HOWTO: Install GAG on a dual boot Windows-Ubuntu box

Installing GAG on a dual boot rig is no more difficult than it was on a straight Ubuntu box; only the numbers change slightly.

For this example, I put together a vanilla Windows 2000 partition and installed Xubuntu 6.10 from the alternate CD after it. If you have shared partitions or even more operating systems, you’ll have to adjust this appropriately.

I’m going to start from a completely blank hard drive.

First step is to install Windows as usual, partitioning only the space you want for Windows to reside in. For my example, I built a 6Gb (of a 20Gb hard drive) NTFS partition. Leave the remaining space blank and unpartitioned.

Next, install X/K/Ubuntu and let guided partition build its home. You’ll end up with /dev/hda2 as the root and home partition, and /dev/hda3 plus /dev/hda5 forming the logical swap partition.

Allow the installation procedure to write Grub to the master boot record, like it usually does.

On reboot, you can update or modify your system as you like. This is a normal, everyday dual boot system as it is. Take your time, there’s no need to hurry on to the next step.

Now let’s rewrite Grub to the root partition and put GAG in place.

Reboot your machine with the alternate (installation) CD in the drive. At the opening menu, pick “Rescue a broken system.”

When you’re asked for a root file system, use /dev/hda2. /dev/hda1 will be the Windows system you made earlier. Remember, if you’re using shared partitions or extra additional partitions, /dev/hda2 might not be your Ubuntu root.

From the ‘Rescue operations” menu, pick “Reinstall GRUB boot loader.”

For a destination, use /dev/hda2. Grub will install to that partition, and if all goes well, you’ll drop back into the “Rescue operations” menu.

From here, reboot. While rebooting, put your GAG CD in the drive.

When you reach the GAG start screen, pick 4 to install GAG. Select a keyboard and pick a language.

Next, press S to set up GAG. I delete the boot from disk option, but that’s because I’m using a laptop that doesn’t have a floppy drive. That one is up to you.

Press A to add an operating system. Let’s put Windows first, since it has the area closest to the drive center. Select option B for “07h OS/2 HPFS or Win-NT NTFS” … that would be your Windows partition.

Pick a name, icon and password, as you like.

Next, add another operating system. This time pick C for 83h Linux Ext2. Again, if your partition table differs from a default setup, that letter might change.

Pick a name, password and icon (pick Tux! pick Tux!).

Finally, write GAG to the master boot record by pressing H.

At this point, you can take out the GAG CD and reboot into your new system with CTRL+ALT+DELETE. If all went well, you should have a nifty bootloader menu, with both Windows and Linux in place.

A few final notes: When you press the key to start K/U/Xubuntu, you’ll still get the Grub menu, with Windows listed.

That’s okay. What you want to do at this point is to boot into Ubuntu and edit your /boot/grub/menu.lst to hide that menu, and probably knock down the delay for picking an operating system. Dual boots default to 30 seconds before they go with the default option; I set mine to hide the menu and start in only 2 seconds. It’s the same as a normal, non-dual boot system.

I suppose you could cut Windows altogether from the Grub menu, but I don’t think I would suggest it.

For one thing, it gives you a last-minute oops-I-didn’t-really-want-to-start-Ubuntu option, and also it might confuse Grub, since the chance to mangle the menu.lst file is always present. And I can’t predict how it will behave when the kernel is updated, really.

That’s it! You’re on your own now! :)

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1 Response to “HOWTO: Install GAG on a dual boot Windows-Ubuntu box”



  1. 1 Angry enough to spit « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2008/05/18 at 7:35 PM

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