Dual Booting Fedora and Windows 7

I purchased a new Toshiba NB305 netbook this week (in Blue to match Fedora).  It came with Windows 7 Starter Edition, the one that’s been slightly stripped down.  My intention was to dual-boot Fedora 12 and Windows 7, so I used the Fedora 12 Unity DVD I downloaded the weekend before, burned it to a blank DVD-R and hooked up my external USB DVD drive to the NB305.  The installer recognized I had an existing NTFS partition so I choose to have the installer resize the NTFS partition to create free space for the Fedora install.  The repartition went well, I finished the installation from the DVD, rebooted and added a new user.  I proceeded to add the Adobe and RPM Fusion repositories to add flash and multimedia codec.

At this point, with Fedora installed and all working well, I decided to set up the Windows 7 side.  There is where my trouble came in.  Each time Windows 7 SE started up, it would blue screen and restart.  Trying Safe Mode produced the same problem.  Having the external USB DVD drive still hooked up, I booted into the Windows 7 Pro 32Bit install disc I got during the holidays and pulled up the Recovery portion of the disc.  It could not find a Windows 7 installation.  I thought that perhaps since Windows 7 SE hadn’t gone through it’s set-up out of the box, the partition wasn’t marked correctly.

The NB305 did not come with any recovery media and the set-up ‘sheet’ said you should make recovery discs when Windows 7 was booted.  And here is where I thought you should have set-up Windows 7 SE first, made the recovery discs, then installed Fedora 12.  Luckily, I noticed there was a hidden partition on the hard drive with the label HDRECOVERY.  A quick Google search determined pressing 0 when the Toshiba logo appears, then repeatedly pressing 0 should launch a recovery console.  Which it did.  The recovery options presented me with the ability to Factory restore the NB305, returning me to the state of purchase.  When selecting this option, I was asked to set-up the C: partition size.  I found this rather nice, as I didn’t want the NTFS partition to have the whole 250GB drive, so I set it to 100GB.

The restore took almost 2 hours, and put on the usual bloatware that a new PC comes with (Office 2007 Student and Teacher edition on a netbook?  That’s just pain…).  I removed all the extra bloatware from the Windows 7 SE partition.  Once completed, I put in the Fedora 12 Unity DVD and installed Fedora per the usual instructions (partition, install, add the Adobe and RPM Fusion repositories, add the flash plug-in and gstreamer media plug-ins).  This time around everything went much smoother.  Everything with Fedora worked out of the box, no driver issues (wireless worked without a hitch).  I only had to configure NetworkManager to run on boot-up in runlevels 345 (chkconfig –levels 345 NetworkManager on), that was my only problem with Fedora.

Dual Booting works flawlessly now this time around.  The Fedora partition is the default boot target in GRUB, and will be used 99% of the time.  The Windows 7 SE partition will remain on the hard drive, simply as an option for testing purposes for VPN, and firmware management for my Garmin GPS.  I ran the netbook for almost three and a half hours last night, with another 4 hours remaining on the battery.