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Install Ubuntu inside Windows Vista like an application - a very simple install & uninstall

Last reviewed: October 2012

October 2013: This is the new location for this page on this site. Please update your link or bookmark.

Running Ubuntu from the Live CD is really only useful for getting the feel and appearance of Ubuntu. Installing Ubuntu on its own partition can be difficult for some inexperienced users. However, another option is great for testing Ubuntu.

You can install Ubuntu inside Windows just like any Windows application. This method is suitable if you just want to use Ubuntu for a trial period. It's very user-friendly and is non-invasive. It leaves Windows in control and is very easily removed. This is suitable even for inexperienced computer users and especially for those with little or no knowledge of Linux or partitions.

You can use this only if your computer has a processor chip that allows virtualization. This first became available in about 2005 and is now in all modern computers.

Experienced users who want a long-term dual-boot of Linux Ubuntu and Windows Vista, should go to this page and select the appropriate Ubuntu dual-boot.

Update: This option is not yet available in Ubuntu 12.10. It works great with Ubuntu 12.04 and some earlier versions.

How to Install Ubuntu inside Windows Vista

  1. Download Ubuntu (the file will have a .ISO file extension).
    Create the Ubuntu Live disk (right-click the downloaded .ISO file & select Burn disc image).
  2. With Windows Vista running, insert the Ubuntu Live disk.
    If auto play runs, select Run wubi.exe
    If the CD/DVD does not auto run, open it in Windows Explorer and double-click the wubi.exe file.
  3. Click Yes in User Account Control if it appears.
  4. In Ubuntu Menu, select Install inside Windows.
  5. In Ubuntu Installer,
    • make selections that suit yourself - remember your password!
      - about 20 GB in Installation size: is good for an extensive test.
    • Click the Install button when ready.
    • Remove the CD when requested, select Reboot now, click Finish, and boot to Ubuntu.
    Ubuntu will now be installed and configured.
    You'll see a boot menu during the next reboot.

Select either Windows Vista (the default) or Ubuntu from the Windows boot menu during the next reboot.
Finished!

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Uninstalling Ubuntu in this situation

  1. Backup any required data you have in Ubuntu to a R/W CD/DVD or a USB device.
  2. In Windows Vista, go to Control Panel >Uninstall a program.
    Double-click Ubuntu and click Uninstall.

That's it!

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Older Computers with low maximum Screen Resolution

Ubuntu itself runs fine at 1024x768 screen resolution. However initialization during bootup may require a higher resolution (1280 x 1024) and users with old computer systems may initially be presented with a blank screen. Just let it continue for about a minute and then the screen will appear.

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Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.

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