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I have a question concerning Windows 8 and dual booting with Ubuntu 12.10. I've researched answers here, but haven't seen a question that resembles mine exactly: Ubuntu install and dual Boot with Windows 8 UEFI

UEFI hardware and dual booting with windows

Ubuntu 12.10 wont boot

Specifically, I'm pondering installing a fresh install of Windows 8 (for game purposes), and a fresh install of 12.10 and dual booting them. I'm not sure if UEFI is hardware specific or software specific, and I'm worried if I try to implement the dual boot I'm going to run into UEFI issues and have to go through the grief of getting things up and running by following a long and tedious procedure. Can I, starting with Windows 8, then install 12.10 without too much hassle?

My current hardware config is: Microstar Motherboard 7514 with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The drive I'm thinking of using is a Western Digital TB drive, new out of the box. As always, any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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2 Answers 2

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Can I, starting with Windows 8, then install 12.10 without too much hassle? 

Yes you can. Please read the Ubuntu Community Doc about UEFI: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UEFI

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Thanks, Lovin. I hope to get a dual-boot up and running soon. My machine is old enough where I think I can avoid any problems. I'll be checking your link if that changes. –  Sir Linuxalot Dec 17 '12 at 6:00

"Too much hassle" is of course subjective.

UEFI is relatively new. This means that software support in Linux distributions is still a bit rough around the edges, and documentation and help is less profuse than is the case for BIOS-mode installs. That said, installing both Windows 8 and Linux is possible. It helps to know a bit about EFI and EFI boot loaders. My own EFI Boot Loaders for Linux Web page may be a good place to start learning.

Since it sounds like you're building a computer from scratch rather than buying a system in a store with Windows 8 pre-loaded, another option is to install in BIOS/legacy boot mode. The vast majority of UEFI motherboards support BIOS/legacy-mode booting, and using this option can help you manage in the short term.

One thing to keep in mind is that you want to install both OSes in the same boot mode (EFI or BIOS/legacy). Although mixing boot modes is possible (particularly Windows in EFI and Linux in BIOS), it's awkward to set up and manage in this way. Unfortunately, most installers don't make it obvious which boot mode they're using, and therefore which way they'll set up the computer. For Windows, if you prepartition the disk, you can use the partition table type as a guide: If you set up Master Boot Record (MBR) partitions, Windows will install to the disk only if you use a BIOS-mode boot; and if you use a GUID Partition Table (GPT), Windows will install only if you use an EFI-mode boot. Linux is more flexible, which can actually cause problems for a dual-boot system. I recommend you drop to a shell and look for the directory /sys/firmware/efi. If it's present, you've booted in EFI mode; if not, you've probably booted in BIOS mode.

One final tip: When installing Linux in EFI mode, use a separate /boot partition, preferably with ReiserFS, ext2fs, or ext3fs. (FAT also works, but most Linux installers won't let you use FAT on /boot.) The reason is that there are EFI drivers for these filesystems, so using them to store your kernel can increase your options for boot loader configuration, even if the default installation doesn't make use of these options.

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Thanks for the useful reply Rod. I read your web page and it is extremely useful. My EFI knowledge has increased significantly because of it. –  Sir Linuxalot Dec 17 '12 at 5:59

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