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I need to know what are the things that are required to successfully install Ubuntu on my PC alongside Windows 8.1.

I want to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 8.1 but every forum/site mentions something about UEFI/BIOS scenario or Disk Partitioning.

These are the things I did to install Ubuntu :

  1. I have created a live Ubuntu 14.04 USB drive.
  2. I just freshly installed Windows 8.1 on my PC. I also have a backup of all my files in my external HDD.
  3. I went to Run->msinfo32 and my BIOS mode is Legacy. My PC is a quite a bit old and came with Windows.
  4. I set aside a separate partition (Local Disk E: - 30GB) just for Ubuntu installation.
  5. I also disabled Fast start-up from Power options.

My questions are :

  1. What is this UEFI/BIOS scenario and what should I do about it?
  2. If I install Ubuntu in the E: drive I reserved, will it wipe other drives?
  3. Is there something I should do in the BIOS settings of my computer?
  4. What is partitioning of a drive? Will it create new drives like F/G/H... after installing Ubuntu on it?
  5. What is GRUB and what should I do about it?

I'm sorry if my questions were stupid but please explain to me in layman terms only. I'm very new to this stuff.

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In a nutshell,

  1. UEFI is a new technology that replaces BIOS on really new machines. Often these come built-in with Windows 8. I'm assuming you installed Windows 8 yourself and you mentioned legacy BIOS, therefore you need not worry about UEFI. You should be able to install Ubuntu without any hassle.
  2. No, other drives will not be touched unless you tell the installer to do so. But, please keep in mind... Ubuntu (any linux distro for that matter) requires a special drive known as the SWAP, this will be different from what you choose to be your root drive. Think of it as extra memory of sorts. And whatever partition you reserved for ubuntu needs to be reformatted to ext3 or ext4 in order to install.
  3. No, not unless you need to. In order to install ubuntu you may need to change the boot sequence but that will be all that needs to change.
  4. Unless you have separate harddisks, what you are calling 'drives' like E: are actually partitions. these are nothing but chunks of your hard drive given a label. I suggest you read more on partitioning before you choose to manipulate them in any way. As to new drives, when you install Ubuntu on your current E drive by formatting it to ext4 for example, windows will no more recognize it as a drive. so, nothing new added but one will certainly vanish.
  5. simply put, GRUB is a bootloader, meaning it lets you boot into operating systems. When you install Ubuntu, your current bootloader will be replaced with GRUB and everytime you start your machine you will see GRUB show you the choice between Windows and Ubuntu (unless configured otherwise)

Please read the official docs before asking simple questions like those. they are easily answered by a simple web search.

  • 1
    +1 for answering point by point. On point 2. I suggest you delete the E: partition from within Windows and leave that space unallocated. Ubuntu will find it during installation and suggest that you install it there. It will create the two partitions it needs (/ and Swap) if you follow the default installation. – user68186 Sep 15 '14 at 20:38
  • Is 30GB enough for Ubuntu installation and other tasks like programming on it or should shrink more from my Windows partition? – Aadharsh Krishnan Sep 16 '14 at 11:11
  • @AadharshKrishnan yes 30 GB is enough. but if you are gonna program for android and stuff, the SDK gets pretty big. A few more GBs wouldn't hurt :) – trve.fa7ad Sep 16 '14 at 16:55

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