Solaris Vista Dual Boot Revisited

There was another thread of discussion on OpenSolaris Discuss on the Vista Dual boot issue and that prompted me to re-look at the problem. The Bcdedit dance is much too cumbersome and none of the Shareware GUIs around Bcdedit make much sense. The complete discussion thread is here:

 http://www.opensolaris.org/jive/thread.jspa?messageID=105480&#105480

After some digging it boiled down to the Windows DiskID being the critical factor here. You can read all about the Windows MBR DiskID or Signature here:

 http://www.multibooters.co.uk/mbr.html

In fact folks are still able to dual boot Vista with Linux using Grub. Linux flavors use grub-install to prepare the MBR and grub-install (or setup) preserves the Windows DiskID. Solaris however was using the home-grown installgrub(1M) and as is explained in the thread , it failed to preserve the Windows DiskID and thus Vista won't boot.

I have got around to making a couple of changes to installgrub to preserve the DiskID and luckily for me, we had a bunch of Sony Vaio laptops coming in for Managers preinstalled with Vista. So I got to test it on those machines using the following steps:

  1. Resize Vista using a Gparted CD.
  2. Boot into Vista and check everything is OK
  3. Take a backup of the updated MBR
  4. Install Solaris Express B60
  5. Copy my modified installgrub binary to the system
  6. Restore the original Vista MBR using dd
  7. Now run the modified installgrub
And it all falls in place. We are able to boot both Vista and Solaris from the Solaris GRUB screen which matches the reasoning in the above thread. Hopefully this fix will go in soon.
Comments:

Thanks that's great news because I will at sometime want to upgrade and although the old method worked it was a bit scary. great if you've a nice new Vista install that easy to recover, but as we know once Windows has been "customized" a bit getting it back is more painful esp. as my laptop vendor only supplies Vista on a CD that just "newfs's" the hard drive and splats the bits back :-( BTW You don't need GParted to shrink the NTFS partition (I'm using Vista Business). Have a look at:- http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial133.html

Posted by trevor pretty on April 25, 2007 at 07:01 AM PDT #

Vista comes with the ability to repartition or resize partitions (on the disk manager) so no need to do an extra step on a Live CD.

Posted by Alex on April 26, 2007 at 11:44 AM PDT #

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