I've read that it's best to install win8 before linux. I already have Ubuntu set up with lots of goodies so I don't really want to re-install everything. Is it possible to install win8 now that I have linux already installed?

Note: I couldn't find any articles that teach how to do this on Google.


I can't tell you precisely about Windows 8, but I can tell you some general considerations.

First of all, when your computer starts, it executes either BIOS code (which is the old boot system) or EFI code, which is the new system. There are also 2 partitioning schemes: old MBR one and new GPT one. The EFI and GPT cases are well covered here and here.

I'll consider the traditional case of BIOS/MBR.

In that case problems with Windows are:

  1. Windows bootloaders (in case of Windows7 it was BOOTMGR) want primary partitions to contain the Windows kernel code. Older Windows bootloaders also wanted the first primary partition for Windows, but hopefully newer ones don't. Linux bootloaders can load OS from logical partitions within the extended partition.

  2. They often recommend to install Windows first in case of dual-boot system, because, if you install Windows second, Windows bootloader code will overwrite Linux bootloader code in MBR. Allegedly it's much easier to configure Linux bootloader to load Windows if you've installed Linux second, than to configure Windows bootloaders to recognize Linux, if Windows was installed last (and, AFAIK, Windows always overwrites MBR upon installation, even if Linux bootloader was there).

  3. They say that older Windows installers would wipe out all the disk (including Linux partitions) before creating partitions for Windows and installing it. Hope Windows 8 one is not that dumb.

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  • Thanks a lot! The thing is, when I go to install Win8, it won't even allow installation because the partitions are not formatted properly. – trigun0x2 Jun 3 '13 at 16:54
  • @trigun0x2 Theoretically, the installer should contain a tool, which allows you to edit partitions. Windows 7 used to have 2 partitions, main and recovery as here: superuser.com/questions/330178/…. If Win8 works the same way, probably you should assign two NTFS-formatted primary partitions for Windows 8. (I've never seen Windows8 installer and can only imagine, what that message might mean, sorry). – Boris Burkov Jun 3 '13 at 18:15

I don't know anything specific to windows 8 but in general the concern is that windows will destroy the boot loader installed by Ubuntu.

If you create an empty partition on your drive using gparted in Ubuntu; you should be able to direct Windows 8 to install to that newly created partition.

During the install process Windows 8 will likely overwrite the grub boot loader. However you can use boot-repair to replace grub. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair

I used boot repair several times while recently moving around, resizing, and deleting several partitions on a dual boot win7/Ubuntu Lenovo laptop and it worked flawlessly. You must have your Ubuntu live CD available for using boot-repair after windows trashes your boot loader

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