Linux Windows

How to Install Ubuntu on Windows 10: 3 Simple Methods to Try

Christian Cawley Updated 29-10-2018

You want to install Ubuntu on your Windows computer, don’t you? But maybe you aren’t 100 percent certain that you want to commit just yet. What if something goes wrong?


Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can try Ubuntu Linux and see whether you really like it, from running a Live CD to installing the OS in a virtual machine, before going all the way and installing it alongside Windows in a dual boot setup.

You might end up abandoning Windows altogether, but it’s good to get a taste before you dive all the way. Here are the best ways to install Ubuntu on your Windows 10 device.

Are You Ready to Switch?

The first thing to do is work out whether or not you’re ready to switch to Linux. That you’re reading this is a good sign that you have strong inclination to try out Linux, and the ideal place to start is with Ubuntu.

While Linux isn’t identical to Windows, Ubuntu is the most accessible Linux distribution, offering both an intuitive user interface and a solid package manager.

If you’re feeling particularly brave, you might have spent some time thinking about how to use Ubuntu as your new, main operating system, replacing Windows entirely. For this, you will need to understand how you can migrate your data from Windows to Ubuntu Migrating From Windows 7 To Ubuntu: The Ultimate Guide Despite what all the Linux haters say, choosing Ubuntu is logical and migrating from Windows 7 & to Ubuntu is a breeze. This article summarizes the process and provides solutions to the most common beginner... Read More , assuming that is the version you’re going to be switching to.


Which Linux Version Should You Choose?

As you’re probably aware, several flavors of Linux are available. Some are intended for hardcore enthusiasts, while others come with a Windows-esque user interface, designed to help newcomers to the platform ease their way in.

Ubuntu is a happy medium between the two types of Linux distribution, and while the remainder of this guide applies specifically to Ubuntu, there is no reason why you shouldn’t take a look at our list of the best Linux distributions The Best Linux Operating Distros The best Linux distros are hard to find. Unless you read our list of the best Linux operating systems for gaming, Raspberry Pi, and more. Read More  and try some alternatives.

With the arrival of Windows Subsystem for Linux, you can run Linux on your Windows 10 computer with little effort How to Run a Linux Desktop Using the Windows Subsystem for Linux Want to run Linux on your Windows PC? Here's how to run a Linux desktop within Windows using the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Read More . Several Linux distros are available as apps in the Microsoft Store, such as Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Linux, and even the Kali Linux penetration testing OS. See our comparison of Debian and Ubuntu Debian vs. Ubuntu: Best Linux Distro for Laptops, Desktops, and Servers Considering Linux OS for a new project? Debian and Ubuntu are great choices for a Linux PC, laptop, or server. But which is best? Read More and the differences between Fedora and Ubuntu Fedora vs. Ubuntu: Linux Distros Compared If you're looking for the best Linux has to offer, you have a choice of two. But between Fedora and Ubuntu, which is best? Read More if you need help deciding.

Install Ubuntu Linux From the Microsoft Store

To install any version of Linux on Windows, you’ll first need to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux.


Enable Windows Subsystem for Linux

Right-click Start and open Windows PowerShell (Admin), then enter this command:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux

Wait while the process completes, then when prompted, enter Y to restart your computer.

Linux distro apps in the Windows Store


With Windows running again, download and install your preferred distro from the Windows Store. (This works with Windows build 16215 and later. For the best results, upgrade Windows to the latest version.)

This will take a few moments. Once done, launch the Linux app and wait while it finalizes the installation.

Explore the Linux environment in Windows

Once this is done, you’ll be prompted to create a UNIX account by inputting a new username and password. These don’t need to be the same as your computer’s account.


The installation will then complete, and you’ll have a wide selection of bash commands at your disposal. Time to play with Linux from within Windows!

But you don’t have to go through all this trouble just to access the Linux terminal. You can access the bash shell from within Windows How to Get the Linux Bash Shell on Windows 10 Need to use Linux no time to switch to a different PC or run a VM? Run Linux in Windows 10 with a Bash shell terminal instead! Read More .

Install Ubuntu Linux With a Live CD or Virtual Machine

If you want a Linux desktop environment, the Windows Subsystem for Linux isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you’ll need to think about using a live CD, a virtual machine, or even dual-booting Linux with Windows.

After downloading Ubuntu, write it to CD or USB. Before installing the OS on your computer, spend time with Ubuntu in its live mode, which enables you to load the OS from the optical disc into your computer’s memory.

Do this by inserting the CD or USB stick, rebooting your PC and selecting Try Ubuntu without any change to your computer from the boot menu. Soon Ubuntu will appear, giving you the chance to try out the apps and become more familiar with everything before making the decision to install.

While some functionality may be missing here, this is the best way to take your first steps towards Ubuntu.

Not all Linux distributions have a live mode, so check the documentation if you’re looking at an option other than Ubuntu.

If you’re happy with what you see, you can proceed with the installation. Our guide to installing Ubuntu from USB Install Ubuntu on Your Computer Using a USB Flash Drive Want to try Linux but don't own a DVD burner? Why not use a USB drive instead? Here's how to install Ubuntu from USB in minutes. Read More explains further.

For ease of switching between Windows and Ubuntu, meanwhile, as well as testing the OS at your convenience without the somewhat inflexible presence of the Live CD (you can’t switch to Windows easily when running a Linux distro from the drive), you may instead consider using a virtual machine.

Using a virtual machine is an easy way to try Ubuntu Linux. If you’d like to go with that option, have a look at our detailed VirtualBox guide How to Use VirtualBox: User's Guide With VirtualBox you can easily install and test multiple operating systems. We'll show you how to set up Windows 10 and Ubuntu Linux as a virtual machine. Read More .

Dual Booting Windows and Ubuntu Linux

After discovering that you quite like Ubuntu, you may still have reservations about switching completely.

The answer here is to dual boot Ubuntu with Windows Dual Boot vs. Virtual Machine: Which One Is Right for You? If you want to run multiple operating systems on one machine, you can either dual boot or use a virtual machine. But which option is better for your case? Read More , which is essentially done by creating a new partition on your computer’s hard disk drive and installing the Linux OS into it. By doing this, you install Ubuntu alongside Windows, on the same machine.

Following installation, you’ll see a boot menu each time you boot or restart your computer, with your preferred operating system selected using the arrow buttons on the keyboard.

I Don’t Like It: How to Uninstall Ubuntu

In the unlikely event that you realize that Ubuntu Linux doesn’t cut the mustard for you and your productivity takes a terrible nosedive, the best thing that you can do is switch back to Windows.

If you have been using a Live CD or virtual machine so far, this shouldn’t be an issue.

However, if you installed Ubuntu to dual boot alongside Windows, then you might be happier switching back to the primary operating system and deleting Ubuntu from your HDD. Fortunately, this is relatively straightforward and can be done safely, without any loss of data.

The process involves backing up your Linux data to an external device, then switching to Windows to delete the partition and restore the MBR.

Meanwhile, if you decide that actually, yes you do quite like this new OS, you can install Ubuntu as your computer’s sole operating system, ideal for bringing an old computer back to life or enjoying new functionality on a modern device.

Once you’ve got Ubuntu up and running, it’s time to get to grips with the new operating system. Explore Ubuntu’s latest features and must-have Ubuntu apps 10 Must-Have Ubuntu Apps Right After a Fresh Install Looking at a fresh installation of Ubuntu and feeling lost? Here are the must-have Ubuntu applications you should install first. Read More , and check out the best Ubuntu themes for a great look. We’ve also shown how to easily share files between Windows and Linux How to Transfer and Share Files Between Windows and Linux Moving from Windows to Linux and need to copy data across? Use these tricks to transfer or share files from Windows to Linux. Read More .

Related topics: Linux, Live CD, Ubuntu, VirtualBox, Windows.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Tilly
    October 31, 2018 at 2:57 pm

    Far too many adds had no idea what the article was and what the ad was. As a result, I left the page and went elsewhere.

  2. Rashmi
    March 27, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Hello . I am using a gateway ne56r with pentium . it has 320 gb hdd so I am not thinking of partition . I currently have windows 7 installed . I want to switch to 100perse linux pc . But I want my windows 7 os backed up in my harddisk so that I can reinstall when ever I want . How can I do this ?

