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I have a four drive system. I've been wanting to setup my system like so:

  • [0] HDD 320gb (NTFS) : Windows 7
  • [1] HDD 320gb (EXT4) : Debian on one partition and some other distro on another
  • [2] HDD 1tb (NTFS) : Data Drive ( keeps all data from both os's, such as music, pics, videos, docs, etc)
  • [3] HDD 1tb (NTFS) : Data backup for [2] drive

So I have done so except for drive [1], the Linux drive. I wanted to install it, and I started with Mint Linux Debian, just for fun, I was going to partition the drive into two so I could run Debian and then another distro, at this time Mint. SO upon installing it, it asked me where do I want GRUB installed, so I said install it on drive [0], the drive containing Windows. However, it told me that I don't have enough space on that drive (if i remember correctly). Either way, it failed to install GRUB, and the installation cancelled.

I than proceeded to make a small partition of 100mb on drive [0] (i know its a lot for GRUB) and I tried installing MINT again, and it did install along with supposadly GRUB, but when I rebooted the computer, Windows 7 came up just like before and there was no noticable changes.

the [0] drive partition:

  • [0']: System Reserved (100mb)
  • [0'']: C:\ (297.99mb)

I have an older copy of Acronis Disk Director that I'm sure could get the job done, but I wanted to use something a little less invasive like GRUB. Although I am not sure if this is a good idea or not. Any hints or suggestions are much appreciated

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migrated from Aug 6 '11 at 16:42

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

so i got home last night, read through the answers yesterday and started trying to implement them. Due to the fact that I was quite intoxicated and it was 1 AM, I mistakenly wiped out my Windows partition while trying to install Linux because I chose SDA instead of SDB drive :(. So what I ended up doing was re-installing Windows, but this time I put it on drive [0] (SDB) and put the Linux partitions on drive [0] (SDA) along with Grub. Now everything works like a charm. So in the end, I apologize for taking up your time and then messing it up. :( – Tomaszewski Aug 7 '11 at 15:04

Have you changed which partition has the boot flag set? Chances are that the Win7 partition on your drive [0] is still the one flagged as bootable.

Bring up your system into a Linux rescue console and execute fdisk, issue the p command to check, change if necessary then reboot.

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My money is here. He's still got the Windows partition set as the system partition. – surfasb Aug 7 '11 at 1:57
this is a viable answer – Tomaszewski Aug 7 '11 at 14:53
should i mark your answer as THE ANSWER? I couldn't really test due to my stupidity and the problem changed (see my comment below my question above) – Tomaszewski Aug 7 '11 at 15:01
Difficult one - it's better to mark a question as answered, but we can't be 100% sure this is THE answer ... Suggest you ask advice on what to do over on Meta Super User. – Mike Insch Aug 7 '11 at 22:27

I suggest installing Grub on your Linux drive, and leaving the Windows bootloader on your Windows drive. Then either select your boot drive with the BIOS quick-select menu (usually F2/F10/F12/Esc at boot time), or manually edit your grub configuration to add a Windows boot option.

Also, I'm fairly certain that the Mint install willl automatically configure for dual boot, even if installing it on the Linux drive. You'll just avoid wiping the Windows bootloader, eliminating the need to fix it later if you stop dual booting.

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The BIOS quick select is actually a pretty good idea. I didn't think of this. – Tomaszewski Aug 7 '11 at 14:59
I discovered it by accident myself. – Joe Internet Aug 7 '11 at 19:52

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