Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Dual-Boot of Linux Fedora 13 on a Windows Vista computer (Vista installed first and GRUB controlling startup from the Fedora drive)
Last reviewed: July 2010
This guide shows how to correctly and safely create a natural dual-boot of Windows Vista and Linux Fedora 13 on a computer with Windows Vista already installed. Linux's boot loader (GRUB) will be on the Fedora partition and in control of startup. The current MBR will remain unchanged. You can then run either operating system 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 Fedora must be installed on a Primary partition so it can be marked as Active. This means the hard disk must not currently contain more than two Primary partitions (including any hidden Primary). The Linux Swap partition can still be a Logical partition.
You will need to shrink the Windows Vista drive to make room for Linux if you use a single hard.
32 and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista were used in testing 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 MBR and be in control of the dual-boot then go to this pagel
If you wish Windows to be in control of the dual-boot, go to this page
Important Installation Notes
Shrinking a Windows Vista 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 Vista and the original MBR has not been changed.
STEP-BY-STEP: Install Linux Fedora 13 and GRUB when Windows Vista was installed first
Installing other operating systems on your Windows Vista 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 Vista (150 GB, Primary, NTFS). The Windows Vista 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), Vista (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. Grub was put on the Linux EXT4 partition during the Fedora installation setup. The EXT4 partition was marked as Active when installation was complete. The dual-boot was created automatically by Fedora. Finished.
Remove/Uninstall Linux and reclaim space
Linux Fedora is wonderful, regularly updated, and it's free! Nevertheless you may wish to remove it at some stage. Removing Fedora and regaining its disk space is quick and painless.
In just a few second you will have all the Linux space back in Vista. Restart computer.
Repair Windows Vista Startup
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. Windows Vista should always boot again if you execute the following procedure.
If still stuck for a solution, boot again from the installation DVD, select Repair your computer, highlight Windows Vista, get to a Command Prompt, use DIR command (DIR C: or DIR D: etc.) to identify drive letter allocations (sizes and Labels will help), and type in:
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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