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 Forum index » House Training » Beginners Help ( Start Here)
? An easy way to Dual-boot Windows7 & Puppy with Grub4Dos ?
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Joined: 16 Jun 2008
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Location: Union New Jersey USA

PostPosted: Sat 31 Aug 2013, 16:55    Post subject:  ? An easy way to Dual-boot Windows7 & Puppy with Grub4Dos ?
Subject description: with One HardDrive and not via a USB-Key (Solved) by Responders

Hi All,

I'm not exactly a beginner, but I have almost no experience with computers which come with Windows 7 installed. I've searched the Forum. Most of the posts regarding installation were written when it could be assumed that a computer had Windows XP installed and before Grub4Dos became the standard boot manager. [For those of you who haven't yet read the fine print, Grub4Dos is an acronym which confusingly, rather bizarrely, means “Grub not merely for Dos.” So, I am still not certain how to accomplish my objective: A computer using Grub4dos to dual (or multi-) boot Windows 7 and one (or more) Puppys.
Although I rarely use it, almost all of my computers originally had Windows XP installed. [One came with Vista which I replaced with XP on the second day of ownership]. On those older computers where XP ran so slowly as to be nothing more than an annoyance, I reformatted the hard drive and run them as “Linux Only”. But when Window XP can still serve some useful purpose –such as running tax preparation software-- I prefer to dual (or multi-) boot.
I'm looking to purchase a netbook via ebay to use when traveling and have noticed that while some of them are offered with XP installed perhaps as many, for about the same price, are offered with Windows 7 installed. As almost none of them are offer with Window 7 installation disks, wiping out that installation would be for all intents and purposes be permanent. And I'm sure, if you think about it, you can come up with several reasons --especially when traveling with smart-phones and cameras, and an as yet untested Puppy installation-- that retaining the possibility of resorting to Windows 7 could be prudent.
Yes, I know many newer computers can boot Puppy Linux from a USB-Key. In fact, I I assume that capability in my procedure for creating a dual booting computer. While at home I often test Puppy versions by installing them first on a USB-Key, I'm sure, if you think about it, you'll find reasons why one or more Puppy installations to a computer's hard drive for general use may be more convenient. Or if you can't, just assume that I'm ornery and “want what I want.”
Which presents me with the question I'm sure many of those new to Puppy face: How to preserve the Windows 7 installation on a computer while enabling it to boot into Puppy when desired, using Grub4dos as boot-manager.
When I acquire an “XP” computer, my procedure for creating a dual-boot computer using Grub4dos as boot-manager would be fairly simple:
1. Install the desired Puppy to a USB-Key (or burn it to a CD/DVD).
2. Boot into Puppy (via USB-Key or CD/DVD).
3. Use gparted (usually on the System sub-menu) to resize the hard-drive, reducing the Windows partition to 40-60 Gbs. [When possible I don't keep data files on the same partition as a Windows OS, and my “full-fledged” XP OS + programs never exceeded 40 Gbs. I doubt the Windows 7 “Starter” OS plus a couple of programs will exceed 40 Gbs. Most of the system's I've seen on ebay had at least an 160 Gb hard-drive]. That will leave at least 100 Gbs “unassigned.”
4. Use gparted to create two new partitions: one Fat32 for storing data I may want to access from either Windows, Linux or both, and one Linux Ext4 partition for Linux OSes and data.
5. Create a directory for my Puppy boot files on the Ext4 partition.
6. Copy the Puppy boot files (excluding any SaveFile) from my USB-Key to the above directory. [Later, if desired, any SaveFile on the USB-Key can be copied into that directory when the Puppy on the USB-Key isn't running].
7. Run Grub4dos, installing it to Windows C:=Linux sda1 partition. With XP, this would over-write my mbr (master-boot-record) but Grub4dos automatically creates entries for XP –and I believe Windows 7-- and I've never had a problem booting into XP via Grub4dos' menu. Gru4dos also automatically creates an entry on menu.lst of each Puppy version installed to a folder. [If your computer has more than one hard-drives, a safer arrangement is to install Grub4dos on any hard-drive other than C: and set your bios to give boot priority to that other drive. That wouldn't over-write the mbr. And by changing bios to again give priority to the Window's hard-drive, the computer would boot directly into Windows circumventing Grub4dos for that occasion].

