Install Linux to dual boot with Vista

Many new PCs are being shipped with "unborn Vista". You might want to keep this on the system but want to dual boot with your chosen flavour of Linux. This is indeed possible.

First of all a word of warning. When you first unpack your new system, follow all the instructions to boot it fully into Vista. This takes some time. Any interruptions to the process can result in an un-usable system which needs to be shipped back to the manufacturers, as there is no install media with Vista. Happily this whole process can be done offline, you just need patience.

Now look at your system, what partitions does it have?

On my new Acer T180 I was lucky as Acer had partitioned the main disk into two, the first one for the Vista system and second one for the Vista data. Most Linux Web sites have now posted blogs explaining that you cannot re-partition a Vista disk using Linux or even tools such as Partition Magic, indeed at the time I did it I could not!

The solution was fortunately simple. From inside Vista, ensure that the data partition is empty and then remove it completely. You can then install Linux into this empty disk partition and everything should work. If your system only has a Vista system partition you will probably have to purchase a second disk. Fortunately SATA disks are cheap!

Topic revision: r1 - 16 Jan 2009 - TWikiAdminUser
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