Dual boot with Windows

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This is a simple article detailing different methods of Arch/Windows coexistence.

Tango-view-refresh-red.pngThis article or section is out of date.Tango-view-refresh-red.png

Reason: GRUB Legacy support has been dropped from Arch Linux:
https://www.archlinux.org/news/grub-legacy-no-longer-supported/ (Discuss in Talk:Dual boot with Windows#)


There are two part:

  • Windows Partition - 30 GB should be enough. Many new games exceed 10GB each so bear this in mind.
  • Arch Linux partition - There are Single root partition and Discrete partitions. See Partitioning.

In this article, the example partitions are:

  • sda1 : Windows
  • sda2 : /boot
  • sda3 : /
  • sda5: swap
  • sda6: /home

Windows and Arch Dual Booting

See Grub#Dual-booting.

Dual Booting from Multiple Hard Drives

To dual boot from two separate hard drives (e.g., one dedicated Linux drive and one dedicated Windows drive).

Windows + Arch

You have Windows installed on the first hard drive and you want to install Arch on the second one. Follow this procedure :

  1. Unplug the Windows hard drive (this is not needed if you are sure you know which drive have the Windows on it and which one is supposed to receive Arch. But this way you are sure you won't do any mistake)
  2. Install Arch on the second hard drive (that has become the first if you have unplug the Windows one)
  3. Be sure to install GRUB on the MBR on the Arch drive (I didn't test with syslinux but it should work too).
  4. At the end of the process you should be able to boot on Arch but not on Windows (the disk is unplug and even if not, GRUB doesn't know how to boot Windows... Yet !)
  5. Log in on Arch
  6. Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst (that needs root access),At the end add :
(2) Windows
title Seven
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

I use '(2)' because '(0)' and '(1)' are already used by Arch.

If you want Windows to be loaded by default (the happy wife, happy life way !) Change the 'default' value by the one used for declaring Windows just before (here it is '2'). Ex :

# general configuration:
timeout   8
default   2

7/halt your computer and plug-in the Windows drive

8/Restart the computer. You should see the GRUB menu proposing Arch and Windows. Select the one you want et voila !

Arch + Windows

If Windows is not on the first hard drive, the Windows boot loader must be "tricked" into thinking Windows is on the first hard drive. Do this by adding the following lines to your menu.lst config file:

map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)

So the entry for Windows on second disk, first partition will look like this:

title Microsoft Windows XP Professional
root (hd1,0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
chainloader +1

Or if the above configuration doesn't work, you might try the one below from the Arch Wiki GRUB page:

title Windows
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
makeactive #if you use Windows7 this line should be commented out
chainloader +1

More information on GRUB configuration can be found in the GRUB manual.

Using Windows boot-loader

Another option is sort of the reverse of what is described at the beginning of this article where GRUB loads the Windows boot loader, which then loads Windows. Under this option, the Windows boot loader load GRUB, which then loads arch.

Using Windows 7/8 Boot-Loader

Excerpted from http://www.iceflatline.com/2009/09/how-to-dual-boot-windows-7-and-linux-using-bcdedit/

In order to have the Windows boot-loader see the linux partition, one of the linux partitions created needs to be FAT32 (in this case, /dev/sda3). The remainder of the setup is similar to a typical installation. Some documents state that the partition being loaded by the Win boot-loader must be a primary partition but I have used this without problem on an extended partition.

  • When installing the grub bootloader, install it on your /boot partition rather than the MBR.
    Note: For instance, my /boot partition is /dev/sda5. So I installed grub at /dev/sda5 instead of /dev/sda
    For help on doing this, see Grub#Install to Partition or Partitionless Disk
  • Under linux make a copy of the boot info by typing the following at the command shell:
mkdir /media/win
mount $my_windows_part /media/win
dd if=$my_boot_part of=/media/win/linux.bin bs=512 count=1
  • Boot to windows and open up and you should be able to see the FAT32 partition. Copy the linux.bin file to C:\. Now run cmd with administrator privileges (navigate to Start->All Programs->Accessories, Right-click on Command Prompt and select “Run as administrator.”)
bcdedit /create /d “Linux” /application BOOTSECTOR
  • BCDEdit will return an alphanumeric identifier for this entry that I will refer to as {ID} in the remaining steps. You’ll need to replace {ID} by the actual returned identifier. An example of {ID} is {d7294d4e-9837-11de-99ac-f3f3a79e3e93}.
bcdedit /set {ID} device partition=c:
bcdedit /set {ID}  path \linux.bin
bcdedit /displayorder {ID} /addlast
bcdedit /timeout 30

Done! Reboot and enjoy. In my case I'm using the Win bootloader so that I can map my Dell Precision M4500's second power button to boot linux instead of windows.

Using Windows 2000/XP Bootloader

For information on this method see http://www.geocities.com/epark/linux/grub-w2k-HOWTO.html. I do not believe there are any distinct advantages of this method over the Linux bootloader; you will still need a /boot partition, and this one is arguably more difficult to set up.

See also

Booting Windows from a desktop shortcut