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How to dual-boot Fedora 14 and Windows 7

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The next step relevant to this tutorial is the boot loader configuration step. The boot loader used by Fedora 14 is GRUB Legacy. By default, it is installed in the Master Boot Record (MBR). What we want to do here is install it some place else, and the best alternative location to install GRUB, the GRand Unified Bootloader, is in the /boot partition (/dev/sda3) of the Fedora installation. The reason behind this choice of location is this: If it is installed in the usual location, Windows will likely overwrite parts of it the next time you upgrade/update Windows.

To change the location, click on Change device.

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GRUB settings

Then click on the second radio button to choose installation in to the “First sector of boot partition – /dev/sda3.” OK.

fedwinDl10

Alternate GRUB location

With the GRUB location changed, click on Next to continue.

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GRUB configuration

This step is not really relevant to this tutorial, but I just included it to show that if you are using the DVD installation image, the installer gives you the option to customize packages for installation. Next.

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Package selection

When the first step of the installation has completed, and you reboot, the computer will boot into Windows 7. Why? Because the Windows loader in installed in the MBR, and is not aware that another OS now resides on the same disk. The task then is to edit the Windows 7 Boot Manager to include an entry for Fedora 14. Since I do know very little about Windows, and have never actually used Windows 7, other than for writing these tutorials, I found a very easy to use software that makes editing the Windows 7 Boot Manager very easy.

That software is called EasyBCD by NeoSmart Technologies. It is a free application and you can download it from here. Install it as you would any other Windows application. After installation, there should be an entry for it in the menu and on the desktop. Launch it and you should see the default boot menu. Notice that there is only one entry, and it is for Windows 7. The next task is to edit it to add an entry for Fedora 14. Click on the Add New Entry tab to begin.

BCD

EasyBCD

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72 Comments

  1. reza says:

    hi
    I have install a linux fedora 13 and dual boot it with windows 7, I have receive the congratulation from linux to install it when the instalation proceces complete, but when I want to choose the linux from my OS options(linux&windows)it dose not run and the pc restart!
    I have install it exactly from your help(these 4 pages).
    what is the problem, and, what should I do?
    with kindest regards

  2. Naveen says:

    Sir,

    This is a good tutorial… but I have a doubt… I had to install Fedora 14 and I formatted my complete PC (Windows was also removed) and used up all 320 GB for Fedora… Now, Since I have Fedora 14 installed… can I somehow install Windows 7?… Please help me…

    • finid says:

      When dual-booting a Linux distribution and Windows, it is best to install Windows first. Doing that saves you a lot of headaches.

      So my recommendation is backup your data, install Windows, then Fedora.

      If you have another HDD, it is even better to install Windows on the first HDD, then Fedora on the second one. Hope that helps?

      • Naveen says:

        Sir,

        yes thats an alternative… but installing Fedora and setting up the complete environment for my work… Netbeans My SQL and all took a lot of time and I dont want to do it again… plz if u could suggest smthn…

        • finid says:

          With Fedora already installed, I have to assume that you used all available space on the disk for Fedora, right? If true, that means most of the disk space is under the Volume Group, even if they are not allocated to logical volumes

          With a setup like that, I do not see how you can reclaim disk space from a Volume Group to install another OS. Your two alternatives are, reinstall or get another disk. It’s a tough choice, but that the way it is.

          • Naveen says:

            hey,

            Thanks for the reply… I think I wud get another disk and install win7… thats the most oblivious choice I shud make :)

  3. Andrew says:

    Thanks for this usefull tutorial. I install fedora 14 on a Dell Inspiron 1520 with windows 7 and work very well. God bless you !

  4. adithyajones says:

    I am trying to dual boot WindowsXp and Fedora15..For that purpose I partitioned hard disk using Easeus partitioning tool.Here is the partitions from left to right-C drive-primary partition(90GB),unallocated space(11GB),D drive-logical drive(30GB),7GB-primary partition(ESIA),unallocated space-8GB..There are unallocated space of 11GB and 8GB in the system,but when I run the option “Use Free Space” it is showing as no space available..

    • finid says:

      I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but your partitioning scheme is confusing. It’s probably is confusing to the installer, too. Why the unallocated space between C and D.

      Here’s what I think is a better scheme:

      Since you have three Windows partitions, create them one next to the other, and you can make them all primary if you want. So, you new scheme will be – C (90 GB), D (30 GB), ESIA (7 GB), Unallocated Space.

