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How to: Upgrade a dual boot installation of Windows and Linux to Windows 10 - Part 1

Technical Level : Intermediate


The market for client operating systems over the past 10 years has become richer and diverse. Many individuals who are entering the field of IT are broadening their skill set to encompass not just Microsoft technologies, but also open source solutions. The Linux operating system in particular has been a major driving force behind this change in the industry. Many persons are now more than ever experimenting and learning the alternative desktop and server operating system available in hundreds of flavors called distributions. Persons interest in Windows have not waned, its just that there is now more choice. In this article, we take a look at one of the common scenarios many persons upgrading to Windows 10 will face; dual boot configurations with Linux. The good news is, Windows 10 is quite receptive to such configurations.


This article does not go into the complexities of such configurations but looks at the scenarios involving upgrading such a configuration. In my case, I had a Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux specifically (12.10) dual boot configuration setup. Because of the hundreds of distributions that exist, this article will not be the final word on how to upgrade such a configuration.

As noted, I have a dual boot configuration between Ubuntu Linux and Windows 7. Above you will see a text based boot menu called GRUB which is used to managed both operating systems. You can use it to choose the operating system you want to load when you start your computer. 

Windows 7 and Ubuntu Linux version 12 desktops

Above, you see a standard desktop for both operating systems, I have a single file on each. I should let you know, this is the best way to upgrade to Windows 10 when Windows is installed first. So if you have a desire to run Linux in the future, install it now.

Starting setup

Installation must be started from within the running version of Windows. When the initial phase of setup is  complete, your computer will restart.

Because GRUB is the default boot manager, setup will not boot into Windows 10 installation unless you manually choose to do that. To do so, select the Windows 7 or Windows 8 (loader) and hit the Enter key.

Setup will go through its installation phases, each time your computer restarts, you must select the 'Windows loader' in order for setup to continue and complete. So ensure you are observing the installation as it goes along.

After setup is completed, you will be booted directly into the Windows 10 Out of Box Experience.

Windows 10 and Ubuntu should be running together in perfect harmony.

The GRUB menu will still display Windows 10 as Windows 7. You can edit this by downloading the free GRUB Customizer utility for Ubuntu Linux:

One of the good things I learned from this experience is knowing that upgrading an existing version of Windows to Windows 10 under such a configuration will not affect your Linux installation.


What are the editions of Windows 10 available?

Frequently Asked Questions: Windows 10

What are the editions of Windows 10 available?

How to: Do a custom installation of Windows

How to: Do a clean install of Windows 10

How to: upgrade from previous versions of Windows using Windows 10 ISO file

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