GRUB/EasyBCD: Vista+Ubuntu+OpenSUSE


My multiboot project on my laptop is soon going to take shape. I am getting a great support from the community thanks. :slight_smile:
You guys advised me on deciding 64bit OpenSUSE, swap partition etc., now I am on my final step of installing OS’s.
So here’s the present scenario: Sony VAIO laptop (Core2Duo, 250GB HDD, 2GB RAM) having recovery partition and a Vista’s primary partition (C drive).
Want to make it: Vista(32bit)+Ubuntu(32bit)+OpenSUSE(64bit).
I’m planning to create a separate primary partition to manage all the data which I’ll be needing in all distros.

1a. Should I install the GRUB (Ubuntu/OpenSUSE) in the MBR and make it as the default boot manager, or
1b. Should I let Vista boot loader as the default boot manager and use EasyBCD to manage all the distro’s.
2. If I later upgrade my distro’s (from Intrepid to jaunty or 11.1 to 11.2)then apart from setting grub menu.lst will there be anything else?
3. I am planning to share “boot” and “swap” sector for all linux distros coz at a time only one will boot.

Please give your suggestions and comments.

I suggest to let every boot loader to boot it’s own os. So put the Ubuntu grub in it’s own boot partition and the same for opensuse. Then use a boot manager like gag to perform the choosing process at boot time. Google gag if you are interested. I use this scheme on every machine i manage. It helps me to reconfigure the boot sequence without the need to boot any os.


I did some Google-ing on “gag” and went to sourceforge page too. I didn’t find good community support for it compared to GRUB or EasyBCD. Since Vista is famous for causing problems to multi-boot system, I don’t want to take risk with gag and would prefer sticking to GRUB/EasyBSD as these are the most preferred boot managers on Linux and Windows(Vista) resp.

Thanks for the response.

1a & 1b: Either method works. I have GRUB on the MBR and it works fine. Be aware, however, that if you have GRUB on the MBR you cannot install Microsoft Service packs 1 & 2. So if you need these service packs, install them before grub.

2: No

3: Best to let each Linux distro have its own /boot to avoid trouble. They can all share the same swap. My system uses shared swap. No problems so far.

  1. Since I’ll be having only Windows Vista but multiple *unix so I think I should prefer GRUB. I’ve SP2 installed. But I guess later next yr they’ll release SP3. What to do then? I guess there’s a way to put Vista Boot looader back to MBR without affecting linux distro’s.

  2. Thanks for sharing that. I read few more articles and decided to follow your advice.

1: If Service Pack 3 is released, you can use EasyBCD to replace the Vista boot loader to the MBR. I have used this program myself and found that it works very well. Then you can use the openSUSE DVD in rescue mode to reinstall GRUB on the MBR.

Personally, I prefer to use the KNOPPIX live CD to reinstall GRUB on the MBR. But the experts on this forum usually recommend the openSUSE DVD. You can follow their recipe.

Hey Guys,

Thanks for your guidance. The query is resolved. I close the topic (from my side).

I have another question about using GRUB for multiboot on a Sony VAIO.

In particular, there is also a recovery partition on the hard disk. Will GRUB recognize this partition OR how to configure GRUB so that I can also execute the recovery?


GRUB will recognize the recovery partition.

I also saw somewhere that the need to use the parttype and unhide options in the menu.lst in order for this to work.

Anyway, I will take some rigorous measures to make sure I can always reconstruct the laptop to its factory settings:

  • using the rescue system
    • backup MBR (using dd)
    • separate human readable backups of the partition table
      using fdisk and sfdisk
    • backup of the recovery partition (using dd + gzip).
  • creating recovery disks from windows