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I've completed a new build and I would like to make it a Windows 7 and Ubuntu dual boot system. I am brand new to Linux and, while I have done a lot of research into ways to partition my drives and so on, I am not super clear on how to do the installs properly. I want to get these installs right the first time, so I am hoping someone can give me a clear step-by-babystep to guide me through this process. Please remember I'm a newbie with Linux and with installing OS's in general :)

I have brand new drives and am going to be doing CLEAN installs. My basic understanding is:

  1. Install windows first. Use the windows installer to set up the windows system partition on the SSD and the NTFS data partition on the HDD, leave the remaining spaces unallocated for now.
  2. Install Ubuntu next. Use the installer (GRUB if I'm not mistaken) to set up the Ubuntu partitions on SSD and HDD, choosing where to mount each partition (/, /home, etc).
  3. ???
  4. The OS's are now installed... Set up symlinks, mounts, and so on

If it's any more complicated than I described in 1) and 2) (which I'm 100% sure it is), then I could really use some guidance on the finer details: what to do and when to do it, things to make sure of, boxes to check, etc, etc.

My motherboard is an ASUS Z87 Pro, which I believe is UEFI. I've read that UEFI may require special care in installing Windows and Linux for dual boot (have to use gpt partitions, etc). What are the steps and things to check in each installation process for this situation?

I intend to have both OS's on an SSD (120GB Samsung 840 EVO), with data and a couple other partitions on an HDD (1TB Caviar Blue) My intended partition scheme (assuming gpt partitions, which may be a bad assumption?):

SSD - 120GB (Samsung 840 EVO):

  • [C:] 80GB (NTFS) -> Windows system partition
  • [sda1] 20GB (ext4) -> /
  • [sda2] 15GB (ext4) -> /home ... (moving folders for docs, media files, to HDD)

HDD - 1TB (Western Digital Caviar Blue)

  • [D:] ~800GB (NTFS) -> NTFS Data partition (Windows and OS-shared data)
  • [sdb2] ~100GB (ext4) -> Ubuntu-only data partition
  • [sdb3] 2GB (ext4) -> /var
  • [sdb4] 4GB (ext4) -> /tmp
  • [sdb5] 8GB (ext4) -> /swap (= my 8GB RAM for hibernation)

(if you have comments on my scheme, I'd appreciate hearing them, but that's not the point of this question)

A clear walkthrough of the installation processes for my case would be EXTREMELY appreciated. Thank you!

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Your general understanding looks good. What you are doing doesn't seem that crazy, there should be resources out there for how to dual boot Ubuntu and Windows using UEFI. Windows 7 should also be easier to deal with than Windows 8 for UEFI reasons.

That being said, from my experience with UEFI, I can understand your reasons for asking. If you don't want the hassle, and your BIOS supports legacy booting (not UEFI), feel free to go that route. I know my motherboard's BIOS supports both UEFI and regular MBR disks, and it's less fancy than yours.

Ubuntu has a guide for UEFI, which looks like it covers things pretty well. It discusses some common errors you may run into. I would suggest following the instructions at the beginning. Here are some specifics I would add for you:

First make sure your BIOS is set for EFI or Legacy mode (depending on which way you want to go). Then install Windows (have fun with that), it should install in the mode you set in the BIOS. You might not want to activate it until you get everything working right in case you need to start over.

Once Windows is working, boot the Ubuntu installer. Once you get to this far, if you are using EFI, it mentions:

nothing special is required if you use the automatic installer of Ubuntu

So that's good news. Just use the installer to set up your partition scheme. Windows should have created the EFI System Partition already.

Mount point: /boot/efi (remark: no need to set this mount point when using the manual partitioning, the Ubuntu installer will detect it automatically)

There are too many variables to come up with an exact checklist of every step to take. See if the above can get you started and let us know if you run into problems.

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