Dual Boot Windows Vista and Ubuntu 10.10

by Troy Grosfield
February 27th, 2011

This will post will walk you through the process of dual booting a computer with Windows Vista and Ubuntu 10.10.  I’m starting with a machine that already has Windows Vista installed.


  1. Backup all your current files (or at least the ones you care about)
  2. Download Ubuntu 10.10 (or latest version):
  3. Burn the Ubuntu download to a CD or DVD
    • Note: when you burn the .iso images to disk, you must make sure to make the CD/DVD bootable. The first time around I didn’t do this and when my machine rebooted it wouldn’t allow me to boot from CD-ROM.  Then when I did get it to boot from CD-ROM I would see “Missing Operating System”.  If you see this then you likely didn’t burn the DVDs properly.
    • I ended up downloading Infra Recorder from Ubuntu’s list of free ISO recording software:



  4. Partition your drive you plan on putting the new OS’s in.
    • I was having an issue where my C: wasn’t showing up.  So I downloaded Easeus Partition Master Home Edition to facilitate the partitioning for me:

      Disk Partition

      Disk Partition

    • You will need roughly 20 GB of free space to install Ubuntu.  This process can take some time.  So be patient.
    • Make sure to restart your computer right after you do the partition
  5. After the first restart after the partition, I logged in and none of my files showed up in my profile.  I got a notification from windows saying they couldn’t start the profile service.  So, I restarted my computer again and that fixed it.

Installing Ubuntu

  1. Insert your Ubuntu cd that contains the .iso you burned into your CD-ROM drive.
  2. Reboot your computer
  3. If your computer doesn’t automatically read the CD and prompt you with an Ubuntu screen you likely need to change your computer boot sequence.  You can do this by rebooting your computer and when you see the initial loading screen, hit F2 to take you into setup mode.  Under “System” you will see “Boot Sequence” make sure “Onboard or USB CD-ROM Drive” is before “Onboard SATA Hard Drive”.  This will try to boot from the CD-ROM before booting from the hard drive.
    Boot Sequence Before

    Boot Sequence Before

    Boot Sequence After

    Boot Sequence After

  4. Once you reboot and see the Ubuntu loading screens you successfully got your computer to read the .iso file from your CD-ROM.
  5. You will be asked if you want to try Ubuntu or Install Ubuntu.  I chose to install.
  6. The next screens asks if you want to download updates along with the install.  I recommend checking that box.  Click forward.
  7. Since we already allocated drive space for Ubuntu, we can select the “Install alongside other operating system”.  Click forward.
  8. You can change the allocated space in the next window.  The default values should suffice.  Click “Install Now”.
  9. You will then be prompted with a series of questions such as your timezone, your keyboard layout, then asks for your name and a password.  Go through all the prompts and answer accordingly.
  10. Ubuntu will then install itself on your machine.
  11. The next time you boot your computer you will be prompted with which OS you want to proceed working with.  It will auto select the one highlighted after 10 seconds.

    Boot Screen

    Boot Screen

  12. You now have Ubuntu running alongside Windows Vista!


    Ubuntu Boot Screen


I thought I’d mention a few bumps I encountered during this process.

Not booting from CD-ROM

Two things here:

  1. Make sure your boot sequence has booting from “Onboard or USB CD-ROM Drive” before “Onboard SATA Hard Drive”
  2. Make sure the .iso image files you burned to disk are bootable

Missing Operating System

Once the files were finally booting on startup, I was seeing the following message:

Missing Operating System

If you encounter this just remove any CDs/DVDs from the CD-ROM drive and reboot.  It will then boot as it normally did.  I wasn’t burning the .iso image to the disk properly.  I ended up downloading Infra Recorder from Ubuntu’s page which did the trick.



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  1. Author
    August 19th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Nice work on this tutorial. I’ve read a couple and this is the most well put together of them all. Well done, sir.

  2. Author
    November 11th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Brilliant phrase and it is duly