Getting Ubuntu to Boot *AFTER* installing Windows 7

Photo Credit: fallsroad - Google, and the various Linux community forums, this is a fairly common problem so, in an effort to be more useful than those who simply post a link to the GRUB man page, or an article which spells out how dumb it is to install Windows AFTER Ubuntu – I thought I’d drop my experience and the resolution here – I’m bound to need it at some point in the future.

The Fix:

While the suggested Boot-Repair GUI didn’t do the trick for me, the following  did result in an eventual #WIN.

  • Boot from a Ubuntu LIVE CD/USB
  • From a terminal, enter the following
    • sudo fdisk -l
    • This will identify the device / drive. For me (and most users) this will tend to be /dev/sda
    • If you are still uncertain you can also run sudo blkid for more details and review the partition labels & sizes
  • Mount the Ubuntu boot partition
    • sudo mount /dev/sdXY /mnt
    • e.g. sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
  • Run grub-install as below to drop the GRUB2 files back onto the boot partition where they should reside
    • sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sdX
    • e.g. sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sda
  • Reboot (into your freshly resurrected Ubuntu installation)
  • Open a terminal and refresh the GRUB2 menu with:
    • sudo update-grub
  • That’s it.. you SHOULD now have both Ubuntu and Windows 7 detected at boot and be able to choose between them.

Thanks to the Ubuntu Community for this page – and all the others which pointed to different solutions and variants of this fix. If the above doesn’t work for you, Google is your friend – there’s a heap more articles out there which should offer you an eventual solution.

Windows 7 RTM – The last installation

Windows 7 PackagingSo Windows 7 is now released to manufacturing (RTM for you acronym junkies out there) and this is the last time I’ll need to be installing the operating system before it appears in the shops. During the Beta, aside from a few minor issues with hibernate, Windows 7 has been wonderfully stable and, I must say I’m impressed by the new Media Center interface (EngadgetHD have a look at it here).

Anyway – this is a HOWTO for installing the Windows 7 RTM [Get it here] from a USB drive, mainly because it’s faster than doing it from a DVD, and also – because my various DVD drives appear to not enjoy talking to each other. These instructions assume a Windows based operating system, I completed them using Windows Vista.

Continue reading “Windows 7 RTM – The last installation”

Hacking with MSConfig – Speeding the boot process

My laptop is slow to boot – painfully slow. Slow to the point that, after entering my credentials, I’ll go make a coffee or grab an architecture document to review – anything to avoid the minutes of chugging away which occurs whenever the boot scripts are doing their thing and all the Windows background processes are starting up.

This is where fun little tweaks such as those available in the Windows System Configuration editor come in handy. This is a little known tool which allows you to view and edit the things which load during your windows boot. Of course, because you can edit things in the startup files, it doesn’t mean you should. You can probably make quite a mess of your system if you get too free and easy with the clicking via this tool – so make sure you understand what it is you’re telling you machine not to do when if you decide to start unselecting options.

For me, the big one was to change the number of processors available to the startup sequence from 1 to 2 and allow maximum RAM to be utilised. To do this (these instructions assume Windows Vista, but XP should be the same – possibly with different dialogue box layouts), first you’ll need to startup the Windows System Configuration editor – Click Start, Run, and type in ‘MSConfig’. You’ll likely be asked for authorisation/administrative access to run the utility so, assuming you can grant such things, the first screen you’ll see looks like this:

Default System Configuration Screen

Click the ‘Boot’ Tab

Boot Options - System Configuration

And select the ‘Advanced Options’ button

Advanced Boot - System Configuration

And there’s the money shot, change the number of processors, the maximum allowable memory, click OK to save and you’ll be asked to reboot.

Good luck.