How to Dual-boot Linux and Windows (on a PC with Windows 7 already installed)

Picture of How to Dual-boot Linux and Windows (on a PC with Windows 7 already installed)
The purpose of this Instructable is to set up your computer to dual-boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux. Dual-booting is a technique which allows a single physical computer to run two or more operating systems (OSes). This is useful for experimenting with new OSes without putting all your eggs in one basket.
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Step 1: Getting Prepared

1. A PC running Windows 7, with at least 30 GB of free hard-drive space.
2. A CD/DVD burner and blank CD/ DVD or a USB drive with a capacity of 1GB or more
3. An external Harddrive big enough to backup your Windows installation
4. Administrative access to the PC
5. Internet Connectivity

Most PCs sold in the last three years should meet the criteria for number 1. To confirm what version of Windows you are running, go to My Computer and click on “System properties.” The listed version should be Windows 7.

From that same screen, you should see how much free space you have left, which is underneath the blue bar for each disk. In the example image, there is "8.49 GB free of 55.7GB".

NOTE: The 8.49GB shown in the example is not enough space for most people. While you can install Ubuntu to a partition this size, you will typically want more space store documents and applications. 20GB is probably the minimum size you would want.

Step 2: Select a Linux Distro

Linux comes in many flavors. Some distributions are aimed at full configurability for advanced users (Arch Linux, Gentoo), others at fulfulling simple hardware requirements (Puppy Linux, DSL), while others aim at being as easy to use and accessible as posible (Mint, Ubuntu). These different flavors, or distributions, are commonly called “distros” by the Linux community. There are hundreds if not thousands of distros available, if you're curious go to and compare. However, int this instructions set, we will use Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu is one of the most widely used Linux distros and has a very helpful community and good user interface for new users.

Dannyftm4 days ago

VMWare Player is free for non-commercial use and works for Virtual Machines (it cannot do .iso files)

russ_hensel8 months ago
This is fine as far as it goes, but if you have a reasonably large machine you should look into running ubuntu under windows in a virtual machine. This lets you run both at the same time. One way is to search instructables for "virtual box". This is an easy process.
Wait till uefi becomes standard. We will really be cut off. The public needs to boycott such machines.