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Easily Install Ubuntu Linux with Windows Using the Wubi Installer

You might be looking for a way to try out Ubuntu Linux but don’t like the idea of creating a partition, using a slow live CD, or don’t have enough resources to run a virtual machine. Today we take a look at using the Wubi installer to get Ubuntu running on your computer with very little effort.

Wubi is an officially supported Ubuntu installer that allows Windows users to easily get started in the Linux realm. Using Wubi to install Ubuntu is a similar process you’d use to install any other software program in Windows. It saves you the hassle of creating another partition or creating a VM. Wubi has been around for a few years now, and official version have been included on the Ubuntu Live CD since 8.04 “Hardy Heron”. We’ll take a look at installing Wubi from the Ubuntu Live CD and also downloading Wubi.exe separately and installing Ubuntu.  

Installing Ubuntu with Wubi from Ubuntu CD

In this first method we’ve already downloaded the Ubuntu Live ISO and burned it to CD. In Windows pop in the Ubuntu 9.10 installation disc and run wubi.exe.

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At the Ubuntu Menu screen click the Install inside Windows button.

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At the Ubuntu Installer screen you choose the language, install drive, installation size, username and password then when you’re finished click Install.

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Give it a few moments while the installation kicks off…

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When it’s complete, a restart is required but you can do it right away or wait until later.

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Installing Ubuntu from Wubi.exe

If you don’t already have the Ubuntu CD, another option is to download the Wubi Installer and kick off the install process. This simplifies the process even more because you don’t need to download the ISO and burn it to disc. One thing to point out with this method is you’ll get extra choices for the type of Desktop Environment you wish to install. In this example we’re choosing the Kubuntu environment.

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Now when the installation takes place, it will download the appropriate ISO for the chosen desktop environment. Kubuntu uses the KDE environment which is different from the Gnome used in Ubuntu. The main difference is that KDE is more flashy with graphics and might be easier for a Windows user to get comfortable with.

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No matter which route you take to install Ubuntu with Wubi, everything is installed to C:\Ubuntu directory.

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Booting Into Ubuntu

After the first reboot, you can choose between Windows 7 or Ubuntu at the Windows Boot Manager screen.

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The first time you boot into Ubuntu, wait a few minutes while the installation finishes up. You’ll see a series of screens and then the main install screen is displayed showing progress and screens showing features offered in Ubuntu 9.10.

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Your system will reboot one more time and again you will have Windows 7 or Ubuntu to choose from.

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When you select Ubuntu from the bootloader, it will go into the GRUB bootloader where you can select Ubuntu, Recovery Mode, or back to the Windows 7 Boot Manager.

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At the Ubuntu login screen you’ll notice the username and password will be what you gave it in the steps above.

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That’s really all there is to it…now you can easily boot into Ubuntu and get your geek on with this popular flavor of Linux.

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Here is a look at the Kubuntu interface after a bit of tweaking…if you choose that route.

sshot-2010-01-16-[00-55-53]

After Ubuntu has been completely installed, you can select the default boot system by going into Advance System Settings \ Startup and Recovery…then selecting between Windows or Ubuntu. To learn more about getting into this setting, check out The Geek’s article: Easily Set Default OS in a Windows7/Vista Dual Boot Setup.

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Uninstall Ubuntu

So you’ve tried Ubuntu and decided you don’t like it, so now what do you do? It’s easy…just uninstall it. Boot into Windows 7 and go into Add / Remove Programs…

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Or use a utility like Revo Uninstaller.

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The uninstall process is extremely simple as well and consists of two screens. Verify you want to uninstall Ubuntu…

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That’s it! It’s uninstalled and you have your hard drive space back. When you reboot your system, there’s no leftover funky GRUB or other bootloader to worry about. Your PC will boot directly into Windows.

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Conclusion

This might be the easiest way for the Linux beginner to get their feet wet with Ubuntu as there are no partitions to create and installation is extremely simple. For this article we used Windows 7 but it should work on Windows 98 through Windows 7 …except for Windows ME…which no one should be running anyway. If you’re looking for an extremely easy way to start using Ubuntu Linux, you’ll definitely want to give the Wubi install a try.

Download Wubi Installer

Download Ubuntu 9.10

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/18/10

Comments (28)

  1. Inferno

    is there a dis-advantage to running Ubuntu this way? I mean in terms of performance..

  2. Paul

    If you do this on XP and then uninstall Ubuntu, I found out not to use “add/remove” or Revo. It leaves the info in the Boot.ini file.
    I read on the web to go to start- programs and use the remove opt in Ubuntu.
    After changing hard drives around, I did reinstall Ubuntu and it works just like you installed it the “hard” way. Wubi is the way to go!

  3. Kalle

    Thank you very much for this how to!!

  4. Joseph

    This is an extremely easy way to check out Ubuntu. I really enjoyed it.

  5. Doctor

    Yes I’ve almost tried this but the wifi card couldn’t convert the data

  6. Huy

    if you install ubuntu using the second option, do you have to add drivers for that os or is there drivers pressent or is it using the windows drivers?

