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I installed Ubuntu inside Windows XP using the Wubi installer. But when I reboot and try to select Ubuntu, I cannot do so; when I press F12, it doesn't come up on the boot menu as a choice.

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Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! I've edited your post so it says what I think you mean, but please roll back my edit and/or edit further if it does not. – Eliah Kagan Jan 24 '13 at 1:12

F12, when it has any affect at all, usually has the affect of bringing up the BIOS's boot menu where you can select between physical devices to boot. It does not facilitate selecting between different operating systems on the same device.


You installed Ubuntu inside Windows XP using wubi.exe, so your Ubuntu system was installed inside the Windows XP partition and should be available from the Windows boot menu. If Windows boots up without giving you the option to choose between Ubuntu and Windows, this should help you.

If not, please expand your question to provide more details, including what happened when you tried that.

Standalone Installations

If you had installed Ubuntu by itself (using the entire disk) or alongside Windows (both methods involve booting from a CD/DVD or USB flash drive. After installing, if you cannot boot Ubuntu, the solution is to reinstall Ubuntu's GRUB2 boot loader to the Master Boot Record. See:

Starting a Standalone Installation

When you start a standalone installation of Ubuntu by booting from a CD/DVD or USB flash drive, you do often have to tell your computer to boot from the CD/DVD/USB instead of the hard disk. In that case, for many machines (particularly, Dells), you would press F12 to select a boot device. So if that is not working:

  • Make sure F12 is the correct key for your computer, as this is not universal. Soon after you power on the computer, it should tell you briefly what key to press to access the boot menu.
  • You can go into the BIOS Setup instead and change the boot order. On many machines--at least Dells--the key for that is F2. Other common keys are F10, Escape, and Delete.
  • If you're booting from a CD/DVD make sure it was written from an ISO with a good MD5SUM, burned with proper technique (here's one way), and try writing it at the slowest possible speed (this can reduce errors).
  • If you're booting from a USB flash drive, make sure it was written from an ISO with a good MD5SUM and written with proper technique (here's one way, here's another).
  • Not all computers support booting from a USB flash drive--older computers often do not. Furthermore, the computer can be confused as to which device to boot when there are multiple USB drives plugged in (whether they're flash drives / pen drives or full-size external hard drives connected via USB). I recommend disconnecting all USB drives (and devices that are in some ways treated like drives, like portable music players) from the computer before attempting to boot Ubuntu from a live USB.
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thanks for the help. I finally got into ubuntu. But now I can't unlock the XP Partition in Gparted, it's locked. I don't have a CD that I boot from, can anyone help with this? I am very new to this and don't understand all of the lingo on here – user125604 Jan 24 '13 at 3:32
@user125604 What are you trying to do? Why are you using GParted? What is your goal? Have you installed Ubuntu? If not, how are you in GParted? Did you boot from a USB flash drive? Did you install Ubuntu from inside Windows (so the installation started before you ever rebooted) using Wubi? Beyond the generalities in my answer, it's unlikely anyone can help you unless you give us more information. You don't need to explain what you're doing in a perfectly accurate technical manner, but we do need to know more about what you are attempting to achieve. – Eliah Kagan Jan 24 '13 at 3:35
i installed using WUBI. I got into ubuntu but i want to get rid of XP completely. I don't care about anything on there and just want this to run ubuntu. I opened the Gparted and tried to delete the partition that was XP but it was locked. I restarted the computer and now it can't find XP or Ubuntu. – user125604 Jan 24 '13 at 3:42
@user125604 You can't remove Windows and keep a Wubi system, since it's is located inside the Windows partition. We don't have one master question about that but see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. If you want just Ubuntu you should boot from an Ubuntu CD/DVD/USB, telling the installer to use the entire disk. (Offload documents first!) – Eliah Kagan Jan 24 '13 at 4:11
@user125604 Do you have all your documents and any other important files offloaded? Anything in the Windows or Wubi Ubuntu systems will be erased when you install the new Ubuntu system over it all. If you don't, then you'll need to access your files. But it sounds like you're saying you cannot boot Ubuntu or Windows. Is that the case--neither OS boots currently? If so, please provide the complete and exact text of the error messages. Also, where are your documents and any other important files? Are they all in your Windows system or are some in the current Ubuntu system? – Eliah Kagan Jan 24 '13 at 4:13

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