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Dual boot vista/mint bootloader?

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:11 pm
by turboscrew
Which way is safest way to do dual booting with Vista and Mint?
Grub or Vista boot? I was thinking of situation if startup needs to be repaired.
Is there any essential difference in the repairability?

Does anyone know where the basic instructions of using Vista boot
for startup gone? I remember something like installing Vista first, then installing Linux
with advanced settings in setting up Grub -> Grun to the beginning of root partition and
then with EasyBCD adding the beginning of Linux root partition into Vista boot.

Re: Dual boot vista/mint bootloader?

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:57 pm
by MaddogF16
Either way works and is a matter of preference, although you'll need a really new BCD for Grub2 (the default in U 9.10 and Mint 8).

Re: Dual boot vista/mint bootloader?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:06 am
by turboscrew
New BCD? What's that?
Current Mint boot manager is Grub2?
(I understand that curren Mint install uses Grub that can boot Vista)

How about the repairability?
Can you still repair Vista startup if Grub is installed on the MBR?

Re: Dual boot vista/mint bootloader?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 5:44 am
by breaker
turboscrew wrote:Which way is safest way to do dual booting with Vista and Mint?
Grub or Vista boot? I was thinking of situation if startup needs to be repaired.
Is there any essential difference in the repairability?
I agree there is no safest way, dual booting is not trivial and includes risk. Therefore a backup of all things should be part of the plan. That being said, once you get things working, the easiest repair is from a backup of anything that could possibly cause an OS to not boot. This includes your mbr, pbr, system files, BCD store, etc etc. Knowledge is your best friend here, the more you understand how your PC, Windows, and Linux boot, the better you will be able to get things repaired.

I think Linux is easier to repair than Vista, but it all depends on the situation. I've used the Windows 7 boot loader and grub and grub2 as convenience dictates, and yes programs for Windows like EasyBCD can make dual booting a no-brainer.

In any case, unless you are a guru, or even if you are, start by backing up any data, then back up your mbr, pbr (boot sector), Windows system files, BCD Store, registry, and your /boot directory in Linux.

I don't think there is any difference in how easily things are repaired from a boot loader stand point, master boot records for windows can be restored with a Windows CD/DVD, same with boot sectors, and grub can be reinstalled from a Linux Live CD.

I find grub or grub2 handier in the long run, because I think it is nicer than messing with the stupid BCD store.
Does anyone know where the basic instructions of using Vista boot
for startup gone? I remember something like installing Vista first, then installing Linux
with advanced settings in setting up Grub -> Grun to the beginning of root partition and
then with EasyBCD adding the beginning of Linux root partition into Vista boot.
The basic instructions are here: http://apcmag.com/the_definitive_dualbo ... bystep.htm

Hope this helps :)

Re: Dual boot vista/mint bootloader?

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:14 am
by turboscrew
In any case, unless you are a guru, or even if you are, start by backing up any data, then back up your mbr, pbr (boot sector), Windows system files, BCD Store, registry, and your /boot directory in Linux.
How do you do that? Backup MBR and especially Vista boot stuff?
master boot records for windows can be restored with a Windows CD/DVD
Do you have installation CDs/DVDs for Vista or Windows 7?
All the current machines I have seen these days only have installation partition on HD.

What I was thinking: Is it possible to recover Vista with recovery CD or other such means if
there is Grub2 installed on MBR? I guess Grub2 can be reinstalled (and mint recovered) more easily,
though I'm still not aware of how to direct Grub2 to use the boot info from HD at reinstallation rather than
the info on live CD.

Re: Dual boot vista/mint bootloader?

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:09 am
by breaker
Well... the best idea is to ghost your whole drive, but if that is overkill, first back up your data, then the rest...

To back up your mbr and boot sector you can use a windows micro program called HDHacker. Just be aware if you repartition, you should make a new backup because the partition table is part of the mbr. Also, if you want to restore an old mbr or boot sector, make a backup of the new one just in case something fails! You can use dd in linux, but you have to be careful with that one....

To back up Vista boot stuff, copy your Vista system files, and your \boot (\boot\bcd is your bcd store) directory somewhere. Also, you can download and install EasyBCD and make a regular on disk backup of your BCD store with it. The file \bootmgr.exe is called by the boot sector, so back up that file.

I've only played a little with Win7 - a trial I downloaded and deleted. I helped some people with their Vista systems.. but not much, so you might want to read on wikipedia and microsoft site about it a little more.

I have an install CD for 7, but like I said it was a trial or whatever... If you build your own PC, and want windows, of course you will have a CD, but if you don't you can borrow one from someone to do repairs... if you don't use it to install, then it shouldn't matter from a legal standpoint.

Mainly I use Linux Mint... so...

Oh, you were asking about booting to a CD? That is handled by your motherboard BIOS, so you could do it with no hard drive in the system at all! So, grub on your hard drive won't affect booting a Windows CD nor a Linux Mint Live CD. :wink:

Re: Dual boot vista/mint bootloader?

