How to run Ubuntu and Windows at the Same Time

Our how to video on doing this:

People who are interested in Ubuntu do not have to dump Windows to sample it. It is possible to turn both operating systems on your computer at the same time. This means you can use Ubuntu and still run Windows programs. Or take advantage of free Ubuntu versions of stuff while keeping your Windows.

It also gives you a chance to compare both operating systems and see which one you like the best. That means you can actually run two operating systems on your computer at the same time.



Ubuntu actually has a special download that lets users install its operating system and Windows at the same time. Using Ubuntu’s official program would be a good idea because Ubuntu does support its products.

It is called Windows Installer or Wubi. Wubi is an officially supported Ubuntu installer that lets you run Ubuntu just like any other Windows application. This way persons that use Windows applications can run Ubuntu applications. This process is similar to the Virtual PC that many Windows 7 users use to run Windows XP Programs.

The download for Wubi and Ubuntu is probably the best way to get it because it is free. The instructions for Wubi are available on the same page.

It is also possible to buy both Wubi and Ubuntu on a CD. It does not make sense to spend money to order what you can download for free.

Dual Booting Windows and Ubuntu

There are also some ways that you can run two operating systems at once on a computer. The process is called dual booting and there are some programs that let you do it. Dual booting would probably be a waste of time for most of users but it could be of use to programmers and others.

A person who is designing a new app could design a Windows version and an Ubuntu version at the same time. It might be a good idea for designers to get used to Double Booting because some other operating systems such as Mac OS are growing in popularity. There is also a strong possibility that Google will launch its own operating system in the near future. That means designers will have to learn how to operate outside the Windows universe.

Virtual Box, a program from Oracle is designed to enable you to Double Boot. Versions of it are available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux and Solaris. You would have to use the Linux version for Ubuntu because Ubuntu is based on Linux.

Virtual Box’s Source code is available for download too, so it could be a pretty good resource for those serious about Double Booting. There are also some easy to follow instructions on their website.

Other Options for Using Windows and Ubuntu

There are actually several options for loading Ubuntu onto Windows. I would recommend Wubi because it is the official solution from Ubuntu. That doesn’t mean it will work best but it does mean you might be able to find some support for it. It also means the file you download will be less likely to be filled with spyware or Malware.

There is at least one other Ubuntu for Windows available out there. It’s called Portable Ubuntu and it looks quite suspicious. When I ran a search it I got a website that did not come up. The site looked like it was based in a Third World country. I’d highly recommend that people users stay away from Portable Ubuntu. We don’t know who created it or where it came from. Persons doing very serious programming and other work would probably be better served by Double Booting.


Running Windows Programs in Ubuntu with Wine

It is also possible to run Windows programs in Ubuntu using a program called Wine. Wine is a free software that is designed to enable users to run Windows applications on other operating systems such as Ubuntu. It does work with every Windows application but it can run quite a few of them. The organization that creates and distributes Wine does have an Applications Database that lets you see how programs run in Wine.

The latest version of Wine is available free from Wine HQ.

The word on Ubuntu’s official site is that some newer versions of Wine don’t work that well with Ubuntu. That means might be a good idea to use the older Wine.


An alternative to Wine is Qemu Emulator which is a virtual operating system similar to Virtual PC and Virtual Box. It is free but it can supposedly be used in Windows and Ubuntu. Therefore Qemu could be a good alternative to Wubi.

Qemu is pretty advanced so I wouldn’t recommend it for the average person. If you’ve had some experience installing and operating virtualizers you should be alright.

Hardware Assisted Virtualization

Something to be aware of is that not all computers will run virtualization programs like Qemu, Virtual Box and Wine. Systems that do not have the capability for Hardware Assisted Virtualization built into them cannot do this. Most computers shipped in the last three years have HAV but older ones do not.

It would be a good idea to check and see if this capability is available before trying to run more than one system. If your machine does not have HAV there is a strong possibility that you will not be able to run more than operating system at once.


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One thought on “How to run Ubuntu and Windows at the Same Time

  1. Darryl Meganoski

    Nice article, helpful to some, though the title is a bit confusing.

    I was looking for how to literally run both operating systems simultaneously, your article is on dual booting the two operating systems on the same computer, one at a time.


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