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Right now I have a dual boot setup with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10, both 64 bit. I would like to try archlinux, but I'm afraid it will mess up my grub bootloader, so that I can't get into ubuntu or windows anymore.

If I install archlinux on a new partition, and then use the ubuntu-livecd, can I just run update-grub to fix everything? If not, what do I need to do to keep my current setup and add archlinux?

Thanks in advance!

Update It worked out! Just install archlinux on a new partition, if it asks for a bootloader, skip it. Then the grub menu stays the same, so you can log into ubuntu and run update-grub.

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Why not try it on a VirtuaBox virtual machine? If you think it will mess up your disks without you having the ability to that seems like the right path. Just test it before you do anything and you can even use VirtualBox to test grub recovery and other issues. If thats not what you are looking for at least follow the advice of always having your data backed up before venturing up and making a mess out of your boot loader. – Bruno Pereira Jan 22 '12 at 11:58
@BrunoPereira I will backup everything before I attempt anything. But I think it will take a lot of time to setup everything in vbox, because I need to install Win7 and Ubuntu too, before I can check if grub works (I think). And I want to know if archlinux supports my hardware, I don't think that is possible in vbox. – Carlito Jan 22 '12 at 12:01
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You should be fine with installing GRUB to the MBR. Once you boot into ArchLinux, you can add entries to chainload the other OSs on your system (i.e., Ubuntu and Windows). Please note that if you do install the Arch GRUB to the MBR, then Arch will become your primary OS, which will in-turn be used to boot other OSs. Also, note that ArchLinux is a DIY-system. So, you will have to manually set-up chainloading using this guide.

You can easily change this by booting into Ubuntu (either the Ubuntu on your HDD or the same LiveCD with which you had installed Ubuntu in the first place) and installing the Ubuntu Grub to the MBR. In this second case, Ubuntu will be used to boot the other OSs. This setup (with the Ubuntu GRUB on the MBR) is the one which you already have. As a side note, if you are planning on using the Ubuntu GRUB finally, then, during your original Arch install, you should tell Arch to install its GRUB to the "/" or the "/boot" partition of Arch instead of the MBR.

If you every encounter any problems, the ArchWiki should be the first place to check for solutions to your problems.

Here are links to your question:

Beginner's Guide


Windows and Arch: Dual-boot

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Thanks for your answer. I don't mind Arch becoming my primary OS, as long as I can boot into my other OSs. You say I can change this by booting into Ubuntu and installing grub again, is this possible from a livecd? Or do I have to setup Arch's grub before, so I can boot into Ubuntu? And if I understand correct, I probably don't need to do this if Arch's grub just finds my Windows and Ubuntu partitions, right? Thanks for the links you provided. – Carlito Jan 22 '12 at 12:56
I have added the info you requested to the answer. You have to manually set-up chainloading. Install GRUB2 during the Arch install and use the guide mentioned above (check the updated answer for the guide's link) to set-up chainloading. On the other hand, you use the Ubuntu LiveCD (the LiveCD must be the same Ubuntu version as the one installed on your HDD) to install the Ubuntu Grub to the MBR, after the Arch GRUB has over-written it during installation. I have provided a link for too in the answer. – rigved Jan 23 '12 at 7:07

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