  3. Mark
    September 22, 2017 at 1:43 am

    This is what I am going through and maybe somebody can help. I have an old desktop that I put Linux on and it ran for 2 maybe 3 weeks. Now it turns on but the distro is gone I was using it for a tv computer and without having the tv wired my studio is lacking. when I first did linux it did everything correct and operated like normal but now its dead. I dont know if it is so distro or maybe the computer is bad. Any help would be much appreciated. My problems is my desktop can not get online my laptop is a windows 10 which might create problems. IF anyone has ideas pleas share.

  4. Joshua
    February 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    I have a question on Linux dual-boot with Windows 7/8. Where to put Linux Swap partition besides Linux OS partition? I am asking this question because I run out room on the Hard drive for swap partition. Also would Ubuntu 14.04 works on the Intel 7260 wireless-AC adaptor?

    I have a Lenovo ThinkPad T410 laptop running Windows 7 Pro 64 bit with legacy BIOS on motherboard and MBR partition on the 320GB HDD. There are 4 primary partitions on the hard drive already before Linux. They are System (1.17 GB NTFS), Windows7_OS (C:)(250GB NTFS, 189GB full), Lenovo_Recovery (9.77 GB NTFS), and FILES (30 GB NTFS, 25 GB full).

    The legacy MBR allows 4 primary partitions only. So where can I setup a partition for LINUX OS? Do I have to wipe out this last partition FILES to leave room for Linux? Or shrink this last FILES partition and split out a logic partition for Linux OS, but then what about Linux Swap partition?

    I have another Lenovo ThinkPad T540p running Windows 10 Pro 64 bit with UEFI boot on motherboard and GPT partition on the 240 GB SSD SATA-III. There are also 4 primary partitions already jus like the T410 setup. I guess I don't have worry about how many more primary partitions I can create on top the existing 4 because of the modern GPT. But do I have to turn off the "Secure Boot" and "Fast Boot" in the BIOS?


  5. Rosika Schreck
    January 31, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Hello altogether,

    As far as the topic of Linux is concerned I have a question of a more general nature.

    I´ve got two computers, a PC and a laptop.
    The PC is a Lenovo H520e and the laptop is a medion Akoya E6222.

    The PC has WIN8.1 Home (64bit) and the laptop has WIN7 (64bit) as operating system.

    What I want to do is turn both the PC and the laptop into dual-boot systems.
    The second OS should be Linux Ubuntu, preferably 14.04LTS (64bit).

    My question now is:

    Could there be any danger or risk for the respective hardware when using a Linux-driven
    system on a PC/laptop that originally was sold with a pre-installed version of Microsoft´s operating-system?
    I mean is Linux alright for existing motherboard,RAM, fans etc?

    I just want to be on the safe side before applying any changes.

    Thanks a lot in advance.


    • vincent
      February 15, 2017 at 2:22 am

      Debian makes my PC‘s processor run under less stress then windows does. So there is no way any of the Linux could damage your hardware. The only problem would be in case you have a nvidia GPU. It‘s strength is wasted with a open source driver.

  6. MegaMan
    May 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    It's worth noting another way and maybe the easiest way to use / test Ubuntu providing you are not running windows 8 is Wubi

    Also most installers now install along side windows, they will allow you to resize a partition to install to, else boot into a live CD/USB (unetbootin) and use gparted to resize your windows partition.

  7. Albin
    May 12, 2015 at 1:19 am

    You unfortunately don't mention that a hard drive (e.g. C: Drive) installation of Ubuntu, Mint, etc. not only creates an easily removed partition, it also installs the GRUB boot loader, which really is not a "friendly" thing to get rid of if the user eventually decides not to dual boot Linux. This is not a "stopper" but it is reason to be careful that you really really want Linux on the drive.

