Dual booting Linux with Windows

There would be probably zillion other pages on the blue nothing with similar instructions. Yes. But nothing beats doing these things yourselves … blundering through some and still coming out on tops and saying … whew!! I did it!! (ofcourse a little help from Google doesnt go unappreciated)

A lot of users go about the right way installing a dual boot system.

  1. Take backup of your existing data
  2. They will plan and create partitions
  3. They will first install Windows (WinXP in my case) on one drive
  4. They will then install Linux (Ubuntu here)
  5. Then relax, and configure both the OSes as per their desires

This is the simpler version of doing it. Its the real man’s way … a no-nonsense approach to getting things done.

And now there is my way. I have been using this laptop for about 8 months now … running it on Ubuntu. So after roughly about 8 months, I have a 5Gb home folder, some customized applications, some handy scripts, an up-to-date system … and with what internet speeds are in India, I do not wish to re-update my system again. So I decided, that I will try to rescue the Linux after losing my master boot record (MBR). So this is what I did –

  1. Installed WinXP on my 8GB FAT32 partition
  2. Put in an Ubuntu LiveCD and booted through it to Gutsy Gibbon
  3. Started grub and wrote that on the MBR. Now the windows was gone … sigh!
    1. For more detailed instructions, please visit Recovering Ubuntu after installing Windows
  4. Started my actual Linux (whew!) and edited the grub configuration file
  5. Made a manual entry for windows in this and booted
    1. This is not easy as it sounds
    2. You need to know on which partition of your hard drive was windows installed (for me it was /dev/hda4) … the grub entry which corresponds to this is (hd0,3) … keep that in mind (minus 1)
  6. This was the exact entry

title Windoze XP
rootnoverify (hd0,3)
chainloader +1

It works!

Why did I install Windows again? … to play games 🙂



The mountain giant picked up a boulder and heaved it towards me. My female orc wizard ducked and narrowly missed the hulk of rock. I decided to take my Wand of striking and kill both the giant and the killer bee buzzing behind him in a single strike. The giant absorbed the magic and moved on to pick up the boulder for another shot. I smote off the killer bee with a couple of blows with my trusted +4 magic staff and turned to face the giant. The goliath had managed to pick up the boulder, now was the time … I took out another wand of magic missile and let go its fury at him. No effect. I would have to kill this one by hand-to-hand. No matter. The staff was up for the challenge and my mithril coat was unharmed. A fast flurry of blows was exchanged the giant lay bested at my feet.

No, this is not a dream. Its one of my favorite games, NetHack!! This is a single player game released in around late 1980’s … the development of this game has been completely on the net … and its a hack and slash game … hence net + hack = nethack 🙂

Everytime I play the game, theres something new that happens. The maps are different, the characters are many to play with … and the game decides to behave differently on a full moon day!!

Just one more example of how a product has developed in a decentralized fashion over an open interactive medium (IRC and Usenets) to result in a customer oriented product.