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I have a little issue, I got myself a little Zotac nano XS PC and I installed Ubuntu on it. Now what I would like to do is to give a try with Windows 8 w/o having to make an USB bootable or anything like that.

Is there a way to install Windows once Ubuntu is on the machine?

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Have you dedicated all the partitions for Ubuntu's system directories? –  Samik Jun 1 '12 at 19:30
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3 Answers 3

You will have to boot from Windows install media to install it on the hardware. You can install it in a VM without having to boot off any special media, but you won't be able to boot directly into it either. I wouldn't recommend trying to install Windows to real hardware, from within a VM though. It is very easy to break everything in that case.

Also, you will need to be aware that installing Windows after Ubuntu, will make it difficult to boot into Ubuntu, as it will overwrite the boot record on the primary drive. Also, Windows is very picky and tends to require that it be installed on the first drive, in case you were planning to install it on a second drive.

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Can you provide some information about Windows wanting to be installed on the first physical drive? I have not heard of this, and I have not experienced it. (I've installed Windows on physical drives besides the first, without problems.) –  Eliah Kagan Jun 1 '12 at 19:51
    
And it doesn'tmake booting into ubuntu impossible. It just requires a little fix. Headache i know, but in no way impossible. There are even tools for doing that! –  Mahesh Jun 2 '12 at 1:17
    
@Mahesh It makes it impossible without fixing the problem introduced by replacing the boot record. Without the tools and knowledge, booting Ubuntu will indeed be impossible. –  dobey Jun 3 '12 at 0:29
    
@dobey agreed. Have a look at Rescatux –  Mahesh Jun 3 '12 at 5:34
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If your Ubuntu installation used up all the disk space then no, it can't be done, because you'd need to boot off a USB or CD in order to resize your Ubuntu partition (can't resize when you boot from the hard disk as the partition is in use).

If you can boot off USB or CD, then

  1. From the Live USB or CD, launch gparted and shrink your Ubuntu partition, leaving enough space to install Windows. I'm unsure of Windows 8's HD space requirements.

  2. Follow instructions here for "installing Windows after Ubuntu". The thing to keep in mind is that Windows needs to be installed in the free space you have, ask it to leave the Ubuntu partition alone, and Windows will most likely clobber Ubuntu's bootloader, so you need to reinstall Grub2 for it to work again.

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In all honesty, installing to a USB drive is very inexpensive, can be done on USB 2.0 (although obviously 3.0 is better), and has the additional benefit of sandboxing so you don't mess up your Ubuntu system with dual-boot or any of that nonsense.

The process of creating a Windows 8 live USB installation is very simple and can be done on a drive as small as 4 GB. For the purpose of testing, USB 2.0 should suffice. Hope this helped!

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OP asked for a way to "install" Windows 8 "without making a USB bootable". This guide also requires already having an install of Windows, which OP does not. Not an answer. (However, this could be helpful to someone else; try making your answers more relevant to the questions for better luck on Ask Ubuntu!) –  WindowsEscapist Nov 25 '12 at 16:25
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