Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distributions available (for free, of course) on the market today, and has gained most of its popularity due to its ease-of-use and its appeal to people who don’t like to wage war against their PC to make it work for them. In that respect, EasyBCD and Ubuntu are quite alike – it couldn’t be any easier to get the two to play together nicely!

Due to a bug in Ubuntu 10.04+, the current steps are rather more convoluted than they used to be in previous versions, requiring the user to first give control of the MBR to GRUB2, and then use EasyBCD to put the Windows bootloader back in control. We have brought this issue to the attention of the Ubuntu developers, and hope to have it resolved soon.

Step-by-Step Ubuntu & Windows Dual-Boot Pictorial

Here’s a step-by-step screenshot guide to installing Ubuntu and getting it to place nice with the Windows bootloader for Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8.

You can use these steps whether no matter whether you are installing Ubuntu before or after Windows.

Installing Ubuntu…

These steps assume that you have Windows already installed and are installing Ubuntu to some free space on the drive. If that’s not the case, you’ll have to follow the steps a little more loosely than they’re written.

  1. Step One
    Insert your Ubuntu CD or DVD in the drive, and boot from it to begin setup. You can usually do this by either pressing F8/F12 to select the boot device or by changing the order of boot devices in the BIOS, depending on your motherboard manufacturer:
  2. Step Two
    Proceed to boot from the CD. You’ll see a sequence of screens that will guide you through the beginning of the setup:
  3. Step Three
    Follow the (fairly straight-forward) setup prompts as they configure your Ubuntu installation:
  4. Step Four
    At the fourth step of the wizard, you’ll be prompted to select your preferred method of partition your hard drives. You should stick to the defaults unless you’re super-sure of what you are doing:
  5. Step Five
    Continue with the wizard, fill out the forms, and select the defaults where applicable. When you reach page 7 of the installation wizard do not press the advanced button and make changes. There is a bug in Ubuntu 10.04 that does not allow you to manually install GRUB to another partition.
  6. Step Six
    Click through to begin setup. Follow the on-screen prompts once setup has concluded to restart your computer, then eject the Ubuntu CD and press the <ENTER> key to continue.

Adding Ubuntu to the Windows Bootloader

At this point, you technically have a working Ubuntu/Windows dual-boot. But you’re going to see two menus, and it’s not going to be pretty. The following instructions will clear that up for you.

If you installed Ubuntu before Windows Vista, now would be the time to get your Vista DVDs out and install it to your PC. Once Vista installed, grab yourself a copy of EasyBCD and install it to get started.
  1. Step One
    When your PC reboots, you’ll see Ubuntu’s GRUB2 menu with a multitude of (pretty confusing) choices. You want to select the “Windows Loader” as shown in the screenshot below, to boot back into Windows at this point so we can use EasyBCD.
  2. Step Two
    Once inside Windows 7, run EasyBCD. Make sure you’re using the latest and greatest version!
    At this point, go to the “Add Entry,” select “Linux,” and then select “GRUB2” from the drop-down menu. Give it a descriptive name if you so desire and click the Add Entry button when you’re done.
  3. Step Three
    Go to the “BCD Deployment” page in EasyBCD, and select “Install the Windows Vista/7 Bootloader to the MBR” then press “Write MBR”:
  4. Step Four
    Reboot your PC, and this time you’ll see the Microsoft Boot Manager screen (it’s prettier than the GRUB screen, no?) giving you two options: Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04.
    This time, choose “Ubuntu 10.04” on the first page, then select the first entry on the second page and press enter to boot into Ubuntu.
  5. Step Five
    Once inside Ubuntu, log in with your username and password and start a new Terminal as shown:
  6. Step Six
    In the terminal, type in “sudo gedit /etc/default/grub” and enter your password. In the window that opens, change “GRUB_TIMEOUT=10” to “GRUB_TIMEOUT=0” as shown, then save and exit:
  7. Step Seven
    Back in the terminal, type in “sudo update-grub” and hit enter:

All Done!

That couldn’t have been any easier now, could it?
Now that you’re an old-hand at dual-booting, we shouldn’t need to tell you what comes next (hint: reboot to test!)

Welcome to the wonderful world of multi-booting. It’s an excellent way to make the most of available resources – there’s absolutely no need to have more than one PC just to use another OS. Use whatever OS is best for whatever task at hand – that’s the golden rule of dual-booting, and one that we all live our lives by.

Drop by our forums and say hi, we’d love to hear about how your dual-booting experience is going!