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I have recently bought an HP laptop (HP Pavilion Touchsmart Sleekbook 15), pre-installed with Windows 8. I do like windows 8, but I wish to also have the functionality of ubuntu on my laptop.

I do not like the look and risks of GRUB, as I care for Windows 8 more than Ubuntu (Cannot replace Windows), so I need to use Windows Boot Manager of the metro UI. (Which I also like the look of more).

I know my computer has Windows installed in UEFI mode, but I am also not big on complicated steps and heavily modifying my laptop. I have looked for multiple solutions to this problem, but one is just windows boot manager in BIOS mode, another is using Grub in EFI mode.

I definitely know I can disable secure and fast boot on my computer, and I can manually partition anything I want. I do not know much about linux either, so I need help on a simple, reliable way to dual-boot ubuntu and windows 8 on my laptop in EFI mode on Windows boot Manager. I have a live flash drive for ubuntu already, and am ready to install anything, but I am reluctant because I cannot afford another laptop.

Currently, I have Ubuntu 12.04.3 on my flash, but I can change it to whatever needed at will.

Can anyone help me do this on my laptop, or should I just give up right now? I am sick of trying to find these answers but to no solution.

All I need is a solution to

  • Pre-installed Windows 8
  • UEFI
  • Windows Boot Manager
  • Simple, reliable way to do this.

Thank you for all help that you can give me, -Ben

Note: This is not the same question as (Installing Ubuntu Alongside a Pre-Installed Windows with UEFI) at all. Here I am asking how you would go around installing ubuntu on pre-installed Windows 8 as I have NOT installed anything yet. In the "Answered question" the asker is asking about Wubi on windows 8 preinstalled, AFTER he tried installing it. Please read both questions before flagging this down.

marked as duplicate by user117103, Eliah Kagan, Braiam, Eric Carvalho, stephenmyall Sep 9 '13 at 8:28

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • The point in the duplicate question is valid, how to install Ubuntu in a UEFI environment. The steps to install haven't changed in the answers on that question. The question's initial context may not be the same, however whether you're using Wubi or not, you need to change the options in the system to make installing Ubuntu alongside Windows 8 work, and the answers in the question your question is a duplicate of accurately explains that. This was correctly marked as a duplicate. – Thomas Ward Sep 9 '13 at 23:33
  • @ThomasW. I am afraid that my edited post does not apply to the now-changed linked duplicate. At the time of my edit (7 hours ago), the linked duplicate post was not about pre-installed Windows 8, but a solution to BIOS Windows 7. That is partially my fault. In addition, as I have once stated, I am new to linux, and am quite frankly a noob. I was looking for an easy step-by-step solution to this problem, because I cannot afford another laptop and the linked answers were involving things with terminal, and were pieces to fit together - things I am horrible at. – Ben Melz Sep 9 '13 at 23:52
  • @ThomasW. I forgot to mention that at this time, I was looking for a way to use the Windows 8 Boot Manager to chainload ubuntu, not GRUB. The linked question also does not explain that very clearly - if not at all. – Ben Melz Sep 9 '13 at 23:55

The Windows boot manager can not boot Linux by itself. In fact, I know of no way to chainload from the menu of the Windows boot manager to a Linux EFI-mode boot loader. First, though, you should be aware of the distinction between two types of software:

  • Boot managers are programs that give the user a choice of what OS to boot, typically through a menu.
  • Boot loaders are programs that load an OS kernel, and often related files, into memory and transfer control to the kernel.

In the Linux world, most BIOS boot managers are also boot loaders. GRUB, for instance, provides both types of functionality. Thus, Linux users tend not to distinguish between these two types of programs. In the EFI world, though, some products fall neatly into one category but not the other. The EFI stub loader, SYSLINUX, and ELILO are all boot loaders but not boot managers (except to the extent that the latter two can give you a menu of options of Linux kernels to boot; but they can't boot anything else). rEFIt, rEFInd, and gummiboot are all boot managers but not boot loaders. GRUB can handle both tasks.

This distinction can get a bit blurry because of the EFI stub loader, which is an EFI boot loader that can be built into a Linux kernel, meaning that the kernel becomes its own boot loader. The result is that boot manager configuration starts to look a lot like boot loader configuration.

In any event, a boot loader is mandatory for loading an OS. My knowledge of the Windows boot manager is a bit scant, but I don't know of a way to configure it to present a menu for chainloading to another OS (at least on EFI systems), so as far as I know, it's more of a boot loader than a boot manager, hence its lack of utility for your purpose.

On an EFI system, GRUB does not replace any Windows boot loader; it installs itself in addition to the Windows boot loader. Thus, the risks of using GRUB are pretty limited, provided you're careful not to totally erase the EFI System Partition (ESP). In a worst-case scenario, you can delete the GRUB files and the computer will begin booting straight to Windows. For added safety, back up the ESP before you begin installing Linux; that way, if you accidentally wipe it out, you can restore its files to get back to your starting point. A file-level backup (using tar, zip, cp, or the like) is fine for this, since EFI doesn't rely on hidden boot code stuffed away in boot sectors.

As I've indicated, there are several alternatives to GRUB if you don't like it. My Managing EFI Boot Loaders for Linux page describes the boot loaders and boot managers you might want to consider. Personally, I like the combination of rEFInd with the EFI stub loader; but as I maintain rEFInd, I'm not exactly unbiased.

  • Can I ask how you could do those options you last mentioned? I am not good with this sort of stuff, and as I said, I can't risk messing up my system. – Ben Melz Sep 8 '13 at 21:02
  • If by "those options you last mentioned" you mean rEFInd with the EFI stub loader, please see my linked-to page on EFI boot loaders for Linux, or the rEFInd documentation. I wrote it to be informative, after all. – Rod Smith Sep 9 '13 at 3:38

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