How To: Add Linux to the Vista Bootloader

One of the most features that EasyBCD brings to the table is full-blown support for Linux, BSD, Solaris, and more starting from version 1.5, putting it a league above the competition. Most importantly, EasyBCD offers several different ways to get these operating systems working with Vista, just in case one or more fail to work […]

One of the most features that EasyBCD brings to the table is full-blown support for Linux, BSD, Solaris, and more starting from version 1.5, putting it a league above the competition. Most importantly, EasyBCD offers several different ways to get these operating systems working with Vista, just in case one or more fail to work out the way you want them to.

Chainloading is a dual-boot term that refers to one bootloader handing off the boot process to another. In this case, we configure the Vista bootloader to ask either Grub or Lilo (the most common Linux bootloaders) to complete the boot process for us - minimizing configuration requirements and ensuring maximum compatibility.

Vista before Linux

EasyBCD makes installing Linux after you have Windows Vista up-and-running a breeze. These steps assume you have Windows Vista properly installed and booting, and are looking to install Linux on a second hard drive or partition. These steps also assume that you are using the default Windows Vista bootloader, and don't manually change the active partition around. If you had Linux installed before you installed Windows Vista, scroll down to the next section.

  1. Put the Linux CD in the drive, and start the installation normally.
  2. When prompted to set up the bootloader, make sure you specify to install LILO, GRUB, or whatever to the bootsector of the partition that Linux is being installed to and not the MBR of your hard drive.
  3. Finish the Linux installation, take the CD out of the drive, and reboot.

At this point, you'll go straight back to Windows Vista. Don't panic, everything is OK - you'll be in Linux soon enough!

  1. Turn on EasyBCD, go to the "Add/Remove Entries" screen and pick Linux from the tabs at the top.
  2. Pick the appropriate bootloader from the drop-down menu (either GRUB or LILO),
  3. Give the entry a user-friendly name (and if you want to keep "NST Linux Loader" as the text, we won't say no!)
  4. The hardest part of this mind-numbingly difficult exercise (/sarcasm) is choosing the correct hard drive and partition numbers that correspond to the partition you installed Linux (and most importantly, the bootloader) to.
    In EasyBCD (and Windows in general), drive numbers start at 0, and partitions start at 1. So the second partition of the first drive would be 0, 2.
  5. Press "Add Entry" and reboot.

When the Vista bootloader asks you what OS you'd like to boot into, select Linux to continue the first-run configuration for your brand-spanking-new Linux install.

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Microsoft, How To, Linux, Windows Vista, Boot, Bootloader, Vista bootloader, Tips, Tricks