Windows 7 Dual-Boot BackTrack 5 Boot Menu

BackTrack Linux is now known as Kali Linux. You may read all Kali Linux articles and tutorial at http://linuxbsdos.com/category/kali-linux.

BackTrack is a Linux distribution that is based on Ubuntu, designed for hackers and/or security professionals, and loaded with the best Free Software and Open Source penetration testing applications available.

The latest edition is BackTrack 5 R2 (the “R” is for Revolution), and the most recent article about it published on this website, before the publication of this one, is Install BackTrack 5 Revolution 2 on external hard drive.

In this article, the steps required to dual-boot the KDE edition with Windows 7 (there is also a GNOME edition), are presented. To begin, download an installation image from here. Burn it to a DVD, then place the DVD in your computer’s optical drive and reboot. The system will boot into a console and you will see a prompt just like the one in the image below. To boot into a Live KDE desktop, type startx and press the Enter key on your keyboard.
BackTrack 5 R2 Startx

Once in the Live desktop, click on the Install BackTrack icon on the desktop. And when the installer launches, click through the first few steps until you get to the one shown below, It is the fourth of eight steps of the installation process. Notice that you have four disk partitioning options. How you want to set up the dual-boot system will determine which one you select.

Since the objective is to set up a dual-boot system, you obviously do not want to choose the second option (Erase and use entire disk). Select the first option if all the space on the disk is taken up by Windows and you want the installer to shrink Windows and install BackTrack. Select option 3 (Use the largest continuous free space) only if there is unpartitioned space on the target disk and you want the installer to auto-partition the space. Use the fourth option (Specify partitions manually (advanced)) if you want to create a custom set of partitions. This assumes that you have some knowledge of disk partitioning in Linux. If you do not, and want to go this route, you might want to read guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux and tips for dual-booting Windows and Linux.
Just to show how this can be done manually, the last option is selected for this tutorial.
BackTrack 5 R2 Disk Partitioning Options

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And it just so happens that the target disk has some unpartitioned space. So the next step is to select it and click the Add button. By default, the BackTrack 5 installer creates just two partitions – one for the root partition, and the other for Swap. For a distribution of this sort, that is likely all you need, unless you want to add an NTFS partition at the end for whatever reason you can think of. For this tutorial, just two partitions will be created.
BackTrack 5 R2 Advanced Partitioning Tool

This is the partition setup window. Since there are two existing partitions (the Windows 7 partitions), the installer will attempt to create the BackTrack partitions as logical partitions, which is just fine. BackTrack, like any Linux distribution, can boot from a logical or primary partition. If you are confused about “primary” and “logical,” take a few minutes to read guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux.

What you need to do at this step, is specify the amount of disk space you want to use for BackTrack 5, then select the file system from the “Use as” dropdown menu (the default is ext4). Finally, select the mount point from the “Mount point” dropdown menu.
BackTrack 5 R2 Create Partition

This is what the same step looks like after the right values have been specified. Click OK to return to the main window.
BackTrack 5 R2 Create Root Partition

For the next partition, which should be for Swap, select “swap area” from the “Use as” menu and specify the amount of disk space you want. OK.
BackTrack 5 R2 Create Swap Partition

Back to the main window, click Forward to move to the next step.
BackTrack 5 R2 Create Partition Cmpleted

On the next step, shown here, the installer gives a summary of what it will do, based on the selections you made. And this is also where you specify where you want the installer to install GRUB, the boot loader. By default, GRUB, the GRand Unified Bootloader, is installed in the Master Boot Record (MBR). In setting up a dual-boot system with Windows, installing it there will overwrite the Windows boot loader, which could cause major headaches for you when you reinstall or upgrade Windows, or install certain anti-virus programs. The recommended option is to install GRUB in the root partition of BackTrack, which in this case, is /dev/sda5. So, to change where GRUB should be installed, click Advanced.
BackTrack 5 R2 Install Summary

That should land you here. You can see that /dev/sda is the “Device for boot loader installation.” That is just another way of saying that GRUB will be installed in the MBR.
BackTrack 5 R2 Install GRUB MBR

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For this tutorial, you want to change it to /dev/sda5. OK.
BackTrack 5 R2 Install GRUB Root Partition

Back to the installer summary window, click Install to continue with the rest of the installation.
BackTrack 5 R2 Install

After installation has completed successfully, reboot the computer. It will boot into Windows, which is expected. The next task is to add an entry for BackTrack 5 to Windows 7’s boot menu. To do that, you need another application. The easiest to use that I have found is a free-for-personal-use software from NeoSmart Technologies called EasyBCD. You may download it from here. After download, install it in the same way that you would install any other Windows application.

