Installing Ubuntu alongside Windows 8 on a UEFI System

Gone are the days when Ubuntu installed without a hitch. Now there’s UEFI and Windows 8 to contend with. The Ubuntu site has this advice:  Here’s some advice based on my experience of installing Ubuntu on three separate machines over the past week.

1 Installing Ubuntu

  1. Put the iso on a pendrive/DVD in the usual way
  2. Turn on the machine and hit the key to bring up the boot options
  3. Change the settings so the machine will boot from USB first (naturally)
  4. If it’s UEFI, make sure secure boot is disabled and legacy boot is enabled
  5. Insert the pen drive and boot up. Ubuntu should boot in the usual way from the pen drive. It will then install with no problems (so far, at least.)

2 Troubleshooting

2.1 Machine won’t boot from USB/CD

This seems to be a Windows 8 feature. You need to boot up Windows 8 and do an advanced restart as follows:

  1. In Windows 8 goto PC Settings -> General -> Advanced startup.
  2. Choose Advanced Options -> Startup Settings

The machine will reboot and should hopefully find your USB/CD

2.2 Install Ubuntu alongside Windows option is missing from the install options dialog

Again, you have to boot into Windows 8 and then use the Windows disk partition manager to make a suitable partition. The Linux Partition manger doesn’t seem to work anymore

2.3 Ubuntu is installed, but machine still boots to Windows

Easy! I don’t think so. Not only have Microsoft ruined their own perfectly good desktop with Windows 8, they seem to be doing a pretty good job of ruining the ease of installation for other operating systems. I wish they’d get a grip.

Upgrading to Ubuntu 13.10

I’ve just upgraded some of the computers in my house to Ubuntu 13.10. The main PCs, the ones used by my wife and I are still on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, due to the fact that they are essential to our jobs. We can’t afford a break in work whilst we sort out an unsuccessful upgrade.

Aethernet Magazine is due out in three days time. We’ve been caught out before by broadband outages, hardware failures, and simple but the worst trouble we’ve had was my upgrading to org mode 8 just days before going to press. Org mode 8 is a worthwhile upgrade, but we wasted valuable time having to read up on the new features and configuration settings when we should have been upgrading.

So why bother upgrading the other computers?

Because this is how we pay back the open source community. There are complaints about the direction that Ubuntu is going, about the Unity interface, about Amazon sponsorship of search results. And all this is right and proper, these debates will determine the future direction of the software, maybe not such much as we would like, but there are always other operating systems. Personally, I like the Unity interface, the only thing that really irritates me is the fact the menu items appear at the top of the screen. But that’s just my opinion, and, actually, it’s irrelevant to the question of upgrading.

At the end of the day, we are getting an operating system for free. Installing the upgrades mean we’re submitting crash reports and bug fixes. It can be a pain, particularly if the system doesn’t reboot as happened to me on two PCs with the upgrade to 13.04. Actually, it can be more than a pain: it’s incredibly annoying, particularly when something that was working before the upgrade, like the sound, stops working. It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, it can leave you cursing the stupid developers who released this incomplete implementation. But’s the deal. Things are going to go wrong. That’s why you’re upgrading. If you don’t like it, stick with the LTS version. If it’s really that bad, switch to another distro, or better yet go to Microsoft or Apple.

After all, they’re perfect. They never go wrong.

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