Talk:Dual boot with Windows

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Existing installations

Todo: add directions for dual booting when Arch is already installed. —This unsigned comment is by Kc8tpz (talk) 07:29, 29 August 2007‎. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!

With efi instead of bios (and gpt partitioning?), this can be as simple as just installing Windows to a second partition, and using efi to choose bootloader. This was done on a Dell Latitude E6520. —This unsigned comment is by Stoffi (talk) 03:45, 28 August 2011‎. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!

fs-driver only works with inode size 128

If you want to use fs-driver(Ext2 IFS) in windows to access ext2/3 filesystems, the inode size must be 128. this should probably be mentioned in article... ran into this problem myself. fs-driver will not mount my ext3 filesystem because it has inode size 256. —This unsigned comment is by Dan39 (talk) 22:01, 19 December 2009‎. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!

Mounting partitions and dual-boot

Moved from Talk:Beginners' guide. -- Alad (talk) 07:45, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

And lastly, the surprisingly tricky bit about "mounting" partitions that do not belong to you on a dual boot system. Ultimately for me what ended up working was knowing which file systems the others could read (esp in a UEFI system). These things can't just be "linked" to because even the pages linked to don't have the information. I got quite a bit of help from friends and google. Victoroux (talk) 14:01, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Use Cases

[Moved from Windows and Arch dual boot#Use cases. This information should be deduplicated and added to a page in Category:Laptops, if applicable. -- Alad (talk) 05:59, 4 September 2015 (UTC)]

Alad, i think you might be off base on that one, that entire GOAL of that excercise was nothing to do with laptop, but to Demystify arch dual boot. Can we PLEASE put this back, its my new GOTO for dual boot on any windows arch system, no matter the case, whenst i dont want to deal with UEFI and or GPT due to windows or hardware limitations. --Wolfdogg (talk) 23:11, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Ahh, after further thkning on this, i probably misled the whole thing by the use case title having anything to with Laptops and HP, its not just a Use Case, its an ENTIRE revamp of the Dual Boot instructions, can we somehow incorporate it on the Dual Boot instructions page, labeling it how you will, so that those instructions are clear for any user to run through as a MBR-BIOS use case if necessary? The idea is it being some new official simple dual boot (as close to all encompassing for newbs) as can be, to where they can work off it how they choose, but as a simple foolproof starting point, pointing out places where its up to the user to make the choices necessary to apply it to their user? I need a good writer for that. --Wolfdogg (talk) 23:16, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

The whole instructions for setting up dual boot can be summarized as:
  1. make sure there are at least 2 partitions (described in Partitioning),
  2. make sure that Arch is installed on one partition (described in Installation guide) and the other OS on the other partition (cannot be described on the ArchWiki),
  3. (re)install the bootloader (described in Windows_and_Arch_dual_boot#Installation and specific pages for each boot loader)
There is no point in duplicating the instructions for all 3 steps on a single page. Also, your instructions consider only one possible scenario, they won't apply for example if the other OS is already installed.
-- Lahwaacz (talk) 08:32, 18 September 2015 (UTC)
Is there anything to add or can this be closed? -- Alad (talk) 09:23, 2 September 2016 (UTC)


Special notes

  • This method uses parted exclusively for all partitioning
  • I'ts assumed (if your bios permits) that you have it set to IDE or SATA/RAID, and not on AHCI mode
  • In this scenario, the user additionally saved 1GB free space at the beginning of drive for later use (Later conversion to boot bios, GPT partition table, grub installations, anything really)
  • FYI this was for HP laptop i3 generation Intel HP4520s#aba xt988ut


Get yourself a readied drive. You might want to check it out with smartmon tools first, once you trust it and its ready for wipeage then follow the exact procedure below (with as little deviation as possible except for partition sizes).

Note if your newer to parted, pay close attention to the B,MB,GB figures, those are intended to aid in aligning your partitions correctly. This setup may vary on yours, but its highly recommended to keep trying until they are aligned properly first.

  • Using parted, create the following partitions, adjusting start points where you see fit. If you don't want the free space, adjust the first start point to 1MB or something (success is not guaranteed on any partition adjustments, for this scenario)
# parted
mkpart ntfs 
start point 1000000B
end 251000000B

mkpart ext3 (for /)
start 251000000B
end 281000MB (use this MB figure to aligned properly(may vary for you))

mkpart ext3 (for /home)
start 281000MB(use this MB figure to aligned properly(may vary for you))
end 531GB(use this MB figure to aligned properly(may vary for you))

mkpart fat32 (for /media/shared)
start 531GB(use this GB figure to aligned properly(may vary for you))
end 750GB

set 1 boot on

quit parted..

  • reboot with windows cd
  • carefully selecting ONLY the 1st ntfs labeled-type partition you created above install windows (dont worry, it wont create the 2nd boot partition now, if it does, something went wrong try again)
  • reboot into arch dvd
  • follow arch install instructions per standard installation continuing up to the partition creation point, which you will now SKIP over.
  • Start off with formatting with filesystem of your choice
# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda2
# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda3
  • use arch install wiki to mount drives, adjust mirrors, connect network easiest way for now is to connect hard lan cable on dhcp avail network, then

run dhcpcd

# dhcpcd
  • Follow arch install wiki for the following per norm;
    • install pac base, genfstab, arch-chroot, set your hostname, set localtime and locale-gen, compile kernel, set password, then continue
  • Install grub
# pacman -S grub
  • backup the boot record to a file named "mbr-backup" on your root
# dd if=/dev/sda of=/mbr-backup bs=512 count=1
  • Install grub onto your disk sdx, replacing sdx with the disk you are working with(be careful).
# grub-install --recheck /dev/sda
  • run os-prober to find your windows install
# pacman -S os-prober
# os-prober
  • You can also edit your default boot order here in /etc/default/grub by changing the order from 0 to 1,2, etc..
  • now compile a new grub boot config to finish things up..
# grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  • Now reboot, Success!

