Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Dual-Boot of Fedora 11 on Windows 7 computer
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This guide shows how to correctly and safely create a natural dual-boot of Windows 7 and Linux Fedora 11 on a computer with Windows 7 already installed. Linux's boot loader (GRUB) will be in control of startup. You can then run either 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 you need to shrink the Windows 7 drive to make room for Linux. The example shown here uses one hard disk.
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 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 Windows to be in control of the dual-boot, go to this page
If you are not installing version 11 of Fedora, you must go to this page and select the correct version.
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.
Where should you install the Linux boot loader (GRUB) ?
1. To the Linux partition.
In this case the Linux partition must be a Primary because it must be made Active during installation. However the original MBR and boot loader remains intact and you can easily restore the Windows-controlled boot by just making the original partition Active again.
2. To the MBR (Master Boot Record).
Doing this overwrites the existing Windows MBR and boot loader (BCD) and makes it difficult to restore Windows as a single entity should you wish to do so at a later time. It has the advantage that you can install Linux itself on a Logical partition.
SUMMARY of Procedure (Advanced Users)
That's it! The GRUB boot loader menu will boot Linux Fedora 11 or Windows 7.
Details: Install Linux Fedora 11 and GRUB when Windows 7 was 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
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 60 GB Unallocated space at the end of the disk (to the right). After repartitioning it had: System Reserved (100 MB, Primary, Hidden, NTFS), Win7 (90 GB, Primary, NTFS), Linux (60 GB, Unallocated).
C. Install Fedora 11
Raid/LVM was not an issue when testing so partitions were created manually during installation. Grub was installed either to the Linux EXT3 partition or to the MBR - both worked fine though the Linux partition is preferred unless you have specific reasons for overwriting the Windows boot sector and boot loader.
Congratulations! You have created a GRUB-controlled natural dual-boot of Windows 7 and Linux Fedora 11 when Windows 7 was installed first.
Help! I want Windows-control back again!
The Windows boot loader can be recovered relatively easily. Doing so will stop you booting to Linux Fedora.
How to reinstall/recover the Windows 7/Vista boot loader (BCD)
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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