    I strongly suggest a long, serious trial run with a "persistent" Live USB install, which will not affect the C: Drive and will let the user test hardware compatibility, performance, and the look and feel of the Linux version risk free. "Persistence" lets the user save software installations and settings changes between reboots, in a special container. Ubuntu / Mint and other versions support it, and it makes serious on the road testing a reality. I suggest an 8gb thumb drive with half devoted to "persistence" and spending enough time to learn all you need to learn.

  8. Zap
    May 11, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Linux on a USB flash drive is faster, more secure, and less prone to crashing than Windows on HDD, and I have used both for many years, and can get a lot of Window's software to run on Linux, and Linux can also be easily replaced if something goes wrong. Windows is geared for average users and it does it's job great. Linux is geared for computer scientists, hackers, geeks and it does it's job great. But Linux is difficult for an average Windows user with no Linux experience, I became an average Windows user much quicker and easier than an average Linux user, that was some years ago. So in conclusion I really like Linux on USB flash
    drives and have many, but I'm not very fond of CD/DVD's, and HDD's.

  9. The Advocate
    May 11, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    WTF? The Title of the article had absolutely NOTHING to do with the content. This was like writing an article called "Why Coffee is amazing" and then writing 14 pages about 70's muscle cars.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 11, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      Really? Why on earth has no one else pointed this out?

      Why don't you tell us what you were expecting, and we'll go from there, right?

  10. Nev
    May 9, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I dual boot windows with Linux mint but end up using mint 95% of the time

  11. Lévis
    May 8, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    The new Ubuntu Zorin OS 9 will let you just .....

  12. Michael Massey
    May 8, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Once a year I'd try Ubuntu or Mint and always ended up not able to print or some other major problem that I'd give up and go back to Windows. To my surprise when I tried the most recent version of Mint everything seamed to fall into place. Now my main computer and my laptop are running Mint. My media server will eventually be swapped over. I still use Win7 at work.

  13. Brad
    May 7, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    As an individual who only recently decided to "dip a toe" into the Linux world, I found that dual booting was quite easy and straight forward.... except that in the case of some OEMs there may not be an available partition space to use. In the case of my HP they already have 4 partitions set. This was the part that took the most research on my part. Which partition to delete? As it so happens, the boot partition is what you want to delete and then when you next reboot it will repair and add the boot loader to the C: partition. Of course, the caveat to that is that you can't delete the boot partition if you use Bitlocker. Just thought I would throw this out there.

  14. Suat ATAN
    May 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    As a veteran dualboot Windows and Ubuntu user i exhausted with conspiracy of Microsoft. After Windows 8 , MBR tool doesn't allow booting. so i can't use Ubuntu. I know there are some method but it difficult

  15. power manger
    May 7, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Windows it abominable. I don't understand why not everyone abandon Windows and switching to Linux.
    Linux and BSD systems are the best in the world and can easily replace Windows
    Make your life easy and comfortable to learn some new things in your life

    • PowerUser
      May 7, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Sorry but Linux as a desktop OS is nowhere near Windows in terms of features and support. Linux will make simple users life harder. Windows will always be better.

    • dragonmouth
      May 7, 2015 at 11:52 pm

      " Linux will make simple users life harder. "
      In what ways will it make life harder?

    • Hugo
      May 10, 2015 at 6:52 am

      "Why don't we use both?"

      (Cue Mexican music and cheering crowds)

    • dragonmouth
      May 11, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      PowerUser made a strong, declarative statement. I was wondering if he just trolling or could he substantiate it.

  16. kt
    May 7, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I have Windows 7 on a 2tb hd and pclinuxos 64 kde on a 300 gig 10,000rpm hd. I set my bios to boot the linux hd 1st unless I decide I'm in the mood to wait a half hour to boot up some solitaire! Withe the low price of hd's these days, it's easier to just dedicate different os's to different hd's. It disables the use of RAID, but it's just easier.

    • art
      November 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Kt,
      I saw your comment in an article regarding installing linux on a pc by Christian Cawley in 2015. If I understand you correctly you have installed a Linux system on a separate hard drive from your PC and run it from there which is my goal. I am not real PC literate but did you install all the Linux drivers and partitions and everything else associated with linux on a seperate hard drive and use ie from there or are you just using the trial version from a separate drive? The reason being I really don't want to mess with removing linux from my new computers hard drive if I decide after awhile linux is a hassle. Thanks so much

      • KT
        November 21, 2017 at 3:42 pm

        I'll try to do a step by step for you.

