My problem is unrelated to this workaround (the question) here, but the end result is that I cannot change boot order (or use a boot menu) on my laptop. It is currently running Ubuntu 12.04 with a dual-boot to Fedora if anything goes catastrophically wrong with Ubuntu (read "if I mess it up").

I would really like to install Windows 7 (but XP would be fine) on an empty FAT32 partition I have already made because of issues with WINE-emulated programs running more slowly than under Windows. The problem is, I can only boot from my hard drive. I can boot from other devices by removing the hard drive, but this is irrelevant because SATA is non-hotpluggable (I can't plug it back in to install).

Is there any way I could boot up a Windows installer CD (or other CDs)? (I know how to keep my Linux distros.) I have both the .iso's and the physical CDs (or can obtain them).

This may be unneeded, but just as a disclaimer this is completely legal. The computer belongs to me, I have admin privs, etc. I'm not doing anything shady!


this is the only thing I could find http://ubuntuguide.net/how-to-install-windows-7-from-ubuntu-without-burnning-a-disc

everywhere else says "fix the hardware issue" that stops you from booting from other devices

  • Thank you. I'm going to try this, as soon as I make another NTFS partition. Ideally, I would like to use a set of recovery CDs, as these would enable me to do some particularly useful things such as wireless, which I was devastated to realize that 7 did not have built-in drivers for my crappy Asian Acer Broadcom whatever wireless chip. I will try it out as soon as I can and give it a more thorough readthrough! – WindowsEscapist Jun 22 '12 at 18:44
  • update: Just read it in full and am beginning to carry out the steps. Looks great; I can't foresee any possible problems and I can always use EasyBCD from Windows to get back a Ubuntu option to fix my GRUB afterward! Thank you SO MUCH! (I'm not going to mark as answer just yet as it might not work or there could be a better solution, but I probably will after I fix it.) – WindowsEscapist Jun 22 '12 at 19:00

Not sure if I understand why this doesn't work. However, you have several options: (sorted from easiest to most difficult)

  • Put the iso on a USB stick and boot from that. On Google you find many tutorials how to do that.
  • Install Windows in a VM, preferrably using VMWare. See here for instance: http://www.vmware.com/support/ws55/doc/ws_disk_raw_install_os.html To mount the iso: mkdir /mnt/tmp ; sudo mount -o loop whatever.iso /mnt/tmp
  • Install Windows on another computer, use Norton Ghost or something similar to transfer the partition. Alternatively you can copy the partition with Unix... cp /dev/sda1 ...
  • Sorry, but I am not able to boot from anything other than my hard drive without removing it. It's a CMOS issue. The thing about virtualization is that it's too slow and doesn't support most 3D effects. Also, the Windows license doesn't technically allow you to boot in a VM. Unfortunately, unless I had the same model of laptop to copy, Windows would just BSOD on me because of hardware compatibility issues. Thanks for the answer though! – WindowsEscapist Jun 22 '12 at 18:42
  • You can still install Windows inside your VM. The idea is that you have Windows on your HD afterwards. Then you can boot it natively. Anyways, if you are not comfortable with that, I suggest you the last option. With the last option you must only make sure that on the "brood computer" the target partition has the exact same size of your target computer's partition. – Philip Jun 22 '12 at 18:45
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    Or if you would like to experiment: Throw away your Fedora which is e.g. on /dev/sda5. Then cp windows_setup.iso /dev/sda5. Could work... – Philip Jun 22 '12 at 18:47
  • Actually, it's not the license restrictions that I'm uncomfortable with (I have done much more shady stuff back in the day). The thing about moving the Windows installation is that unlike linux, Windows is REALLY picky about hardware and it would probably die when moving from a VM to a legit laptop. The interface would be completely different, etc, and with my luck it would probably just overwrite the boot sector and then kill itself. I've tried it once before, but it didn't work. Thank you for your help though! – WindowsEscapist Jun 22 '12 at 18:51
  • Also I'd rather not get rid of my Fedora; I've been having Compiz problems recently (trying to get League of Legends to work in WINE, but I'm in over my head) and if it dies completely I always want to have a backup now that LiveCDs are out of the question. I do actually have several empty or near-empty NTFS partitions, so I might try it! – WindowsEscapist Jun 22 '12 at 18:54

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