Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Dual-Boot of Linux Ubuntu 9.04 or 8 on a Windows 7 computer (Win7 installed first and GRUB controlling startup after Linux installation)
Last reviewed: June 2009
This guide shows how to correctly and safely create a natural dual-boot of Windows 7 and Linux Ubuntu 9.04 or 8.x on a computer with Windows 7 already installed. Linux's boot loader, GRUB, will be in control after the Linux installation. You can then run either by selecting that OS from a menu during bootup. If you already have a Windows-controlled dual or multi-boot, they will be retained and will be accessed from a sub-menu when Windows 7 is selected. 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.
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 operating system added was Linux Ubuntu 9.04 or 8.04. 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 moderately experienced computer users
Do not use these instruction to dual-boot with Ubuntu 9.10 or later. For later Ubuntu versions 9.10 or 10.04 you must select it on this page
Where do you install the Linux boot loader (GRUB) ?
1. To the Linux partition.
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 Ubuntu and Windows 7.
STEP-BY-STEP: Install Linux Ubuntu when Windows 7 is 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 Ubuntu
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 (110 GB, Primary, NTFS), Linux (20 GB, Unallocated).
C. Install Linux Ubuntu 9.04 or 8.04
Repair Windows 7 Startup or Remove/Uninstall Linux and reclaim space
You will not have any problem if you follow the instructions as stated above. However you might encounter some freak occurrence like a power failure during an installation. Linux Ubuntu is wonderful, regularly updated, and it's free! Nevertheless you may wish to remove it at some stage. Removing Ubuntu and regaining its disk space is quick and nearly painless.
In another a few seconds you will have all the Linux space back in Windows 7.
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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