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Windows 7: Best way to format HDD for dual booting with Linux

11 Jan 2015   #1
medwatt

Windows 6 Ultimate x64
 
 
Best way to format HDD for dual booting with Linux

Hello,
I've been unsuccessfully trying to dual boot my laptop with a Linux distro. Grub2 never installs and so even though the distro is installed, I cannot boot into it. I have asked on several Linux forums and they suggested there might be some problem with the way my hard drive is partition.

So, I've decided to format my HDD completely and install Win7 and Linux Mint from scratch. So I'd like to know the best way to format the HDD so that after installing Win7, Grub2 will be able to find the MBR file and overwrite it. I'm asking this because during the installation of Win7, when trying to partition the HDD, windows always creates a "system reserved" partition as "sda1" and then another partition with the chosen size as "sda2". The reason I think GRUB2 isn't installing might be due to the MBR file being located in "sda2" and not in "sda1" because usually, when installing Mint, the installer detects Win7 but in my case it never does which doesn't make sense because Win7 is installed in "sda2". So, I hope someone can advice me on formatting my HDD so that the Mint installer can detect Win7 and properly install Grub.

Thanks


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11 Jan 2015   #2
gregrocker

 

If you want more customized advice post back a screenshot of Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image.

Dual Boot - Windows 7 and Linux - Windows 7 Forums
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11 Jan 2015   #3
medwatt

Windows 6 Ultimate x64
 
 

Here you go.


Attached Thumbnails
Best way to format HDD for dual booting with Linux-dskmgm.png  
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13 Jan 2015   #4
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by medwatt View Post
So, I've decided to format my HDD completely and install Win7 and Linux Mint from scratch. So I'd like to know the best way to format the HDD so that after installing Win7, Grub2 will be able to find the MBR file and overwrite it.
The only thing I can think of is to run a CLEAN ALL from DISKPART before installing Windows 7. The install Mint as per the tutorial Greg has linked to, skipping the EASYBCD step since you want GRUB to be dominant.

I've never had an issue getting Linux installed next to Windows 7. What type of partitioning are you doing during the Linux install? See the tutorial that Greg linked for a suggestion.
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13 Jan 2015   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I would advise against dual booting. Running Linux in virtual is so much easier - for installation and operation. E.g. like this.
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13 Jan 2015   #6
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Or even off a flash drive.

Main Page - Linux Mint

Universal USB Installer
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13 Jan 2015   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AddRAM View Post
Yeah, that's real sexy. Have a look at my version.
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14 Jan 2015   #8
AddRAM

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

I`m runing Zorin OS 9 off a flash drive, I like it

Zorin OS - Home
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17 Jan 2015   #9
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there

When installing the Linux distro just ensure the GRUB2 installs to the Linux partition - it's a bit more complex if you are using UEFI / LVM for Linux partitions but usually in the install process you can still select where to install the GRUB2 Linux boot loader. I wouldn't have it overwriting the main boot on the HDD where you've got Windows installed -- while it will work and windows will boot you are only buying trouble for the future.

Here's a way in fact to run Linux off an external USB drive with VMware installed on it and a Windows VM all running from an external USB HDD -- an old laptop USB HDD works fine with a SATA==>USB2 or USB3 connector --even the Windows VM works at acceptable performance totally running off the external device - works even if there is NO HDD at all in the main computer.

Follow this thread

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Cheers
jimbo
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