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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Installing Windows 10 over a Linux drive

Hi, these are my experiences installing Windows on a PC that only ran various distress of Linux before. Read this end to end before beginning.

To begin with, this is what I used . Your computer set up will vary.

The Windows & Linux computer is a ZT Systems Pentium Pro. It originally came with a 1 TB SATA drive with Windows 7 installed on it. 

I scrounged 3 more disk drives to install onto this system:

A 500 GB PATA drive. This became sda in linux terms. 

The 1 TB SATA drive. This became sdb in linux terms.

A 300 GB SATA drive. This became sdc in linux terms.

A 500 GB SATA drive. This became sdd in Linux terms and I installed Windows onto this drive.


What did I need to acquire Windows 10?

As I wrote, this ZT Systems Pentium Pro came with Windows 7 when I bought it in 2010. I tried to upgrade it from Windows 7 to Windows 10, but I screwed up. So I set up four different versions of Linux. 

Drive #1, sda, has Zorin OS 9 Ultimate. It has worked wonderfully and I wholeheartedly endorse Zorin OS for those of us who want to use Linux either as a Windows XP replacement or in addition to Windows. I have used Zorin 9 Ultimate, which cost less than $20, and Zorin 9 Core, which I installed on a friend’s old Window XP Dell laptop.

Drive #2, sdb, has Kubuntu 15.10 installed on it. I wanted the latest version of Ubuntu/Kubuntu so I could run the latest version of forked-daapd on it. I have written about forked-daapd here. 

Drive #3, sdc, has LinuxMinut 17.2 KDE installed on it. I like LinuxMint.

Now to the main attraction, Drive #4, sdd. I installed Windows 10 on this 500 GB SATA drive

Now as to acquiring a legit copy of Windows 10, I need two items.

The first was a authentic Windows 7 or 8 license from Microsoft. It’s on an adhesive label stuck on the outside of my PC. I took a picture of it with my camera so that I would not need to contort myself to see it.

The second was  the Windows 10 .iso disk image. This was easy. I Googled for “Windows 10 ISO” and Microsoft’s Web site popped up

Microsoft will make you go through several steps, such as confirming the version you want and the language you want to install it in. You finally end up with a Web address from which  you can download the Windows 10 ISO for 24 hours.

Depending on how good your Internet connection is, you can start to download the ISO. 

 How to make installation media from the Windows 10 ISO

I used my Mac and an external $30 DVD burner to make a DVD installer.

I used a single-sided 4.7 GB DVD to make the installer. A CD is too small.

Now if you use OS X 10.10 Yosemite or below, you can use the Disk Utility to burn a DVD.

If you use the latest and greatest version of OS X, 10.11, you’ll find that the Disk Utility doesn’t include the ability to burn a DVD from the graphic interface. 

To burn a DVD from 10.11 El Capitan, I did the following:


1. Plug in the external DVD burner. Mine just needs the USB 2.0 cable plugged into a  USB port for power and data.

2. Pop in a blank DVD disk. You’ll hear some humming. Then you’ll see this message on your screen:


You inserted a blank DVD


3. Click on “OK” to open the Finder. 

4. You want to go to the folder where you put the Windows 10 Disk Image. In my case, it was the Downloads folder.

5. Find the disk image with the .iso extension. You want to click on it ONCE to select. Don’t double-click on it. You don’t want to open it up.


The Downloads folder with the disk image highlighted


6. Now to the important part. Go to the File Menu of the Finder. You will see a menu similar to this appear.


Burn disk image to DVD


I have highlighted the important command, “Burn Disk Image xxx” which ONLY appears after you insert a blank DVD into the DVD burner AND you select the disk image you want to burn. Click on this command.


7. You will now see this window open up on your screen:


Burn the DVD in the drive



Click on Burn to proceed.


Wait a few minutes and the disk should pop out.


8. Take a Sharpie and label the disk as “Windows 10 install disk” with the date, too.


9. Now I put it into my PC’s DVD drive and restarted the machine. I got a message on screen to press any key to continue booting from the DVD. Press a key,  the letter W for instance, to start the installation process.


Problems I encountered along the way


I encountered several problems along the way. This is how I fixed them. In one case, I needed to buy a $20 program which worked beautifully.


You’ll need to reformat your drive as a Windows drive. I started out to do this from the Windows graphics interface. Pick the drive and then format.

It should have been simple, but it wasn’t. I needed to do some work on the drive’s boot record. For that, I needed to go to the command line.


Go to this article at the Windows Club Web site.  This will walk you through the steps you need to take to fix your Master Boot Record so that you can install Windows 10. 


The other problem I encountered was that I had successfully installed Windows 10, but then I tried to set it up with the Linux Multi-Boot menu.


I used the Boot Repair Disk Utility initially. It’s free and I got it here. You’ll need it, so download it and burn it to a CD or DVD.  

My initial experience was that it set up the Linux drives perfectly, but ignored the Windows installation.

To cut to the chase, I went to and bought their Easy Repair Essentials for $19.75. Go to the System Repair CDs page. 

You download yes, yet another ISO which  you burn to a CD/DVD or install on a USB flash drive. 

You boot up from the DVD/CD/USB flash drive and go through the steps. It will locate your Windows installation and make it bootable.

After you can boot into Windows, but can’t boot into the Linux installations….Now Try the Boot Repair Disk. I got all four of my drives in the Grub Menu. Now I’m happy.


Now why did I turn to Because I’d used the donation ware version of their Easy BCD software with great results. I knew I could trust them. 

$19.75 is a paltry sum to pay. I make $20/hour. I have high blood pressure. A solution like Easy RE is worth the time and money. 

You might solve the problem by Googling for several hours, but at what cost? Follow my late mother’s advice and Make It Easy on Yourself. Buy EasyRE if you can’t get Windows to boot up. It works. 


Well, that’s it for now. Always remember to BACK UP if you want to format a disk that might contain valuable data. 


Tom Briant

Editor,MacValley Blog










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