Install Ubuntu on C: drive? (Have Windows 8 on D: drive)

I originally had only Windows Vista on a two drive computer (i.e., drives C: & D: drives).
Then I installed Windows 8.1 on the D: drive and have been running Vista (C: drive, Windows 8.1 (D: drive) for while.

Now, I would like to install Ubuntu on entire C: (boot 0) drive (keeping Windows 8 on D: drive-boot 1). I am worried that installing Ubuntu on the machine's primary (original) boot drive will cause system to become unbootable. That primary has files like autoexec.bat, config.sys which will get blown away because I want to use entire disk for Ubuntu.

Is it safe? For example if I format the drive will Windows 8 still boot?

I do have actual Windows 8 install disks, and do think could create an official Windows 8 recovery disk of something if necessary.

Thanks for help from anyone with experience in this area...

Here's what my drives look like from inside Windows 8 (remember C: become D:, bla, bla)

Volume in drive D is Vista [primary boot drive, original C:]
Volume Serial Number is 9A33-0BA1
Directory of D:\
02/04/2012 06:25 AM 1,024 .rnd
09/18/2006 02:43 PM 24 autoexec.bat
09/18/2006 02:43 PM 10 config.sys
02/16/2013 04:54 PM <DIR> Downloads
06/11/2013 03:34 PM <DIR> MSVC10
08/10/2009 07:49 PM 21,781 newfile.enc
08/10/2009 07:49 PM 21,781 newkey
01/20/2008 07:30 PM <DIR> PerfLogs
10/12/2013 05:47 AM <DIR> Program Files
06/14/2011 05:33 PM 366 rkill.log
10/15/2013 07:26 AM <DIR> Temp
07/26/2009 07:44 PM <DIR> Users
02/19/2014 07:27 PM <DIR> Windows
6 File(s) 44,986 bytes
19 Dir(s) 124,462,006,272 bytes free
Volume in drive C is Win8
Volume Serial Number is BC2E-83A8
Directory of C:\
02/22/2014 08:31 PM <DIR> AMD
08/22/2013 08:22 AM <DIR> PerfLogs
02/22/2014 08:45 PM <DIR> Program Files
03/28/2014 10:17 AM <DIR> Program Files
02/22/2014 08:46 PM <DIR> Users
03/31/2014 05:46 PM <DIR> Windows
0 File(s) 0 bytes
6 Dir(s) 24,186,490,880 bytes free

Thanks again,


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Look in Disk Management at the partition flags, they have the following meanings

"boot" = "this is the system you're running"
"system" = "this is where I found the boot files for the currently running system"
"active" (on the first HDD in the BIOS boot sequence) = "this is where I started the search for the boot files"
"active" (on subsequent HDDs in the BIOS boot sequence) ="this is where I will look if I don't find something in the MBR on the first HDD"

If you did a normal install of W8, it will probably have replaced the boot files in the Vista partition with the later versions.
You will see that Vista is "system" and W8 is "boot" when you're running W8 in that case.
You have not listed the boot files in your post (they are "super hidden", and you'll need folder options set like this to see them - they are bootmgr and \boot)
W8 cannot boot without them, but you can use EasyBCD to relocate them to the W8 partition
Changing the Boot Partition
After which if you boot again into W8, you should find that it has become all of "system" "active" and "boot".
At that point you can clean out the Vista partition and reuse it for anything you want.
Great info, thanks!

Thanks a lot Terry. After changing folder options, I did see several 'System file' on

Vista drive: /Boot, bootmgr, BOOTNXT, config.sys, IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS
Win8 drive: bootmgr, BOOTNXT

I suppose the /Boot is significant.

The link 'Changing the Boot Partition' you gave me was very helpful, and indicates that when two completely seperate drives are involved (not just different partitions) that some hardware fiddling needs to be done, to quote:

"If the partition which is to take over control of the boot is on a different HDD from the current boot partition, you will also need to change your BIOS to put the new drive before the old one in the boot sequence, otherwise the old (untouched) boot files will continue to be in control."

I don't know about my bios. I may need to flip dip switches on the drives to make Win8 drive 0, and Vista drive 1.

It's late and I may not get to this until the weekend but thanks a bunch.



Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Great, glad you're OK now.