Jake Charman

Resident Geek of Nitrous Junkie Racing

The Windows 10 Upgrade On A Dual Boot System… Surprisingly Good…

Mon 25 Jul 2016

So, it’s finally happened. The first of my daily driver machines has been updated to Windows 10. And I’m very surprised to say, it worked perfectly.

A bit of background…

I primarily use Ubuntu 16.04 for day-to-day computing however, many of the tasks I have to do require Windows, moreover, the programming course at college has moved almost entirely to C# and the Windows Universal Platform which requires Visual Studio 2015 and Windows 10 to properly develop for, For the most part, I still use a Windows 10 VM when I need Windows however, completing assignments in OneNote and programming in Visual Studio as opposed to Google Docs and Python (in Sublime Text) last year is quickly going to become a chore. In fact, I already found this out the hard way when the C# ASP.NET web app which was part of last years assignment got entirely lost since VirtualBox decided it wasn’t going to play nice with the VDI anymore. Luckily my frequent Git commits saved my ass there.

To that’s why I upgraded, now why am i surprised it worked?

As I said before this machine runs Ubuntu 16.04 as it’s primary OS. I have GRUB 2 installed and the 1TB disk is split into around 5/6 partitions. Now, if you’ve never tried to install Windows on a dual booting system, I remain forever jealous of you as you have never experienced the hell. Windows tends to assume that it is the only OS on the system and there is simply no way to tell it otherwise. Because of this it installs it’s own bootloader onto the MBR (Master Boot Record) of the disk. It also (for some reason) doesn’t detect Linux OSs in the same way it will other Windows OSs meaning that it usually leaves your nice dual booting system, a single OS system with one unbootable OS. This, for me at least is were I realise I’ve forgotten all the GRUB rescue commands I learned last time Windows screwed me over. This is what I was fully expecting.


To my surprise, at first boot, I still saw my GRUB menu, Ubuntu was still accessible, and so was Windows.

It turns out that Windows 10 will simply use the existing partitions and leave the disk structure alone. Wonderful.

One thing I would note… If you’re planning to do this, make sure that Windows is the first item in your boot menu, otherwise you’ll go for a cup of coffee, come back and your system will be sitting at the Ubuntu login screen. I learned that the hard way multiple times during the install.

Thankfully, the drivers for the system stayed as they were and the installer still leaves the usual Windows.old file there for use if it all goes awry. Overall, a very good install experience.