Developers realized quickly that many people wanted to install Ubuntu on Microsoft Windows 7 and 8 computers without removing the original operating system. This resulted in a special Ubuntu installer for Windows. The installer can be combined with other Windows tools to create a computer with two operating systems. Anyone interested in installing Ubuntu alongside Windows will want to understand the installation definition for this process and the tools that will help with the process.
Operating System Installers
Ubuntu is the easiest operating system to install alongside Windows. The Ubuntu Windows installer runs under Windows and does everything necessary to put the Linux variant on the drive. The installer allows users to specify how much space Ubuntu should use for data and files. It also downloads all required installation files from a repository. The entire installation process can be done with just a few clicks and little to no technical knowledge.
A boot manager is an operating system tool that is part of the basic input and output services, or BIOS, under Windows. The boot manager is designed to detect if different operating systems exist on the same machine. If the boot manager is active, then it will bring up a text menu when the computer is started allowing users to select which operating system to run. The boot manager makes it possible to install Ubuntu alongside Windows without having to remove one operating system first. The boot manager tool activates automatically on most systems.
Anyone who wants to have a more customized Ubuntu installation can use partitioning tools to change the structure of the target hard drive. Partitioning tools are run under Windows. They allow a user to define a specific amount of space on the hard drive that will be separated from the rest of the file system. It effectively divides a hard drive into multiple sub-drives that can each have separate file systems. Partitioning allows for custom Ubuntu installations. It could also be used to create a third partition that both operating systems can access like a common drive.
The Ubuntu Windows installer needs to download and process over 500 megabytes of data. Download errors or other problems could mean the installation fails and leaves a partially installed operating system on the drive that cannot be accessed. The Windows installer cleanup utility can walk through recent installations and remove all the files associated with the failed process. The cleanup utility is important because a failed Ubuntu installation can cause problems with a valid installation in the future.
Operating System Restore
Most computers containing both Windows and Ubuntu have no problems or conflicts. Some situations such as bad disk sectors, rogue programs or hardware issues can cause problems. Windows could become corrupted if something happens. The system restore utility allows users to save the state of Windows at any point and then restore it later if there are problems. This means it is possible to restore Windows to a working state and then run the Ubuntu Windows installer again to reestablish the operating system. System restore is an administrative tool inside Windows and as such will not need to be installed separately.