How to dual-boot Fedora 14 and Windows 7 is next in a series of articles on dual-booting Windows and Linux distributions. The first was how to dual boot Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7. That article gave detailed instructions on how to dual-boot, with GRUB, the Linux bootloader, installed on the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the hard disk. This article will show how to dual-boot by letting the Windows Boot Manager take care of the dual-booting responsibilities. The method used here is a lot easier than that suggested by a commenter here. The actual reason behind this approach is to prevent Windows from messing with GRUB when it (Windows) is updated/upgraded.
The first task is to create Windows partitions, leaving some unallocated space for installing Fedora 14. When dual-booting Windows and Linux, this is the recommended method. It is safer than exposing the whole disk to Windows and letting the Linux installer make room for installing Linux by shrinking the space used by Windows. Note: To make taking screenshots a lot easier, the images used in this tutorial came from a virtual installation, with a disk space of about 92 GB.
To start, boot the computer using the Windows 7 installation disk. The disk partitioning step is shown in the image below. To create the Windows partitions, click on New.
The available size of the hard drive will be presented in an editable field. Knowing that a new installation of Windows 7 takes up about 7 GB of disk space, any value higher than this should be sufficient. For this tutorial, I chose to allocate 30 GB to Windows.
Here is the new size for Windows. Click Apply.
The Windows partitioner will create two partitions. The first, 100 MB in size, is for the /boot partition, and the second is the main Windows 7 partition. The unallocated space will be used for installing Fedora 14. Click Next to install Windows.
After Windows installation has completed, reboot into the Fedora 14 installation CD or DVD. For this tutorial, I used the DVD installation image. Click until you get to the step shown in the image below. Because the disk has been partitioned to create a free space, untouched by Windows, the option to select here is “Use Free Space.” If you want to add a physical security layer to your Fedora 14 installation, enable “Encrypt system.” See how Fedora protects your computer with full disk encryption for the benefit of this option.