Help! I can't get Ubuntu to boot up on my Dell Windows computer!

I have a Dell Inspiron 3520 laptop with Windows 8 installed and have installed Ubuntu 13.10 Desktop AMD64. When I reboot it allows me to choose Ubuntu but will not load.

What can I do?


Windows 8 sux. Truly it

Windows 8 sux. Truly it does.

Here is the problem. From Windows 95 through Windows 7, boot information was placed on a special section of the hard drive called the MBR, Master Boot Record. All versions of Linux are set up to drop a copy of GRUB in the MBR.

But UEFI uses GPT, General Partition Table, rather than MBR, so there is no MBR to post GRUB to.

There are a few experimental stabs at writing GRUB to GPT, but so far they are experimental. I believe Mint has one.

The other solution is to reformat your hard drive to MBR and reinstall Windows. I recomment Windows 7, but most places you will have to pay to go back to 7. I just looked up a page on formatting your hard drive back to MBR and still installing Windows 8 to it, but I don't know the results and have not tried it.

If you try to install Ubuntu to your hard drive (wiping Windows altogether) you MUST reformat the drive with Windows first to get rid of the UEFI stuff and make it an MBR drive, or you'll have just wiped your drive and it's mostly unusable.

There is another way to go -- instead of Ubuntu, use Puppy (or another version of Puppy such as MacPup or Slax). Your operating system should remain on the CD (run as Live CD at all times) but your drive will be available to you. I have had lots of success with this -- but you have to figure out how to configure Startup to allow you to boot from the CD. I know that ASUS techs are less-than-well-informed on how to do this, and had to send my computer back to them to fix at one time because of how the tech messed me up with bad and/or incomplete information.

I hope that answers your question. Best bet is to get a Windows7 disk and totally reformat your drive, then set up an Ubuntu partition. Next best is to give up on Ubuntu and run Puppy. (Other Live Disks work, but require much more RAM and wind up doing disk writes; also most Live Disks are set up as trial-only and want you to install the OS entirely, which again, unless you reformat your disk, will result in no usable Linux installation.)