Dual boot retaining Windows 7 boot loader


Hi everyone. I’ve researched this but have yet to find an answer.
Can I dual boot Manjaro on a Win7 using the Windows boot loader?
If yes, where can I find detailed installation for such a setup?
I need to retain the Windows boot loader as I am installing Manjaro on this machine for test purposes and will be removing it in about 2 weeks


Windows’ boot loader doesn’t support other OSes. Linux install its own boot loader called Grub and it can be used for booting Linux and Windows. However, if you want to cleanly remove Linux, the best case is to have GPT partition table and install in UEFI mode. If your computer is older, you may however be having MBR (dos) partition table and legacy boot, which I know less so other should speak about it.

For testing purposes I would suggest different solution thou. Take 2 USBs, one of them, where you install Manjaro, should be USB 3. Create bootable live is on some other USB, then install it with boot loader on this USB 3. Then set in BIOS to have it as first boot. This way, whenever you put your Manjaro USB, you will see Manjaro Grub (boot loader), but when you remove USB, Windows will start normally. So your system and computer disc will be intact. You must be careful thou and point to the better (USB 3) as your Manjaro install destination along with boot loader. If you choose your hard drive by mistake… However, if you choose empty USB, you will see option to install Manjaro. If you point it to computer drive with windows, you will see other options, like installation alongside windows.

P.S. Always when messing with systems, do a system and files backup! In case of windows, create also recovery and install DVD’s just in case.


That’s not true. Windows 7 has bcdedit that can be used to set up to boot e.g. linux systems.
If you install Manjaro, put grub into the same partition as Manjaro, e.g. /dev/sda3. Then you need to use dd to get the boot sector of the Manjaro partition, first 512 bytes, into a file. This boot sector is then given to bcdedit (look for its documentation) and voila you can boot to Manjaro from Windows.

But there’s another way to try Manjaro: install it to VirtualBox. That is much easier to do and much less error prone for Windows install.


I simply used the programme EasyBCD. It adds an entry for your Linux OS to your Windows Bootloader, and you can choose from the Windows bootloader either Windows or Linux.
However, when you choose Linux, the Computer will reboot (at least that was the case with me using Windows 10) and the grub boot-menu will appear where you can choose which kernel you would like to boot, or other boot options. When you choose Windows, the computer will boot into Windows 7 instantly.

I then got used to the grub boot menu and removed EasyBCD and last weekend I removed Windows 10 all together. :wink:


I don’t know bcdedit but if it’s like easy bcd then it merely ads independent grub with entries, which is needed only if the distro grub won’t work from some reason. Window’s boot just doesn’t support any other OSes on its own. Third party addons do allow that.


Only way i would suggest to safely dual boot is with 2 hard drives

unplug windows drive
install Manjaro on remaining drive
when windows drive is reconnected, can update manjaro grub boot to add windows

after the trial period you can remove either drive and still have a working OS


That’s actually a good idea. I could’ve done that with my computer as well. But hey, I’m happy with my Manjaro Cinnamon. I don’t need Windows 10 anymore. :wink:


That is part of the cunning plan.
Is easy to drop either OS, so if OP is amazed at manjaro (like I was) is just as easy to drop Windows.

I had dual-boot like this for 9 months. For last 6 months I was only booting into win7 to check for updates every month. Occasionally update would fail if i booted to Windows via Grub rather than using BIOS boot options to use windows bootloader. and updates didn’t fail nicely - they would run ok first time round then ask to reboot. Fail would happen after restart, then would spend another 15-30 minutes rolling back all updates and yet another restart to get back to original state.


Sounds like nasty work. :smiley:


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