Recommended Steps for SLED and Windows Dual Boot

  • 7001144
  • 12-Aug-2008
  • 26-Apr-2012


SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Support Pack 2
(dual booted) Microsoft Windows


There are a number of documents that deal with various aspects and problems you might encounter when dual booting.  This document will compile these ideas into a set of recommended steps for someone wanting to dual boot SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) and Windows.


There are two methods for setting up a dual-boot of SLED and Windows.  Depending on which Operating System is installed first, the steps are slightly different.

If Windows is to be installed first:
  1. Partition the hard drive to allow space for Windows to be installed, and leave one or more blank partitions on which to install SLED.  You can also shrink a previously existing Windows installation with one of several tools, but that process is not covered in this document.
  2. Install Windows, which will install the Windows bootloader to the Master Boot Record (MBR)
  3. Install SLED to the previously allocated partition(s), noting that during the installation process, the Windows partition is detected.
  4. As part of the SLED installation, GRUB is installed to the MBR, and entries are created in the /boot/grub/menu.lst file for both SLED and Windows.

If SLED is to be installed first:
  1. Install SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED), arranging partitions as needed and leaving a blank partition on which to install Windows.  You can also shrink a previously existing SLED installation with one of several tools, but that process is not covered in this document.
  2. Install Windows onto the partition set aside during the SLED installation.  This process will install the Windows bootloader over top of GRUB, and prevent you from seeing an option to boot SLED.
  3. Reinstall the GRUB bootloader.
    1. Boot from the SLED Installation media and select "Rescue System" from the prompt.
    2. Verify your current partition setup with the command 'fdisk -l', and make note of the devices where Windows and the root SLED partition are located.  Ensure that the SLED root partition is flagged as bootable and NOT the Windows partition.
    3. Mount the SLED root partition.  Assuming that SLED's root partition is /dev/sda2, use the command 'mount /dev/sda2 /mnt'.
    4. Reinstall GRUB with the command 'grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sda'.  The root-directory argument tells grub-install where to find the device, so that a chroot into the device is not necessary.  The final argument specifies which device is going to receive the bootloader.  A partition number should not be specified (i.e. do not use "/dev/sda2").
    5. Reboot the system.  Assuming that the GRUB reinstallation was successful, the system will go into the GRUB menu, and SLED should be bootable.  For additional information on this process, please see TID#3918735.
  4. One final step required to dual boot is to edit the GRUB menu and add an entry that will boot Windows.  While booted into SLED, open the file /boot/grub/menu.lst with the preferred text editor and add the following:
    1. Add this entry to any part of the menu.lst.  Its position in the file will determine the order that the entry shows up in the GRUB menu when booting.
    2. The title is arbitrary and simply influences what the entry in the GRUB men is called.
    3. The beginning with "root" will need to be customized based on where Windows is located.  This line needs to be in GRUB syntax.  (hd0,0) references the first hard drive's first partition, or /dev/hda1 in Linux notation.  (sd1,2) would reference the second SATA hard drive's third partition, or /dev/sdb3.
---<beginning of code>---

#Windows dual boot entry
title           "Windows"
root            (hd0,0)
chainloader     +1

---<end of code>---

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