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

Preparation

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

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

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

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