If I've understood what I read correctly, than only one simple procedural change would be necessary to accomplish the same on a computer that came with only a Windows 7 install. Windows 7 does not respond positively when some other operating system resizes the hard-drive onto which it was installed. And Windows 7 comes with its own disk-management program. So the change would be:

2. Before booting into Puppy, Boot into Windows 7 and use its disk-management program to resize the hard-drive so as to create a second “unassigned partition.” [I'll leave you to read how to do so, as I'll do myself before running that program].
3. Skip. Go to Step 4 to create from the “unassigned partitions” the Fat32 data partition and the Ext4 Linux Partition.
5 thru 7. Remain the same.

But, as I said, I'm uncertain. I think Windows 7 does not utilize an MBR and believe that the above procedure (when Grub4dos is installed to the only hard-drive) would prevent Windows 7 from booting via its default procedure which procedrure would be difficult, if not impossible, to recover. But I'm perfectly happy to use Grub4dos as my boot-manager.

With that understanding, please correct any errors I may have made and/or tell me the easiest procedure for setting up a computer with only one hard-drive to dual-boot Windows 7 and Puppy using Gru4Dos as boot-manager.

Thanks In advance,


Last edited by mikeslr on Sat 31 Aug 2013, 19:54; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 01 Dec 2011
Posts: 633
Location: Kamloops BC Canada

PostPosted: Sat 31 Aug 2013, 17:48    Post subject: ? An easy way to Dual-boot Windows7 & Puppy with Grub4Dos ?  

mikeslr wrote:
Windows 7 does not respond positively when some other operating system resizes the hard-drive onto which it was installed

That hasn't been my experience. I triple boot Windows XP, Windows 7, and Debian on my main desktop. Windows 7 and Debian share equal space on one hard drive. Windows XP is on the other hard drive. I found the most important part of this task was the sequence for installing each operating system: Windows XP, then Windows 7, then Debian. For the second hard drive, I installed Windows 7 first, then used Gparted to resize the Windows partition and create a new partition formatted with ext4 for Debian. Then I installed Debian on the ext4 partition and let grub overwrite the master boot record. On boot-up grub recognizes both operating systems, and I either select Windows 7 or do nothing in which case Debian loads as the default operating system.... Aside: if I were to remove Debian, then I would have to use the Windows 7 disk to reset the master boot record to Windows specs in order to go Microsoft only...

If you use Gparted only to resize, repartition and format your hard drive, you should be able to save yourself a step. AFAIK, Windows cannot create and format an ext partition for you... The only issue that I have had with Gparted is that any ntfs formatted partitions it creates are not recognized by Windows --at least with my version, but maybe this is a bug in Gparted that has been fixed now. So, I would suggest not creating any new ntfs partitions on your hard drive as an afterthought.

Last, I realize this is not dual booting with Puppy, but my thoughts are that the procedure should be very similar if not the same.

Hope this helps,

My username is pronounced: "mun-see". Derived from my surname, it was my nickname throughout high school.
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PostPosted: Sat 31 Aug 2013, 18:53    Post subject:  

Hmm a trick that worked for me on vista and seems to apply to 7 too as tested by others.

You mention grub4dos so I assume a little familiarity.....

7 does use an mbr (unless you are dealing with the efieblah stuff) but it loads bootmgr rather than ntldr.

Trick is to rename bootmgr to say bootmg7.
add a copy of grldr from grub4dos...rename it to bootmgr
Add a menu.lst with entry for puppy and chainloader /bootmg7

Done... you will get the grub menu...if windows chosen it will boot straight to that if only the one system.

Actual partition layouts vary a little..sometimes there is a small boot partition etc so the specific details will vary.

Want to return...just delete the pretend bootmgr and rename the original.

If no partitioning is done and puppy is added frugally (you can still have a swapfile I beliveve) this is the least intrusive and the system can be restored untouched....