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:05 am
by turboscrew
Oh, you were asking about booting to a CD? That is handled by your motherboard BIOS, so you could do it with no hard drive in the system at all! So, grub on your hard drive won't affect booting a Windows CD nor a Linux Mint Live CD.
No. What I mean is that when you buy a new machine with Vista or Windows 7 do you get an installation CDs/DVDs?
I haven't seen any such things for some years. The system is installed from an install-partition stored on the HD.
There is a general "Vista rescue disk" available in the internet, but it can only be used for repairing.

I have bought 2 machines with Vista - a desktop and a laptop. Neither had any CDs/DVDs included. Only the
install/rescue partition on the HD.

If I have Grub or Grub2 installed on the MBR, can I boot the installation/rescue image partition from the HD and/or
does the rescue CD get any idea how to start fixing the HD if Grub or Grub2 is found on the MBR instead Win-stuff.

Sadly, the windows is still needed for some applications.

For clarification, some thoughts of mine:
1) I guess if Linux gets corrupted, it's almost always the boot
2) Eventually Windows messes up the disk
3) Malware may cause 2) even sooner (and worse)
4) Windows disk problems can be on windows partition or broken windows files as well
So I guess for Linux it's essential to be able to fix the boot
For windows it is to be able to run disk check, fixing the boot and starting the install/rescue image

Re: Dual boot vista/mint bootloader?

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:16 am
by breaker
turboscrew wrote: No. What I mean is that when you buy a new machine with Vista or Windows 7 do you get an installation CDs/DVDs?
I haven't seen any such things for some years. The system is installed from an install-partition stored on the HD.
There is a general "Vista rescue disk" available in the internet, but it can only be used for repairing.
Well, I have personally never bought a prebuilt PC, except for a refurbished laptop with XP, for which I have a CD that I have from my desktop system (Win XP bought online for an OEM price becuase it was bought with the hardware to build the system). The laptop came with a license, which is the part that matters. IMHO, if your PC has a license code for say Vista Home, and they didn't give you a disk, your license code legally lets you use any Vista Home disk to reinstall your system, but let's not debate details... the rescue disk you saw on the internet (why doesn't spell check have internet in its dictionary) hopefully is sufficient to run the recovery environment which you can use to put the Vista MBR back on your disk, or rebuild your BCD store.
I have bought 2 machines with Vista - a desktop and a laptop. Neither had any CDs/DVDs included. Only the
install/rescue partition on the HD.
Then you should look into making disk images of your drives, just in case. Check out the open source solution (it is like Ghost, but free), Clonezilla.
If I have Grub or Grub2 installed on the MBR, can I boot the installation/rescue image partition from the HD and/or
does the rescue CD get any idea how to start fixing the HD if Grub or Grub2 is found on the MBR instead Win-stuff.
Since it is a rescue CD, hopefully it is designed well enough that it doesn't care about the MBR, or maybe it would put a Vista MBR on there real quick, if so you could always install grub again. Maybe it depends on the manufacturer, I don't know, but I would think it doesn't matter what is on the MBR. You can always back it up then restore if it does matter. My dell has a hidden diagnostic partition, but that is booted by a keypress from startup, thus it is controlled by the BIOS.
Sadly, the windows is still needed for some applications.
Desperately needed? Like what, just out of curiousity... I have some like that on my work laptop, so I don't dual boot that thing, I just stick a Linux usb stick in it and boot from it when I want Linux.
For clarification, some thoughts of mine:
1) I guess if Linux gets corrupted, it's almost always the boot
Ahhh, the booting of the machine you mean? Linux or grub do you mean? I'm not sure I fully understand.
2) Eventually Windows messes up the disk
3) Malware may cause 2) even sooner (and worse)
4) Windows disk problems can be on windows partition or broken windows files as well
So I guess for Linux it's essential to be able to fix the boot
For windows it is to be able to run disk check, fixing the boot and starting the install/rescue image
OK, I think I understand you now. You don't want an unbootable computer? Backup your data early and often, hardware failure will happen some day, that is something you can bet on.

If your system is mission critical, or a production system, just don't dual boot. I hate to say it, but dual booting can be easy and smooth as silk, but other times, things happen and fixing them can be difficult. Often not, but sometimes yes.

Not that you can always trust a disk image either, again, try Clonezilla or Ghost. If you are paranoid, make up a backup before and after you dual boot. Heck make 2, put one on DVD, and the other on tape.

Linux has file system checking tools like fsck which run automatically every so many mounts. Go to a terminal and check it out "man tune2fs" from a Live CD if you have to, or Google it.

All that being said, I have found Linux very handy to fix Windows. You can backup and restore entire hard drives, master boot records, volume boot records, the registry, etc etc. You can virus scan a Windows disk with clamav or Bitdefender Rescue CD. You can recover files when Windows won't boot.

Sorry I don't know more about the Vista specifics, or the nature of your recovery partition, but maybe you could tell us the make and model, and with luck someone else can tell you what they know. :)