Ubuntu – How to install Ubuntu and Windows on separate hard drives

dual-bootwindows xp

I just re-built my desktop. I have a brand new 2TB drive and I'm also re-using a 250GB drive with Windows XP installed. The problem is that the XP drive has a virus that was causing the computer (before the re-build) to reboot swiftly and unexpectedly after Windows starts.

I have yet to turn on my re-built computer!

I am currently not worried about losing the data on the XP drive. My desired end-result would be a re-image of XP on the 250GB drive and to install Ubuntu 12.04 on the new 2TB drive.

What order should I do things in order to get to that point? I need to (in some order):

  • See that my new setup can POST
  • Configure the new hardware
  • Re-image the 250GB drive with Windows XP
  • Install Ubuntu 12.04 on the 2TB drive

… without having the virus cause any more problems. Understanding the reasoning behind the process would be very helpful.


Best Answer

Here's my recommendation, assuming any data on the XP drive is already backed up.

  1. With only the 250GB drive connected, use the XP CD-ROM to format the drive and install XP from scratch.
  2. Now, connect the 2TB drive and set the hard disk boot order in the BIOS so that it boots from the 2TB drive first. What should happen after that is that Windows XP will no longer boot (only temporary :)
  3. Boot from the Ubuntu Live CD, and start the installer.
  4. You will get one of the below two screens. Choose the highlighted option (don't worry, we won't delete Windows...)

    enter image description here

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  5. This is the important part: Select the correct (blank) hard disk by checking the size displayed, as shown below:

    enter image description here

  6. Once done, reboot, and at boot up you should get a menu allowing you to choose between booting Ubuntu, or booting Windows.


Installing Windows first is necessary because if installed after Ubuntu, it will overwrite Ubuntu's bootloader (Grub) and require you to use the LiveCD to fix it. Ubuntu on the other hand will detect Windows on the other hard disk automatically and add it as a boot option.

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