<< Click here to Goto HomePage


Monday, March 19, 2007

How to dual boot Windows Vista and Linux Ubuntu?

Many a times, Windows users that want to give Ubuntu Linux a try and don't want to give up their Windows system. So in such cases they can always choose to have them both in the same machine.
And this also applies for people that need both Windows and Linux on the same PC for business purposes. A dual boot machine has either multiple hard disks or multiple hard disk partitions, with each partition or drive containing an operating system. Now there are different methods to achieve a correct dual boot system, it's your decision which one you want to give it a try. I will outline two methods to achieve this.

Method 1: The easiest method

You can choose the brand new Ubuntu/Debian Installer for Windows machines. The aim of this installer is to provide an easier way for a Windows user to install Ubuntu Linux without having to know how to repartition the disks or to set up a multiboot system.

Note: With this installer, you can also choose to install Kubuntu (Ubuntu with KDE desktop) or Xubuntu (Ubuntu with XFCE desktop).

Method 2: The Geek way

1. Make sure your Windows partition is defragmented and backup any important data.

2. Boot from the Ubuntu Desktop CD, double click on the Install icon on the desktop and follow the normal installation instructions. When you arrive at the Partitioning screen, select the option that let's you resize IDE1 master, partition #1 (hda1) and use the free space.

Note: Remember that IDE1 master, partition #1 (hda1) represents the First partition on the First hard drive.

The partitioner will ask you how much space you wish to distribute to Linux partition, just enter the desired amount of space (I recommend around 5-6 GB). Continue with the installation.

3. After the installation is over, reboot the machine and you will be able to select from Windows or Ubuntu at boot time.


  1. Paul said,

    Good "How To !"
    I'm using Mepis dual booting with Windows XP.
    Mepis updates from the Ubuntu apt sources
    Having a dual boot machine is great, it's good to get a break from Windows
    KDE is my preferred GUI, when using Mepis or Knoppix.

    on 3/20/2007 8:54 AM

  2. Jason S said,

    That's true Paul "Having a dual boot machine is great, it's good to get a break from Windows"!!

    I have a dual boot with Fedora Core, but prefer to run Knoppix out of the CD :)

    on 3/20/2007 9:33 AM

  3. Anonymous said,

    Are you sure you can resize a windows vista partition? I read in the web that it has a diferent mechanism from XP that disable that option of resizing... I want to know "the true" ;)

    on 3/23/2007 12:21 AM

  4. Anonymous said,

    i tried it twice, but it doesn't seem to work for me... everytime my Windows Vista install is completely gone :(

    on 3/29/2007 4:08 AM

  5. Jason S said,

    Hi Bjorn,

    I guess your doing something wrong with following the steps :(

    Jason S

    on 3/29/2007 8:41 AM

  6. Anonymous said,

    Hi Jason,

    I really would like to try your attractive "how-to" but, you know,
    I have an HP Pavillion with Vista Home Premium installed and a Sata Hard Disk :-(
    I would like to install Linux in dual boot with Vista but it seems that the partition is not visible and resizeble (I have tried with some live distros but I failed) and also SATA disk seems to be an obstacle on doing this....I am now wondering if your suggested "easy mode" for installing Debian Etch could be a solution but...I am not sure. I am also wondering wheter try immediately to install Linux or wait for a better support for Vista and Sata hard drive....Have you a suggestion for me ?
    Thanks in advance for all your help!

    Kevin AU

    on 5/13/2007 10:55 PM

  7. Jason S said,

    Hi Kevin,

    I would suggest that you wait for some more time - Since SATA could turn out to be your biggest Nightmare :(

    So as you said we'll wait for better support.


    on 5/14/2007 9:27 AM

  8. Anonymous said,

    Hi Jason,

    here I am again!
    It seems that I have found a way for
    dual booting Vista and Linux, without waiting too long.....

    Vista includes a tool for resizing the partition so I have used it for creating a "free space" for Linux.
    After this shrinking I have my "some GB" free and ready for Linux.

    After this, I tried some Linux Live distros: some of them does not detect the free space on the hard disk but some others do detect it rightly.
    So I decided to give this installation a try.The most important point during the painless Linux installation, is that of the bootloader(GRUB in my case) that HAS NOT to be installed on the MBR but in the bootsector of the partition where Linux have been installed.
    This point is really very very important!!!

    After completing the Linux installing,
    after taking the Live CD out of the drive,do reboot.

    After this we will be again Vista even if for a short time.

    Now we do need a wonderful software named EASYBCD (the link is:
    http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1) that is able to manage in a eye-candy and graphic way, the Vista bootloader.
    Really very simple from now on:
    open EASYBCD then go to the "Add/Remove Entries" and pick Linux, pick the bootloader you have used (GRUB for me)and be careful to choose the right hard drive and partition where Linux has been installed.
    That's all.

    Reboot and enjoy the dual boot between Vista and your favourite Linux distro!!

    For me all of this has worked and is working well!!!


    Kevin AU

    on 5/20/2007 10:48 PM

  9. Jason S said,

    That's absolutely awesome Kevin.

    thanks for taking time to explain the procedure too.


    on 5/21/2007 11:55 AM

  10. Anonymous said,

    I think that we should always share our knowledge even if little, such in this case since, may be that these notes will be useful for someone else....
    Little by little we can grow each day more.

    As you told: "The race to perfection has no finish line..."


    Kevin AU

    on 5/21/2007 1:57 PM

  11. Jason S said,

    That's very true Kevin. The reason for having this blog is to share knowledge as you have rightly pointed out.


    on 5/21/2007 2:01 PM

  12. Abed Syed said,

    Hey guys i got a mess here. While trying to install debian linux with windows vista on my laptop(Windows vista being the first o.s installed). I just tired to play with and by mistake I've overwritten the MBR(master boot record) with GRUB. now the real problem is it is not detecting my windows o.s to give me option to boot to windows. and worse thing happened is even after successful installation of debian linux it is getting hung on startup for some USB port and not getting ahead. any help in this regard on how to get my windows back on track without being formatted or something.

    on 1/08/2008 11:51 AM