I am currently dual-booting Windows and Linux (not Ubuntu), and I am looking to encrypt my Windows partition with Truecrypt. The Truecrypt bootloader must be installed on the MBR, so it will displace GRUB. I have read from numerous sources that installing GRUB to a partition is a bad idea, but it is the only solution for my setup.

While I was playing with Ubuntu in a virtual machine, I found that it will install GRUB onto a partition's boot sector without complaint when you choose the advanced partitioning option during installation. How does Ubuntu perform this installation? I would like to know enough detail so that I may move the concept to any distribution that uses GRUB2.


Instead of installing to the device like /dev/sda you install to the partition /dev/sda1.

Command would look like this from a live CD: sudo grub-install --force --boot-directory=/mnt/drive1/boot /dev/sda1

I found a blog post about this issue, the author says that Truecrypt bootloader acts like a chainloader if ESC is pressed at password prompt.

The ideal solution today would be to use a GPT partition table and UEFI, but unfortunately Truecrypt doesn't seem to support that up until now.

  • Great, thanks. Two questions: One, why does the --force flag need to be used (i.e., why doesn't grub-install like installing to a partition)? Two, GRUB is currently installed on the MBR; do I need to modify my GRUB2 settings before I do this? And, yes, UEFI would be nice, but my computer uses a traditional BIOS. – thirtythreeforty Feb 2 '13 at 22:45
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    GRUB2 tells you that this installation type is not supported (while it is possible) and a bad idea, therefore refusing to do, that's why --force is necessary. No you don't need to change your GRUB configuration and if the article is still right, you don't need to add a boot entry to the Windows boot loader (Truecrypt -> Windows Bootloader -> GRUB) either, just hit ESC at the password prompt (Truecrypt -> GRUB). – LiveWireBT Feb 2 '13 at 23:26

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