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How I managed to install [X]Ubuntu alongside Windows 10 on my new XPS 15

mmphego profile image Mpho Mphego Updated on ・5 min read

Originally published at blog.mphomphego.co.za on February 24, 2019


After almost 4 years of using my Dell Latitude E5540, I was due for an upgrade.
Well I must say, this laptop has served it's purpose and I enjoyed every minute of it apart from the battery life and the failing disk which causes my system to just freeze time to time, as I digress.

Anyways, I decided to place an order for a Dell XPS 15 9570. It is an amazing laptop to say the least from the 16Gb memory to the 512Gb SSD not forgetting the Intel Core i7 CPU. I just had to get my filthy hands on it.

The thing with new laptops is that getting Ubuntu installed alongside Windows is a bit trickier due to the high level of security on EUFI mode instead of BIOS, and Windows Bitlocker/secureboot related issues.

I have seen numerous online/YouTube tutorials on installing different versions of Ubuntu on different XPS's along side Windows 10, however not all work, It is either you Wipe Windows completely and then install Ubuntu or risk corrupting Windows installation - which sucks!!!

Long story short, the last time I used Microsoft Windows was when Windows Vista came out, I have been a Linux heavy user since then and the only reason why I opted to dual boot instead of a complete system-wide Linux installation is the Video editing tools and Gaming on Windows - So I was like...

Enough about the chit-chat let me get down to business.

Preparation

First, you need to download an Ubuntu ISO and burn it to your USB stick.
You can find the list of Ubuntu flavours here, I rather prefer XUbuntu and the instructions for burning the ISO to USB are here using etcher.

In your Windows 10:

Partition storage drive

  • Click the start menu.
  • Type disk management and open Disk Management.
  • Select the Windows partition (most likely to be the largest one).
  • Right click on it and select "Shrink Volume".
  • Shrink to desired amount. (I shrank 200GB for Ubuntu)
  • See if a partition of "Unallocated space" is shown.

Enable AHCI mode

In order to install Ubuntu or any Linux distro, you need to set the storage drive to AHCI mode.

  • Click the start menu, search and run Command Prompt as an admin.
  • Run: bcdedit /set {current} safeboot minimal
  • Reboot.
  • Tap F2 when you see the Dell logo, until it loads the BIOS/UEFI setup.
  • Under Settings, select System Configuration then SATA Operation and enable AHCI mode.
  • Press "Apply", "Save as Custom User Settings?" and then "Exit".
  • Windows will boot into Safemode and will require you to login.
  • Open the Command Prompt as an admin again (Windows + R, type in cmd and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter)
  • Run: bcdedit /deletevalue {current} safeboot
  • Reboot.

Installing Ubuntu

If you followed all the instruction, we are now ready for the installation of Ubuntu.

  • Insert the Ubuntu USB into the XPS obviously and Reboot.
  • Tap F12 when you see the Dell logo.
  • Select the one with the words "UEFI: Vendor blablabla" in it and hit enter.
  • Select "Try Ubuntu without installing" option [DO NOT HIT ENTER YET!]
  • Press e
  • Find the line with quiet splash and add nomodeset just after it in.
  • Press F10 to save.
  • Locate the Ubuntu installer on the desktop and launch it.
  • Select "Enable Insecure Boot mode" during the installation and remember the password for it.
  • Complete the installation and Reboot

After the reboot, you will be greeted by a blue screen "Perform MOK management", press any keys and,

  • Select Change Secure Boot State
  • Enter your password and then Continue Boot.

After that, the computer will reboot and you will be greeted by the Grub screen with booting options.

  • Hover over the option "Ubuntu"
  • Press e
  • After the words quiet splash, add nouveau.modeset=0.
    • Detailed instructions can be found here
  • Press F10 to save.

Boot into Ubuntu, and open your terminal and add the parameter nouveau.modeset=0 to the Linux kernel command in grub. To make it permanent.

echo 'GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="nouveau.modeset=0' | sudo tee -a /etc/default/grub
sudo update-grub2

Post Ubuntu Installation

After a successful Ubuntu installation, you will need to update the packages as well as install some drivers for your machine, however this can be very tedious. So over time I got irritated about installing packages after a fresh install and then I wrote script to automate my installations.

Check it out on GitHub and read the README.md, contributions are always welcome.

The script will install various packages as well as XPS 15 tweaks.

To run the installation enter, command and follow the prompts.

bash -c "$(curl -L https://git.io/runme)"

Conclusion

Dual booting Windows and Linux can be a challenge on it's own, It took me some time to get everything to working and at the end of it all - It was worth it. The Dell XPS 15 is a great laptop to work on, It will take me sometime to adjust from from using the Latitude. I hope this post was helpful.

Further Reading & Reference

Discussion

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alexcmay11 profile image
Alex M

Hi! When I try selecting the “try Ubuntu without installing” there is no option to then press e. If you click the button, it just runs the sample mode of Linux. How can I get around this? Thanks
.