Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Dual-Boot of Linux Fedora 13 ('Goddard') on a Windows 7 computer (Win7 installed first and GRUB controlling startup from a new Linux-created MBR)
Last reviewed: July 2010
This guide shows how to correctly and safely create a natural dual-boot of Windows 7 and Linux Fedora 13 on a computer with Windows 7 already installed. A new MBR will be created at the start of the disk and Linux's boot loader (GRUB) will be in control of startup. You can then run either by selecting one from a Linux menu during bootup. No data loss will occur and a third-party boot utility is not used.
In this procedure you need to shrink the Windows 7 drive to make room for Linux. The example shown here uses one hard disk.
32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 Home Basic, Enterprise and Ultimate were used in testing so this will also work with Windows 7 Premium and Professional. The computers used were (1) a 32-bit Dell Optiplex with Pentium 4 (2.26GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 160 GB ATA hard disk, and (2) AMD Athlon 64-bit (2.4GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 1 TB SATA hard disk.
Following these instructions correctly should always succeed. However, any change to your computer should not even be considered unless your have a rescue plan. This guide also contains that rescue plan - just in case!
The procedure used is suitable for experienced computer users.
If you wish Linux's GRUB to be on the Fedora partition and be in control of the dual-boot then go here
If you wish Windows to be in control of the dual-boot then go here
Important Installation Notes
Shrinking a Windows 7 or Vista drive
Shrinking a Windows 8, 7 or Vista drive. You should use Shrink in Windows' Disk Management to resize the Windows partition. You can read Shrink the Windows 8. 7 or Vista Partition for instructions on completing this task successfully. Use the free GParted Live CD to gain disk space only if you must - read the page Use GParted to Resize the Windows 8, 7 or Vista Partition to learn how.
SUMMARY of Procedure (Advanced Users)
That's it! The GRUB boot loader menu will boot Linux Fedora 13 or Windows 7.
STEP-BY-STEP: Install Linux Fedora 13 and GRUB when Windows 7 was installed first
Installing other operating systems on your Windows 7 computer may invalidate your warrantee.
It's important to follow the instructions exactly as stated and you should have a properly working Windows.
A. Make your preparations
B. Make free space (Unallocated) for Linux
The single 160 GB disk usually used in testing initially had: System Reserved (100 MB, Primary, Hidden, NTFS), Windows 7 (150 GB, Primary, NTFS). The Windows 7 drive was shrunk leaving about 20 GB Unallocated space at the end of the disk (to the right). After repartitioning it had: System Reserved (100 MB, Primary, Hidden, NTFS), Win7 (130 GB, Primary, NTFS), Linux (20 GB, Unallocated).
C. Install Fedora 13
Raid/LVM was not an issue when testing so partitions were created manually during installation. The default location for the Boot Loader was accepted (to the MBR). The dual-boot was created automatically by Fedora. Finished.
Help! I want Windows-control back again!
The Windows boot loader can be recovered relatively easily. Please note that doing this will stop you booting to Linux Fedora.
How to reinstall/recover the Windows 7/Vista boot loader (BCD)
If you installed GRUB to the MBR:
Bootup any Windows 7/Vista installation DVD or even from NeoSmart's free Windows 7 System Recovery Disk.
If you want to use the hard disk space currently allocated to Fedora:
In just a few second you will have all the Linux space back in Win7. Restart computer.
Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.
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