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I have a new laptop with two partitions, one is currently loaded with Windows 7, the other is blank.

I'm pretty familiar with using dd to backup/copy drives, but I'm wondering how I will deal with the boot loader on the new drive, being that there is an existing Windows install. After I copy the Ubuntu disk into the new partition (which is larger than the Ubuntu disk), what would I need to do to set up the boot loader with the existing install of Windows (which the current Ubuntu loader will not know about)?

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Not sure if this is just what you want, but you could try to force grub installation / configuration. You can find detailed information here.

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