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James C

Joined: 26 Mar 2009
Posts: 6378
Location: Kentucky

PostPosted: Sat 31 Aug 2013, 19:05    Post subject:  

Guess I'm just old school but ........
I have four boxes multi-booting Windows 7 and Linux with good old Legacy Grub and one using Grub4dos (purely for testing purposes).I resize the Windows partition with the Windows tools,use Puppy to create any ext3 or ext 4 and swap partitions, install Puppy and finally install Grub or Grub4dos to the mbr.
That's what works for me but I'd proceed however you feel more comfortable.
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Location: Union New Jersey USA

PostPosted: Sat 31 Aug 2013, 19:21    Post subject: Thanks, but still concerned re Grub4Dos when only one HD  

Thanks, Monsi, for the tip. Now that you've clarified I recall that it was formatting as an ntfs drive rather than resizing that was warned against. I don't know if Windows 7 will do the same, but as I recall when I used gparted to resize an ntfs drive on which XP was installed, the next time I booted into XP it ran some kind of a check and, I think, rebuilt the partition table it used internally. I don't recall that happening when the "non-operating system" drives were resized.

But I still would like confirmation that it is safe to install Grub4Dos onto the only hard-drive. And, as a matter of curiosity, what actually happens vis-a-vis Window 7's default mechanism for booting?


PS: I was writing while mikeb and James C were posting. I guess they've answered my questions. I like James C's version for simplicity, but may follow mikeb's advice. It's no worse than the "Lin and Win" method I used when I first started with Puppy. And , as mikeb indicated, would make restoration easy should --for reasons I don't currently even have an inkling beyond the aesthetic value of not breaking things you can't fix-- I ever want.

As only my mother called me "Michael", my "real world" name is Mike Kessler. But when you say it fast, one of the two ke's and the last e gets suppressed. I capitalized the L in signing after many on this forum mistook it for a 1.
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PostPosted: Sat 31 Aug 2013, 20:04    Post subject:  

Yes its a bit like lin'n'win in reverse... I first tried it on someone else's machine so played the cautious card. I also added XP in the recovery partition as well as there was enough room in there Very Happy

By the way I tried it after hearing the original trick of renaming grldr to ntldr....

The more conventional method which the win32 installer uses when we first played with adding vista and 7 to it runs the native windows bcdedit but it is a bit on the fiddly side... the result is more like the lin'n'win way as it simply adds an entry to boot grldr. Apart from simplicity the rename method does mean 'a windows straight from grub' operation.

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PostPosted: Sun 01 Sep 2013, 21:51    Post subject:  

I realize this thread is marked as "resolved", but there are several other things that I would like to mention:

mikeslr wrote:
As almost none of them are offered with Window 7 installation disks, wiping out that installation would be for all intents and purposes be permanent.

I agree that the actual distribution disk is usually not supplied, but almost all new computers come with a method to create your own restore DVD. If the computer doesn't have an internal DVD writer, an external USB DVD drive can be bought for as little as $25. One of the first things that I do with a new computer is generate the factory restore disks. Then when all else goes wrong, you just push in the DVD and load a clean copy of everything. I did this for a neighbor's computer last week, and the restore program even wiped off the old data and re-partitioned the hard drive.

I also back up the entire contents of the hard drive to a spare hard drive if I am going to make significant changes to the computer. If you don't want to install a hard drive physically into the computer, you can get a hard drive and connect it to a USB adapter. This works fine. There are a number of free disk cloning programs out there. I happen to use one made by Macrium called Reflect, but there are others. I usually replace the original hard drive with the new one, so if everything goes wrong I just put the original hard drive back in.

I prefer using a frugal install of Puppy Linux when running it as a dual install with Windows. That way, I don't need to do any re-partitioning. I know there is plenty of debate on whether this is better than doing a full install on a separate partition, but it is the way that I am used to doing it.

Finally, Grub4DOS doesn't have to invade your MBR - it can just reside as two files on the root of your hard drive (grldr and grldr.mbr). Then you just have to either modify the boot.ini file (Windows XP) or modify the BCD file using BCDEDIT (Windows Vista and 7). Noryb009 wrote a program that automates the process:


I also wrote a similar program, although it isn't as popular and has drifted into obscurity:


A lot of work has been done in the past to make a dual Puppy Linux / Windows installation go as painless as possible. The problem is, the information gets lost over the years; thus this post to remind people.

P.S. I am writing this post from Puppy Linux on a computer that dual boots Puppy Linux / Windows 7 using the method I described above.
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