After installation, launch it. EasyBCD’s main window is shown below. To add an entry for BackTrack 5, click Add New Entry.
Windows Boot Menu EasyBCD

Now, you are here. Click on the Linux/BSD tab. Select GRUB 2 from the “Type” dropdown menu, then modify the “Name” field to reflect the name of the distribution. Click on the Add Entry button, then on the Edit Boot Menu tab to see the result. GRUB 2 is the version of GRUB used by BackTrack 5.
BackTrack 5 R2 Add Windows Boot Menu EasyBCD

This is what the result should be. Exit EasyBCD, then restart the computer.
BackTrack 5 R2 Windows Boot Menu EasyBCD

You should now see a boot menu that looks just like this one. Boot into both operating systems one after the other to verify that everything is alright. Happy hacking.
Windows 7 Dual-Boot BackTrack 5 Boot Menu

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25 Responses

  1. I have been battling with installing Win7 and Ubuntu 12.04 all weekend. I have a home built system using an Asrock Z68 Fatail1ty board, and Nvidia 560 TI video, Win7 on SSD and Ubuntu on HDD.

    My UEFI boot menu from start up gives me two options to run my DVD drive: UEFI or AHCI. If I select UEFI Ubuntu loads automatically, without prompts, and I get a blank screen after the keyboard+Human logo. If I select AHCI I am able to set ‘nomodeset’ from editing the commands and everything installs perfectly fine.

    After install however, Win7 is the only thing that will boot. If I use the start up boot menu and select my Ubuntu drive it still boots Win7. I have 5 separate HDD’s in my system; so if I plug them all up, go into the UEFI and bury my Win7 SSD on the bottom of the boot priorities I get a ‘1234F:’ prompt.

    I followed the guide to the letter 3 times. I had attempted installing without a guide 2 times before that all with the same result. I am selecting sdb as my boot device in Ubuntu install. It’s almost like the motherboard is refusing to allow me to boot from anything other than my SSD.

    Any ideas?

  2. Hello,
    I have 2 ssd and a Gigabyte dual uefi bios motherboard. The dual bios might be important, I don’t know. I have installed 12.04 and win 7, both 64 bit, each on 1 ssd.
    I think I installed windows first (sorry don’t remember anymore), then unplugged the windows ssd (removing sata connector inside pc), plugged the second ssd in another sata port, and installed ubuntu. Finally I booted with both ssd connected. During startup a bios boot window shows up where you can press F12 and select the boot drive. If you skip pressing F12 you will boot in windows automatically.
    Any other attached hdd (only for storage) is usable from both os, being formated initially in windows.
    Everything works fine for several month now.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Hi finid

    I got a asrock h77 pro4/mvp motherboard, installed win 7 on the first ssd, but i am failed to install ubuntu 12.10 and 12.04 on the second ssd, i had disabled the secure boot feature in bios, would you please give me some recommendations? thank!

    1. What happens when you try to install Ubuntu on the second SSD?

      Stupid question alert: Is that mobo on a store-bought PC or you built the system yourself?

      1. i built the system

        cpu: xeon e3-1245
        ram: kingston 8gb

        1. when i choose try ubuntu before install it, there is only black screen with blinking underscore….then it stop blinking….

        2. when i can boot into the ubuntu loading screen, and i pressed F2, the screen shown: stdin: Not a typewriter stdin: Not a typewriter Generating locales… en_US.UTF-8… done Generation complete. then stoped there.

        thanks

          1. i solved this problem by unplugged my dvd-rom. i guess ubuntu searching a dvd-rom even usb is the first boot drive.

            thank you!

  4. Question!

    I got a ultrabook lenovo with a hybrid HDD (SSD for cache) you mentioned before. In my case, Win 7 is installed on HDD (?)…Do you know what I can do in this case? do you have any idea?
    Please! I want ubuntu in my laptop but I’m trying to read many comments and explanation before try to(mess up) configure my machine…
    Thanks in advance!

    1. I’ll put out an article on SSHDs in a couple of days.

      But here’s the deal with them: the OS does not see an hybrid SSD or SSHD as two disks, but as one. So the OS will always be intalled on the HDD part. Therefore, if you install Windows on it and try to install another OS alongside it, that other OS will be installed on the free space in the HDD part.

