Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm starting an Open University Maths degree soon. I'm being sent Mathcad as part of the course. It relies on .NET so doesn't seem to work in Wine. I'm therefore going to buy Windows 7 and dual boot.

I understand installing Windows isn't as user-friendly as installing Ubuntu so, to try and preserve my sanity, I wanted to know which approach is easier to get working:

  1. Keep my Ubuntu 12.04 system and install a Windows 7 partition using the Windows 7 disk; or
  2. Install Windows 7, wiping Ubuntu in the process, then install an Ubuntu 12.04 partition using a Live CD and restore from a backup?
share|improve this question
If your system is up to par, use VMWare or VirtualBox. – Mitch Jul 18 '12 at 20:52
Alas my processor doesn't support virtualization. – Garry Cairns Jul 18 '12 at 20:57
@GarryCairns You might be surprised. Virtualization solutions existed well before any part of them were implemented in hardware. If you're having trouble getting virtualization to work on your system, you might have to use an earlier version of your virtualization software, or different software. If you wish to pursue this as a possible solution, I'd suggest posting a new question about it (search first). – Eliah Kagan Jul 18 '12 at 21:37
Thanks Eliah. I may post a question even if I do find the answer myself, then answer it to get an answer on here. – Garry Cairns Jul 18 '12 at 21:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Although possible, it isn't advisable to install Windows side by side an already installed Linux OS. Windows may destroy your Linux partition if you are not careful to specify a separate partition when running the installer. And Windows will definitely destroy GRUB (your boot manager). To be safe, I would install Windows first, then install Ubuntu. In other words, option 2.

Also, virtualization extensions aren't a requirement for Virtualbox if you wanted to go the virtualization route, they are just recommended and provide performance enhancements.

share|improve this answer
Is this new? I've successfully resized linux partitions leaving space at the front which windows has seen with no problem. – 23 93 26 35 19 57 3 89 Jul 18 '12 at 21:11
@Elfy - This has always been the safe way to do it since I've been using Linux (early 2000's). Unless Windows became more open and respectful of other operating systems recently, I would continue installing Windows first, then Linux. – reverendj1 Jul 18 '12 at 21:14

There is no problem if Windows installation replaces GRUB in MBR. You can always add a "boot sector loader" to Windows 7 boot manager and boot Linux/Unix from Windows.

See here how to dual boot Windows 7 with any Linux or Unix descendant like Fedora, Ubuntu or FreeBSD for example.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.