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Dual boot GNU and Windows 7

From: Sebastian Tennant
Subject: Dual boot GNU and Windows 7
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2011 14:00:34 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1 (gnu/linux)

Hi list,

I have a new Lenovo IdeaPad laptop and I would like to keep the Windows
installation for testing websites in Internet Explorer.

At the moment the hard disk looks like this:

 /dev/sda1 - ntfs     - no label    - Windows boot partition (200 MiB)
 /dev/sda2 - ntfs     - no label    - Main Windows partition (422 GiB)
 /dev/sda3 - extended -
 /dev/sda4 - ntfs     - LENOVO_PART - ??? (15 GiB)
 /dev/sda5 - ntfs     - LENOVO      - ??? (29 GiB)

The two LENOVO* partitions are for Lenovo's OneKey Rescue(TM) system which I
will *never* use so my plan is to get rid of them completely, shrink /dev/sda2
down to about 48 GiB (using a gparted live disk), add a large FAT data storage
partition (which can be used by both GNU and Windows) and finally create a few
(small) partitions for different flavours of the GNU operating system:

 /dev/sda1 - ntfs     - no label    - Windows boot partition (200 MiB)
 /dev/sda2 - ntfs     - no label    - Main Windows partition (48 GiB)
 /dev/sda3 - FAT      - FAT storage - Data storage partition (384 Gib)
 /dev/sda4 - extended -
 /dev/sda5 - ext3     - Debian      - GNU OS (10 GiB)
 /dev/sda6 - ext3     - Gentoo      - GNU OS (10 GiB)
 /dev/sda7 - ext3     - Fedora      - GNU OS (10 GiB)
 /dev/sda8 - swap     - no label    - 4GB RAM (4 GiB)

I've installed GNU OSes several times in the past but I've never needed to
worry about an existing Windows installation before so I suppose I have two

 1. When I install the first of these GNU operating systems (Debian Squeeze),
    should I opt to overwrite the existing Windows bootloader in the Master
    Boot Record (MBR) with grub2?

 2. If Windows won't boot from grub2 (for whatever reason) after I've written a
    suitable grub stanza for it, is there a way of restoring the original
    Windows bootloader to the MBR so that I can continue to use Windows while I
    think about an alternative approach?


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