How to dual boot Ubuntu and WinXP using two hard drives?

I really want to use Ubuntu. When new version is out, I will request free CDs from Ubuntu Shipit and will receive the CDs after two weeks from the request date. But yesterday, after struggling to install new hard drive into my PC, then I was successfully install Ubuntu and make it dual boot with my Windows XP.

My Ubuntu specs

It is really difficult for me to set them to dual boot from two different hard drive. My old hard drive has Windows XP installed and the new hard drive which 320Gb size, installed with Ubuntu. I only allocate 20Gb for Ubuntu. The rest of the empty space is for files storage.

How to make them dual boot?

To make dual boot using two hard drives, you must plug out your Windows hard drive first and make Ubuntu hard drive as Master. Slip in the Ubuntu CD and run the installation from it.

Once the Ubuntu has succesfully installed on to your Ubuntu drive, boot into your Ubuntu. Login with your username and password, and open up Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal). Enter this line by line into the Terminal.

Note: We use “sudo” because we want to do our job as administrator.

cd /boot/grub
sudo cp menu.lst menu.lst_backup
sudo gedit menu.lst

The first line changes our directory to /boot/grub/. The second line is to make a backup copy of menu.lst file. The last line is use to edit menu.lst file.

Next, copy the below code

title Microsoft Windows XP
root (hd1,0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
chainloader +1

and paste it above


But if you want to make Ubuntu as your default OS, you can paste the code at the end of the file. We need to copy the above code into our menu.lst file because Windows does not like to be Slave. So we use this trick to fool it.

Then, what we need to do is, we want to display the Grub Menu when we boot up our PC. To do this, find


and replace with


This step is optional. The default Timeout is 3 but I changed it to 10. You can set any numbers you want.

Then, save menu.lst file. Now, shut down your PC and plug back your Windows hard drive. Make sure that you set Windows hard drive as Slave because we want Grub to take care of the boot process.

Boot your PC and you will see, Microsoft Windows XP at the top line in the list. Below the line you will Ubuntu kernel. Choose your selection to proceed the boot process.

Why using this method?

There are many ways to make dual boot using two hard drives. But for me, I choose this way because if I want to format Ubuntu or if Ubuntu corrupted, I still have Windows boot manager to take care the process. And if I want to format Windows, I still have Grub to take care the boot process. Other than that, by doing this way, we does not touch any of our Windows settings. So our Windows is safe.

If you need support, you can go to this Ubuntu thread to discuss with other Ubuntu users. I learn a lot from them.


  1. Yeah me too really wanted to use Ubuntu desperately..But I using laptop with standard 80GB…Its not a good idea if I do dual boot..Wish I afford to buy another new laptop soon 🙁

  2. my style:
    1- install windows first and foremost
    2- create linux partition in windows with tools such as partition magic
    3- install linux
           -> lilo / grub on mbr. to be safer, install bootloader in floppy.

  3. #Kesh – Ha3. You afraid to tweak your partition eh? :p

    #Syahid – Why do we need to install bootloader in floppy?

  4. Lol kinda like that..i partitioned 20GB and 60GB..not so spacious what..Haha need some space for torrent downloads as well ;p..I wanna buy fresh new laptop to install XP and then use current laptop to install Ubuntu..

    I got this problem whenever I reformat and install Windows my laptop will shutdown on its own. Donno why.

  5. After you reformat your windows, have you update your drivers?

  6. Glad to see ubuntu successfully installed into your machine..
    time to explore it and share with others..
    erm…btw, is it something wrong with your sound driver? (refer the screenshot above)

  7. The purpose is that if you are afraid that bootloader will screw your disk boot order, then you can install it on floppy.

  8. #melayubuntu – Nope. I just mute it. 🙂

    #Syahid – I see. Will try it. Thanks for the tip.

  9. LOL..nope..its happen when reformatting process..have to do again and again..then if by luck its managed to finish and installing Windows after that..and still shutdown..after install the Windows main files and enter the pretty UI installation process its stopped…

    It shutdowns when the reformatting process going on and while Windows installing the important files..after that if its manage to finish it before shutdown its safe..

    By the way it could be hard disk fault..i changed and still face the same problem..when reformatting the new harddisk and install Windows..

    Dead end.. 🙁 Unable to figure it out

  10. Maybe your laptop get too hot. That is why it shut down by itself. Ha3. I don't know how to fix it. There are many possibilities.