  7. trek

    What I really want to know is how to set up a triple boot ststem with W7, XP and Ubuntu. I added dual boot XP to a Win 7 machine, which was sufficiently complicated to make me wary of trying to add Ubuntu as well.

  8. akash

    @Inferno the only downside to using wubi is you won’t be able to put your laptop to hibernate when using ubuntu.

  9. SK Loh

    I have been using wubi to install ubuntu 804LTS dual boot with winxp, and I have no problem with it. I intend to use wubi to install the next LTS release but wonder how I could retain the files and settings.

  10. Nik

    I used to be a big supporter of Wubi until it damaged my Ubuntu installation after an Ubuntu update and a couple of sectors on my main hard disk drive. I was also not very happy with the fact that it installed a beta version of the Grub boot loader which resulted in me not being able to access either Windows or Ubuntu and required a lot of tweaking to get the Windows boot loader back.

    However, it was what got me hooked to Ubuntu and have installed it now using the installation disk and by partitioning my second hard disk drive. So apart from the problems I’ve had, I wouldn’t be using Ubuntu now if it hadn’t been for Wubi and I’m very grateful about that! :-)

    @Huy, Ubuntu will use its own drivers for your hardware as it can’t use your Windows drivers.

    @SK Loh, you may simply back-up your settings from your 8.04 installation and then upgrade straight from Ubuntu without having to unistall Wubi and then re-install the new LTS and restore your back-ups. The Ubuntu forum is your friend with lots of friendly people there ready to help!

  11. jasray

    Wubi is certainly a better option than trying to install a dual boot system, but there is little reason for a second OS on the same drive. Most folks go virtual with VMware or VirtualBox. The reason behind a second OS is not only to learn the new OS but to isolate one system from another to prevent malware, viruses, etc.

  12. Darrell

    WUBI didn’t work for me, on the reboot when it was suppose to partition the system, it just threw up errors. Any ideas?

    Course DualBoot didn’t work either, said there was no OS installed on my drives, although my windows 7 installation seems to think differently.

  13. Nick

    NICE!

    I will give this a Try

  14. TapOut

    Thank you for this guide, i am now playing areound with linux for the first time, after using windows for 16 years. Still a complete noob on ubuntu, but at least i am dual booting w7 & ubuntu. And I like it :)

  15. alex

    does this only work for Windows 7, or can it be done if I start off with Windows Vista? Thanks for the help!

  16. calebstein

    @alex: wubi will work with any version of windows from 98 to 7, but not ME. So yes, it will work on vista.

  17. dias

    i tried this
    i installed ubuntu 9.10 in a 20 gb hardisk partioned space .
    there is some problem in the booting of ubuntu.It says cannot mount the disk
    please help me?

  18. hilman

    Saya punya sedikit masalah nich..
    saya dah coba instal ubuntu dengan cara sama seperti di atas….
    Tapi setelah saya restart, pilihan untuk boot antara windows or Ubuntunya Tidak ada.
    Bagaimana ya?
    mohon bantuannya…
    Thanks before..

  19. hilman

    I have a little problem ..
    I’ve tried to install ubuntu in the same way as above ….
    But after I restart, the option to boot between windows or the PC None.
    How must i do?
    please help me …
    thanks before

  20. Richard Ketchum

    ITIS a shame that I haven’t found this article sooner than now. I might have had Ubuntu on my system a lot earlier.

  21. astral_cyborg

    NTFS5: 0 errors and installation under Windows 7 (and probably Vista, too) may appear as Ubuntu tries to load from the reserved Windows hidden partition (the one with 100 MB of space).

    I cannot suggest any solution as I haven’t tried any yet. A possible one is that you copy some boot files of wubi into the reserved partition (after making it visible through Windows) and Ubuntu may be able to load.

    After that you may fix the problem somehow and restore the reserved partition in its original state.

  22. Jon

    Can’t get Wubi to work on my P4/XPPROSP3; keeps giving an error message, and locks up my machine. Have two different Wubi.exe on my HDD, and have at least 4 CD’s of various versions of Ubuntu with Wubi, and none of them work. Any ideas or comments…..
    BTW, would love to have a dual-boot WIN/Ubuntu, and Ubuntu will install from its own CD, but no dual-boot, and no Wubi…..

  23. John

    Wow, I am REALLY REALLY impressed with this site. With the organization. With the hierarchy and table of contents and the content. WOW I like this site. This is great reference for ubuntu and linux too in future and something to look up to with linuxgeekoid site!

  24. Manoj

    nice

  25. saikrishna

    i tried it but when the installation comes to an end it would say “error”could please help me?

  26. Sameer

    Hi Everyone. I find all the instructions above and discussion below very much interesting. I am using Windows 7 ( 32 Bit) currently. So should I install this Ubuntu with 32bit Win Version or do I need to update my windows as well?

    Also, how will I use my windows partitions in Ubuntu? Do I need to run any other patch or something?

  27. @Sameer

    No need to update your current system install ubantu 32 bit with above instruction.

    separate 20Gb partition recommended by My side make sure you have separate one

  28. alex

    i have 3 entries on windows boot manager,one windows7 and 2 ubuntu but still it refuses to boot now i want to delete those entries,please help me!thanks in advance!

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