My family might be buying a Windows Surface tablet with Windows RT (Nvidia)? I was wondering if I can run Ubuntu or WUBI on it for my homework?

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    great question! Ubuntu tablets are definitely a community interest, and canonical knows that! nobody can answer this question-yet. we really need to get our hands on the surface and start hacking. only 2 days until launch, 3 until its hacked. Oct 25, 2012 at 8:40
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    I'd take a wild guess and say it depends on three things. 1) The processor architecture. Debian runs on nearly every architecture that was ever seriously used so I bet that wont be a problem for long. 2) The boot procedure. Whether it be BIOS, UEFI, or something Microsoft cooks up on their own. Included in this is task of getting Ubuntu onto the internal disk. 3) Device drivers. If there's no support for the hardware, then Ubuntu may not be able to run in a functional way (i.e., no video, no touch input, no network ability, etc).
    – Huckle
    Oct 30, 2012 at 15:36
  • Because it has an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, I would assume the processor architecture is ARM, and that system software can be installed using nvflash when the device is in APX mode. It might be a challenge developing a working linux kernel for it because it was only designed to run Microsoft's kernel.
    – user530873
    Oct 30, 2012 at 17:44
  • Someone got Ubuntu to install on the Surface Pro, which isn't an arm chip, but the information might be useful. Their instructions are here
    – zchrykng
    Apr 25, 2013 at 14:04
  • You can install Raspberry Pi OS!! openrt.gitbook.io/open-surfacert/surface-rt/linux/… I managed to install Ubuntu MATE 22.04 for Raspberry Pi with the same procedure described in that website, but it turns out to be much slower than RPiOS. Sep 17 at 2:04

4 Answers 4


Since on the RT tablet I would say no, since Microsoft requires secure keys in order to boot up it. It would probably on a standard Windows 8 tablet though, since the secure boot is an optional thing for OEM's, unlike the mandatory one for the Surface.

Here is a similar question



In short, it doesn't look likely without some extreme hacking that nobody has done.

Microsoft have deliberately nobbled the Windows 8 specification so that this can't happen on ARM-based machines.

To be Windows 8 RT compatible (ARM machines only) it must not be possible to disable or reconfigure secure boot. So if you have an ARM machine that can run Windows 8 RT then it can only run an operating system signed by Microsoft.

So the Surface RT is like all other Windows 8 RT in that it's very much a device for muggles and mouse mittens; no Linux or BSD wizardry allowed, no dual-booting hacked-up iOS and no Android either. I can understand why they'd do this because most people are pointers and clickers, but it's not a machine for tech-heads.

The Surface Pro has an Intel i5 machine so hopefully Ubuntu 13.04 will support it of the box, if it does then I'll get one.

Source: Windows Phone Central Forums

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    Ubuntu can be installed on the Surface Pro. Instructions
    – user112224
    Jul 17, 2013 at 3:45
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    @user112224 That is the Surface Pro not RT. Big difference ;)
    – Seth
    Feb 25, 2014 at 22:23
  • Ubuntu was the first operating system to support Secure Boot – before Windows. Apr 1, 2014 at 15:47

Yes: Microsoft recently leaked so-called "golden keys" used to (essentially) disable secure boot on RT devices.

This makes it possible to run Ubuntu on RT devices; how to do it would be a nice follow-up question, and there doesn't seem to be many guides out there.


I'm not sure if this would work but if you

  1. Go to your settings go to "Change PC Settings"
  2. And "Devices"
  3. Then to "Recovery"
  4. And look under "Advanced startup" and you might be able to try and start your surface using a usb with Ubuntu on it
  • why all the downvotes? does that work or not?
    – feedc0de
    Feb 14, 2016 at 15:53
  • It won't work for sure. MS has specifically locked modifying the SecureBoot from applications. It's locked at chip level :-(. So the option you mentioned might not work possibly, and quiet possibly will not work. Aug 31, 2016 at 17:11

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