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Re: multi-boot mess: have I destroyed Windows 7 ?

On Sat, May 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM, Charles Blair <c-blair@illinois.edu> wrote:
******   THE MESS  *****

  I recently tried to set up a multi-boot with windows 7
and squeeze on a laptop.  When started, grub displays

  /dev/sda1 Windows 7
  /dev/sda2 also Windows 7
  /dev/sda3 Windows 7 recovery
  /dev/sda4 Debian
  /dev/sda5 Debian recovery

  I am relieved that Debian works, but the other choices
give me "failed to start" error messages.  I give fdisk
and grub configuration information below

*****   HOW I CREATED THE MESS  ****

 The installer initially reported three partitions allocated
to windows.  I re-sized the largest one (I think this was the
second one) and then put debian into the free space.

*****   FDISK INFORMATION    *****

Disk /dev/sda: 320.1 GB, 320072933376 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 38913 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xbb0c5abb

  Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1         192     1536000   27  Unknown
/dev/sda2             192       12349    97656250    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3           37264       38914    13248512   17  Hidden HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda4           12350       37264   200128513    5  Extended
/dev/sda5   *       12350       12392      340992   83  Linux
/dev/sda6           12392       13486     8787968   83  Linux
/dev/sda7           13486       13851     2928640   83  Linux
/dev/sda8           13851       14826     7827456   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda9           14826       14874      389120   83  Linux
/dev/sda10          14874       37264   179849216   83  Linux


Hi Charles.  In my experience with dual-booting, the key is to have the Win7 partition that is actually the bootable partition, flagged as bootable via gparted/fdisk/etc., before installing Debian.  Win7 makes a mess of partitioning if you don't manually force it into your own partitioning scheme.  I learned the hard way, and wound up wiping out the Debian installation and MBR, then rebuilding the MBR for Win7 to be bootable, then installing Debian again.  There are lots of people smarter than me on this list that may have a better way, but that's what I can share with you from my own struggles.

I avoid dual-booting if at all possible these days, although in some cases it is unavoidable.

Maybe someone else will chime in with a better idea for you.


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