How to Install Linux on Windows 11 Dual Boot: A Step-By-Step Guide

Installing Linux on Windows 11 Dual Boot

Thinking about diving into the world of Linux but don’t want to give up Windows 11? No problem! You can have both operating systems on one machine with a dual boot setup. This guide will walk you through the steps to install Linux alongside Windows 11. By the end, you’ll be able to choose between Windows 11 and Linux each time you start your computer.

Installing Linux on Windows 11 Dual Boot

In this section, we’ll go through the detailed steps to achieve a dual boot setup. You’ll need a USB drive, a Linux distribution ISO file, and some patience.

Step 1: Backup Your Data

Before making changes to your system, back up important files to avoid accidental data loss.

Backing up your data ensures that if anything goes awry during the installation, you’ll still have access to your important files. You can use an external hard drive or cloud storage for this purpose.

Step 2: Download a Linux Distribution

Choose and download a Linux distribution, like Ubuntu or Fedora, from the official website.

Linux distributions are available for free. Once you decide which one you want to try, download the ISO file. This file will be used to create a bootable USB drive.

Step 3: Create a Bootable USB Drive

Use a tool like Rufus to create a bootable USB drive with the Linux ISO file.

Insert your USB drive and open Rufus. Select the downloaded ISO file, choose your USB drive, and click "Start." This process will erase all data on the USB drive, so ensure it doesn’t contain any important files.

Step 4: Disable Fast Startup in Windows

Disabling Fast Startup prevents Windows from interfering with the Linux installation process.

Open the Control Panel and go to "Power Options." Click on "Choose what the power buttons do," then "Change settings that are currently unavailable." Uncheck "Turn on fast startup" and save the changes.

Step 5: Shrink Windows Partition

Shrink the Windows partition to create space for Linux.

Open "Disk Management" by searching it in the Start menu. Right-click on the Windows partition and select "Shrink Volume." Enter the amount of space to shrink (at least 20GB) and follow the prompts.

Step 6: Boot from USB Drive

Restart your computer and boot from the USB drive containing the Linux ISO.

You’ll need to enter the BIOS or UEFI settings during startup. This is usually done by pressing a key like F2, F12, or Delete. Once in the BIOS, select the USB drive as the first boot option.

Step 7: Install Linux

Follow the on-screen instructions to install Linux on the newly created partition.

The Linux installer will guide you through the process. Choose the "Install alongside Windows" option when prompted. Allocate the remaining space to Linux, set up your user account, and proceed with the installation.

Step 8: Finishing Up

Complete the installation and reboot your computer.

After installation, remove the USB drive and restart your computer. You should see a boot menu allowing you to choose between Windows 11 and Linux.

After completing these steps, your computer will have both Windows 11 and Linux installed. You can select which operating system to boot into every time you start your computer.

Tips for Installing Linux on Windows 11 Dual Boot

  • Update BIOS/UEFI: Ensure your BIOS/UEFI firmware is up-to-date before starting the installation process.
  • Check Compatibility: Verify that your hardware is compatible with the chosen Linux distribution.
  • Partition Carefully: Double-check partition sizes to avoid shrinking your Windows space too much.
  • Use LTS Versions: Consider using Long Term Support (LTS) versions of Linux distributions for better stability.
  • Keep Recovery Options Handy: Create a Windows recovery drive before starting the installation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I remove Linux and keep Windows 11?

Yes, you can remove Linux by deleting its partitions and restoring the Windows bootloader. Use a tool like EasyBCD for this.

Will dual boot affect my system’s performance?

No, dual booting does not affect system performance. Each OS runs independently when selected.

What happens if I run out of space on my Linux partition?

You can resize partitions using tools like GParted, but it requires caution and a backup of your data.

Is it possible to access Windows files from Linux?

Yes, Linux can read and write to NTFS partitions, so you can access your Windows files.

How do I update my Linux distribution?

You can update Linux using the package manager (e.g., APT for Ubuntu). Open the terminal and run the update commands specific to your distribution.

Summary of Steps to Install Linux on Windows 11 Dual Boot

  1. Backup Your Data
  2. Download a Linux Distribution
  3. Create a Bootable USB Drive
  4. Disable Fast Startup in Windows
  5. Shrink Windows Partition
  6. Boot from USB Drive
  7. Install Linux
  8. Finishing Up


Congratulations! You’ve successfully set up a dual boot system with Windows 11 and Linux. This arrangement allows you to explore the flexibility and power of Linux while keeping the familiar environment of Windows 11.

Taking this journey expands your horizons and enhances your computing skills. Whether you’re diving into code, customizing your environment, or simply curious about Linux, this dual boot setup gives you the best of both worlds.

Ready to dive deeper? Consider exploring Linux forums, joining a local Linux User Group, or reading books and online articles about your new operating system. The open-source community is vast and welcoming, always eager to help newcomers.

Happy computing!