        1. Make sure you have a linux operating system on a dvd. You can download an ISO of one on your windows pc for free and burn it to disk. I like mint mate for 1st time users.

        2. remove the disk and restart your pc. be ready to push whichever button enters set up when it starts back up. usually del or an f button. Go into boot order and change the priority to dvd drive first and your hd drive second. Put your linux disk back in before you power down.

        3. power off your computer, unplug it and open it up. Unplug the sata cable to your hd and plug in your new empty hd to another sata port. Make sure you unplugged your hd and not your disk drive. You will need to buy an extra sata cable, but should have the power cable already in there. Leave the side panel off for now.

        4. Power on the pc and wait for the linux screen to come up. Wait for at least 5 minutes for it to complete. If you have linux screen with an "install linux" icon on it continue on. Double click the install icon and just follow the directions. MInt makes it easy, no partitioning or allocating, it dos it for you. I do not select "install updates during instillation", it crashed on me before. Just install updates when it's done.

        5. When complete it will open the disk tray and tell you to remove disk and press enter. Do that and finish your updates. After that, I like to go to the start button, and find the stuff I use a lot and pin them to task bar like firefox, system monitor etc. If you're using a graphics card, you'll need to click 3rd party drivers and download the drivers there. You should be able to get updates from clicking on the little shield on the bottom left panel or by clicking software manager in start menu. Play around with it for a while and when your happy with the set up. Power off your pc.

        6. Plug your original hd back in. Now you should have disk drive and 2 hard drives in your sata ports. Power on your pc again, hit the button to enter set up again. Now set the boot order to disk drive 1st, then whichever hd you'll use most, then the last hd. Some windows 8 motherboards make it a real task to use linux, you may need to disable safe boot for your new hd. There are good articles here about that.

        7. Power on your pc, it should boot to your preferred o.s. Play around a bit then restart and hit the button for boot order at start up, use the arrows to highlight the other hd and press enter, it should boot up. You can enter bios and make the boot screen last longer if you want, I set mine for 5 seconds. Now you have 2 separate operating systems on 2 separate hds. Hope this helped.

        Some notes:

        If you don't feel confident changing boot orders in bios, most motherboards boot from the sata port order. You could try putting disk drive in port 1, windows port 2 and linux port 3. It worked on an older pc I had.

        Just buy your new hard drive and sata cable at the same time so you have them.

        Be careful while working in the computer. Touch something metal to discharge any static. Make sure any cards in pci slots don't come loose. keep longer wires off of cooling fans. You don't need to bolt the new hard drive in, I just slide mine in a slot or if there's too much stuff in the way, lay it on the bottom. If you were thinking about adding more RAM, do it after your install works just to make sure you don't mess something up.

  17. ELLEN
    May 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    MINT Is better than ubuntu

    • Luke Warm
      May 7, 2015 at 3:41 pm

      MINT as based on Ubuntu.

    • Richard Palmer
      May 12, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Depends what you want and what machine you're working with. I've tried both and am currently on Mint but only because Xubuntu software changes prevented pulse audio from working on my ACER laptop.

      Both refuse to handle switching graphics management between the ATI and integral Intel low power devices. Unfortunately I'm not a software engineer and so cannot fix this.

    • Richard Palmer
      May 12, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      A good option for trying a Linux OS in Live CD format is to use a software package such as Unetbootin to install the Linux ISO image you've downloaded onto a fast memory card or usb stick. You'll need to tweak the BIOS so the the machine will boot from the external memory card or usb stick but then just boot up and try the distro. This saves on DVD use (most Live Linux OSs are too voluminous to fit on a CD) and if your machine is fairly modern the external disk will transfer data pretty quickly giving a very pleasing system response time. Nothing is written to the Windows partitions by this method (unless you wish to save work files to your Windows "My Documents" partition space. Be careful with this unless you know what you're doing. Unless you wish to access files created under Linux when back working in Windows you can simply save the files on your external memory device.