[arch-general] Wanted: advice dual-booting Arch and Windows 7 on new laptop

Robbie Smith zoqaeski at gmail.com
Tue Sep 18 05:14:46 EDT 2012

Hi everyone

TL;DR: I've just bought a new HP Pavilion g6-2103ax, and I'm having 
difficulties trying to figure out how I can dual-boot it with Windows 7 
(which was preinstalled).

Windows *still* defaults to using MBR partitions, and even though the 
system is UEFI, HP have used some trickery somewhere to make it boot 
from BIOS. To make matters worse, the disk table already has four 

Windows C drive: ~ 450 GB NTFS
HP Recovery partition: 18.5 GB NTFS

The SYSTEM partition seems to contain the Windows bootloader, or 
something along those lines. The HP Recovery partition contains the 
software necessary to do a factory reset, and HP_TOOLS contains some 
UEFI applications (some system diagnostic things). C drive is Windows.

What I was thinking of doing was shrinking C drive, and deleting the 
recovery partition to make space for Arch. But on my first attempt, 
parted bricked the table, and whilst I was able to recover it, Windows 
refused to boot. I obtained recovery disks to restore it, but they are 
completely non-interactive so cannot be used to rescue Windows, only 
reset to factory initial state.

Due to the arrangement of the partitions, I don't think creating an 
Extended partition will work (they need to be the last one in the table, 
don't they?), and while I've read GRUB2 can use /boot in LVM, I'm not 
sure whether this will work. Also, I've never used GRUB2 before, and its 
configs look formidable compared to Syslinux. Ideally I'd switch to GPT, 
but Windows needs to be booted in UEFI mode for this, but I have no idea 
how to enable this as there's neither a switch in the BIOS settings, nor 
settings in Windows.

Can anyone advise me on how I could overcome these issues? Has anyone 
had any experience with new HP g6 models?

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