Dual booting

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Is it possible to dual boot Win7 and Win8 so that all the programs are still visible from both systems and user documents are shared between the systems.
I know that I should be able to access everything through the hard drive anyway but if they're all there to the systems that'd be much better
Not trivially. You can see files though. File attributes will be an issue. You in Win7 and you in Win8 are two different identities.

Installation of an application does more than just writes the files: it can update Windows Registry and add entries to Start menu (or equivalent). Therefore, seeing the files is not the same as proper installation.
Yeah I understand all that, I didn't think that it'd be possible but just wondered cos it'd be a cool feature to have.
I suppose the shared documents is possible by just having one space on the C drive and putting a shortcut to it in each OS user, but it's not really the same.
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Each file and folder has an owning identity and an ACL (access control list) that defines the identities that have (or don't have) access to the filesystem object.

On a Windows Domain the identities are stored in Domain Controller, so every computer that is a member of the domain can use the same identity for you, including a file server. Thus, you can log into any of them with the same account and you will see the same documents from the server.

Nothing prevents you from creating a folder, where you set up ACL in such way that anything created by your Win7 account or by your Win8 account will be accessible by both accounts.

In addition to shortcuts, there are NTFS junctions and symbolic links.
Sure, I'll pretend to know what that is for now and if I do decide to dual boot I'll find out what it actually means XD
Just install dropbox on both win7 and win8.
It's totally possible!

The easiest way to it is to have one OS already installed. Then just run the installation package from some bootable media at boot time (boot disk). During the installation process you get to choose which disk/partition to install the new system on. Choose an empty one so that you don't overwrite any data or your first OS.

At some point the boot manager will detect your other OS and install some means to select an OS at startup time on your new partition. Just be sure to use your BIOS and set that disk as your primary boot device. It'll come right up.

Of course since your documents/pictures/videos are on another disk, you'll be able to access them the same as if you had a single OS (though "My Documents" may move).

Don't worry, it's safe.
Just make adequate partitions with a partition editing program, name them accordingly, and mount the appropriate partition to access the files.

Given the correct drivers and set up, this is basically foolproof.
Just curious, what would be the point of Win 7 and Win 8?
Well personally I really don't like the layout of Windows 8 at all but it comes with the new laptop I want, but I have heard that Windows 8 is a lot quicker and a lot more stable (probably because everything's been removed).
But basically for everyday stuff I'd like Windows 7 and if I need a bit more stability for anything (video-editing, compiling, etc) then run Windows 8.

I know it may sound like I'd be better booting Win 7 with something like XP but there's a problem that was only fixed in 7 which is that the OS's are limited up to a certain amount of RAM with each new Windows increasing this limit and Win 7 just removing it and adding the compatibility for any amount.
Well I'm not really making anything high level, but I've had win 8 since early march(it came on my laptop too), but I don't really notice that much difference between the two, other than the start screen/button. Honestly other than that, there's not really much different, unless you rely heavily on your start button, you shouldn't notice much different. And also, I was thinking about putting linux on mine and apparently it has something called secure boot, which makes it harder to dual boot, or you flat out cannot, I can't remember at the moment.
I was thinking about putting linux on mine and apparently it has something called secure boot, which makes it harder to dual boot, or you flat out cannot, I can't remember at the moment.

I've recently installed Ubuntu (12.04 -- the latest LTS release) on a PC which came with Windows 8. I had to disable Secure Boot and Fast Startup to get it to work, and had a bit of trouble with the wired network adapter (ended up compiling a new driver), but its up and running now (I'm writing this message using Ubuntu)


PS Note that for systems with Secure Boot you need the 64-bit version of Ubuntu, and at least 12.04.2 (changes from later versions of Ubuntu have been back-ported to the LTS release.)
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Andy: Holy shit! really? I tried but i couldn't figure it out, do you think it'd be at all possible to either write a tutorial in this thread or write one up and send it to me? if not it's cool.

EDIT: I've ran the live version of both Ubuntu and Lime and both already recognized my wireless adapter
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I have no problem with the wireless adapter, but my home router is wired (as I live in an apartment, I'd rather not leak radio waves to my neighbour.) So I went to an internet cafe and downloaded the bits and pieces I needed to repair my wired router.

Note that my background is pretty exclusively Windows based, so I'm very much on the learning curve when it comes to Ubuntu. But I can point you at the web resources I used and "summarise" (edit: it's grown quite a bit...) the steps I took to install Ubuntu on my laptop (an ASUS X502CA). But with absolutely no guarantees!!!

One of the reasons I chose Ubuntu as my first Linux was that I'd heard the Ubuntu community was very supportive; and this does appear to be the case. I found a lot of what I needed to know on or thanks to http://askubuntu.com . Another useful, similar site is http://ubuntuforums.org .

