Difficulty: Easy – Somewhat Easy
DISCLAIMER: In no way is the author responsible for any damage done to the user’s system for following this tutorial. All credit goes to MrSparklle at the Openelec forums for making this possible.
This tutorial will demonstrate how to dual/multiboot Windows and OpenElec without having to install another linux distribution. This option minimalizes bloatware and other things that a typical user would not use on a daily basis. For this tutorial to work, we are going to use syslinux/extlinux bootloader. We will also be using the linux distro Slitaz instead of ubuntu for reasons stated later in this tutorial.
NOTE FOR WINDOWS XP USERS: Your very first partition must be the Windows XP installation partition in order for this to work.
- 1 PC with keyboard, mouse, and hard drive
- Slitaz 3.0 Stable (or any linux distro that has gparted)
- Syslinux boot loader
- USB stick
STEP 1: PREPARATION
Download Slitaz 3.0 Stable and install it to a cd or usb stick. ImgBurn and Unetbootin respectively will handle these procedures in a very self-explanatory fashion. The reason I recommend using Slitaz in contrast to other distros is the fact that slitaz is only 30mb and gets the job done well for our purposes. Also, Slitaz tells the user about the default root password in the live environment, which makes things easier.
Download the Syslinux bootloader and extract contents to a new folder “BOOTLOADER” on a usb stick.
*UPDATE* Download the corresponding openelec build (Intel, ION, Fusion, etc) and extract contents of the “target” folder to a new folder “OPENELEC” on the same usb stick mentioned above. These OPENELEC folder on the usb stick should include “KERNEL, KERNEL.md5, SYSTEM, SYSTEM.md5”.
By doing the above, we can avoid using the internet during the installation process.
STEP 2: CREATE PARTITIONS
Boot into the livecd/liveusb and launch gparted. Shrink the partitions at the end so there is enough room for us to make two ext3 partitions at the very end of the Hard drive (HDD). We are putting these partitions at the end, because we are not going to mess with them very much post-installation. The partition can be of any type (primary or logical does not make a difference)
- Open GParted
- Make room for two partitions at the end (4gb is enough for typical users)*
- Create 128mb ext3 partition at end of partition with label BOOT
- Flag partition as boot
- Create another ext3 partition to occupy the rest of the unallocated space with label STORAGE
- Exit GParted
*NOTE 01* The amount of room we want to unallocate depends on how big we want to make the STORAGE partition, because this partition will house all the Music/Movies/TV Shows/Videos/Pictures and their respective libraries unless all of this stuff is on the network. I typically recommend ~4gb for the STORAGE partition if one wants to use a locally indexed library for their multimedia.
*NOTE 02* Please double check the labels and flags are done correctly to avoid potential hours of headaches.
STEP 3: INSTALL EXTLINUX BOOTLOADER
- Mount the BOOT partition via Slitaz’s file manager by clicking on the respective HDD icon.
- Attach USB stick that has the extracted contents of the syslinux bootloader in a folder called “BOOTLOADER”
- Open command line.
root password: root
$ cd /media/BOOT
$ cp /media/disk/BOOTLOADER/* /media/BOOT/
$ mv ./extlinux /usr/bin/extlinux
$ chmod +x /usr/bin/extlinux
Now we are going to test if extlinux works as an executable
You should see some code detailing its options. If so, we can proceed to the next step.
$ extlinux -i /media/BOOT/
A successful installation will create a file called “ldlinux.sys” Do not touch it.
Now it is time to install the bootloader. (Please note that it is sda without any numbers at the end)
$ dd if=/media/BOOT/mbr.bin of=/dev/sda
You should see some output stating that a certain number of bytes was read and written to /dev/sda. Now you can delete mbr.bin
$ rm -rf /media/BOOT/mbr.bin
STEP 4: COPY OPENELEC FILES
While still in command line as root, copy the openelec files from the usb stick to the BOOT partition. The openelec files must be in the root of the BOOT partition.
$ cp /media/disk/OPENELEC/* /media/BOOT/
If you followed my instructions, there should be exactly nine files – We absolutely need them for openelec to work.
These files are:
MANDATORY STEP FOR WINDOWS XP USERS
While in command line as root, edit extlinux.conf
$ nano /media/BOOT/extlinux.conf
Now edit the line “APPEND” under the Windows 7 section and have that line look like this:
APPEND boot 1
Now Windows XP should work. You can also change the Windows 7 label accordingly to reflect the Windows XP operating system.
FINAL STEP: TESTING THE BOOTLOADER
- Reboot system and remove livecd/liveusb
- Make sure system boots to HDD
- Choose Win7/WinXP/Openelec from menu
- Enjoy your dualboot!
Shoutout to MrSparklle at the openelec forums for doing a fantastic tutorial and helping people out in making this kind of tutorial.
Source: Openelec forums