For the past week and a half I have been trying to figure out how to install Xubuntu 13.10 alongside the Windows 7 install I have on my laptop (ASUS X501A with UEFI) and I'm pretty much at my wit's end.

Could someone point me to set of thorough instructions on installing Xubuntu (or any of the Ubuntu derivatives) on a HDD under UEFI alongside Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium? Preferably one that also covers GRUB/bootloader problems that come afterwards.

A few additional details:

  • Motherboard does have UEFI.
  • I've disabled Secure Boot and Fast Boot. Launch CSM is enabled and the platform keys are not installed (these settings allow me to at least boot Windows 7).
  • I set the HDD's partition table to GPT through GParted before I installed Windows.
  • I'm installing from a bootable USB that has been created through a tool called Rufus with the GPT partition scheme for UEFI computers option, otherwise I've left it at default.
  • I am able to boot into Xubuntu in UEFI mode, but I'd much rather be able to see the option: Install Xubuntu Alongside Windows 7 (or however it's phrased), Xubuntu seems to be unable to recognize that Windows 7 is installed.

I do have access to a bootable USB stick containing GParted though Xubuntu seems to come preinstalled with it.

If there's anything else that might be of help, please let me know.

  • Are you sure you installed Windows 7 in UEFI mode? You have to add that capability as default is BIOS mode. And if in BIOS mode it left backup gpt partition table and then the installer or gparted will not see drive as it is not sure if MBR or gpt. – oldfred Oct 23 '13 at 16:26
  • @oldfred I'm sure it is. When I booted from the USB I had installed my Windows 7 ISO to, I made sure to select the UEFI: **USB NAME** in the boot options as I did do my research and the UEFI option does boot to UEFI mode. And it seems to be the only way TO install Windows 7 to my hard drive. – Geo Oct 23 '13 at 23:07

I've heard that there's a bug in the Ubuntu installer that prevents it from showing the "install alongside" option when a disk has four or more existing partitions. This really shouldn't be an issue for EFI-mode installs, but if the reports are correct, it is. (I've not tried to verify this myself.) Thus, you may have no choice but to use the "Something Else" option for partitioning. You could check this question and answers for general guidance on that issue. Alternatively, perhaps you could back up and delete one partition before proceeding, but without knowing what the partitions are, I can't recommend a specific one to delete. Certainly you should not delete the EFI System Partition (ESP) or the Windows C: drive. Recent versions of Windows also like to have a Microsoft Reserved Partition, which is normally empty but should not be deleted.

In terms of EFI-mode installation, my Web page on Linux EFI-mode installs covers the basics, but it's not Ubuntu-specific and it's not a step-by-step guide. The Ubuntu wiki has a UEFI page that may also be helpful.

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  • I checked this earlier using GParted just to check the state of the partitions. I only had three partitions, ESP (boot, I believe), MSR and C:. But I think I know what the problem is: In the past few trial runs I did, I shrank the Windows C: partition using GParted when I should've used the Windows Disk Management tool. I'm going to quickly back-up my personal files, make a list of what programs I have installed and give the Management tool a shot then try to install. I'll post back if it works. – Geo Oct 23 '13 at 23:47

Thanks for your help everyone, I have my laptop booting both Win7 and Xubuntu cleanly now.

How did I do it?

  • Disabled Secure & Fast Boot, enabled CSM, removed the Platform Keys and enabled Legacy Boot (even though I don't think I ultimately needed it)
  • Made sure to install the two ISO's to separate USB's using the Rufus tool using the default settings but making sure the "Partition Scheme and Target System Type" option was set to GPT partition scheme for UEFI computer NOTE: If you've already cleaned your HDD, see if you can borrow someone else's machine
  • Once done, boot from the Windows USB in UEFI mode and install
  • Once that was done, I set up Windows how I wanted (programs and updates), after I was satisfied I used the diskmgmt.msc tool with two defragging utilities (PowerDefragmenter & another tool that acted as a frontend for Contig) in several loops until I successfully shrank the C:\ drive down to 100GB (Watch out for AVG's vault files, they're stubborn) NOTE: DO NOT USE GPARTED FOR THIS STEP, IT MESSES WITH WINDOWS
  • Rebooted, booted into a Xubuntu live session in UEFI mode (make sure you're greeted with a black and white screen) and started up the installer
  • Bit the proverbial bullet and used the "Something Else" option, highlighted the unallocated space and hit the + button, chose how large I wanted the partition (100GB), left most of the options at default (Beginning of Space, Ext4 Journalling Space & Primary partition (GPT can handle it)) and set the mount point to / Hit OK
  • Created a 5GB swap space
  • In the dropdown menu on the Installion Type menu, SELECT THE EFI PARTITION FOR BOOTLOADER INSTALLATION and go through the install
  • Once done, reboot and you should be greeted with the GRUB menu
  • Windows will boot fine through the "Windows Boot Manager" option (it was the third option for me, also, Windows might run CHKDISK, just let it)
  • Xubuntu WILL boot, but not through the first option, go into the "Advanced Options" (second option for me) and choose the non-recovery mode option and Xubuntu will boot fine

Thus far I have everything working as I want, after I'm done with this post, I'll be booting into GParted and filling the remaining ~200GB with either a NTFS/FAT32 partition to act as a shared storage partition between the two.

Thanks for your help again guys. With any luck, the only other time I have to deal with this again is if I get a new laptop.

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