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I have bought a PC with pre-installed Windows 8. When I booted to Parted Magic I see windows uses a separate boot partition. Is it safe to format it to ext2 and install grub there? Will chainloader feature work if I erase the Window's boot partition? Also, will there be any problems with Windows boot if I resize the Window's system partition?

Sory for a nooby question, I have never had a PC with pre-installed OS so I'm asking this in order to be safe, because there was no Windows CD with a PC shipped.

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You shouldn't have a problem shrinking the windows partition (though personally, I always do that from within windows). That being said - the few times I screwed with the Windows boot partition it has never turned out well (but that may have been me being a newb - haven't tried it in a few years [win7]). – nerdwaller Sep 20 '13 at 20:25
When I had Windows and it's boot partition on the same partition - I had no problems booting Windows from GRUB after installing GRUB on separate partition. But this case is different, yeap. – Yaroslav Mytkalyk Sep 20 '13 at 20:30
Same thing as @DoctororDrive - I've used it that way before very often as well. – nerdwaller Sep 20 '13 at 20:34

What you describe as the "Windows boot partition" might in fact be the EFI System Partition (ESP), which is required for the computer to boot. If so, erasing it and using ext2fs on it would be disastrous. Also, if I'm right, most modern Linux distributions will automatically place GRUB on the ESP. Personally, I recommend backing it up before installing Linux; the partition is so vital that any accident involving the ESP would be difficult to overcome without a backup, especially if you don't know what you're doing. A file-level backup (just copying the files to a USB flash drive) should work fine.

The ESP can be identified as a FAT partition with a type code of EF00 in gdisk or with its "boot flag" set in parted or GParted.

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Thank you. You are correct, it is indeed the EFI System Parition. So do you recommend leaving it untouched and installi GRUB on new partition? Because there is no "Automatic" installation of GRUB in ArchLinux. – Yaroslav Mytkalyk Sep 21 '13 at 8:35
I wonder if I can install GRUB on different partition and leave EFI untouched, will it boot GRUB and will GRUB boot Windows 8 in this case? I don't really know what's EFI and how it works, and don't want to dig into it. – Yaroslav Mytkalyk Sep 21 '13 at 9:01
Huh, I wanted to install GRUB in EFI mode but when I saw what are the contents of the System partition it turns out the Windows was indeed installed in BIOS mode and that was indeed Windows boot partotion. – Yaroslav Mytkalyk Sep 22 '13 at 10:05

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