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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27 Responses

  1. I followed the guide strictly on every detail, Ubuntu works fine but when I try to load Windows it shows the loading splash screen but then goes black and the HD light keeps blinking but nothing happens except my fans start going crazy like its over heating, HALP!

      1. sorry not sure what exactly you are asking. initially, i did a fresh install of windows 7 and ran all the updates, then i ran Ubuntu from the CD and installed it as per the guide on the second hard drive. i rebooted and windows loaded up automatically, then i installed/ran EasyBCD to add the Ubuntu entry and set GRUB2, then when I rebooted after that I can run Ubuntu fine but Windows hangs on the black screen just after you see the initial splash Windows 7 loading screen. I can get into Windows Safe mode as well.

        1. hold the presses, it appears that the black screen of death was caused by an updated nvidia driver in Windows 7, everything appears to work once I restored to a point before the drivers were updated.

  2. I followed the directions and everything went smooth. But when I try to boot up ubuntu I get sent to a grub prompt. Do you have any ideas on what is going wrong?

    1. Tough to say. Where did you install GRUB, /dev/sdb or /dev/sdb1?

      Can you boot into Windows? If you can, try reinstalling Ubuntu. If you followed the steps as described, it should work.

      1. Windows will boot up fine and I believe I installed GRUB in /dev/sdb. Would it make a difference that I’m installing ubuntu on a external hdd? I will try to reinstall like you suggested and see if that helps.

        1. Installing to an external drive, something I feel is not necessary, is likely the problem. If installing to an external drive, what’s the point of dual-booting. You could just install Ubuntu to the external drive instead of attempting to dual-boot with Windows.

          Dual-booting makes sense only if installing to internal drives on the same computer.

  3. I tried this install method and everything went ok. But when I try to boot up Ubuntu a grub command line comes up. Any ideas what I did wrong?

  4. I have 2 sata hard disks. On one I have windows 7. While installing linux on the other, i didn’t use the manual partitioning method but the ‘use entire disk’ one. Will it still work if I use BCD program to modify the Windows Boot Manager?

    1. Yes, it will, but I hope you understand what happens with the default installation: In your case, the installer will install GRUB in the MBR of the first drive. That makes GRUB responsible for dual-booting both operating systems. While this will work. It also means that you do not need to use the BCD program to modify the Windows Boot Manager.

      Use the BCD program to modify the Windows Boot Manager only if you want Windows Boot Manager to be responsible for dual-booting both operating systems.

  5. Thank you very much for the guide.
    It is a simple & well tailored tutorial.
    Brilliant. Everything was such a breeze.

    One issue though i faced was the boot loader.
    After installation of Mint, neither operating system was booting.

    A disk read error has occurred message would pop out.
    Figured my way out though!
    Now all is in good shape and running well!

    Thanks again

  6. I tried this method with one small difference. I installed windows on the second disk and ubuntu on the first disk. Everything worked fine with the exception of one thing. Anything I installed on linux was not saved to /home. I kept getting errors saying that / and /boot were full. Did I do something wrong?

    1. If the system is saying / and /boot are full, are they?

      Use the disk utility to see whether they are. Or just launch a terminal and type df -h to see what’s going on.

      That aside, the method you used could cause you plenty of pain down the line. When dual-booting Windows and Linux, the recommended method, the path of least-trouble-down-the-road, is to install Windows first.

      1. Thanks, I reset my smaller hd as sata1 and am redoing everything. Hope it all works out. Thanks for the quick response

  7. I did the dual boot but when i start my laptop it only starts with ubuntu, i want the option which comes before starting to choose the os to start, but it did not come and only laptop starts with ubuntu and i cant start my laptop with windows 7

    1. If you installed Ubuntu on the third HDD, the only reason it is starting with Ubuntu is you installed GRUB, the boot loader, on the MBR of the first hard disk. It also tells me that you used the default, auto-partitioning mode. If you had switched to the advanced, manual partitioning mode, you would have had the option to install GRUB somewhere else.

      But even with GRUB installed on the MBR of the first disk, it should have added an entry for Windows 7 in the GRUB menu. The question is this: What did you not do right? Did you follow the directions as laid out in the link I suggested in my last comment?

      Your best bet now is to edit GRUB’s config file and add an entry for Windows 7.

      I am assuming that you did not install Ubuntu in the same space that Windows was installed, that is, you did not delete the Windows installation.

  8. SOLVED – I’m posting for every one having the problem. Before altering the windows bootloader with easyBCD you have to assign a drive letter to the windows hidden system partition. Then you can the entry for mint. After reboot everything works sweetly.!! If you do not want the drive to appear in my computer, you can exclude it by altering a group policy using gpedit.exe in cmd.

  9. Done that already after setting up easyBCD and didn’t work. Do you recon I have to do it before setting up easyBCD? I was also thinking if there is a way to change the drive scan order (If I’m putting correctly) in grub2 so that ntfs partitions are omitted during mint’s start up. Could this solve the problem and if so how can i easily do it?
    Thnx..

  10. Followed the guide step by step. Upon restarting, after selecting Linux Mint 10″ on win bootloader, I get the Ttry (HD0,0): NTFS5: No ang0″ message. It stays on screen for about 30sec (maybe more) and after that linux starts normally. How can I make that disappear so that Mint loads faster?

    1. I have never encountered that message, but others have reported that it is caused by the presence of an unlettered partition in windows – likely the system partition. And the fix is to find that partition under Disk Management, and rename to a drive letter.

      1. Sorry for accidentally posting the answer under my own question..

        Followed the guide step by step. Upon restarting, after selecting Linux Mint 10″ on win bootloader, I get the Ttry (HD0,0): NTFS5: No ang0″ message. It stays on screen for about 30sec (maybe more) and after that linux starts normally. How can I make that disappear so that Mint loads faster?

        1. JESUS what a mess…
          @finid – my reply is this..finally..
          Done that already after setting up easyBCD and didn’t work. Do you recon I have to do it before setting up easyBCD? I was also thinking if there is a way to change the drive scan order (If I’m putting correctly) in grub2 so that ntfs partitions are omitted during mint’s start up. Could this solve the problem and if so how can i easily do it?
          Thnx..

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