I had the same problem. It seems theres some strangeness going on. The way I managed it eventually was.. to wipe windows. Then install Ubuntu .. from external flash disk, (not from an external hard drive)
You need to umount the cdrom before attempting install once in live. Then partition your drive and make sure grub is set to the right device, then install.
If you have configured all the right hard drive partitions, it should install ok. Then.. once you try to login, it may give you the 'GRUB' error.. which only lists the memtest..
I think this may have happened because I tried mulitiple installs, there are two ways to fix this .. one .. which I did not bother with because of slow internet in my country.. was to download a grub fix iso for ubuntu.. the second was to .. 'repair' the installation.. with a fresh ubuntu install.. which took a while ...
Then it booted into the glorious Ubuntu logon screen (startup takes like 5 seconds or less) very beautiful slick unity interface which I have gotten used to. The only prob is that it munches battery fast.. and not all the battery features are there. (some battery issues).
Also, alsa works better with progs like skype for sound (otherwise scratchy) need to configure SSD. In your case you may be able to do a side by side with windows.