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Is it safe to install ubuntu alongside windows 7?

I have a laptop with 500 GB hard disk and 2 GB RAM and it is pre-installed with windows 7.My professor asks me to install ubuntu 12.04 alongside Windows 7.

However I am not sure whether it is safe to make a dual boot system? Will it affect my hard disk ?Is there any chance of a hard disk crash?

Please help.

marked as duplicate by user68186, Ron, muru, Parto, Jacob Vlijm Aug 11 '15 at 20:17

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  • 4
    It is quite safe if I do it after a good night's sleep. It is quite unsafe if I try it at 3 in the morning and I am dozing off and my head keeps hitting the keyboard while I am partitioning the disk. Your mileage may vary. – user68186 Aug 11 '15 at 15:04

It depends on what do you call "safe"?

There is a risk of data loss if power supply fails during partitioning of the HDD.

There is also a risk that the person who installs Ubuntu removes a wrong partition or incorrectly understands what disk is. That it is not like "Disk D" in Windows. It is a physical disk.

There are lots of things that an inexperienced user can do wrong.

That is why it is always recommended to backup your important data first.

But if you do everything carefully, read manuals first, it can be pretty safe.

You can read this answer for directions.

  • Which version should I use? – user492669 Aug 11 '15 at 15:12
  • 2
    I suggest 14.04 LTS. – Pilot6 Aug 11 '15 at 15:16
  • Can you please tell Why ? – user492669 Aug 11 '15 at 15:17
  • It is a Long Term Support release with support till 2019. And I suggest installing a 32-bit version. – Pilot6 Aug 11 '15 at 15:17

Usually this is perfectly safe, however if you need to change partition sizes (e.g. resize the Windows partition to half the size), this can be a bit risky. This does not mean that you should worry too much, but do have a backup.

I am a dual-booter for nearly a decade, and never had any problems, but it is better to be safe, than sorry :)


Microsoft has taken care that it becomes a lot more of a hassle than it used to be due to "secure boot". You should search for a description on the Ubuntu forum for how to get this to run properly. Don't attempt figuring it out on your own: that's just a recipe for frustration. Be sure that you have a second computer with Internet connection available for searching on the forums/web/Internet whenever something goes wrong.

Another "don't try figuring this out yourself" is switching the "Quick Start" option or whatever it was called in Windows to "off": basically this is a suspend to disk and leaves the Windows file system in an inconsistent state. That can become a problem if you then boot Linux (or possibly Linux won't boot) and try accessing the Windows partition.

Those are the two things I remember when making my father's laptop dual-boot. I haven't been using Windows myself for decades. The Windows 7 (or was it 8? Whatever the thing with the tiles is) stuff was the hardest I remember for a long time.


If your installations are both clean, are done on a separate partition or HDD there should not be any issues.

Another thing to look for is the boot records. Make sure you have everything installed so that the master boot record (MBR) doesn't become corrupt.


This is perfectly safe.

Ubuntu will partition you HDD for you and install itself alongside Windows 7.

A very large number of Linux users run Linux dual-boot with Windows, and have no problems with it, since Linux can be run both on its own or alongside another operating system.

By the way, Ubuntu 12.04 will lose support in 2017, so if you want Ubuntu to last longer, install the 14.04 version, which is supported till 2019. It's the same as 12.04, but with extra features and bug-fixes.

  • 1
    While I positively recommend co-installing Ubuntu to everyone with a Windows PC, I wouldn't call it “perfectly safe”. Yes, it usually works just fine if you don't get anything wrong – but wrong it can go easy enough! Indeed, the live CD (at least 14.04) has an option that will completely erase the HD, with all partitions, and not really warn you about it. Definitely make sure you have everything backed up (as you should of course always have, anyway!) before attempting this. – leftaroundabout Aug 11 '15 at 15:10
  • is 14.04 ok with 2gb ram – user492669 Aug 11 '15 at 15:14
  • Yes it should be fine. – MoonRunestar Aug 11 '15 at 16:33
  • @learnmore Yep, but use the 32 bit version. – TellMeWhy Aug 11 '15 at 17:27

Like many other Linux users, I have been using dual boot systems for a long time now and I have created a few of them in the past. I made a few rookie mistakes the first time... I wiped out my entire hard disk... Back up saved me tho... So it is quite safe but I recommend you do your research first, get as much help as you can and ALWAYS keep a back up. Cheers :D


There is no risk as long as you do it right as others have covered.

12.04 is an LTS version but is pretty darn old, I can't see a reason to go with 12.04. Some people stick with 10.04 because it is a 2.6 kernel and they need specific kernel patches (RTOS) but if you are going to go to 3.x or 4.x (there was no major updates in 4.0 it was just a numbers thing) go with either the latest (best support) or the most recent LTS (decent support and support for years). There is a small chance your professor needs a specific kernel, gcc or other package version but this seems unlikely and can be fixed (will take time to learn, but that is what you are in college for). What class is this for?