Vista64 & Ubuntu64 dual boot woes

Hi guys,

I've trawled through the posts here and unfortunately not been able to figure out what the problem is with my setup so I'm hoping someone can give me some pointers.

Basically, I have Vista x64 business installed on a 500GB SATA drive, which is partioned into 2 equal sized chunks. Vista is installed on the first partition.

I also have another 250GB drive on which I wanted to install Ubuntu. So, I followed the guide here on dual booting Ubuntu, to the letter.

I made a roughly 100GB, primary ext3 partition, with a "/" mount point, along with a 4GB swap file (I formatted the rest of the disk as NTFS for windows backup)

The drive was "sda" so installed grub on "/dev/sda1" (the 100GB ext partition was #1).

I rebooted into Vista added a linux entry, as per the guide and pointed it towards the linux partition and it doesn't work. On the Vista boot screen, when I select the option I added for Ubuntu a screen flashes up for a split second (it mentions something about bootsect IIRC) before returning to the VIsta boot screen again.

Any ideas where I'm going wrong?
Could it be an issue isolated to the 64bit version of Ubuntu?

I don't see how, as I'd imagine that they both use the same version of grub but I'm really at a loss here.


Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Hi WhiskeyAlpha, welcome to NST.

When adding a Linux entry in EasyBCD, try selecting "GRUB isn't installed to the bootsector" and see how that goes.
Hi ComputerGuru, thanks for the welcome :smile:

I managed to sort this actually but it was very odd. After doing what the guide recommended 3 times in a row (convinced that I was doing something wrong each time) I tried using the "GRUB is not installed to the bootsector" option that you mentioned. Unfortunately, that failed to sort the problem.

Just as an experiment really, I physically swapped the SATA cables between the two drives and performed the process again, exactly as I had done the previous 3 times. The only difference this time was the linux drive was now "sdb" instead of "sda". I installed GRUB to "/dev/sdb1", booted into Vista, added the entry in EasyBCD and it worked like a charm, right off the bat.

Care to hazard a guess as to what might have caused this? I like to learn from my mistakes but this just left me a little :wtf:.




Mostly Harmless
Staff member
There's a known problem with other Linux distributions (not Ubuntu though) where GRUB will fail to install to the bootsector of a partition not on the boot drive (i.e. not /dev/sda) - it looks like you've run into the same issue for some odd reason.

Having reinstalled GRUB, you may be able to switch the cables back and still get it to work; but I don't think there's a need to do that (if it's not broke...)

Anyway, glad it's sorted out now.