      The big question is this: Since the SSD part is for caching, what happens to the cached content if you reboot from one OS to the other?

  5. Hi, I tried to follow this tutorial to install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS on my Sony Vaio SVS151190X with Windows 8 Pro as my main OS because I replaced my optical disk with a second ssd and wanted to install Ubuntu for computer science class and for personal android builds on the second ssd but I couldn’t get it to work. The only reason I’m not dual booting off of the main drive is because I ordered the laptop with the SSD upgrade and it comes as a fakeraid 0 with 2x 64gb SSD and I would like to leave it that way. I was wondering is it because of Windows 8 or because I tried to use the ssd that replaced the optical disc. I created an entry using EasyBCD 2.2 for the Windows 8 Bootloader found in another one of your tutorials but it would never load Ubuntu. EasyBCD also get pointing the boot to the C:/ drive if that means anything. I tried to change in advance settings to BOOT and even D:/ (my second drive letter) neither of which worked.

    Thank You for any advice you can give me because I’m currently running a VM and it’s horribly slow for compile.

      1. Would raid really be the problem because I installed on the second hard drive. Would there be a work around I’d really like to not touch the raid setup because I would have to wipe everything.

      2. To be clear the raid only affects the main ssd. it’s a fakeraid Sony implemented with a single board that fits into 1 drive spot the main one. My second (3rd if you could the 2 in raid) is in the optical drive bay and is separate from the fakeraid setup

  6. I want to install Ubuntu on the solid state drive, and Windows on the HDD. Just curious why you don’t address this possibility and assume the opposite?

  7. Hello Thanks for help.. Ok -I have dual SSD with UEFI all set up with ubuntu studio in four partitions. I decide I want to install updated distro. Is this a difficult lengthy process? Is there a tutorial for this?

  8. Simple question i haven’t started this yet but i have 2 ssd’s with win7 on my 240gb ssd and i was going to install ubuntu on my other 60gb ssd. This tutorial does specify a difference between ssd and hdd and just wanted to check before i start that i can have win 7 on an ssd and add ubuntu on my other ssd.

      1. Hey finid, its me again and yes still having lots of problems

        I keep reformatting my laptop with WIndows 7 and BT still can’t detect my windows 7 partition.

        Am i right to suspect that UEFI is causing this problem?
        My laptop was purchased on June 2012.
        Very new, im suspecting so

        1. Sorry, I’ve been battling major issues with my site’s migration, so I’ve no had time to take a look at this again.

          If BT 5 cannot even detect the partitions, then you are having the type of issue I had with Windows 8 and Ubuntu. See Why is Windows 8 on SSD invisible to Ubuntu 12.10’s installer?.

          What type of disk came with that PC. Some of the newer PC, especially notebooks come with a special kind of disk called hybrid disk, which is a fusion of a small SSD and a larger HDD. IS that what you have?

          Post your Windows partitions here, so we can have an idea what’s going on. And what is the brand and model of the PC?

          Btw, I just downloaded BT 5 R3 GNOME, and will try dual-booting with Windows 7 and 8 between now and Sunday.

          1. I’m constantly spam-formatting my laptop

            SATA HDD – 750GB
            ASUS K55VM

            Problem suspected:
            UEFI – 1 problematic piece of M$ crap to the linux community.

            Anyway, people have said disabling UEFI will make Windows installation fall back to MBR mode (the older BIOS mode)..

            However when UEFI is disabled and Windows7 is installed, my BT5R3 cannot detect my Windows7 partitions. Back to square 1 again.

            Sigh…so much problems yet learnt alot about UEFI/BIOS GPT/MBR…

  9. Hi finid,

    Fantastic article. Great work!

    You finished the above tutorial (last sentence) by saying,

    > Since this dual-boot setup involved Ubuntu, this can
    > also be used as a guide for setting up the same system
    > with any other Ubuntu-based distribution.

    Debain (as you know) is not ‘Ubuntu based’. Will your tutorial still work as a dual-boot for installing Debian?

    I would like to utilize the information in this tutorial (not the UEFI part)as well as the tutorial titled, ‘dual-boot-ubuntu-12-04-and-windows-7-on-a-computer-with-2-hard-drives’, to set-up a dual-boot on my older dual pentium III system. I am installing ‘Debian Squeeze netinst’ version 6.0.6

    Thank you

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