Before you Begin – A Brief History
As sad as this is, and as many countless hours as I’ve wasted on this that I’ll never get back, I’ve resolved there is no way to make Roblox work in Ubuntu / linux – not even running in a VM on Ubuntu. If you want to read more about the vm journey, feel free over here, but the short version of the story is this:
- The entire Roblox gaming enterprise runs in a browser (or so you would think…)
- You can log into your account from any browser (ie. Firefox) and ‘almost play’
- As soon as you want to play it forces a roblox.exe windows executable file
- You can’t play without windows and this .exe file
- If you try to run it in a virtualbox / vm environment, the Roblox developers have set up ‘anti-cheat’ algorithms (should be actually called ‘pro Microsoft and anti-freedom algorithms…) so that as soon as you start to play you get kicked out with an error saying you are demonstrating bad behaviour. Good behaviour, of course, is to use Microsoft because it’s so ethical and safe (super cynical dripping sarcasm)
As such, I officially disdain Roblox, its creators and the entire thing and I regret ever letting my kids play it. Here are a few summary points to review if you think you want to go down this road:
- You cannot play it ‘normally’ in ubuntu / linux – just don’t even try
- In the end, if you want to play Roblox, you will have to either:
a) play it on a dedicated Windows machine or
b) dual boot Windows
If you still haven’t heeded my advice or got stuck too far like I did, let’s move forward with the dual boot environment.
Dual-Booting Windows with Ubuntu to Play Robox
What I learned
First, if you have done lots of installation work with Ubuntu and different versions of Linux you would probably, like me, this process would be as simple as this:
- Get any normal USB disk creation software
- Insert into PC
- Adjust BIOS to boot from USB
- install the OS
It should be but sadly even this process is terrible. I learned that Windows does not make it easy for Ubuntu / Linux users to simply create a bootable drive. I don’t understand why, though. You would think that this is a great way to gain exposure for your OS like all the Linux distros do? After trying the usual suspects (Unetbootin, Etcher and even a
dd command in the terminal. I tried probably all of these 5 times each and on various drives and literally nothing would work trying to create this bootable windows drive on my Ubuntu machine.
There is, however, a project called ‘WoeUSB‘ which was actually super promising, however, I couldn’t get it installed on Ubuntu 20 because of some dependency issues (I believe) and on Ubuntu 18.04 it installed but it kicked up some kind of error.
In the end I had to find a Windows machine and install software called Rufus to make it work. Just brutal.
I also learned that FAT format doesn’t work because it can’t move files over something like 4GB? I got stuck on several occasions because of that. I learned that it would be NTFS or nothing for this process.
With all that learning aside, let’s get to the how to…
How to do this
Here is the bullet point overview of the workflow followed by some notes:
Before you Begin:
- Back up all the data you care about on your Ubuntu installation
- Created and have in-hand an Ubuntu live install USB
- Find a windows machine, install Rufus (for creating the install USB), create the Windows install USB drive
NOTE: be absolutely CERTAIN you choose ‘MBR’ not ‘GPT’ (rest is pretty easy)
- Make sure safe boot is off on the computer BIOS
- While booting to your machine using live Ubuntu USB install drive, resize your Ubuntu hard drive disk to make room for Windows using Gparted.
This is a good guide but not a great guide. But he is not too lazy to do screenshots like me so this part is helpful :). The reason this guide is pretty bad is because he doesn’t clearly (or at all) explain that you have to be using a live USB drive to create a primary partition using Gparted… lost a lot of time on that! 🙁
Just make sure to give at least 50GB (I think – but do your research). I believe you can just leave this as unallocated space (no need to format it as the installer will do that)
I just entered 50000 mb into the ‘free space’ field, and Gparted automatically adjusts the ‘new size’ field. So don’t mess with the ‘new size’ field, I suggest, but just stick the desired amount into the ‘free space’ field.
- Shut down the computer, extract the Ubuntu install drive, when off, insert the Rufus-created Windows install drive
- Power on computer, run the install of windows by booting to USB (usual way) choosing the custom option of being able to choose the 50GB unallocated space you created with Gparted above.
- After install of Windows is complete, shut down again, and re-insert the Ubuntu live install USB and boot to it again
- Run the boot-repair package on live Ubuntu disk (thank goodness for whoever made this tool) – take all their recommendations (blog
- After all the boot-repair stuff is done and you have copied/pasted their commands in and completed, shut down the computer, remove the Ubuntu live drive, and power up again just with the computer itself. You ‘should’ now have ubuntu and Windows as bootable options from the black menu screen (grub) shortly after it turns on.
If you do not try repeating steps 4 and 5 again above – I had to repeat these steps once to make it work on one computer but the other one worked perfectly the first time.
I also had to do one reboot on one of the machines to get everything working on the first time I booted to Ubuntu, but after a restart everything was great.
I hope no one actually has to do this but if you do, there you go….
I hope that some or all of this helps one or more of you.