Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 and Backtrack 4 R1 dual-boot


In this post I am going to explain about how to dual-boot Ubuntu 10.10 and Backtrack 4 R1.

I need Backtrack as I am learning some of its tools for learning hacking, running it in VirtualBox, but I want to have something that boots up directly to it, so that I can use it before turning off my desktop. In VirtualBox all I have to do is just close it and get back to wasting time on Ubuntu :D

Ok, before we start, read below points:

- Backtrack 4 R1 still has lack of support for Ext4 (future releases will be compatible)
- Forget about editing menu.lst for updating the grub loader because from Ubuntu Karmic 9.04 it has a new bootloader called Grub2, have to use grub-update, simple isn’t it?
- Would recommend to use a separate Hard Drive for Windows and Linux(s) multi-boot installations

Why I said a different HD in the last point is, using a separate HD would be flexible and can be experimented, we need not to worry about data in case if you screw it up, and also a minimum of 320GB drive can be owned for 1600 bucks.

I bought a 320GB hard drive only for this, my reason is to experiment with File Systems/Dual and Multi Boots on it, so that I don't have to worry about my personal data which I am storing on another drive.


Before starting the installation, I’ve partitioned 320GB drive to 3 logical partitions using the Disk Utility in Ubuntu live CD, the partitions are

1. ext3 of 150GB on sda1 (/)
2. ext3 of 150GB on sda2 (/)
3. swap partition of leftover space  (note: the minimum swap space should be 2 times the size of your physical RAM)


1st partition is used for BT installation, 2nd for Ubuntu. Install BT first and then Ubuntu, though BT can detect other Operating Systems and add them to the boot-loader menu it can fail at times, so, BT first and Ubuntu second.

Once Ubuntu is installed after BT, login to Ubuntu and run update-grub (as root) from terminal,  thats it! 

Before we go to the next step, ensure you have partitioned the drives properly, don’t go for the new file systems like Ext4 in dual-boots, at least for now, this may cause issues.

1st - Installing BT:

Download the latest BT version from and burn it to a disc. Boot from the disc, In BT since it runs like a Live CD by loading itself into RAM, it will not directly go into the graphical interface mode, by default it goes to its Terminal. (note: if it asks for username and password use root and toor)

Once you're presented with the Terminal, post login, type startx to start the x window(GUI), it will take you to the desktop, Double click the located on the Desktop to start the installation, in this step BT starts the installation process to your local Hard Disk.

The next steps are self explanatory until it goes to the partitioning section, there you have to select sda1 as the destination partition for installation, this is the first partition we created earlier. We already did the partitioning for Swap space, so make sure to give the mount point as / (without double quotes).

From here, the installation takes few minutes. Once it finishes, it boots to BT directly from the Hard Disk.

2nd - Installing Ubuntu:

Do I really need to explain this part? :D A lot of care has been taken in 10.10's user guided installation and the details are so clear that you need not to have prior Linux knowledge, well, except partitioning. 

The only things need to be taken care off is the selection of destination drive. Here we have to select sda2 and also have to give a mount point as / (without double quotes)

Note: Here we are having two separate boot-loaders, remember we did not use MBR any where) after finishing the installation, boot to Ubuntu and run the command update-grub as root and it will search for other boot-loaders and automatically updates its table.

That concludes the Dual-boot.

BT is developed considering mobility in mind, most of the users prefer it on their laptops. If you already have Ubuntu installed on your laptop, you can install BT without disturbing it by resizing the drive at the time of installing (be careful, you can lose the data) I didn't try part.

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment