Interested in giving Linux a go, but not sure if you want to get rid of Windows to use it? Well, you could always try booting it in a virtual machine, or replacing the operating system on an old PC. Alternatively, you could try dual booting. Now, this is easier said than done, because most Linux builds don’t really get along all that well with Windows 7, and Windows 7 treats most other operating systems like a bad case of the flu. Although it’s difficult, however, it’s definitely possible- though there are a few things you’re going to have to do, first.
Back up your Data
Doesn’t matter how tech savvy you are, or how confident you are that you can pull the process off. As a matter of principle, it’s a good idea to back up all your vital files before you start fiddling around with your system’s boot process and try creating new partitions. If you do something incorrectly, there’s a good chance your computer’s going to get all borked up, and if you don’t have any of your files backed up, well…
You might just be out of luck.
Make Sure You’ve Got Space
Though Linux technically only requires a few hundred megabytes to run, I’d recommend allocating somewhere between 5 and 20 GB to the partition, depending on how much space you’ve got available to you. If you don’t have the space, you’re going to have to delete some stuff you don’t need (and possibly evaluate why you have so little free space in the first place). Ultimately, however, how much space you give Linux is entirely up to you.
Shrink the Primary Partition
Open the Start menu, and type “Disk Management.” into the search box. Double click on the application that pops up, or simply hit enter. You should be presented with two partitions- one that’s about the size of your primary hard drive, and the other that’s somewhere around 100 MB in size. You’ll be left with a bunch of un-allocated space. That’s okay- your installer can do the rest.
Create a Boot Volume
Next step, you’re going to want to grab yourself a USB stick, and set it up as an installation volume for Ubuntu (or whatever build of Linux you decide to go with). This can be either incredibly easy or somewhat obtuse, depending on how you go about it. Personally, I’d recommend getting some form of boot disc creation platform, as it’ll vastly simplify the process – How-to Geek recommends UNetBootin. Download the .ISO of the build you want to download, and run UNetBootin, and move to the next step. Simple, right?
Start up Windows, boot from the disc, and install Linux. If everything went as planned, you’re done! Enjoy your new operating system!
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