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How to install Linux boot loader to dual-boot Ubuntu 7.0.4 and Vista Ultimate

Number5ix asked
Last Modified: 2013-12-15

I've just installed Ubuntu 7.0.4 onto my PC - it was (and still is) running Vista Ultimate.   The installation seemed to work fine and the machine works but automatically boots into Vista upon restart.

The Ubuntu installation was done to a separate drive from Vista to keep everything separate.

I know that I need to install some sort of boot loader so that I can choose which OS to boot into when the machine is powered on but I'm not sure which one to use or how to install one.   GRUB?   LILO?   I can boot into Ubuntu from the Live CD - can the boot loader be installed from there so that I don't lose my Vista stuff?

Can anyone help?

Thanks in advance,
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Yes to all.  Read the how-tos on their appropriate pages [or the one included with Ubuntu]
This one is on us!
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Correct, the Boot Loader (which I assume is GRUB) got installed on /hd0 according to the installation program.   I'm going to see if I can reinstall Ubuntu and put the boot loader on the appropriate drive (/dev/sdb in this case).

I'll advise shortly but thanks for your help/suggestions so far.   :)


Right, did a reinstall and told it to put GRUB on /dev/sdc1 (where Vista is) and now the system comes up with a prompt that says


and that's it.   No keypress or anything will get the machine to go any further.   Doh ... unless I'm missing something?


Just installed again, this time using /dev/sdc ... now the system boots and says GRUB about a million times over and keeps scrolling the word GRUB repeatedly.   Hmmm ...
Not sure what is happening, but looks like you caught your first mistake wich was pointing it to the partition instead of the MBR.  I will be gone for the day and so I won't be able to do a lot for you and don't have much time right now, but here is what I think you should try next.
From the Vista install DVD, do a repair of the windows vista bootloader on sdc, then set your BIOS to boot from the Ubuntu drive and reinstall Ubuntu again but this time install Grub on the Ubuntu drive (make sure you format the Ubuntu partition during install).  The worst that will happen is you will get Ubuntu to boot and no option for VIsta, if that happens you will need to edit your menu.lst in Ubuntu to include the VIsta option.  As I said I am short on time so here is a link to a Grub how to page, http://users.bigpond.net.au/hermanzone/p15.htm.  Hopefully, you will be able to get going with that info.

Every Linux distribution is supposed to detect the presence of another OS and configures the system accordingly, even being nice enough to add Windows to your boot loader menu automatically.
With introduction Windows Vista dual-boot nirvana has gone!
Microsoft made it harder for us who want to taste other operating systems to properly
manage (new) Vista master boot record and have dual-boot machines.
You made couple ( pretty common) mistakes during Ubuntu 7 setup:
1- you've installed Ubuntu 7 (on separate hard-disk which  is OK ) but you left master boot record  9 MBR) on first disk INTACT. You haven't updated MBR with information that there is second operating system (Ubuntu 7) residing on second hard-disk so , consequently Vista boot loader have no clue how to load Ubuntu 7.
("The installation seemed to work fine and the machine works but automatically boots into Vista upon restart."
2- you tried to install GRUB ( in second Ubutnu setup attempt ) but chose WRONG
plase for it ( boot sector of Linux partition and then boot sector of second hard-disk )


Now you have to REAPIR Windows Vista MASTER BOOT RECORD first
and then start over with Ubuntu 7 setup.
How to repair Vista MBR?
Here are the steps used to repair the Windows Vista Master Boot Record.

1. Insert Windows Vista DVD and boot to it
2. Click Repair Your Computer
3. Select your Installation and click Next
4. Click Command Prompt
5. Type:
 Bootrec /fixMBR and press enter
  (fixmbr removes the existing boot loader at MBR
   and replaces it with the windows boot loader. )
6. Type Exit and click enter
7. Remove your Windows DVD and reboot, now you should be back to booting

Once you have successfully repaired your master boot record
you can proceesd with Ubuntu 7 setup.
This time, please, when you get this screen :
select "Manual"  option and carefully point to your second hard-disk as
place for your new Ubuntu 7 .
On the next "Migrate Documents and Settings" screen, if Ubuntu finds any user accounts to migrate,
you are free to import it from Vista to Ubuntu.If it doesn't click Forward anyway.
On the "Ready to install" screen, you'll see that Ubuntu now has enough information to commence the installation. In the summary under Migrate Assistant, it should say "Windows Vista/Longhorn (loader)". This means that regardless of whether Ubuntu found any user account to migrate, it certainly knows that Windows Vista is installed on the other partition and is aware of it. Click Install. ( http://apcmag.com/system/files/images/vista_ubuntu_12.article-width.jpg )

More info here:


There is one thing that really confuses me:  How come your second hard-disk is labeled  /dev/sdc ?
Shouldn't it be /dev/sdb ?
Make sure Ubuntu 7 installer is detecting Vista  partition properly as
 Windows Vista\Longhorn    /dev/sda1  



I ended up disconnecting all hard drives except the one I wanted to install Ubuntu on and did a reinstall.   This worked of course so I then reconnected my data drives and they worked fine also.   Then I reconnected the (old) Vista drive and things were still ok.

I'm accepting your solution because you deserve the points for providing so much good information - thanks!

I will also need to edit menu.1st so that I can use Vista too although it's not something I need to do at this stage.
Glad to hear you got it going.  By the way it is menu.lst (menu.LST) not menu.1st.  Remember to back it up before you edit it, I use: sudo cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst.old
You should be able to follow the instructions at http://users.bigpond.net.au/hermanzone/p15.htm to add Vista to the boot options.


Yep sorry about that - was a bizarre typo on my part.   Thanks for your and sorry I can't award more than 500 points for your excellent help.   :)

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