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Thread: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

  1. #1
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    Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Hi,

    I'm going to install Ubuntu 11.04 (alternate, 64bit) for dual boot with win7 on my laptop, and I want to make a backup of my MBR before going ahead. I dont have a windows disc or I would remove it completely.

    I've read a few threads and HowTo's but none of them are clear enough for me and my HD seems to already have one more partition than I expected?

    I've tried Ubuntu with the Live CD and everything works great. GParted showed;
    /dev/sda1 PQSERVICE 15GB label 'diag'
    /dev/sda2 SYSTEM RESERVED 100MB label 'boot'
    /dev/sda3 Acer 581.07GB no label
    unallocated 1.34MB

    I am going to shrink my windows partition (using windows), and then define a partition for Ubuntu and have a final partition for storing files that I want both OS to be able to access (but mainly ubuntu).

    So should I shrink windows, create the extra partitions and then backup my MBR to the Storage partition?
    I'm not sure how to do it yet (or where the MBR is on my HD), and not very comfortable using dd commands as I have read the warnings!

    Why does my system have the PQSERVICE partition? I have recovery DVDs, so is it still required?

    Any help appreciated!
    Shane

  2. #2
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Hi

    Before you do anything, i would highly recommend you clone your entire hard drive using Clonezilla (or something else) from a LiveCD/USB. Back it up to an external hard drive.

    That way if you have any problems you can roll back. It also comes in useful if you want to sell the computer at a later date.

    Also, make a windows recovery disc.

    Kind regards
    If you believe everything you read, you better not read. ~ Japanese Proverb

    If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed. - Mark Twain

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  3. #3
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    While Clonezilla will certainly work, you might find it easier to restore later if you use a Windows app to backup Win7. Strongly recommend Macrium Reflect -- the FREE version. Download and install that on Win7, then use the option to create and burn a Linux Boot CD.

    While in Win7, use the Backup feature to create and burn a Win7 Repair CD. With this CD, you can later restore your original Win7 MBR.

    Also, when you do the partitioning in Win7 Disk Management, be careful to ensure that you do not end up with more than 4 Primary partitions. Doing so will automatically convert your existing partitions to Dynamic Disks -- something you do NOT want to do.

    Once you have shrunk the Win7 OS partition to make room, use MR to do an Image backup to an external drive. That will also back up the Win7 MBR.
    Ubuntu 16.10 Mate, Mint 18 Mate; MS Win 8.1, MS Win10 Pro.
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Hi

    Macrium Reflect
    Thanks Mark . I have never used this and i will check this program out myself.

    Kind regards
    If you believe everything you read, you better not read. ~ Japanese Proverb

    If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed. - Mark Twain

    Thinking about becoming an Ubuntu Member?

  5. #5
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Don't do anything without first making a clone of your hard drive. Problems have been known to arise and if you don't have a windows install disk, you will be up the creek. There are several free cloning programs available on the web, just do a google search search.
    Gary
    Linux since 1995, Ubuntu since 2006

  6. #6
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Thanks for the quick responses (especially with the info on max 4 primary partitions).

    I have created a Win7 repair disc and just looking at Macrium Reflect to make a backup image of my HD. I did search cloning software and this review was helpful so I went with MR. Going to make a couple of clones and then proceed.

    MR shows that 2 of my partitions are 'NTFS Primary' and the 3rd 100MB partition is 'NTFS Active'. So I hope I will be able to create 2 new partitions (one for Ubuntu, one for files/docs) without going over 4 Primary partitions?

    I'm still not sure what my 1st primary partition (15GB) is there for... other HowTo's on dual booting win7 and Ubuntu (here and here) indicate there should only be 2 including the 100MB (which I assume is the windows boot loader). But it is 76% in use so I will leave it be.

    Thanks,
    Shane

  7. #7
    anewguy is offline I Ubuntu, Therefore, I Am
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    Wink Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    +1 on Macrium Reflect. My friends and I have been using it for a few years for all of our Windows-based backups - even across a network. Works great. It will remind you, but be sure to do what Mark Phelps said: Make the boot disk and test it to be sure you can boot from it prior to moving on.

    As far as partitions, again as Mark Phelps mentioned, be sure not to try to have more than 4 Primary partitions. Ideally, you would add a single Primary partition, then within it add the ubuntu partitions as extended partitions. Normally it is recommended to create 1 partition for swap, 1 partition for / and one partition for /home. /home is where all users' folders reside so if you make a separate partition for it you won't loose things if you have to reinstall or upgrade.

    Dave

  8. #8
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Your first partition is the vendor recovery partition. Some can just use it to make a set of DVDs that is the system image as when you purchased it. Before any updates, new software and many reboot. But some seem to create just a smaller recovery DVD and still require the recovery partition to recreate system to 'as new' state. Best to leave it if you do not know, but full backup would be better to restore system anyway.

    You use the last primary partition as an extended partition which can hold may logical partitions. Windows will also read data from a logical that is NTFS formated, but will not directly boot from a logical. Linux boots from a logical without any issues.

    Basics of partitions:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HowtoPartition
    GParted partitioning software - Full tutorial
    http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/gparted.html
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  9. #9
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Parkorr View Post
    MR shows that 2 of my partitions are 'NTFS Primary' and the 3rd 100MB partition is 'NTFS Active'. So I hope I will be able to create 2 new partitions (one for Ubuntu, one for files/docs) without going over 4 Primary partitions?.
    The 100MB partition is the new BOOT partition that OEMs put on Win7 preinstalled systems. So, that means you already have three partitions. If you create 2 more Primary partitions, that will put you over the limit of four -- and, unfortunately, the Win7 Disk Management tool will let you do just that.

    Instead, what you really want is the following:
    -- Three Primary partitions
    -- A fourth, Extended, partition -- with all the Linux filesystem partitions contained inside it.

    This basically is the arrangement that oldfred mentioned in his latest post.
    Ubuntu 16.10 Mate, Mint 18 Mate; MS Win 8.1, MS Win10 Pro.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Ready to install dual boot ubuntu, but want to backup MBR. How/When?

    Thank you again.

    I am just updating windows, and then will give it a defrag before shrinking its partition. Then I'll clone my HD after shrinking so the image is as up to date as possible.

    I've got a working Macrium recovery CD for windows now as well. Slow but steady progress :thumbs:

    Edit: Do you always need the swap partition? I have 8GB of RAM.

    Now I've defragged my virtually unused HD (533GB free of 581GB) but windows disk manager is reporting I can only shrink the win partition by 280GB.
    Not cool, that will leave my windows partition at ~300GB. Is there a Linux tool that can do it better?

    Shane
    Last edited by Peter Parkorr; October 13th, 2011 at 02:23 AM. Reason: brucey bonus

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