Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Dual-Boot of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) on Windows Vista computer (Vista installed first and Linux's GRUB2 on MBR controlling startup after installation)
Last reviewed: May 2010
This guide shows how to correctly and safely create a natural dual-boot of Windows Vista and Linux Ubuntu 10.04 on a computer with Windows Vista already installed. The Linux GRUB2 boot loader will overwrite the existing MBR and will be in control of startup (not Windows' BCD). You can then select either OS from a Linux GRUB2 menu during bootup. No data loss will occur and a third-party boot utility is not used.
If you prefer not to overwrite the Windows-created MBR, you should go to this page.
In this procedure you can install Linux Ubuntu on a Logical partition if you prefer because that partition is not marked as Active. You will also need a Logical partition for the Linux Swap area.
In creating this dual-boot you need to shrink the Windows Vista drive to make Unallocated space for Linux. For this reason it's best to create the Ubuntu partition(s) at the end of the hard disk so you do not interfere with Windows' disk management of the rest of the disk.
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), 1.5 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.
If you just want a simple method to try Ubuntu for a period, you should 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! Linux's Boot Loader menu will boot either Linux Ubuntu 10.04 or Windows Vista and the original MBR has been overwritten by GRUB2's.
STEP-BY-STEP: Install Linux Ubuntu 10.04 when Windows Vista is 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 disk space available for Linux Ubuntu
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) and a partition created there and Formatted. After repartitioning it had: System Reserved (100 MB, Primary, Hidden, NTFS), Windows Vista (130 GB, Primary, NTFS), Unallocated (20 GB).
C. Install Linux Ubuntu 10.04
Congratulations! You have created a natural dual-boot of Windows Vista and Linux Ubuntu 10.04 when Windows Vista was installed first, the original MBR has been overwritten by GRUB2 and the Linux Boot Loader menu is shown on bootup.
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. Also, 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 painless.
Windows Vista will boot again as previously if you execute the following procedure.
Return boot control to Windows
Windows Vista will boot normally and without any boot menu if none existed previously.
Reclaim the hard disk space used by Linux
In another a few seconds you will have all the Linux space back in Windows Vista.
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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