Installing Red Hat Linux in a Dual-Boot Environment

After Windows is installed and you have free disk space ready for Linux, you can start the Red Hat Linux installation program. Go to Chapter 1 to begin. At this point, the only difference between a Red Hat Linux installation and configuring a dual-boot system during the Red Hat Linux installation is partitioning the hard drive and configuring the boot loader. When you are at the Disk Partitioning Setup screen as described in the Section called Disk Partitioning Setup in Chapter 3, return to this section.

Disk Partitioning

At the Disk Partitioning Setup screen of the installation program, you have a few options. Depending on which option you choose, the steps for configuring a dual-boot system vary. If you do not know how many Linux partitions to create, refer to the Section called Partitioning Your System in Chapter 3 for a recommended partitioning scheme. If you choose:

Configuring the Boot Loader

When you arrive at the Boot Loader Installation screen during the Red Hat Linux installation, choose to install the boot loader. You can use a different boot loader to boot both Red Hat Linux and Windows. Red Hat does not support alternate boot loaders. Thus, this section will discuss how to configure GRUB or LILO to boot both operating systems.

The Red Hat Linux installation program will usually detect Windows and automatically configure the boot loader (GRUB or LILO) to boot either Red Hat Linux or Windows. This can be seen on the boot loader screen of the installation program. An entry named DOS appears in the list of operating systems to boot.


After the installation, whenever you start the computer, you can indicate whether you want to start Red Hat Linux or the other operating system from the boot loader screen. Choose Red Hat Linux to boot into Red Hat Linux, and choose DOS to boot into Windows.

If you did not partition all the free space on your hard drive for Red Hat Linux, you can partition it for Windows after installing Red Hat Linux. You can use cfdisk or fdisk to create these partitions. cfdisk is easier to use than fdisk because it is more interactive and has a menu from which to choose.


It is highly recommended that you use cfdisk or fdisk to create partitions after installing Red Hat Linux. Other partitioning software has been known to change the partitioning table of the hard drive and move the Linux partitions. If this happens, the boot loader will not be able to find the Linux partitions and will not boot into Red Hat Linux.

To access the files on the Windows partitions while using Red Hat Linux, refer to the Accessing a Windows Partition FAQ in the Official Red Hat Linux Getting Started Guide. If you formatted the Windows partitions in NTFS format, this method will not work.