Want to Dual Boot Vista & Linux?

Discussion in 'General Technical' started by Jason, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. Jason


    Sep 26, 2005
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    Dual Booting Vista and Linux:


    Back in the day w/ good old Windows XP dual booting was a breeze. Any of the major distributions made it easy. With Vista, things have changed. Microsoft has changed up the game plan with Vista, ridding itself of its old boot.ini bootloader in favor of a new bootloader. The new bootloader, BCD (Boot Configuration Data), is designed to be firmware-independent. It also comes with a new boot option editing tool, BCDEdit.exe, which isn't so much user-friendly as user-hostile. Feel free to search the forums and you'll find plent of info on using BCDEDIT.The major downfall of BCD is the fact that it doesnt play well, when installed over pre-existing OS's. The 2nd problem arises with users who have deployed Bitlocker drive encryption. The real problem for dual-booting with BitLocker is that it blocks Linux from accessing any data in that partition. Security guru <U>Bruce Schneier thinks</U> "You could look at BitLocker as anti-Linux because it frustrates dual boot," but I don't think it does. Even with BitLocker installed, Vista still needs an unencrypted partition to boot from, so dual-booting should still work. It's just that getting at data on the BitLocker-protected NTFS partition will be close to impossible for Linux users.

    Getting to it:

    In the case of a dual-boot system, I belive the best way to dual boot is to install Vista first. Make sure it boots good, then move onto the linux side. You're almost certainly going to need to do a clean install, anyway. You see, if you "upgrade" a system, you have to do it from within Windows XP or 2000. And, if you do that, you can't repartition or reformat any of the hard drive. The only way you can work on your drive fundamentals at the start of a Vista install is if you boot from the Vista DVD. So, unless you already have a big enough partition on your drive for another operating system, you're better off with a clean install.

    Below is an example using Ubuntu linux but should be compatible with many other distributions:<DIV class=content>

    <SPAN class="inline middle">Boot into Windows Vista and go into Disk Management - right-click My Computer, Manage, Disk Management.</SPAN>

    <SPAN class="inline middle"></SPAN>[​IMG]<SPAN class=caption style="WIDTH: 398px">Vista Disk Management</SPAN>

    Right-click on the main Vista partition and select Shrink Volume

    <SPAN class="inline middle">[​IMG]<SPAN class=caption style="WIDTH: 398px">Vista Disk Management - Shrink Volume</SPAN></SPAN>

    The Shrink tool will assess how much space can be freed up.

    <SPAN class="inline middle">[​IMG]<SPAN class=caption style="WIDTH: 398px">Vista Disk Management - Shrink Volume 2</SPAN></SPAN>

    As a rule of thumb Sh
    Jason, Jul 11, 2007
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  2. Jason


    Oct 21, 2007
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    Good guide, but i'd highly recommend creating a seperate /home partition during installation. This will allow you to keep all your software preferences and personal files if you ever reinstall Linux.

    To do this, select "manual partitioning". Create an Ext3 partition of about 10GB, and mount your / (aka root) there. Create another partition of about 1-1.5x your RAM size and select "Swap" as the file system, then create a third partition containing all the free space and select /home as the mount point. If you want to keep data you share with Windows in your /home then you can make it NTFS, otherwise use the Ext3 file system.

    Click for more info about installing Ubuntu on a Windows PC
    Spork, Oct 21, 2007
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