Dual-boot Vista with Linux, or adding Linux on Vista machine

November 3, 2007

How to dual-boot Vista with Linux - Adding Linux on Vista machineIf you want to explore and enjoy both Vista and Linux world on a single PC, then you have to configure your PC to handle a dual-boot system. It may sound difficult, but it’s really within the knowledge of average computer users. Here are the steps to add Linux to your Vista system so it will dual boot.

1. Boot into Windows Vista and shrink the Vista partition to free up some space

Note: There are third party software for shrinking hard drive partition but some are not fully compatible with Vista. So, it is best to use Vista’s native partition tool.

  • Go to Disk Management – right-click “My Computer”, Manage, Disk Management.
  • Right-click on the main Vista partition and select Shrink Volume.
  • Set the amount of space to shrink in MB (It is best to have at least 10GB shrink space for your Linux).

2. Reboot your Vista machine from the Linux CD/DVD installer and start the installation process

Note: While all flavors of Linux can be added to your Vista machine, some of their built-in GNU GRand Unified Bootloaders (GRUBs), which are used to createmulti-both partition systems, require additional configuration to pick up the Vista partition. (Ubuntu 7.04 GRUB picks up Vista with no user input).

  • Follow Linux installer instructions to install Linux system.
  • Set the Language, Time Zone and keyboard for your system.
  • Set the partition where you are going to install Linux. Select the unpartitioned space you created earlier in Step 1.
  • Proceed to complete the Linux installation.

3. Reboot the system. When the GRUB boot menu is displayed, select the operating system you want to run.

Windows Vista and Linux are two different worlds. But, you can access both of them on a single machine by making your system dual-boot.

You find a more detailed overview here.

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10 Responses to “Dual-boot Vista with Linux, or adding Linux on Vista machine”

  1. Kiki:

    I appreciate your clear instructions, but your first statement is misleading. You do not have to create a dual boot system. That is but one avenue.

    An alternate avenue is to use PC virtualization, which lets you run a variety of operating systems (Linux, Unix, Windows, even MS-DOS!) under a host operating systems. VMware offers a free Player that runs guest operating systems, for example. They also offer Virtual Appliances that run under Player. Many of these are free, such as several Linux distros.

  2. Ken:

    Finally, Techblorge has a writer with a clue about Linux. Please keep it up. I would like to mention you can also write a boot floppy, USB flash drive or CD if writing to the hard drive is scary.

  3. Jonathan:

    Installing Linux (isn’t very) difficult, getting rid of the damn thing is (harder).

    Of course that’s providing xorg doesn’t throw a fit… and all your hardware works (God help you if it doesn’t).

    Ken there was hoping I could be quiet… probably.

  4. Dipramit:

    I have 120GB hard drive. Shrinking my hard drive is taking a hell lot of time. It’s already over and hour and still going on??? Does it really take this long to shrink? Or is there something wrong?

  5. nuella:

    I need to install linux on a laptop. Which laptop is probably the best for dual boot vista with linux.

  6. seamus:

    Vista has been ‘shrinking’ my disk for over 13 hours now so i can reclaim 110GB. You’d think the latest OS would give some progress indication.
    Do i wait 18 hours before giving up? 1 day, 2 days?

  7. hanamichi sakuragi:

    Does it really take that long? Very strange. It shrink my 160gb in less than 20 mins. Maybe something is wrong…Try shrinking little by little…take off 20gb? or 10? Until you reach. Anyway, as for you nuella, Any laptop will do. You may end up actually throwing your vista in few days :-) Well I keep my vista on my desktop for my kids but of course it is dual booted with Ubuntu 7.1 Gutsy. As for my laptop, dual booted with XP and Mint. (xp for my games :-).

  8. tom1979:

    Ive been using ubuntu since Dapper, im now running Gutsy dual boot with vista. I just reformated Vista’s ‘data’ partition of 110GB to instal linux, install took about an hour, getting WIFI,NVIDIA graphics set up, and fixing the sound, took a friendly tech guy about 4 hours via remote access.This was on an acer aspire laptop, my thinkpad T30 was out of the box working install! Research compatability issues before choosing to go linux, but defo worth the effort IMO.

  9. 4partee:

    There is no “my computer” on my Vista.

  10. Sol:

    It Says I have 0 shrink space. What does that mean and how do I fix it? I’m really not that computer savvy when it comes to systems. I never really knew you could dual boot until I run across this. Help Please. Thanks.

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