But note the whole UEFI Secure Boot matter has generated quite a lot of activity, so you do need to do a bit of sifting to get the relevant, up to date information.

Also, before I bought my PC I did do a bit of homework. I already knew that ASUS had a reasonably good track record when it comes to Ubuntu support, but I still carefully checked out which of their models were seen as Ubuntu friendly.

Ubuntu on Asus Models

I also googled for problems with whatever model and Ubuntu to check out for what was being said in the forums. It's probably best to avoid really new PC models if you want to steer clear of driver problems.

You should probably check your PC does not have lots of complaints about it before continuing.

My PC was actually listed on the web site I bought it from as an Asus X501A Laptop (it was on special offer!) so I was bit worried when it turned up as a X502CA -- the successor mode. But it all worked out in the end (the new Intel 4000 graphics did not cause me any problem. And the fixed network driver problem was easy enough to fix, at least for someone who knows how to run a compiler.)

For some reason, the most confusing thing for me was the BIOS config (see my post on the matter below...) My ASUS laptop would not let me enable the legacy CSM boot mode until I'd disabled and then restarted my PC. In hindsight it's trivial, but was not at the time.

(And the BIOS editor only displays the CD boot when my PC spots the external CD drive, which is a little bit intermittent for some reason.)

By the time my PC arrived I'd already burnt a DVD using the Ubuntu 12.04.2 Desktop 64-bit ISO (ubuntu-12.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso), so I decided to just give the installer a go: changing only the boot order used by my PC's BIOS, I launched the Ubuntu setup only to get a black screen.

Black screen when trying to install Ubuntu 12.04.2 on ASUS X502C

This problem has been reported a number of times, and I was worried that the laptops's Intel 4000 graphics wasn't supported. In the worst case I'd have to do a command line install, and add the GUI components after repairing the graphics driver. But this thankfully turned out not to be the case.

How do I configure an Intel HD Graphics 4000?


Before I continue note that:

1. WUBI is totally stuffed when it comes to UEFI Secure Boot machines

How to boot WUBI installed Ubuntu within Windows 8?

(I did try, and I failed!)

2. You can only use the 64-bit version of Ubuntu with UEFI machines; and it's got to be at least release 12.04.2 (The signed version of GRUB which allows Ubuntu to work with Secure Boot devices was back ported from Ubuntu 12.10 in this release.)


Ubuntu to Use Signed GRUB2 Bootloader for Secure Boot

3. Since I installed Ubuntu, Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS has become available.

Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS released

4. I chose to go with an LTS release as I thought it would be safer; Ubuntu 13.04 is also available, if you're that bit more daring...

Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS vs. Ubuntu 13.04 Benchmarks

5. Windows 8.1 is coming out imminently (Oct 17.) But I won't risk updating my system till I've seen how other dual-booters fare!

Windows 8.1 release date, news and features

(Thinking about it, I won't try to tidy up the GRUB loader config until after I've sorted out Windows 8.1--see info about Boot Repair, etc. below...)

6. While you can, with some effort, get the dual boot to work with the Windows 8 Boot Manager, it's easier (and prob. safer) to use GRUB.

Is it possible to boot Ubuntu using the Windows bootloader?


But in my case I carried out the following steps:

1. BIOS Configuration

I edited my PC's BIOS to disable Secure Boot and Fast Startup and enable booting of the CD drive. (For some reason this step caused me some grief, but I'm not sure why in hindsight.)

I don't think Fast Startup actually prevents you from doing anything. But you do need to disable it to prevent your hard disk from getting confused by the switching back and forth between Windows and Ubuntu (to facilitate Fast Startup, Windows 8 basically hibernates rather than really shutting down.)

Linux and Windows 8: Fast Startup puts data at risk

1.1 BIOS updates (part 1)

I first made the following two changes:

page : Security
group: I/O Interface Security
item : Secure Boot Control

Changed to Disabled

page  : Boot
group : Boot Configuration
item  : Launch CSM

Changed to Enabled (in the end I didn't need this.)

I then rebooted back into Windows 8 and confirmed that Secure Boot was disabled using PowerShell's Confirm-SecureBootUEFI cmdlet (you need to run PowerShell as an administrator for this to work.)


1.2 BIOS Update (part 2)

I set the CD is UEFI mode as the first item in boot priority list:

page  : Boot
group : Boot Option Priority
item  : <CD drive in UEFI mode>

... and then rebooted my PC to launch the Ubuntu installer.

Luckily I did not have to use the CSM mode in my case (which would have required more extensive repairs to the GRUB loader configuration.)


2. Ubuntu Installation

I ran the Ubuntu installer.

I configured my PC using the BIOS config to boot of an external CD drive. It's possible to use a memory stick, but I don't the details of that approach.

