Dual booting Lubuntu with Windows 7

Kick

Active Member
Linux (Ubuntu)
Firefox 64.0
With 12 months to go before Microsoft ceases its support of Windows 7, I thought it time to consider what I would do as I've no intention of using Windows 10. Some have advised that setting up a dual boot arrangement is risky but I thought that, if I did do it, the advantage would be that I could keep Windows 7 for those peripherals that weren't compatible with Linux, disable the internet in Windows 7 and have a Linux system that could utilize the internet. I was somewhat apprehensive about the undertaking but believed that, if I created an image backup of the complete HDD first, should anything go wrong, I would be able to restore back to the situation I was in before.

I previously had a dual boot arrangement on an old XP desktop - I set it up to dual boot with Puppy Precise 5.7 and that worked well for several years. Eventually, the age of the computer began to tell so I replaced it with a new desktop with Ubuntu 18.04 installed. Unfortunately there was an erratic motherboard problem which meant that sometimes the only way to boot the system was to enter the BIOS. The manufacturers thought they had resolved the issue but I have returned it a second time for a motherboard replacement under warranty. I had enough use of that system to see that I could get on with Ubuntu and therefore, I thought, with some of its lighter weight offshoots. Lubuntu came to mind so after, a bit of on-line investigation, I opted to try that in the dual boot arrangement with Windows 7.

There was much useful guidance on the internet regarding dual booting Linux operating systems with a Windows system so I was able to prepare thoroughly. The first thing I did was to create the image backup of the complete hard drive which is 1TB partitioned with a small system partition, a main C: partition for the Windows 7 operating system, program files etc. and a data files partition I had created for my documents, pictures etc. The image backup was saved to an external drive using Macrium Reflect Free. The next task was to create space on the hard drive for the new Lubuntu 18.04 operating system. I decided that about 35gb to 40gb would be enough and that I could spare that from the data files partition. The built in disk partition management facility included with Windows 7 was more than adequate to cope with the job (I did have a copy of an Easeus partition management program that had lots more options but I didn't need them and kept things as simple as possible). With the Windows program, all I had to do was shrink the data files partition by the required amount which then became unallocated space.

Now I required a live dvd or usb memory stick on which to install the Lubuntu 18.04 image file. I opted for a live dvd, downloaded the Lubuntu iso file, burnt it on to the dvd and booted the computer from the dvd. There were two options available: 1) 'Try Lubuntu' or 2) 'Install Lubuntu'. The former allows the user to try the operating system without making any changes to the system so is a good choice if the user is not yet 100% sure. There is a desktop icon for the installer so, if the user does decide to go ahead, installation can be carried out without rebooting to get the second option 'Install Lubuntu'.

The next step, opting to install Lubuntu, was potentially the risky one as I would be committing to major changes but I need not have worried because I was led through each stage and provided with an option to go back if I was not sure I wanted to proceed to the next stage. It was reassuring to know that no changes would be fixed until the final stage. The first decision to make was the choice of language, in my case English (UK) and then the setting of the keyboard. Next there were options regarding software installation; I chose 'Minimal' as I only wanted a basic set of software which included the 'Firefox' web browser (it is essential to have a browser - if you don't like Firefox, you can install your preference later and remove Firefox). Now I had to choose the installation type which, for me, was 'Install Lubuntu alongside Windows 7'. I could have chosen 'Something else' which would have given more options regarding the Lubuntu partition(s) which occupy the unallocated drive space but I was happy to let Lubuntu use its default settings. This ran very smoothly - all I had to do was click 'Continue' to confirm each set of changes during the process. Just before the process completed, I was confronted with a world map on which to click my location (necessary for the system clock). After this, all that remained was to complete a form to include my name, the computer's name, a username and a password - there was also a choice to log in automatically or by password. Clicking 'Continue' at this stage led to the 'Welcome' screen and options to get the time from a network server and to view or skip new features.

The installation was now complete - the system needed to be restarted (I held my breath) after which the 'Grub' boot screen appeared with five options. I was relieved to see '*Ubuntu' as the first option and 'Windows 7 (on /dev/sda1)' as the fifth option. I was even more relieved when both worked.

Of course there was plenty to do after the installation. Even though I chose a minimal installation, there was software I didn't require and could remove and there were programs I needed so had to install. Fortunately the software manager makes this fairly straightforward. I also needed to enable the UFW firewall which, surprisingly, is disabled by default.

My reservations about setting up this dual boot arrangement proved unjustified. The process could hardly have been less trouble free - I'm so glad I did it and can reassure others, who like me, may be nervous of attempting this kind of task, that with a bit of preparation and investigation on the web, it's not such a big deal.
 

Tony D

Super-Moderator
Windows 10
Chrome 71.0.3578.98
Good to know things went well. Thanks for the walk thru.

Can you copy files between the Windows and Linux partitions?
 