Alternative grub install

  • Instead of overriding windows boot partition with grub as we just did above, you can alternatively use the windows boot partition to point to grub, ONLY if you install GRUB to the partition, and not the drive boot record. i.e. dev/sdx1 instead of /dev/sdx
# grub-install --target=i386-pc --grub-setup=/bin/true --recheck --debug /dev/sda
  • continue with bcedit in windows to point a second boot to the grubbed partition.. good luck with that..

-- 02:12, 4 September 2015‎ Wolfdogg

Windows 7 not supporting UEFI boot from MBR?

Quoting from your article:

Windows Vista (SP1 and above, not RTM) and Windows 7 x86_64 versions support booting in x86_64 UEFI mode from GPT disk only, OR in BIOS mode from MBR/msdos disk only. They do not support IA32 (x86 32-bit) UEFI boot from GPT/MBR disk, x86_64 UEFI boot from MBR/msdos disk, or BIOS boot from GPT disk.

You're sure about this guys?

I had Windows 10 / Linux Mint dual boot previously. It was a GPT partition table. I did a factory reset from Windows 7 backup DVDs, but forgot to disable UEFI boot. All partitions were erased, Windows 7 installed and was working just right. Now I tried to install Linux Mint again. And, during this process, I realized that (a) the partition table is set to MBR (really!) and (b) UEFI boot is still enabled! (which was why Mint installer failed to detected Windows 7).

I cancelled Mint installation, rebooted my laptop, disabled UEFI boot, and launched Windows. It seems to be working, although it... had to install some drivers again. Namely for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

—This unsigned comment is by Kmph (talk) 03:31, 16 April 2016‎. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!

Dedicated partition not needed to boot grub2 using bcdedit

Since Dual_boot_with_Windows#Using_Windows_boot_loader involves creating linux.bin and putting it onto C: , there's no need to create a FAT32 partition or even install grub (either to MBR or a partition boot sector). When installed to MBR, the role of that 512 byte block is to load core.img embedded to the MBR gap. When installed to partition boot sector, its role is to load the file core.img residing in /boot/. The thing is: Windows Boot Manager loads the whole file, even if it's larger than 512 bytes. This allows to embed core.img into that file and put it to C:. Good news grub ships with a special boot sector that does not try to load core.img, but assumes that it's already loaded - lnxboot.img. Here's what you do:

  • Boot existing linux
# (optional) update core.img (see )
grub-install --target=i386-pc --grub-setup=/bin/true --debug /dev/sda

# embed core.img into bootable file
cat /usr/lib/grub/i386-pc/lnxboot.img /boot/grub/i386-pc/core.img >/media/win/grub4bcd.img

Hell, you don't even need to boot Linux, just extract those files from your Linux partition using some free tool and concatenate them.

  • Boot to Windows
bcdedit /create /d "Grub2" /application BOOTSECTOR
# The entry {ID} was successfully created.

bcdedit /set {ID} device partition=C:
bcdedit /set {ID} PATH \grub4bcd.img

# add grub as last entry
bcdedit /displayorder {ID} /addlast

# menu timeout
bcdedit /timeout 13

—This unsigned comment is by Basinilya (talk) 18:34, 30 June 2016‎. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!

suggestion to split this page for MBR and GPT type boot

As the complete boot environment on Windows for UEFI/GPT vs BIOS/MBR type boot varies quite a bit it is difficult to extract the right information from this page. Wouldn't it be better to split this page clearly in a UEFI vs BIOS type boot? Also GRUB2 is more likely to mess with an existing installation then systemd-boot. Should split there too, IMHO. Theking2 (talk) 18:23, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

There's separate sections like Dual_boot_with_Windows#BIOS_systems. If you have a different structure in mind, I'd suggest to make a copy on your user page and propose it here. -- Alad (talk) 09:16, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

Restoring a Windows boot record

Doesn't this situation refer to a MBR type installation? UEFI boot of windows requires a GPT type partitioning not MBR. Theking2 (talk) 18:24, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

Windows UEFI vs BIOS limitations

This part would benefit from a simple table pointing out what is possible in Microsoft 's universe. Also, should we still consider XP and Vista? They have died some time ago. Theking2 (talk) 18:29, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

Re old Windows versions, Vista is supported until 2017, but it wouldn't the first time we've deleted Windows XP information from the wiki. However, articles referring to outdated versions of proprietary software aren't uncommon, e.g. compare the Mathematica article. Since it's only one or two sentences, we might as well leave it in. -- Alad (talk) 09:21, 2 September 2016 (UTC)
what you think about dedicated articles, e.g. "dual boot with windows xp, windows vista", "dual boot with windows 10". --Soloturn (talk) 08:05, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
This wiki focuses on Arch and not Windows, hence the current single page is more than sufficient. -- Lahwaacz (talk) 09:36, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

Shrinking the Windows Partition

The wiki mentions

"All systems pre-installed with Windows XP, Vista or 7 32-bit, irrespective of Service Pack level, bitness, edition (SKU) or presence of UEFI support in firmware, boot in BIOS/MBR mode by default."

So preinstalled systems are taken into account. But in all pre-installed systems, Windows usually occupies the full partition.

This wiki page contains information on how to reduce the size of the partition from Windows when using safe boot. I believe that some information from this section would be very helpful in this page. I'm not adding it because of my lack of experience with this, but perhaps someone else would like to adapt and add.

—This unsigned comment is by Ddshore (talk) 16:31, 11 August 2018‎. Please sign your posts with ~~~~!