody come up with a solution. If the USB dongle worked I could pull Windows and not have to worry about UEFI, Windows, or any other of the issues.

    A suggestion: instead of disabling UEFI why not make a version of Linux that installs from inside windows to a flash drive and have it appear like a CD/DVD ROM at boot up. This could circumvent the need for fooling with UEFI, you could use Linux as desired, and windows wouldn’t know a thing nor have issues when removing the flash drive for laptop storage/transportation.

    Another suggestion: have Linux automatically make a RAM Drive at start up and put temp files and temp internet files (I am talking about YOU Firefox) on that drive. No need to write to the flash drive or SSD drive as often. Most new computers come with at least 4GB of ram.

    • You have mentioned a lot of problems in just one comment. I am going to try to answer as much as I can.

      1) If you are worried about warranty issues then before deleting partition you can use window’s backup/restore center to make recovery disks. These disks can be used to re-install windows just the way it was.

      2) If you disable UEFI and then try to restore windows through recovery then you it will ask you to reformat because that recovery image is made for a different partition scheme.

      3) I don’t know what USB dongle you are using but I am pretty sure there are many USB internet dongles which work with LINUX. People made them work with Linux kernel on android based tablets as well.

      4) What you mentioned in your first suggestion can be done using Ubuntu using “Startup Disk Creator”. You can look it up. It’s very easy to use.

      5) I think your second suggestion won’t be very ideal for people who want to use it for their everyday purpose. You can use Ubuntu from a flash drive created using “Startup Disk Creator”. It also gives you an option to allocate space for your documents and personal settings on this flash drive. Another option is to use burn Ubuntu iso on a DVD with closing the session so that when you use Ubuntu from that DVD it can write your files and personal settings back to that DVD. I haven’t really use that DVD option so I am not sure how well it works or if it works at all.


        • Zolar1
        • Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:52 AM
        • Permalink

        I did the flash install but forgot to take out a second flash drive I was using for readyboost.
        The ilinux flash drive does work like a DVD ROM though.

        Now, when I do not use the flash drive and try to boot into windows with the 2nd flash drive still connected windows says it can’t find ntldr and wants to R/R windows.

        If I remove the 2nd flash drive and restart windows, then windows boots normally.

        Yes, I worry about the warranty. What good will 4 DVD disks do to restore windows when windows is needed to use them??

        Puppy wary did detect the dongle and said it was configuring it. But no listing in the network stuff nor did the dongle work.

        I looked all over the internet (USA companies) and no one has one that is a locally prepaid one and works with linux.
        They ALL want your personal information even for a cash & carry service. That is tantamount to giving personal information out just to buy something to eat and doesn’t sit well with me.

        For the dongle I use , it costs $45/month plus taxes for 4GB of max data speed per month (3G). 4G is not available in my area.

        The dongle is a ZTE Cricket AC3781 USB dongle.

        I would write more but I hate laptops – they keep screwing with what I try to write.

        • bhaismachine
        • Posted October 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM
        • Permalink

        You are getting that ntldr missing error because when you try to start your laptop with the flash drive inserted (the one for ready boost) your laptop is probably trying to boot from flash drive first. format the flash drive once from widnows or just plug it in after windows starts. So that shouldn’t be a problem.

        As far as I know installing another OS does not void laptop warranty. Have you actually read about it anywhere in the warranty agreement ? You should look it up online.

        Also from what I understand you have a working windows on your laptop. I suggest you to use the backup and restore settings to create recovery dvd (just system recovery and not an entire backup) so that you can reinstall windows using it anytime in future.

        • Zolar1
        • Posted October 29, 2012 at 9:10 PM
        • Permalink

        Again, thanks for your help. I wonder if unetbootin would be better to use?

        I can get linux installed to a flash drive with a different program (universal usb installer) and can boot either OS. However if during the install process supplied by the linux distro of choice and linux decides to tamper with uefi then windows will scoff and force a R/R and linux won’t be bootable – I tried this.

        Why in the world did they mess up a great way to do things with uefi??
        To me it seems that the big boy on the block wants absolute control over everything and uefi is just a start of it all.

        About firefox – it would seem that if people want to set their temp internet files to different location, be it a flash drive, ram drive, or even a traditional hard drive, there should be a gui for it.
        As computers get more modern and prices come down, ssd’s will be more common place and all that writing would wear them out sooner. But if you used a ram drive you get very fast loading of pages instead of waiting for the ssd to write slowly. If you used a flash drive and it got worn out you just toss it and put in another $5 flash drive.

        I looked at bcdedit. It seems a bit risky to me.

        Let’s say I want to swap different versions of linux on a whim. If uefi is tampered with that would mean that would have to R/R windows every time. The flash drive is about the safest way to use linux without tampering with uefi but it is a bit slow.

        About imaging windows to make a restore disk – would it work if I used a much smaller ssd drive than the regular drive I have? I would love to copy just the C: partition of win7 to an ssd and then install linux as a dual boot to the same drive, preserving the original win7 install as a backup. That way I can use my dongle when needed and linux for all other times.

        I did a lot of research on the ZTE internet dongle. No one has a way to get it to work yet. And the MFR is no help iand neither is Cricket. The dongle was made just a few months ago.

        • bhaismachine
        • Posted October 29, 2012 at 9:28 PM
        • Permalink

        You are welcome!
        You are making things slightly more difficult then they actually are.

