Wibbly Stuff

Dual Booting: Part 4 (Last Bits)

In this article, we will see those last bits you need to know when you dual boot. we will describe how to remove an operating system without affecting the other, switching between bootloaders and troubleshoot common problems. There is also a nice PDF containing all chapters.

Add Linux to Windows Bootloader

The Linux bootloaders e.g.- GRUB 2 offer much more features. But you might want to use Windows bootloader as default. Or if you installed/reinstalled Windows after installing Linux, the Windows bootloader overwrites GRUB. So you need to add Linux to the bootloader again.

There is a nice software available called EasyBCD by Neosmart Technologies, which is perfect for the task. First, download and install EasyBCD. Run EasyBCD and go to the "Add New Entry" section. Here in the "Linux/BSD" tab, select the bootloader type ("GRUB 2" in case of latest versions of Ubuntu) and give it a name. Then click "Add Entry".

Now, when you restart, you will have the boot entries displayed in Windows Bootloader. Remember that this will only work if your default bootloader is Windows bootloader.

Making Windows Bootloader Default

It is fairly easy. In EasyBCD, go to the "BCD Deployment" section. Here under the "MBR Configuration Options", select the type of Windows bootloader and click "Write MBR".

Restoring GRUB 2 as Default

If you want to restore GRUB 2, first add GRUB 2 to Windows bootloader with EasyBCD following the procedure given above. Then after you login to Ubuntu, open terminal from "Applications > Accesories > Terminal". Then issue the following command to install GRUB 2 to MBR.
sudo grub-install /dev/sda

Updating GRUB

If your boot options are should be different than that displayed in GRUB, you might need to update the GRUB configuration. You can update GRUB simply by issuing the following command in Terminal,
sudo update-grub

Removing Windows

If you ever want to remove Windows completely from your system, you just need to format the Windows partition and then Update GRUB. Remember that you should have GRUB as default bootloader.

If you don't see the "Format" option, you need to install "Disk Utility". Simply give the command in Terminal,
sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility

Removing Linux

Removing Linux completely is also easy. First you have to make Windows bootloader default, if you don't, you won't be able to boot after deleting Linux. Then just delete the Linux partition. To delete the partition, go to "Control Panel > system and security > Create and format hard disk partitions" in Windows,

When the Disk Management window opens, look for the Linux partition and delete it.

Access Linux Partition in Windows

Windows, by default, uses NTFS file system, while Linux uses ext4 file system. Linux can successfully detect NTFS file systems. But Windows doesn't recognize ext4. You can use the ext2fsd driver for Windows to be able to access Linux partitions from within Windows.

Linux is Not Windows

Remember that Linux is not Windows. So don't expect it to be like Windows. There would be a lot of differences. And it will take you some time to learn. So don't quit. You'll be surprised when you know how much control Linux gives to you. So enjoy dual booting.

You can also download the whole series nicely arranged in PDF format here.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4