Ottawa PC Users' Group, Inc.
by Alan German
recently purchased a new computer, I have been introduced
to the wonderful world of Microsoft Vista. Now, while
Vista works reasonably well, I still keep wondering about
a complete switch over to Linux. In fact, this question
comes to the fore every time I discover that Vista won't
let me do exactly what I want, or more particularly, when
I find a way to break something in Vista. This was
especially the case when I restored a disk image of my
Vista operating system and found that the machine would
no longer boot! but, that's another story.
But, while I keep pondering the question of Vista vs.
Linux, I need to be able to run both operating systems,
Vista because I paid for it, Linux because it's free, and
both of these because they are neat systems to play with!
Clearly, what I need is a dual-boot system, with both
Vista and Linux residing (and booting) happily on the new
Surfing the web for information on dual-booting Vista and
Linux initially seemed to suggest that this would be
fraught with difficulties. Vista, I was told, uses a new
boot loader, and BCD (Boot Configuration Data) doesn't
like Linux. Furthermore, the BCD editing tool is a
command line program that has zero user-friendliness
built in. But, I was going to have to use the new
bootloader because Vista doesn't like being installed on
a machine that already has an operating system (i.e.
Linux installed first); it overwrites the master boot
record (MBR) in the blink of an eye; and provides
absolutely no consideration to the presence of other
operating systems. So far, this didn't sound very
Then I hit upon an item in Ubuntu Forums, entitled How
To: Dual Boot Vista and Linux, by molly_001.
Molly was as good as her word and, in conjunction with
the work of some associates, provided links to
instructions on how to: dual boot Vista and Ubuntu 6.06;
dual boot XP and Ubuntu 6.06; triple boot XP, Vista, and
Ubuntu 6.06; dual boot Vista or XP and Ubuntu over a
previous Ubuntu install, without the need to reinstall
Ubuntu; and dual boot over two physical hard drives.
The simple solution is to install Linux (Ubuntu Version
6.06) on a separate disk partition. Rebooting the machine
brings up Linux - without a trace of Vista! But, all that
is necessary is to edit grub's menu.lst file (see
Exploring Linux Part 4, http://www.opcug.ca/public/Reviews/linux_part4.htm) and include the following
command sequence in the menu of available operating
title Windows Vista
Effectively, this tells grub that Vista is already
installed on the first hard-drive partition and, in
addition, makes Vista the default operating system. So,
just like that, you have a dual-boot, Vista and Ubuntu
Linux system. Thanks molly_001 !
Now, while the above text may be sufficient for
you to create a dual-boot system, there may be an
even better mousetrap. Since Molly laid out her
instructions on how to create a dual-boot system
with a beta version of Vista and Ubuntu 6.06, an
article in apcmag.com has provided some newer
information. The author, James Bannan, discusses
the use of Ubuntu Version 7.04, that reportedly
coordinates better with Vista than its earlier
sibling. It also provides a graphical,
step-by-step tutorial, covering the entire
process of installing Linux, including
partitioning the hard drive, and modifying grub
to set up the dual-boot system. What could be
How to dual-boot Vista with Linux (James Bannan)
How To: Dual Boot Vista
and Linux (molly_001)
How to dual-boot Vista
with Linux (James Bannan)
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full OPCUG website with frames.
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Ottawa Personal Computer Users' Group (OPCUG), Inc.
3 Thatcher Street, Ottawa, ON K2G 1S6
opinions expressed in these reviews do not necessarily
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