User:Misterhaan/Dual Booting Ubuntu and Vista

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i use ubuntu as my workstation gnu/linux distribution along with windows vista. this guide is what i did to set up [url=/geek/computers.php#tesla]tesla[/url] and [url=/geek/computers.php#galileo]galileo[/url] to dual boot ubuntu 8.04 hardy heron and windows vista.

partition hard drive

i have a bootable linux-based [url=]rescue disc[/url] that lets me run qtparted, which is a partition editing tool. (you can accomplish the same thing using a non-free utility like partition magic, or possibly a different free tool.) the first thing i do when setting up a new system is boot that disc and set up an ntfs partition at the end of the hard disk for windows vista to use. i put it at the end of the disk because sometimes in order to boot a partition it has to start within a certain number of bytes of the beginning of the disk, and my linux partitions are smaller.

at minimum, one could probably get by with 5 gigabytes for linux and 20 gigabytes for vista. i use an 80-gigabyte drive (which works out to 75 gigabytes in binary), so i triple both of those to end up with 15 for linux and 60 for vista. this leaves the first 15 gigabytes unpartitioned and the last 60 as a primary ntfs partition.

the reason to create the ntfs partition is linux installers have better partitioning tools than windows installers. i find it easier to create the partition for windows using qtparted and tell the windows installer to use that than to get the windows installer to create the partition the way i want it. the linux installer is easy enough to get things how i want them that i don’t create those partitions ahead of time.

install vista

boot the vista install dvd to begin the vista installation. vista now essentially decompresses an image onto your disk instead of installing the way previous versions of windows worked. this makes it a little faster but also means you can’t control what gets installed.

you can leave the product key blank and uncheck [i]automatically activate windows when i’m online[/i] — this will give you 30 days (?) of vista without having to deal with activation, which is basically evil. it will ask you if you want to enter your product key, so you’ll again have to indicate that you don’t want to do that by clicking [i]no[/i]. not entering a product key probably means you have to select which edition of vista you installed. if you’re going with the 30 days, may as well try ultimate. make sure to check the box saying you selected the edition you purchased (note if you try to activate later and have installed the wrong version, you will probably need to install again with the right version). accept the license terms, and choose a custom install. this is the only option (upgrade is disabled), but it has a link to “help me decide.”

choose the windows partition and format it (you'll have to click [i]drive options (advanced)[/i] before format will show up). click next and get ready to wait.

you may want to jump to my vista setup guide at this point for further vista customization.

install ubuntu

if you don’t already have ubuntu, this is pretty straighforward — simply boot the cd and it will load up ubuntu for you. launch the install shortcut that’s on the desktop to actually install ubuntu to your hard drive. it should be fairly easy to decide what options to choose (there aren’t all that many choices!), so mostly do what seems right to you. i need to set specific user ids for my users to match up with my server, so when prompted to create a user i create [i]tempuser[/i] with password [i]tempuser[/i]. if you don’t care about user ids, you can create the user account(s?) you plan to use here.

ubuntu installs grub, which should recognize the vista installation (though it will call it “something else”) and provide a menu for choosing which operating system to use at each boot. it will make ubuntu the default choice, so if you’re not paying attention it will show the menu for a few seconds and then boot ubuntu.

to make it boot windows by default, make sure you’re in ubuntu and edit the file [code]/boot/grub/menu.lst[/code] (use a command like [code]sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst[/code]). NEED TO WRITE DOWN WHAT TO CHANGE HERE.

you may want to jump to my ubuntu setup guide at this point for further ubuntu customization.