I spent more than a few hours trying to get Ubuntu to play nicely with pre-installed windows 8 on a new Dell Inspiron 660s. Previously, it was fairly easy to install Ubuntu using WuBi. Now, thought, there are issues with UEFI which is meant to be an additional security layer. Also, it seems Windows 8 wants to take over a system’s bios and replace it with their own settings. All in all, it makes installing Ubuntu more complicated. Some have gone as far as to claim that Microsoft is using its muscle to try to keep Ubuntu out of the market, recently filing official complaints. Whatever Microsoft’s intentions, Windows 8 made installing a dual boot system with Ubuntu much more challenging.
Fortunately, many people have posted solutions, but it did take much longer, possibly because of something unique on this Dell system.
I started with this post which seemed to have a lot of positive votes. I followed the steps exactly, and things seemed to be okay. After doing the required boot repair step in Ubuntu, the grub menu came up with the choices of Ubuntu and Windows 8. I booted in Ubuntu just fine. I restarted and then chose windows 8, which loaded just fine. But, the next time I restarted, the computer would only load windows 8, skipping the grub menu. I even tried the last troubleshooting step listed on that page, thinking maybe Windows 8 was overwriting something in the Grub menu, keeping it from loading. I still had the same problem. If I re-ran boot repair, the grub menu returned and things were fine – until I booted Windows 8. Then the computer would just load Windows 8 directly. I definitely see where the Linux community would be frustrated with whatever windows is choosing to do.
I’m not sure if my problem is a Dell specific issue, but after much trial and error (with continued error), I finally came across this post with a solution for another Dell system. I followed the solution he used, using the bcdedit command from the command shell with administrator privileges.
Finally, after that command, re-running the boot repair, everything seems to work as it should. I only wish I had found the solution earlier. Again, I don’t know if my problem was specific to Dell systems, but luckily I found a solution that worked. It would have been very disappointing if I couldn’t get the system to dual boot.