I'd like to install linux (debian or ubuntu), but keep the preinstalled Windows that came with the computer, apparently the installation files are in a hidden partition (obviously I don't have any installation DVD or CD).

Is it possible to install both OS in these conditions?

  • DELL (mini) Inspiron 1012 netbook
  • Intel Atom CPU N450
  • 2 GB RAM
  • Windows 7 home basic SP1
  • You can, but your way varies very much depending on which version of Windows (7, 8, or 8.1 - initially installed one), which partition type (UEFI or MBR), which architecture (x86 or x64) it has. You'd better be more specific with your computer's model and manufacturer. Windows 8.1 allows you to create a USB recovery drive, then delete the hidden partition to acquire more free space. – yaegashi Jul 8 '15 at 1:31

Sure you can shrink the partition size of preinstalled windows and install linux debian or ubuntu as your wish side by side with the windows. Grub bootloader will help you to boot OS properly. For some persons, installing VM is NOT THE answer, it is depend on the Need. I personally have been using linux for about 8 years, 6 years on gentoo and last two years I use ubuntu/linux mint. My hobby is flashing smart phone devices, mostly for repair. In this case I can not use VM i.e on linux host running win XP guest, win xp will not function properly for flashing jobs and vise versa.


Yes. You just need to adjust the windows partition to make some empty room for your linux install. You can adjust the partitions within windows or with a live disk. Whenever you monkey around with partitions you run the risk of breaking something but I have had success doing what you are trying.


Why not put your Linux machine in a VM. I personally run an iMac with 32GB of RAM, VirtualBox and run Windows 7, Windows 10, Oracle Linux and Sun Solaris. All work flawlessly.

  • 1
    I plan to do something similar with a more powerful machine (DELL xps 13), only running linux. In this case, as you can see in the edited post, the PC is not powerful enough for something like that. I might just erase the entire windows thing once and for all :) – Ignorante Jul 8 '15 at 2:02
  • No kidding. Why not just leave it as a Win10 box? I once bought a Dell Precision Xenon dual quad core CPU (8 cores) workstation with 128GB RAM for around $400 on eBay. I spend more on SAS drives than I did on the machine itself and ran a ton of VMs. :-) – Allan Jul 8 '15 at 3:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.