[Haifux] Help Me Make My Laptop Dual Boot W7 / Ubuntu

Gilboa, Zvi (zg7s) zg7s at eservices.virginia.edu
Sun Mar 3 05:42:45 MSK 2013

Hi Tom,

Great question, as the task is simple, yet somehow non-trivial.

The "trick" lies much more in the order of things, rather than the actual tasks to perform.  Assuming that you're looking for the easiest way to accomplish the dual boot, here is one effective installation order:

0) decide whether to install 32-bit or 64-bit Ubuntu, and get the appropriate DVD.  My recommendation: 64-bit.   To be sure, this is completely independent of the machine's Windows 7 installation.

1) blank drive: all zeros, no partitions, no partition table, nothing...

2) install Windows 7.  If possible, limit the size of the partition used by Windows 7.

3) Ubuntu: Live DVD --> TRY FIRST

4) Ubuntu: Live DVD: use your favorite partition editor to create the Ubuntu partitions.  For the task at hand, GPARTED would probably work best.  If the application is not available, then open a terminal and type sudo apt-get gparted

--> OPTIONAL: if still needed (see also step #2), use gparted to resize (shrink) the Windows 7 system partition

--> for the Ubuntu partitions, here is what I use: 4GB (swap) -- 2GB (boot) -- 16 GB (root) -- 32 GB (usr) -- all-the-rest (home)

5) Ubuntu: Live DVD: "Install Ubuntu" --> when asked about *disks/partitions*, select the custom (something else) option

--> you will then need to scroll through the partitions, right click the ones you have created, and then:
-----> either assign a partition to serve as a SWAP space
-----> or set the partition's mount point:

--> a minor irritation: in Ubuntu 12.04 and earlier versions, the window of the above screen (custom partition settings) is not sizable.

6) VERIFICATION: look at the newly created /etc/crypttab and /etc/fstab, and make sure that all devices are referred to by UUID, which I believe is Ubuntu's current default.   The exception to that rule is the swap partition, which is going to have two separate records: one in /etc/crypttab (using /dev/disk/by-id), and another one in /etc/fstab (using /dev/mapper/cryptswap...)

--> ALERT: referring to partitions by their UUID (or at least by their ID, as with swap partitions) is really crucial.  Configuration files such as /etc/fstab and /etc/crypttab should *never* refer to partitions by their ordinal position on disk (i.e. /dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, etc.).

7) That is pretty much it!  Everything else should be trivial and/or self-explanatory.

It probably wouldn't hurt to backup the partition table... given that your machine has only one hard drive, the command for that would be:
sfdisk -d /dev/sda > laptop_partition_table_backup
--> obviously, the above backup file should be saved to an external storage device:)

*** Using an alternative (and more elaborate) procedure, it should even be possible to use entire-partition encryption with both operating systems.  My PC at the university, for instance, has side-by-side Windows 7 and Ubuntu, which both use encrypted partitions.  In Windows 7 I use TrueCrypt's System Encryption feature, whereas for Ubuntu I use LUKS encryption for all but the /boot partition.

I hope that helps! Good luck with the installation process.


Von: haifux-bounces at haifux.org [haifux-bounces at haifux.org]" im Auftrag von "Tom Balazs [tom123online at gmail.com]
Gesendet: Samstag, 2. März 2013 12:41
An: Haifux Post to List
Betreff: [Haifux] Help Me Make My Laptop Dual Boot W7 / Ubuntu

I've been going a bit crazy over trying to make my laptop dual boot W7 / Ubuntu. It's the partitioning that confuses me. Please email me if you're willing to help me with this project. I would prefer to bring my computer / meet you somewhere and be with you while you do / help me to do this.

You can see details in my forum posts at http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2049797&page=2

This is the laptop I use for work, but I have my data backed up to an external hard disk and to the cloud.

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