[Techtalk] Installing XP without affectin Linux

Chris Wilson chris+linuxchix at aptivate.org
Wed Apr 1 22:30:41 UTC 2009

Hi David,

On Wed, 1 Apr 2009, David Sumbler wrote:

> Another solution would be for me to install XP in a real partition, and 
> boot it occasionally just for the purpose of running iTunes.  I have a 
> partition available which could be used for this purpose.
> However, in the past, I found that Windows 95 and 98 would automatically 
> commandeer the whole hard drive, so it was always necessary to install 
> Windows first and Linux afterwards in order to have a dual boot set-up.
> From installing XP Pro in VirtualBox I get the impression that perhaps
> it is not so greedy or arrogant as 95 and 98 were - but obviously I
> don't want to find out by experiment if my impression is wrong!  So does
> anyone know if I would be able to install WinXP Pro in the spare
> partition without messing up my Ubuntu partitions or making Ubuntu
> unbootable?

It is possible to do it. Windows NT-based operating systems have a better 
partition manager in the installer that lets you choose which partition to 
install on, and won't wipe your Linux partition without you giving it 
explicit instructions to do so (do not select your linux partition as the 
install partition for Windows!)

However, installing Windows will replace the master boot record (MBR), 
making Linux unbootable. You can fix this by using a rescue disk for your 
OS, or Knoppix, to mount the Linux filesystem after you install Windows, 
and run grub-install to rewrite the Linux boot loader, but it is a bit 
hairy. These instructions may help:


(I haven't tested them).

Cheers, Chris.
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