Note that I booted the CD in (non-secure) EFI mode, which made life that bit easier. Apparently some PCs have a problem with EFI-mode full stop, so you need to boot the CD in legacy (CSM) boot mode to run the installation and then repair the EFI mode boot when the installation is complete. Luckily I did not have to deal with this myself.

As I'm a Ubuntu beginner, I went with the defaults and let the installer re-partition my harddisk, which didn't take as long as I expected. But then the PC didn't have a lot on it being brand new.

I did hit the confusion with the three UK keyboard layouts (I went with the Extended WinKeys variant after checking the forums) but that doesn't apply to US or other keyboard layouts.

And the mouse did stop working near then end of the install sequence, but it was easy enough to carry on using the keyboard.

But that's about it. This step went pretty easily!


How to EFI install Ubuntu?
last edited Sep 21, 2013

Impossible installing Ubuntu 13.04 in UEFI mode with Windows 8 preinstalled
last edited Jun 1, 2013

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3. Fixed Network adapter

When I found out that my fixed network adapter wasn't working (Atheros AR8161 Ethernet controller)...

3.1 I diagnosed the problem by browsing from my Windows desktop

How do I check if my network card has been detected and is working?

3.2 I then took my laptop to a nearby Internet cafe to download what I needed (I could have downloaded stuff on my Windows PC and transfered it by memory stick, but I didn't know how many trasfers I'd need to make.)

(ASIDE: Synaptic Package Manager is not installed by default with newer releases of Ubuntu, so the first thing I did was install it using apt-get, as I knew I'd need it to sort out all my dev tools and the like.

How to install Synaptic Package Manager?
http://askubuntu.com/questions/131979/how-to-install-synaptic-package-manager )

3.2.1 I tried downloading a backport package using the Synaptic Package Manager, but that didn't work for me (second reply in this question.)

How do I install drivers for the Atheros AR8161 Ethernet controller?

3.2.2 So I ended up downloading the source for the driver and building it myself. I might have a Windows background, but I have used the MinGW GCC toolset quite a bit, so this was easy enough (using following links)

Atheros AR8161 Ethernet card not working on 12.10 on an ASUS N56VM

alx Ethernet driver

And then it just worked!! :-)


4. Boot Repair

The Ubuntu installation process does muck up when it comes to creating the GRUB entries for Windows. So right after installing Ubuntu I had to use the BIOS to switch the boot order of GRUB and the Windows Boot Manager to swap back and forth between the two systems.

(ASIDE: Windows and Ubuntu do identify the disks in different ways, so when I was comparing what Windows 8 and Ubuntu though the configuration was--of the disk partitions and the boot loader--I did get a bit confused to start with.)

After installing Ubuntu there were two entries on my machine, both of which are broken (I guess they're intended to work with the older boot mechanism?)

- Windows 8 (on /dev/sda4)
- Windows Recovery Environment (loader) (on /dev/sda2)

After running Boot Repair (I let it do what it saw fit) I got two more entries:

- Windows UEFI bootmgfw.efi   <= the right one to use
- Windows Boot UEFI loader

It you check out these two new entries you will see that the first of them points at \efi\microsoft\boot\bootmgfw.efi, which is the same one the Windows Boot Manager uses to launch Windows 8 (you can check this out using bcdedit.exe from Windows.) This is the one you need to use to boot Windows 8.

I am still not quite sure that the other one is for, but it points at efi/boot/bkpbootx64.efi and I have picked up that the bk- prefix means its a backup of something. It does appear that it's for booting off removable media (see last link in notes below) and should probably be renamed back to just bootx64.efi. But that's still on my todo list.

Note that my GRUB menu is still a bit messy. It's also on my todo list to learn how to safely edit GRUB and clear the mess up, using input from this article "Repairing Boot Repair" (see below.)

But it doesn't get in the way of using either Windows 8 or Ubuntu.


can't boot to Windows 8 after Ubuntu installation

[boot-repair] Windows 8 / Ubuntu 12.04 dual boot problem


Boot-Repair – Simple tool to repair frequent boot problems

Managing EFI Boot Loaders for Linux:
Repairing Boot Repair

[boot-repair] How to get back windows 8 uefi boot files
"/EFI/Boot/bootx64.efi is the bootloader used for removable media (like a USB)."

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Ubuntu is now behaving pretty much OK, but I'm still getting used to its ways.

I still have to tidy up the GRUB loader config, but I'm waiting till after I've updated my PC to Windows 8.1 to do that.

And I've just found out that Ubuntu does not spot when I plug a USB mouse in (I usually use the touchpad, but when I'm working with an IDE I prefer to have a mouse available...) So that's something I now have to look into (back to askubuntu.com!)

Other than that, Ubuntu has now been fully updated and I've downloaded a number of build tools and SDKs (using Synaptic Package Manager.)

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