I am currently dual booting Windows Vista with CentOS. I need to replace CentOS with Arch and I am using Grub as the bootloader.

Is it possible to install Arch without disturbing Windows partitions. What precautions do I need to take to ensure a smooth install?

Edit: Will arch's boot loader will be able to see windows after the overwrite?


In Arch, if you install OS Prober AND you use GRUB as your bootloader then GRUB should detect and make entries for your Windows partition. To erase CentOS, just mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdaX where "X" is the CentOS partition number. Do this in the Beginners' Guide where it tells you to format the file-system. Just make sure (do lsblk -fs if you are unsure of your partition layout) that you are actually formatting the CentOS partitions and not your Windows partition. Then when you install GRUB as per the Beginners' Guide that will erase the last bit of CentOS (the bootloader) and replace that part with Arch and a Windows entry.

Make sure you follow the Beginners' Guide to the letter deviating only to format your CentOS partition and swap if you have that.

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  • Thanks Bill. I'll try these out and let you know how it goes. – user265246 Oct 20 '13 at 15:09
  • Right on, good luck and read the documentation twice before doing it. ;) – headkase Oct 20 '13 at 15:16
  • mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdaX is the thing. I don't trust my partitions to fdisk or whatever CLI tools Arch recommends, so I can just use this command on pre-made partitions. – Oleh Prypin Feb 5 '14 at 8:09

Identify the partition with CentOS installed on it. Install ArchLinux onto this partition. In general, the Linux installation process looks for existing bootloaders and respects them. You likely have an entry in the existing Grub bootloader to boot into Windows. When installing ArchLinux onto the new partition, it should look for existing bootloader information and import it into the new grub bootloader. I don't know definitively that this is the case, but it should work.

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  • I want to overwrite arch in the centos partition. My question is will arch's boot loader will be able to see windows partition after this? – user265246 Oct 20 '13 at 13:59

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