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  #1  
Old 29th August 2007, 12:59 AM
raycosm Offline
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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Use Windows (vista) boot loader instead of GRUB

When you go forth with the installation of Fedora 7, is there an option to not use the GRUB bootloader? Never dual booted on Vista before, and the only Linux I've dual booted was Wubi on XP, and I believe it used the Windows XP bootloader. I'd like to keep the Vista bootloader, in case I have to uninstall Linux for some reason, and I've heard lots of things about how the Vista bootloader is different from the previous versions of Windows.

If you have to overwrite Vista's with GRUB, is there a way I could reinstall Vista's bootloader without using a Vista DVD? The only Vista DVD (and disk in the laptop box) I have is the one that came from the manufacturer, and it says "Upgrade your Windows Vista Experience," which sounds like an ad for you to upgrade your version of Windows (I have Home Premium).
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  #2  
Old 29th August 2007, 01:56 AM
stoat Offline
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Hello raycosm,

Either dual boot method is okay. It sounds like you already understand the differences. Choose.


Quote:
Originally Posted by raycosm

When you go forth with the installation of Fedora 7, is there an option to not use the GRUB bootloader?
Yeah, but don't choose that. If you are going to dual boot with Vista's boot loader, you still need GRUB installed somewhere (in the first sector of the Fedora boot partition) for Fedora to boot. If you choose to go this route, watch for and select Configure advanced boot loader options while installing Fedora. On the next page, select Install Boot Loader record on: /dev/sd_ first sector of boot partition. After installing, Fedora will not boot until you add it to Vista's boot loader.


Quote:
Originally Posted by raycosm

I'd like to keep the Vista bootloader, in case I have to uninstall Linux for some reason, and I've heard lots of things about how the Vista bootloader is different from the previous versions of Windows.
You heard right. Booting Fedora with Vista is very different than how we did it with XP. It is documented in a HOWTO thread by mndar.


Quote:
Originally Posted by raycosm

If you have to overwrite Vista's with GRUB, is there a way I could reinstall Vista's bootloader without using a Vista DVD?
There were ways to repair the XP master boot record without the XP CD, but I haven't seen how to do that yet with Vista (maybe I haven't looked hard enough though). An alternative is to just backup the entire master boot record with a free utility like MBRWizard. I use the DOS version on a floppy and keep backups of my MBRs just for that disaster some day that may need that. I have tested restoring from the backups, and found it to be simple and reliable. I store the backup MBRs on the MBRWizard floppy.

WARNING: Be careful. MBRWizard backs up the whole MBR including the partition table. If you make a backup of the MBR, and then file it away and forget it, and then create new partitions, and then restore the master boot record from the backup, you will blow away the new partitions (probably all the partitions). So, it's important to keep backup master boot records up-to-date. In fact, not keeping them up-to-date is actually worse than not having them at all.

You could also probably borrow a friend's Vista disk just for using the Recovery Environment and Bootrec.exe /FixMbr to repair the master boot record. At least that would work with an XP CD and the Recovery Console + fixmbr.

Last edited by stoat; 29th August 2007 at 03:57 PM.
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  #3  
Old 16th September 2007, 03:21 AM
thinkgeek Offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 27
I'm currently running a dual boot machine with Fedora 7 and Windows Vista. My laptop came with Vista (which I didn't want to use) so I originally wanted to install Windows XP and Fedora 7. I thought that I had an extra activation left of XP so I went ahead and installed XP over Vista. After installing XP, I went on and installed Fedora (not wanting to waste too much time setting up and OS that I didn't really intend to use too often ). During my Fedora installation I kept the default partition setup that the Fedora installer suggested, which had two primary partitions. The first primary partition was a boot partition (approximately 100mb). The second primary partition was the was extended partition that has the actually installation. When it asked if I would like to have GRUB loaded to the MBR or the first sector of the Linux partition, I chose the later. After the installation finished, I swapped out the Fedora install DVD for my Gparted live-CD and booted that. In Gparted I selected the boot partition that my Fedora installation created and made it the active (or "boot") partition. After re-booting my machine, GRUB loaded and worked just like it should have.

After almost completely setting up Fedora, I turned back to my XP installation to start setting it up for the small amount of use that it would see. After installing the wireless driver, I got my laptop on the internet and tried to activate my installation. To my dismay, I learned that I had already reached my activation limit. So I ultimately decided to re-install Vista, since the machine has an OEM license. In order to get the installation to start, I had to first set the windows partition to be the active partition. The installation went without any problems. After finishing, I again booted my GParted live-CD and set the linux boot partition to be the active partition. When I re-booted my machine, GRUB started up and worked just as it should.

To wrap things up, I just want to recommend to anyone who is setting up a dual boot to use a similar configuration. It will greatly reduce headaches if you ever have to re-install Windows. All you will need is a partition utility disk (like GParted live-CD) to be able to switch the active partition from one partition to another. If you install Fedora the way that I did, then GRUB will never even touch the MBR so you don't have to worry about fixing the MBR in the event that you decide you don't want Fedora anymore.
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