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Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

I'm overdue to catch up to the modern world  - currently running two home systems with Win2K Pro. Just purchased a New HP Pavilion - Dual core Intel CPU, 4GB/500GB, comes with Vista 64-bit - wondering if there's a safe way to set it up to dual boot Vista (or downgrade to XP Pro) and one of the flavors of desktop Linux. I'm leaving it in the box until I decide what course to take.
Recommendations (or warnings) welcome!

Fred Wagner


RE: Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

I had only one small problem dual-booting Vista and Fedora on a Dell Latitude.  I just told Vista to free up some hard-drive space (Vista actually comes with an app to resize partitions) then installed Fedora on the available space.

I told Fedora to put the grub boot loader in the hard-drive's boot sector.

The only problem I had was with a Dell diagnostic partition, the first partition on the drive.  When Fedora set up grub to boot Vista, it did't take the diagnostic partitition into account (It did for the Linux partition, just not the Vista partition. Go figure.), so grub was trying to boot Vista from the wrong partition.  I just tweaked the appropriate "rootnoverify" line in grub.conf from Linux and everything was fine.

Want to ask the best questions?  Read Eric S. Raymond's essay "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way".  TANSTAAFL!

RE: Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

Thank you for the info sleipnir214  - just the sort of info and  assurance I was looking for! Is there enough info in Vista's supplied documentation or help screens, or do you recommend any books for reference/guidance ? - like how did you learn/know about the built-in partition resizing utility ?

Fred Wagner


RE: Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

It's been pretty easy for a while now to dual-boot Linux with Microsoft's OSes.  You pretty much install the Microsoft OS first, so it can be found by your distribution's install process, then let the Linux boot manager figure out which OS to boot.  There were problems sometimes booting MS when lilo was the Linux boot manager, but grub seems to get along nicely with MS.

I came across Vista's ability to resize partititions by accident.  I had just been assigned the laptop at work and was dejectedly poking around in it because my boss had decided I needed to familiarize myself with Vista.  I opened the Computer Management gizmo and inside it went to the Disk Management snap-in.  Imagine my suprised delight when I right-clicked on a partition and Vista gave me the options "Extend volume..." and "Shrink Volume..." -- I was thinking I was going to have to either blow out the Vista partition and reinstall or buy some partition manager to get the space I needed.

I shrank Vista's volume by 20GB or so and installed Linux on the newly-freed space.

Want to ask the best questions?  Read Eric S. Raymond's essay "How To Ask Questions The Smart Way".  TANSTAAFL!

RE: Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

I dual boot as well on my laptop. I only had one issue, and it was also related to grub. For some reason, after I restarted, grub wouldn't load anything thanks to my BIOS rearranging some devices on me.

I strongly recommend using Vista's tool to do the resizing. I tried a linux livecd at the time and it screwed up the partition. I heard Vista uses a slightly different version of NTFS that qparted and such don't understand. (This has probably been corrected by now.)

RE: Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

Hi Fred,

Is the system a laptop or desktop?

If a desktop, the easiest, safest and most reliable way to do it...>

Get a 2nd HD, unplus the Vista HD for a bit while you install the whole Linux OS to that, instead of messing with boot sectors, shrinking partitions, etc... that way if you ever need to make any changes, do any upgrades,etc... each system is seperate and not relying on the other for any reason.

Then you plug the Vista HD in, and when the system starts up while still in Bios/POST (since all modern Bios's have this option), you should be given a option for Boot Options, you hit that, then choose which HD/OS you want to run.  

Good Luck

RE: Dual Boot Linux with Vista ?

DrD - It's a desktop, and the 2nd hard drive is a good idea, particularly with the low price of hard drives lately!
I'll check to see how the spacing looks for airflow around a 2nd drive. I remember a 'hot' system some years ago - at the time a 'high end' Gateway, with SCSI HD and CD-RW - it would shut down after a few minutes - moving the single HD to a position that allowed airflow on both sides solved the problem.

Danomac - good point about the BIOS - I've had a similar issue at work - a Fujitsu scanner with a high-speed SCSI connection, working with Kofax Capture. Been working beautifully on older Gateway and single-processor Dell boxes. The customer wanted a dual processor Dell for performance - our Infrastructure folks gave them an Optiplex 755, the scanner and Adrenaline card installed OK, the software installed and ran ok, until the first reboot, then it wouldn't see the scanner anymore. Kofax support narrowed it down to 'dynamic resource allocation' - I moved the scanner back to a single processor box!

I'll go ahead and unpack and power up the new HP this weekend, take a look at the internal config and see what the heat situation feels like after it's been on a few hours. Thank to all for the help and advice!


Fred Wagner


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