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Dual Boot Windows and Linux using PowerQuest's BootMagic

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Posted: 5 Mar 2004

Wondering how to dual boot Windows and Linux using PowerQuest's BootMagic (included with Partition Magic)? Here's the scoop.

If you choose to use BootMagic vs. LILO or GRUB, here's how you do it. You must have enough space on the drive for the Linux installation. If Windows is currently using the whole disk but disk space free is an adaquate amount (ie., 5GB), the Windows partition can be shrunk using PartitionMagic. Then you may run the Linux installation to create the Linux partitions.

Note: You may have to create a 100MB boot partition for Linux within the first 8GB of drive space for it to boot. You may then create your swap and root partitions in an extended partition at the end of the drive. This gets around the 4 primary partition limit on Intel based boxes.


Drive 0 is 80GB. A Windows partition exists that uses the entire drive but is 50% free.

Disk before procedure:

Partition 1 - Primary (80GB)

Disk after procedure:

Partition 1 - Primary\Active - 900MB - Win98
Partition 2 - Primary - 100MB - /boot
Partition 3 - Primary 50GB - Win2k Svr
Partition 4 - Extended - 29GB - Extended
Logical 1 - /swap - Same size as memory size
Logical 2 - /root - Remaining disk space


  1. Free Up Disk Space:

    Run PartitionMagic and shrink the partiton down to 50GB.

  2. Make room for the BootMagic Partition and the Linux /BOOT partition:

    Free space on the hard drive now starts at 50GB. We may have trouble booting off a primary /boot partition on Linux as we are past the 8GB boundry. To resolve this edit Windows' BOOT.INI file to reflect a partition that will be created in front of the Windows partition. Your BOOT.INI may look similar to below: "multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect" Change this to "multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect"

    Now move the Windows partition so that there is 1GB of free space before the Windows partition.

  3. BootMagic requires a Fat16 partition running Windows. If Windows 2000 server is running and is using NTFS then we need to install Win98 as the first partition leaving 100MB for the Linux boot partition. Once done boot into Win98 and install BootMagic. Configure BootMagic to boot both Win98 and Windows 2000.

  4. Now install Linux using the remaining 100MB of free space for /BOOT and choose the FORCE PRIMARY option in DiskDruid. Create the other Linux partitions as logical partitions in an extended partition.

  5. Configure BootMagic to run Win98, Win2k and Linux. You must get Win98 back up in order to configure BootMagic. If Win98 will not boot then boot off a DOS disk, run FDISK and make the first partition active.

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