Ubuntu cannot be installed alongside Windows 7

Multiboot: Several systems in parallel on one PC

Thorsten Eggeling

Older and newer Windows versions as well as Linux can be set up side by side on one PC. However, there are a few rules you should follow to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Multiboot tools also do a good job here.

One computer - multiple operating systems. This offers you numerous useful options and areas of application. For example, Windows 7 can continue to be used if this is necessary for certain applications. As a rule, however, you start a current Windows 10. With two Windows 10 versions side by side, you can use one for safe software tests, the other serves as a stable work system. Or you can also install a Windows pre-release version (Insider Build) to try out new functions.

An additional license is not required for the second Windows. If Windows has already been activated once on the computer, another installation is activated automatically. You do not have to enter a product key.

If you are planning to switch to Linux, you should first try out a live system and then install Linux on the same computer as Windows. Linux can also be set up on a USB stick; you don't have to change anything in the previous configuration.

1. Adjust the settings in the BIOS / firmware setup

Call up the BIOS / firmware setup. To do this, click on the "On / Off" button in the lower right corner of the Windows logon screen, then hold down the Shift key and select "Restart". Then go to “Troubleshoot -› Advanced Options - ›UEFI Firmware Settings” and click “Restart”. Check the boot settings. On newer PCs or notebooks, an option such as “Uefi only” can be found in a menu labeled “Boot” or “Boot Order” (or something similar), which can stay that way. However, caution is advised when “CSM”, “Launch CSM” or “Uefi and Legacy” is activated. The bios emulation CSM (Compatibility Support Module) ensures that the computer can boot in both Uefi and Bios mode.

In this case, when starting the system from the Windows or Linux installation medium, make sure that the Uefi or Bios / CSM mode is actually used, depending on the existing installation (see box).

If you want to install Linux, you should also deactivate Secure Boot. The setting for this can usually be found under a menu such as "Bios Features", "Security" or similar. In the following, set the option to "Disabled". Secure Boot ensures a tamper-proof boot environment through signed files. Current Linux distributions also support this, but only with a standard installation. As soon as unsigned drivers are added, such as for the graphics card, Secure Boot prevents the system from starting.

EnlargeDeactivating Secure Boot: Even if most Linux distributions support Secure Boot, you should deactivate the function. This avoids start-up problems with subsequently installed drivers.

Set the boot order so that you can boot from the installation medium. The settings can be found in the menu “Advanced BIOS Features”, “Boot Features”, “Boot” or similar. On newer PCs there is usually a list of boot options that you can use to select the boot partition after “Boot Option # 1”. This only works if the installation system is on the USB stick and it is connected to the PC. If the PC does not boot from the installation medium, call up the settings again and adjust the boot options.

Alternatively, you can use the boot menu of the firmware, which you can usually access via the Esc, F8 or F12 key (see manual for the motherboard / notebook). It shows a list with all hard disks or boot managers in which you can select the one you want.

Tip:The 30 best tips for Ubuntu and Linux Mint

2. Create space for another operating system

Each operating system needs its own partition. This can either be on the single hard drive / SSD in the computer or on a second hard drive / SSD.

Ideally, there is a second drive in the PC on which you can install another Windows or Linux. Systems and bootloaders can then be set up independently of one another. You are on the safe side if you temporarily disconnect the previous system hard drive and only use the hard drive on which you want to install the new system. The method also offers the advantage that the second system can be easily removed. All you have to do is reformat the hard drive and then remove any existing boot menu entries.

EnlargeShrink partition: If no empty partition is available on the hard disk, shrink the Windows partition to the desired size. This creates space for another operating system.

USB sticks or external USB hard drives can also be used for a second system. With Linux this works without any problems (see point 10). This type of installation is not intended for Windows, but it still works with some restrictions (see point 7). For this, however, Windows offers installation on a virtual hard disk. You do not need to change anything on the existing partitions (see point 8).

If there is only one hard drive or SSD in the computer, shrink the Windows partition. The size of the partition can be changed via the disk management (Win-R, diskmgmt.msc). Before you get started, back up all your important data. Changes to the partitioning always involve a certain amount of risk. You can create a backup using Macrium Reflect Free.

In Disk Management, right-click in the lower half of the window on the partition bar for the disk and select "Shrink Volume" from the menu. Now enter the desired size of the new partition under “Storage space to be reduced in MB:” and click on “Reduce”. A partition of at least 32 GB is required for Windows (64-bit), for Linux 20 GB. Significantly more is better, otherwise space will quickly run out.

You can also use Minitool Partition Wizard, Gparted in a Linux live system or the Linux setup tool to reduce, create or change partitions under Windows. All tools are considered reliable. However, you should always edit partitions with the same program, because there are small differences in the way they work.

3. Create a USB stick for the Windows installation

EnlargeStart installation from USB stick: With Rufus you create a bootable USB stick from a Windows installation ISO for the new installation of a second system.

The installation media for Windows or Linux are supplied as ISO files. You can burn an installation DVD from this. However, a setup stick is better because the installation then runs faster.

You can download the ISO file of the current Windows 10 version using the MicrosoftMedia Creation Tool, which can also create a bootable USB stick.

An alternative is Rufus. Now click on the small arrow next to "Selection", select "Download" and click on "Download". Now select "Windows 10", the desired version, edition, language and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit) - each time after clicking on "Next". Finally click on "Download".