Dual Boot Vista and Linux


  • 2 Hard Drives
  • Linux Install CD
  • Vista Install DVD
  • Computer powerful enough to run Vista

Why this is necessary
Vista comes with a more difficult to work with bootloader. If you install Vista, then Grub, it wipes out the Vista Bootloader. It used to be that you could just tell Grub what to do to boot into Windows, but Windows no longer boots on it’s own: It needs its *special* bootloader!

This may seem convoluted, but in order to counteract this, I keep the Windows Bootloader on the Windows drive. However, I then make that drive the 2nd drive and install the Grub bootloader on the 1st drive. This makes the computer boot Grub first, which can either go right into Linux or it can boot into the 2nd drive, remapping the drives so that the Windows Bootloader can take over, thinking that it is on the 1st drive.

Before you start!

Read this entire manual so you have an idea of what you are doing.

Step 1: Install Windows Vista
Install everything taking up the entire contents of the first disk. Reboot to make sure Windows boots normally.
Note: if you are going to install multiple Windows operating systems, install them BEFORE installing Vista ONTO this drive, but do not take up all of the disk space!
Step 2: Swap Drives
Powerdown. Physically swap drives. My system is hotswap so this is easy. If you have Master/Slave pins, switch the Master with the Slave. If you are using SATA, switch connections between the two drives. I don’t care how you do it, just make the computer think the first drive is the 2nd drive and visa versa.
Step 3. Install Linux
I have tried this with both Gentoo and Kubuntu. Works great. Go through the linux setup, installing to the FIRST DRIVE. This drive WOULD have been the 2nd drive, but now it is the 1st because we swapped the drives around.
When it asks what Bootloader you want, select GRUB!
Step 4. Configure GRUB
Follow your distributions manual on configuring grub.conf for the linux partition (kubuntu automatically will do this for you). However, for the Windows partition you must configure it as so:

# Windows Vista
title=Windows Vista
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
map (hd1) (hd0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
chainloader +1

Step 5. Install GRUB to the MBR
Run “grub” to open the grub terminal:

grub> root (hd0,0)
grub> setup (hd0)
grub> quit

Reboot after you are finished setting up your system. It should let you pick between either Linux or Vista.

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