Introduction: Dual Boot Ubuntu and Windows 8 UEFI

About: eLab Hackerspace

Ubuntu installation alongside Windows has always been relatively easy to do, however, the new computers with Windows 8 have new safety and protection mechanisms and new Bios (UEFI), that make this process a little harder.

This post will guide you through the necessary steps to achieve a successful Ubuntu installation, alongside Windows 8.

Be aware that dealing with partitions is a risky job if you don't know what you're doing. You can do permanent damages and lose data.

Source: here.

Step 1: Windows Backup

Managing disk partitions is always a risky job, therefore it is advised to make a backup of your Windows files. This way, if things go wrong, you still have a last chance of recovery.

In the Windows Start menu type: “Windows 7 File Recovery” and select that option.

For some weird reason, although this is a Windows 8 machine, this tool is still called “Windows 7 File Recovery”.

On the left panel, select “System Repair Disk”.

And then also a “System Image”.

Make sure you complete those actions

Step 2: Reducing Your Windows Partition

After that it’s time to reduce the Windows partition, so you can free up some space for Ubuntu.

Right click over “Computer” and select “Manage”,  then “Storage” and then “Disk Management (local)”.

Right click the Windows partition, and select “Shrink Volume”.

Then you can select how much space you want shrink from the Windows partition. In our case, we selected around 250GB because the disk was 1TB and we’re only using about 55GB (yes, the images have different values because they were taken afterwards, just ignore that :P ).

Step 3: Preparing the Ubuntu Installer

First you need to download Ubuntu at:

We selected the 12.04 – 64 bits version. It is essential that you choose the 64 bit version, because new Windows 8 computers come with UEFI/Secureboot, which is not compatible with the 32 bits version.

Then we prepared this version on a 2GB USB pen drive using the program UNetbootin:

You should choose the second option, “Disk Image” and then select the downloaded version. At this point you should make sure that you select the correct disk that corresponds to the USB drive. Then press OK.

Step 4: Deactivating Fast Startup and Secureboot

To make sure that the operating system is installed properly, these 2 options must be disabled.

To deactivate the fast startup, you should go the “Control Panel” and select the “Energy Options”.

On the left side, select “Choose what the power button does”.

Then activate, on the top the page: “Change settings that are currently unavailable”.

At the bottom at the page, at “shutdown Settings”, deactivate the option “Turn On Fast Startup”.

And save the new settings.

Then it is necessary to deactivate the Secureboot. This tool was implemented in Windows 8 with the new UEFI Bios, as a safety mechanism to prevent malicious software from booting in your PC, as well as “non authorized” operating systems.

Therefore, this tool will block any operating system from starting, besides Windows 8. So it must be deactivated.

In order to do that, it’s necessary to access your computer Bios, search for the option “Secureboot” and change it to “Disabled”.

The boot priority should also be changed to USB, so that the pen drive can be started at the boot.

After this, the Ubuntu installation can finally start.

Step 5: Ubuntu Installation

You should now connect the USB drive to the computer and restart the system. A menu should appear with Ubuntu options, although in our case, we got a distorted menu.

But even though we couldn’t understand it, the right option should be the first one, so just pressing “Enter” should be enough.

Ubuntu will now be started normally through the USB drive.

Here, you can just start the installer: “Install Ubuntu 12.04″

You should select the language options, internet connections and then the installation type.

Select “something else” to install Ubuntu with user defined options.

It is advised to create 4 partitions:

1.    /boot – System boot installation

Size: Arround 300 MB should be enough
Partition type: primary
File system type: ext2
Mount Point: /boot

2.    /   – File system installation

Size: variable
Partition type: Logic
File system type : ext4
Mount Point: /

3.    /home – personal files storage

Size: variable
Partition type: Logic
File system type : ext4
Mount Point: /home

4.    swap – Virtual memory dedicated partition

Size: depends on the RAM, but in this case we used about 6GB
Partition type: Logic
File system type : swap area

After all partitions have been created its fundamental to indicate which partition will be used for the bootloader installation, in this case /boot.

Then the installation can be completed as you normally would.

Step 6: Boot Manager

After the installation you can shutdown the computer and remove the USB drive. Then you can restart you computer and check what happens. Ideally the boot menu should appear, allowing you to choose between operating systems, however this usually does not happen. One of the following will probably happen:

- Windows is started
- Ubuntu is started
- None starts

If none of the systems starts, this probably means that the secure boot option was not disabled.

If one of them starts, that means there is a problem with the boot management. To fix this it’s necessary to go back to Ubuntu, with the USB drive again.

Open a terminal console and install the boot-repair through the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install boot-repair

After the installation, just go to the boot-repair tool and select “Recommended repair”.

During this process, the program will require some commands to be inserted by the user in the terminal, you can just follow the instructions.

At the end, you can restart the computer and grub2 shall now appear as your boot manager.

Some boot options should now appear. In our case they were the following:

- Ubuntu, com Linux 3.8.0-31-generic
- Ubuntu, com Linux 3.8.0-29-generic
- Previous versions
- efi/EFI/Boot/bkpbootx64.efi
- Windows UEFI bkpbootmgfw.efi
- Windows Boot UEFI loader
- System setup

First option was responsible for starting Ubuntu and “Windows Boot UEFI loader” was responsible for starting Windows 8.

The computer is now ready to be used with Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 8.

NOTE: If you’re using a newer version like 14.04, you might encounter an error when trying to install boot repair, that is because the PPA is not yet updated for the new trusty release. (This might not be needed anymore, haven't tried it in a while). But if it happens, use these commands instead:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair

sudo sh -c "sed -i 's/trusty/saucy/g' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yannubuntu-boot-repair-trusty.list"

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && (boot-repair &)

Step 7: Boot Manager Customization (optional)

In order to simplify the available options you can also install the “Grub Customizer”.

Among other things, this applications allows you to:

- Set the default operating system;
- Set the boot manager timeout;
- Hide/Show boot options;

To install this tool you can just open a console and insert the following commands;

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

Then you can open the program and start customizing.

In the first tab you can eliminate/hide non desired options, so that the menu will only show the options you want. In our case, we only left one option for Ubuntu and one for Windows. With a right click you can also rename the entries, which in this case we did for “Windows Boot UEFI loader” to just “Windows 8”.

Deleted entries go to the trash bin but they can be restored at any moment.

In the middle tab, you can set the timeout for the menu to appear as well as the default operating system to start.
“quiet splash” in “kernel parameters” indicates that nothing will be displayed while Ubuntu is loading.

Then, at the final tab, you can also select a background image and text colors for the boot manager.

After you’ve made all the changes, just save the settings and restart your PC.

Now, during the system boot, a menu with only the options you chose should appear.

And that’s it! Ubuntu is now ready to be used, alongside Windows 8 and with a simplified boot manager.

IMPORTANT: Some Windows updates can deactivate the boot manager. If that happens, you might need to go back to Ubuntu and reactive it again.