Create a Linux/Windows Dual Boot System

Posted On 2007-11-13 by FortyPoundHead
Tags: Tutorial Linux Windows
Views: 1490

Not everyone who installs Linux is going to want to use it as a sole operating system. Many people install Linux as part of a dual boot system. If you`re new to using a PC, it can be a bit challenging to create a dual boot system for Linux, but it is not impossible. The benefit is that you can use either of your installed operating systems and choose between the two at each system restart.

  1. Set you computer to install from the optical drive. Both Windows and Linux can be installed using an optical drive (most often a DVD drive). This is typically done using the "F8" key on your keyboard while your computer boots up.

  2. Install Windows as you normally would onto your hard drive. Follow all of the prompts necessary to complete installation.

  3. Place the Linux installation DVD into your optical drive once the Windows installation has completed.
  4. Restart your computer. You should keep the optical drive as the primary boot device during Linux installation.

  5. Follow the Linux installation prompts as you did for Windows, making sure to leave the Linux defaults for creating a second partition.

  6. Find the /boot sector in Linux using the "dd" command from the shell. This information needs to be copied and pasted into a file and named something like "BootLinux.lnx."

  7. Restart Windows and access the "msconfig" application from the "Start -> Run" section of the Start Menu.

  8. Add the command line that enables the Linux boot file you created into the BOOT.INI file. It should look something like this: "C:\BOOTLINUX.LNX="Linux Operating System."

  9. Restart your computer and wait for the command prompt to appear asking which operating system you wish to boot. It should list both Microsoft Windows and Linux.

Tips and Warnings

Try to have the biggest hard drive you can afford when you plan to create a dual book system for Linux and Windows. This will enable you to create a big enough partition for each operating system or create a shared partition large enough for both operating systems to share.

You can also choose to install Linux to a second hard drive if you don`t wish to partition your current drive.

Be aware that most versions of Linux require that the /boot partition be installed in at least the first 1024 cylinders of your hard drive. The rest, for the most part, can be installed to any location on the drive, but failing to have the /boot partition in the first 1024 cylinders can render Linux inoperable.

Depending on your computer`s BIOS, the NTFS file system may not recognize Linux as an operating system and fail to boot.

About the Author

FortyPoundHead has posted a total of 1974 articles.

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