February 28, 2010

How to install dual boot Operating System(OS)

Operating System(OS) is the heart of a computer.The very first software component that has to be installed in a system is the OS. Basic users will have only one OS in their system, obviously Windows. But advanced users like developers, programmers and other techs will have more than one OS running ,to delegate their work. Am not going to talk about either of them. This is all about people who are in the transition between a Basic User and Advance User.

This first time, when you have your Windows CD/DVD(Original OfCourse!! :p) in your left hand and an Ubuntu Linux CD in your right hand, you are exactly in the entrance of a cross road, dont know which path to take.There will be a little fear about your documents because bad installation of a strange operating system might sweep your entire hard disk. Some people will have a regular back up practice, but some people (like me :p) will start looking for a media in their messy desk draw to have a back up, just before they start. Any how, that is entirely up to them.

Now people under transition(PUT, too much to have an abbreviation :p ). All you need to know is , how to install an operating system.Am sure that , every one knows how to install windows.Learn how to install your other operating system(Eg. Linux).If you are not very sure, take a back up of your data. Practice installing it. When you are sure the you can handle the installation process, get started.

Windows :
The first operating system is Windows. It may be XP, Vista, Se7en or any server, it has to be the first operating system. Windows loader is dedicated and unique. It cannot understand the common loaders such as GRUB(Pronounced as G-RUB) loader which most of the operating systems such as Linux, Solaris use.So installing Windows before any operating system will suppress the former OS loader ,keeping windows on top.To be precise, Windows always thinks that, it is the only OS that is and can be in the system.

Linux:(Any Distro)
The next operating system am interested in is Linux. This is the ultimate OS. Wait! I mean this must be the last operating system that you need to have in your system.Linux uses common GRUB (Ok G-RUB) loader as boot loader. The interesting fact is that, GRUB wraps all loaders by preserving the boot configuration. But still , your Linux loader will not boot your non-linux OS directly. It will just invoke the other loaders. So , installing Linux over Windows will not cause any problem.

I did not concentrate on other operating systems. I did not say they are useless(really!!), but they are the variation of existing loaders. If you have any confusion, this simple mathematic formula will make it.

If you have N operating system to install.

The 1st Operating system you need to install is Windows

The Nth Operating system you need to install is Linux.

The space N-1, N-2, N-3 etc can be filled by any OS.Even it can be other Linuxes and other Windows. But still there is another constraint which has to be addressed. Version conflict and compatibility.

  • There are some combination which can never be installed together.
  • There are some combination which will always go for upgrade.
  • There are some combination which always follow the older first and newer next pattern.

This problem happens mainly with windows and other operating systems which have variations like Desktop and Server versions and other core variations.You need to take care of the internal OS conflict.

Am not stopping anyone from doing research by trying a new hierarchy, but this is just a kick started personally tested by me.

Foot Notes:
After reading the above article , you might feel this is a bit contradictory, but this is a fact. Practically there is no rigid hierarchy. You can install any operating system in any order. But your installation needs some manual work to get it work. You will not have a fully ready system after you alter the hierarchy.For example, you can install windows after Linux, but you will not have the boot loader ready to push your system. You need to insert the Ubuntu Cd again and change the boot configuration manually , to get your windows back. If you are happy to do those things you can very will do it.

Nothing is Impossible :|

Infected with Harish Syndrome