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

Robbie Smith zoqaeski at gmail.com
Wed Sep 19 05:37:31 EDT 2012

On 19/09/12 07:02, Guus Snijders wrote:
> 2012/9/18 Robbie Smith <zoqaeski at gmail.com>:
>> 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 partitions:
>> Windows C drive: ~ 450 GB NTFS
>> HP Recovery partition: 18.5 GB NTFS
>> HP_TOOLS: 99 MB FAT32
> [...]
> Hmm, i'd guess that the recovery partition is bootable, so it's best
> not to modify it too much. The HP_Tools partition is probably just a
> data partition (and not a very interesting one, but ymmv).
> First of; do you have (or can you create) a recovery disk in case all
> goes wrong?
> There might be a way to repartition the drive without losing features:
> 1. Resize the Windows "C" partition to free up space. Either
> defragment first or use windows's diskpart utitility.
> 2. move (don't delete!) the recovery partition next to the resized
> Windows partition.
> Now the tricky part:
> 3. either create an image of the tools partition or write down the
> *exact* sectors it's using and the partition type number.
> 4. create a new extended partition in the free space, size: all available.
> 5a. create a logical partition using the type and sectors written down
> at step 3 OR
> 5b. create a logical partition of the same type and size as written
> down at step 3 and restore the image to this part.
> 6. If you used step 5a, move this (new!) logical partition to the
> beginning of the free space. This is important for Windows drive
> letters (not sure).
> 7. Use the rest of the extended partition to create your Linux partitions.
> I'm not sure where the bootloader fits in best in the scenario, but
> that shouldn't be too hard.
> When you boot up Windows after all this, you might want to delete the
> driveletters it will probably create for the Linux partitions to avoid
> accidentally formatting them ;).
> Hope that helps.
> Note: this is just theoretical. It might work or it might not work...
> mvg,
>      Gus

I can delete the recovery partition, as I've got the "recovery" (AKA 
factory reset) disks from HP under warranty. The HP_TOOLS partition is 
at the end of the disk, so in theory I can't add an extended partition 
before it, as extended partitions are meant to be the last in the table. 
Although on this Samsung netbook I've got an extended partition as the 
third (marked with *) of four primaries, so it seems to work:

     # parted
     GNU Parted 3.1
     Using /dev/sda
     Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
     (parted) p
     Model: ATA Hitachi HTS54323 (scsi)
     Disk /dev/sda: 320GB
     Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
     Partition Table: msdos
     Disk Flags:

     Number  Start   End     Size    Type      File system  Flags
     1      1049kB  106MB   105MB   primary   ntfs
     2      106MB   98.9GB  98.8GB  primary   ntfs
*   3      98.9GB  303GB   205GB   extended
*   5      98.9GB  233GB   134GB   logical   ntfs
*   6      233GB   233GB   57.5MB  logical   ext2         boot
*   7      233GB   303GB   70.0GB  logical                lvm
     4      303GB   320GB   16.6GB  primary   ntfs         diag

Using that as a guide I could set up the new laptop in a similar way.

It's a shame HP and Microsoft made it so difficult, and after this 
little episode I'm beginning to suspect that the real reason Microsoft 
is pushing Secure Boot is because UEFI+GPT makes it much easier to 
install multiple operating systems on a machine without conflicts, but 
Secure Boot will require an authorised and signed key, and guess who 
will control the key distribution…

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