Setting up an Acer Aspire GX 785 desktop PC for dual-booting Microsoft Windows 10 with Ubuntu is tricky, but not impossible. If this is above your comfort-zone, just set up a VM with Ubuntu within Windows :-).
- Make space on hard disk for the partitions
- Change BIOS security settings
- Create a USB disk to boot Ubuntu
- Install Ubuntu, creating 3 new partitions on the hard disk
- Fix UEFI settings
Prepare empty hard disk partition
- In Windows, open the Disk Management tool: Right-click on Start > Disk Management
- Make room for Ubuntu:
- Mine had 2 ca 240GB partitions on the main disk. I removed the second one (remove any data on it first, obviously :-)).
- If there’s only one partition, resize it to make enough room for Ubuntu (anything over you system RAM + 10GB should be good). I used ca 240GB.
- Restart Windows, double-check that things still work. Breathe.
Get into BIOS
- If you know BIOS boot keys, use them on reboot :-). On the Acer Aspire GX it’s DEL to get into BIOS, and F12 to change the boot setting.
- Use Windows 10: Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart now > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > UEFI Firmware Settings > Restart
When booting, briefly before the Windows spinner comes, you should see a line on the bottom of the screen giving you a few seconds to hit the Boot or BIOS key.
More information. Other computers may have other boot or BIOS keys to hit.
Change BIOS security / boot settings
- Enter the BIOS on rebooting.
- Add a supervisor password: Security > Security Option > Setup // Security > Change Supervisor Password (you need to do this to disable Secure Boot)
- Disable secure boot: Authentication > Secure Boot > Disabled
- Save & restart (F10)
Make a Ubuntu Live USB key
- Follow the official Ubuntu Live-USB instructions & try it out:
- Select Boot menu (F12), Enter password
- Select USB stick (eg “UEFI: Sony Storage Media PMAP, Partition 1”)
- You should now see a menu with “Try out …” and “Install …”
Install Ubuntu from USB
- Select “Install …” from the USB stick.
- Select language, connect to your wifi or network.
- Optional: select checkboxes for “Download updates” & “Install 3rd party software”. (these take a little bit longer, so if you’re trying several times, skip them.)
- Installation type: Something else.
You’ll now need to create the partitions. You need: 1x boot (ca 200MB), 1x primary, 1x swap (RAM sized). You should see the block you freed up under Windows as “Free space”. This is where all of these go.
- New boot: Select “free space”. Click “+” below. Enter size: 200MB / Type: Primary / Location: Beginning / Use as: EFI System Partition / OK (This is where your Ubuntu boot / Grub will end up.)
- New swap: Click “+”. Enter: Size: 32000MB (matching 32GB RAM, if you have it) / Type: Primary / Location: beginning / Use as: swap area / OK
- New primary: Click “+”. Enter: size (it’ll show the full size, keep it) / Type: Primary / Location: Beginning / Use as: Ext4 journaling file system / Mount point: “/” (without quotes) / OK
You should now see ca (FYI naming: /dev/sda1 -> “sd” = disk, “a” = first disk, “1” = first partition)
- (free space)
- /dev/sda1 efi 104MB (this is your Windows boot area)
- /dev/sda2 16MB unknown (no idea)
- /dev/sda3 ntfs 255455MB (Windows; size can vary)
- /dev/sda4 ntfs 1073MB (this is the recovery area)
- /dev/sda5 efi 200MB (your Ubuntu boot area)
- /dev/sda6 swap 32000MB (your swap)
- /dev/sda7 ext4 / 233257MB (Ubuntu, size can vary)
- Select your new Ubuntu boot area as “Device for boot loader installation”: /dev/sda5
- Double-check settings :-)
- Click: Install now
- Select time zone, keyboard layout (can be changed later).
- Enter your name, pick a computer name, select a username, enter a password.
- Wait for installation to complete.
- Reboot, but wait, there’s more!
Jiggle the options
- Hit F12 to select boot menu, enter your password. You will likely still just have Windows & your USB stick.
- Boot to the USB stick.
- Select: Try Ubuntu without installing
- Ubuntu will come up. Connect to the network or wifi (top right).
- Open a terminal window: Ctrl-Alt-T
- Run these commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install boot-repair boot-repair
In boot-repair, choose “Advanced options” and double-check:
Main options: [x] Reinstall GRUB, [x] Use standard EFI file
GRUB location: OS to boot: sda7 (Ubuntu). [x] Separate boot/efi partition: sda5 (match these as appropriate)
Double-check boot settings with this command line:
You should see 3 entries:
Boot0000\*: Windows (...) Boot0001\*: ubuntu (...) Boot0002\*: UEFI (...your USB stick...)
All 3 should have an asterix ("*") next to the number. This means they’re active entries. If you check before boot-repair, you’ll have all 3 entries, but only Windows & your USB stick will have the asterix.
Pray & reboot
- Reboot, select Boot menu (F12), enter password.
- You should now see 3 entries: ubuntu, Windows Boot Manager, UEFI: (…your USB stick…)
- Rejoice, but verify.
- Select “ubuntu”.
- The GRUB ubuntu menu will show up. Select “ubuntu”. You should now have Ubuntu open.
- Log in with the username / password you defined.
- Reboot, select Boot menu (F12), enter password, select Windows.
- Windows should start up.
- Get yourself another drink & mess with your operating systems.
Life is good.
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