Kick

Active Member
Windows 7
Firefox 64.0
Can you copy files between the Windows and Linux partitions?
Hi Tony,

By default, when you are in Lubuntu, the Windows partitions are not mounted. There's probably a way to mount them on startup but I haven't explored that option yet. However mounting Windows partitions is very straightforward as they are listed in the lefthand panel of the file manager (which has an icon on the panel). Just a single click on the Windows partition icon mounts and opens it. For the rest of the session an icon for the mounted partition will remain on the desktop unless you decide to unmount it. It's easy to copy files between the partitions using drag and drop, copy and paste etc. For most of my files, I don't bother as, when I am in Lubuntu, I use my Windows datafiles partition as just another storage location. You can edit the files in Lubuntu and save them back into the Windows location - once the Windows partition is mounted, it's very much like working on a multi-partitioned Windows system.

The ease of working across partitions when in Lubuntu is not replicated when in Windows as Windows does not see the Linux partition in its file manager nor in 'My Computer'. However, if you need to adjust partition sizes at any time, the partition tools in Windows do see Linux partitions. Likewise, Macrium Reflect (and probably other imaging backup programs) does see them too so that program can be used from Windows to make image backups of Linux partitions such as, in my case, Lubuntu.

I'm still very much at the bottom of the learning hill when it comes to using Lubuntu but I'm working my way through any issues that occur - the Ubuntu Forums has proved very helpful and, much like this forum, has experienced members who are very willing to help 'newbies' and who respond very quickly.
 

IJAC

Active Member
Linux
Firefox 64.0
Op did a very good job of installing and explaining the install.I have been there before I pretty much did it the same way back when I installed a dual boot with my windows 7.The problem when I did it this time with my windows 10 installion was the UEFI bios.I ignored the warning it gave me a about installing Linux on the UEFI bios that had another operating system on it that I may not be able to boot into it. Fortunately I still can boot into my windows hard drive by hitting F8 and choosing the correct HD.Congrats on a Linux set up hope you enjoy it.I am learning more and more using Linux.The only thing different I did was I have Linux and windows on separate SS hard drives but having them on the same hard drives works also.Thanks for sharing it with the forum.
 
Last edited:

Kick

Active Member
Linux (Ubuntu)
Firefox 64.0
Hi Ijac,

Thanks for your comments.

To tell the truth, I didn't think about the possible UEFI issue when I started this thread but it is an important point. When I first got this particular computer, I got it without an operating system, bought an OEM copy of Windows 7 Professional 64 bit and installed that in legacy bios mode because, although I was not thinking about a possible Linux dual boot arrangement at the time; rightly or wrongly, I thought that legacy bios mode might be better suited to my live usb and dvd Puppy Linux media. So, by chance rather than forward planning, I didn't get any warning of a potential UEFI problem during my recent installation of Lubuntu.

Cheers.
 

IJAC

Active Member
Linux
Firefox 64.0
Well that was a good choice to make.I didn't worry to much about it because I had planned to go all Linux and only boot to windows if I had to.By the time I did this I was tired of all the windows 10 problems and I was determined to go all Linux.From what I have read Linux does better on the legacy bios not sure if that is true today.I have Manjaro running now on the UEFI so it may just be some distros that don't like the UEFI bios.Any way glad it is working for you and thanks for getting back to us.
 

Kick

Active Member
Linux (Ubuntu)
Firefox 64.0
Hi Ijac,

If you want a UEFI live Linux disc or usb flash drive any time, Puppy Xenial is pretty good. I have a live DVD of it which I can use on my other computer which has the Ubuntu 18.04 operating system in a 64 bit UEFI setup. Like with all Puppy Linux distributions, save files can be created for the live media so that all changes are recorded and so are still there when you next boot the media. It's better than the persistence option available for live usb flash drives running other Linux systems as it is much more flexible - the size of the save file not restricted in the same way as the live boot with persistence options commonly used. Also, when you boot Puppy Linux live media, it is copied into RAM and seems to run rather more quickly.
 

Kick

Active Member
Linux
Chrome 73.0.3683.88
Hi,

Continuing to get to grips with Lubuntu in my dual boot arrangement. I'm learning more about it every day.

The latest thing was how to get Lubuntu to play back sound imported via the 'line-in' port on the rear of the computer. By default, for some reason unknown to me, Ubuntu and its derivatives do not play back 'line-in' sound although they recognise that the sound is coming in. It was a question of entering text into the terminal to alter the default and creating a script file to ensure the default was not returned on each system startup.

One advantage of the dual boot arrangement I have found is that I can use Macrium Reflect in Windows 7 to create image backups of the Lubuntu partition. Macrium Reflect is far superior to the Linux image backup programs I've encountered. In my over enthusiasm to explore Lubuntu, I've messed things up a couple of times - booting from the Macrium Reflect rescue dvd, I was able to navigate to the Lubuntu image backup file stored on an external drive and restore it. The process was relatively quick and straightforward. What a pity Macrium don't produce a Linux version of their software because partition image backup and restoration on my Ubuntu desktop is a bit convoluted, laborious and not particularly user friendly - true it works but Macrium Reflect is so much more flexible and intuitive in use.

Regards to all.
 
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