      When you restart the installation of Fedora and tell it to use the Free Space, it will work. The installer will create an extended partition from the unallocated space, and create all the logical partitions it needs to install the system.

  5. Sumesh says:

    Excellent article – the most helpful guide I have seen so far. I followed the instructions and was able to get the dual boot configured for Fedora 15 and windows 7.

  6. Siva says:

    I followed your instructions but didn’t work (I just did not reviewed linux partitions, left as they were), when I boot to fedora I just see a never ending blinking cursor in the top left (but I can boot to Windows 7, of course).

    Maybe because the 3rd partition (Fedora /boot with grub at the beginning) begins after 1 TB? (I think this is the reason)

    Or maybe because it does not work good on a RAID 1 (2 x 2 TB)?

    p1: 100 MB Windows boot
    p2: 1 TB Windows C: drive
    p3: 500 MB /boot
    p4: Fedora LVM

    TX

    • finid says:

      I haven’t configured dual-booting on a setup like yours, but the /boot partition starting after 1 TB couldn’t be the reason. There is no technical explanation why that could be.

      The most likely culprit is a checkbox on the Add Entry tab of EasyBCD. When you select “GRUB Legacy” from the Type dropdown menu of that tab, and the partition GRUB was installed in from the Device dropdown menu, you should enable the “GRUB isn’t installed to MBR/bootsector” checkbox. In this article, what I just described could be seen on the first image on this page. That should solve the problem.

      • Siva says:

        I had already tried that option :-(
        News: I booted to Fedora 14 install media rescue mode and tried to reinstall grub, this is the problem:

        grub> root (hd0,2)
        Error 18: Selected cylinder exceeds maximum supported by BIOS

        BIOS is updated, mb is a ASUS P8P67 EVO, problem seems to be the old 1024 cylinders limit (???)

        Could it be a grub 1.x problem? And tx for your support…

      • Siva says:

        SOLVED – well to tell the truth I had to surrend, old error = old method. As I suspected the reason was that linux boot partition started too far, I just moved it before Windows 7 partition and now it works.

        – To resume -
        Old situation (ERROR 18):
        p1: 100 MB Windows boot
        p2: 1 TB Windows C: drive
        p3: 500 MB /boot
        p4: Fedora LVM

        New situation (OK)
        p1: 100 MB Windows boot
        p2: 500 MB /boot
        p3: 1 TB Windows C: drive
        p4: Fedora LVM

        and used your method :-)
        Tx

        p.s. it works with Fedora 15 too

  7. sudeb says:

    When i try to install fedora 14 to my 34 gb free space at the time of partitioning the message show tha t”could not mount not enough disk space” , i have 320 gb sata hdd and windows7 home basic

    • finid says:

      34 GB is more than enough space to install any distro. At the installation methods step, choose the “Create Custom Layout” option. That will take you to the next step so you can see for yourself how much free space the installer is detecting.

  8. Vinayak says:

    i have 500gb hard drive
    c drive 100
    and d drive rest of the space(containing my data)
    i want install fedora 14 by dvd.. (it is not live)
    i am confusing in choosing

    WHICH TYPE OF INSTALLATION WOULD YOU LIKE?

    Please suggest me clearly step by step…
    please i tried, i am not getting… please

    • finid says:

      Since you have data on D, first step is back it up. Step 2 is to shrink D to free up space for Fedora. There are two ways to do that – from inside Windows, and from the Fedora installer. Either method will work, but I’ll recommend you do it from inside Windows.

      How? In the Windows menu’s search filed, type partitions. That will launch the disk management tool. Then right-click on D and select “Shrink Volume>” Windows will recommend the save size to shrink the volume to. Unless you know what you are doing, accept it. See example step-by-step screenshots in the “Existing Installation of Windows 7″ section here.

      Once that surgical operation is completed, you should see the free space in Windows. Reboot into Fedora installer and when you get to the disk partitioning methods step, select the “Use Free Space” option. Make sure to enable “Review and modify partitioning layout.” That will let you see what the installer has done. How many Windows partitions does the Fedora installer detect? That should do it.

      Let us know how this story ends.

  9. Brane says:

    Thanks, you helped me a lot!

  10. Chewy says:

    This was VERY helpful. I was able to configure my PC for dual boot (into Windows or Fedora) specifically using these instructions. It worked flawlessly. Thanks.

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