        While installing on flash drive Linux will tamper with your hard disk only if it is selected as the device to install grub on. You should select your flash drive for grub installation. If you are absolutely worried about that then just removed your hard drive before you plan to install on flash drive.

        Use backup and restore center and use “make system image” on a DVD. This way no matter how much you mess with your partitions you can restore it to factory settings. Once again did you actually go through your warranty agreement ? Installing custom OS in most cases does not interfere with hardware warranty.

        “Let’s say I want to swap different versions of linux on a whim.” It was precisely for this reason I wrote my blog post. If you made a system image disk as I just mentioned then go ahead and follow the steps in my post. I believe that you can the system image DVD to install windows while following my guide.

        • zolar1
        • Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM
        • Permalink

        the mfr does not support linux. They told me I have to have win7 on it before making a warranty claim or they would charge me to put it back on to troubleshoot anything. Just got to love the lack of knowledge that the customer service people have.
        The minimum reload price is $146.00 US.

        I installed Linux Mint to an external ssd drive with a USB 3.0 connection to a USB 3.0 port. I just plug it in when I want to use it and select it at boot up.

        Personally I do not want or need any boot manager and wish I could get rid of both. I would rather neither ‘knows’ about the other.
        Less problems that way.

        I have not tried a system image disk set. I do not have a spare laptop drive to test it on.

        I can only use linux when connected to wifi or a landline. If it would work with my dongle I would pull windows out in a heartbeat.
        But I do not know how to use the command line nor linux file system. So I cannot play with the settings via command line.

        Note: your emails go to my spam folder no matter how many times I try to tell it not to.

  4. Heys.

    With UEFI disabled, my Linux can’t detect my windows 7 partitions. They read whole disk as empty.
    I will have to keep formatting till I can finally detect my windows 7.

    • You will have to reformat your hard drive after disabling UEFI and then install Windows and Ubuntu on it. Goodluck!

        • TheOnion
        • Posted November 19, 2012 at 6:42 AM
        • Permalink

        Heys thanks for replying..

        Actually thats what i did:
        Disabled the UEFI
        Booted from Win7 DVD in non-UEFI and installed Win7.

        However it is known WIn7 will turn ANY disk to GPT “mode” which linux will have a problem with.
        Some people say pre-partition before installing WIn7.

        I am not sure how accurate is that.

        • bhaismachine
        • Posted November 19, 2012 at 7:11 AM
        • Permalink

        If you booth from Windows 7 DVD in non-UEFI mode then it shouldn’t covert your disk to GPT while partitioning it. There isn’t much harm in pre-partitioning an installing Windows 7. I would suggest you disable UEFI and see if you haven’t missed step 2 (or any of those initial steps in my post) and then boot in Ubuntu and use Gparted to create partitions.

  5. Heys,

    nope, my HDD is still detected as completely empty.
    Yes i do use GParted for my partitioning. Both GParted and the installer do not see my win7 partition
    My laptop is a single physical HDD 750GB

    Yes I have checked in win7 using diskmgmt.msc and found my disk to be MBR (there was a “convert to GPT”, indicating my disk was in MBR)

    UEFI is still disabled as of now.
    I have also read about the fact if UEFI is causing much problem, maybe installing in UEFI mode for both win7 and ubuntu is recommended?

    What are your takes? o.O

    • To add on, GParted actually still detects my HDD as containing GPT Tables @_@
      How is this possible when my disk is still in MBR @_@?

    • Hmm I never had that problem and it seems bit weird to me. Maybe try installing Ubuntu first and then Windows on another partition and then fix the GRUB using live cd/usb.

  6. You say, ” You will have to reformat your hard drive after disabling UEFI and then install Windows and Ubuntu on it. Goodluck!” This is not the best advice. Telling people to delete all boot options is also not wise. You Dont have to disable UEFI. UEFI is Not whats keeping Linux distros from installing and booting with Windows 8. There is a feature called Secure Boot that is enabled by default on all new OEM Windows 8 systems. This is a security feature designed to keep malware out of your system to ensure you receive a clean system when you buy it. Microsoft requires that this feature can be disabled by the user on all non ARM Pc’s that ship with Windows 8. See ” Windows Hardware Certification Requirements for Client and Server Systems” sections 14, 17 and 18. It’s no big deal because you can disable Secure Boot and not have to switch to Legacy Bios mode. Many people who do not have physical disks will not want to format thier new Windows 8 systems. This is a non issue with the latest Ubuntu anyway because it is Secure Boot compliant and will work with UEFI and Secure Boot. Mint 14, and the latest Fedora are also compliant. Sure, you Can only run in Legacy Bios mode if you want to but you are missing security features of UEFI your UEFI compliant PC is designed to take advantage of (even with Secure Boot disabled) . Running in UEFI also makes hardware access Much faster. The trick it to get a boot manager like rEFInd which is able at boot to detect all operating systems installed that require either UEFI or legacy bios to run and it will give you a working boot menu so you can choose your OS. Both Windows cannot do this and grub 2 has problems trying to do it. Have a look at this page for more info on rEFInd

    • Hello Electric Rider!

      Thanks for the detailed reply. I am aware that the latest versions of Ubunut (and other distros) have better UEFI support out of the box , however when I was trying to install Ubuntu 12.04 on an ASUS laptop it never worked which is precisely why I disabled secure boot on that laptop and went through the steps I mentioned in the post. Though I accept that I didn’t put enough warnings in that post about removing all partitions and about actually using my method as a fall back in case Ubuntu fails to install properly using UEFI mode. I have added clear warnings at the beginning of this post now.

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