Dual Boot Windows 7 and Fedora 13 Goddard

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This is an installation guide for Fedora 13 users who want to dual boot Fedora 13 with Windows 7 (should work for any version of Windows) and Fedora 13. I have chosen the most basic setup with Windows 7 already installed and occupying the entire hard drive.

Step 0: Before with start with the installation, you obviously need to make space for the Fedora installation. You have a few options to do so, if you are using Windows 7, then you can use Windows native tool to resize the partition, as described here, second option is to use a third  party software like Gparted Live CD, or use the Fedora installer to do the resizing for you. If you have Windows 7, then the first approach is the way to go. I would cover the third option a bit in a moment, but use it at your own risk.  Also always backup your data and files before tinkering with partitions.

Step 1: Put the Fedora 13 installation disk, iso for which can be download from http://fedoraproject.org,  in your CD/DVD drive and reboot (make sure your DVD/CD Drive is the first boot device or at least ahead of your hard drive in boot order).  Alternatively you can use your USB drive to transfer the Iso image and make it bootable by using Unetbootin as described here. I am going to make use of the Fedora 13 live CD for the installation. The live CD should start to boot as soon as your computer restarts.

The Fedora Live Desktop would look something like this, start the installation by clicking on the Install to Hard Drive launcher.

Step: Installation of Fedora 13 Goddard. The screenshot of each installation step is shown below and the appropriate description is appended where needed.

After you have specified the root password, the next step is important, this is where you specify partition style, and we are going to specify partitions manually. If you want you can choose to go with “Use free space” option. If you select this option, the free space we created above would be used to create default layout. But I prefer to specify partitions manually. The main advantage of doing so is that, we are aware of our selections and we can have a clean and simple setup. So on next screen, choose Create Custom Layout.

Now, we are going to setup the partitions for Fedora installations. If you already created the space for Fedora as described in step 0 above, then you would see something similar to what is shown below, if you didn’t create space, you would need to resize the partitions using the installer.

Before we proceed, lets discuss how to resize or modify existing partitions using the installer itself. Fedora live CD doesn’t include Gparted like the Ubuntu Live CD, but the partition manager should get the job done. Remember, this step is only needed if you haven’t shrunk your Windows partition as recommended in first step. Note: I have not tried this method of resizing partitions, so don’t blame me if it fails for some reason. It is best to resize partition using Windows Partition Manager, as discussed in Step 0. If you right click on an existing partition and choose edit option, it would bring up a dialog box similar to that shown below. You just have to tick resize and then specify the new size, again remember, you must defragment your drive before shrinking it.

Since, we have already created free space using Windows partition manager, lets create the partition layout for Fedora. First we create the /boot partition. Select the Free space region on the hard drive and click on create. Now select Mount Point as /boot from the drop down menu. Choose ext4 or ext3 for the File System Type. Keep the size to 100 MB and tick the Force to be a primary partition. Click OK to get back to partition screen.

Use the same approach to create the root partition“/” choose the size based on the amount of empty space you created. If you are not going to use Fedora a whole lot, 15 GB of partition size should be good enough for casual usage.

Click OK again to get back to partition manager screen. Now finally create the SWAP partition using the following setting (ideally the recommended size of SWAP partition should be more than the physical RAM size installed on your machine if you want Hibernation option to work properly). I chose the Fill to maximum allowable size to make use of all remaining empty space.

Once you are done creating all the partitions, hit the Next button to write changes to the disk

The next step involves the setting for the boot loader installation.

As you must have observed, the Fedora installer detects the other operating system automatically, you can choose to select the default boot OS, by default it is set to Fedora, you can select Other and click edit to modify the boot label to Windows 7 or something appropriate and make it the default boot choice. Before proceeding click on the Change device button to modify the location where the boot loader is copied. Windows have been notorious to over write MBR at times, so it is best to select the first sector of boot partition for the installation of boot loader.

Click next to start the installation process

Click on Close to exit the installer and then restart your computer (don’t forget to eject or unmount the CD as you restart)

Upon restart you should be greeted by the Grub menu. Choose Fedora to finalize your installation by creating users etc. Enjoy your dual boot system. Leave your feedback if you think I was not clear in explaining any of the steps.

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About the Author

has written 346 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

6 Comments on “Dual Boot Windows 7 and Fedora 13 Goddard”

  • Faisal wrote on 22 September, 2010, 14:41

    Thanks a lot boss.

    You’ve really given great help!.

    Just a little more giggle….I have Windows XP on my C partition and Windows 7 on D partition.

    I want to keep Windows 7 but install Fedora on C partition in place of Windows XP. Is it possible ? (without any problem to Windows 7) or is there any other way to do this, like availing free space on C partition and/or keeping also Windows XP ? 🙂 🙂

    Thanks a bunch!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


    lifehacker Reply:

    @Faisal – Both of what you have said is possible. But you have to be careful with the partitions. You can triple boot by resizing your Windows XP partition (if you have space left) to free out space for Fedora (read this post on resizing partition using Windows 7 partition utility).

    Else you can format your C drive and then just dual boot using Fedora and Windows 7. Don’t tinker with the “System Reserved” partition which would be of 100MB size. This is used by Windows 7, so if you mess it, Windows 7 won’t boot. Let me know if you have more questions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


  • Mario wrote on 15 October, 2010, 3:14

    I follow the instructions verbatim, but the GRUB is not working it goes straight to windows 7 without even showing the GRUB splash screen… I tried rescue mode and look for the grub.conf file but I cant find it… I use whereis ¨grub.conf¨ and its not pulling any results. Please help

    windows 7
    fedora 13

    Toshiba AMD 64 dual core

    Please help

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


    lifehacker Reply:

    @Mario, Instead of copying the boot loader on the first sector of boot partition,try copying it on the MBR. See if that works for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


    ramas Reply:

    @Mario, @Mario, Mario, Even I followed the instructions verbatim, except in the custom layout bit I had to choose logic volume. I had the same problem, where fedora 13 wouldn’t show up at the boot time. My initial thought was to delete the partition created for fedora through Windows 7 and then reinstall, but this time installing boot loader in the Master Boot Record (MBR) instead of First sector of boot partition. Luckily I didn’t follow up this thought, but did some serious googling. What fixed my problem is
    1) Downloaded and Installed EasyBCD on my Windows 7. In the Clicked Add Entry and then selected the Linux tab. Here I choose the grub legacy in the first combo box and then selected the the boot partition where the grub was installed. Restarted the PC and hey it worked.

    Thanks lifehacker for the installation instructions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


    victor Reply:

    thanks this very direct
    thanks for the help

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


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