Dual boot Solaris 10/08 and Windows vista

I installed this latest Solaris 10 release on my laptop, co-exist with Windows Vista. The process is not as straight forward as it is when installing on a WinXP machine. Here you go.

The first thing I did was to resize the hard disk and create a new partition in Vista to make room for Solaris. I'm pretty sure that unallocated disk space should work fine, though I actually created NTFS on the new partition. Now we can start.

NOTE: Before start, make sure you have followings at hand:


  1. Vista rescue DVD. This might be the one you use to install Vista, or you create by yourself(create it if you have not).

  2. Gparted live CD/USB, you will find you need this Linux tool to save your Vista.


Steps:



  • Install the Solaris 10 10/08 with the DVD. Choose option 3 or 4 to install ZFS root file system. If you try this on a machine with 1GB RAM, you will get complaints about the insufficient memory(that happened to me at least). BTW, 1GB memory is not enough too for a VirtualBox installation. What I'm talking is all about ZFS root fs. You can still make a UFS installation with 1GB RAM.

  • Reboot, here comes the fun part, you will find your Vista can not boot up when you choose the windows option in the grub menu.

  • In Solaris, install GRUB on the MBR:


    • # installgrub -m /boot/grub/stage1 /boot/grub/stage2
      /dev/rdsk/c0d0t0s0 NOTE: use your own raw device name for your root fs here!


  • Boot the machine with GParted live CD/USB. You will find a NTFS partition and an unknown partition, yes, that's the partition where the ZFS resides.

  • Move the boot flag from the unknown partition to the NTFS partition.


    • GParted does not support ZFS is because of the license incompatibility. ZFS is released under CDDL. GPL does not allow Linux kernel linking with code under a set of licenses, including CDDL. This is not a problem for our case here, just move the flag.


  • Boot the machine with the Vista rescue disk. After a while when the system tries to load the installed vista, it will complain something like "…startup is wrong, fix?", simply accept "yes, and reboot".


The machine is still booted by the GRUB loader, if you want to use the vista loader, then you need some extra steps to edit the bcd registry. Here's a very good blog post with details. It also helps me to get my vista back:).

Enjoy it. Maybe you want to try a triple boot with OpenSolaris, good luck then.

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Jie Shen

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