HOW TO: DUAL BOOT Windows and Backtrack (linux) w/backtrack already installed

25 08 2006

WARNING – EXTREME NOOB VERSION of XATAR’s more elegant explanation on the Remote Exploit Forums

This is the fool proof (meaning that I am a fool and I could do it) way to get a dual boot with xp and BT if you already installed BT to a linux partition.

This is what I did, but by just screwing around. It works!! (however it took me all day to discover this, when I should have bothered to read further into the forum than the first page, lesson learned)

Start your machine. Log in as root etc. etc.

Noob Tip: Note what your partitions are named. I have SDA instead of HDA. If you use the wrong one in your lilo file then your computer will turn into a unicorn and kill baby jebus. 😮

Open the lilo.conf file by either using the search for a file thingy or opening the system info thingy (see I told you I was a fool) and clicking on storage devices. This should show all your partitions and whatnot. Right click on the icon that has your main BT partition as its label, for me that was SDA5. In the context menu (that’s what happens when you right click apparently) choose “open with file manager”. There will be a bunch of folders, don’t get all confused and give up everything will be ok. Pick the one that is labeled “ETC” or “etc”. Open it. Hunt around for the “lilo.conf” file, DON”T click the shortcut icon that’s colored green, cause that’s a command shortcut and it will take you away to a BASH shell that won’t work anyways. The “lilo.conf” file is is a text file, you can tell that because the icon looks like a pad of paper with a pencil on it. It will be next to all the other files that start with the letter “L”. Just double click the file to open it. Then scroll down to the bottom of the file to where it looks like this…

#Windows bootable partition config begins

That’s where the good stuff is. Now just cut and paste the below over what’s already there.

#Windows bootable partition config begins
other = /dev/sda1
label = Windows
table = /dev/sda
#Windows bootable partition confing ends
#Linux bootable partition config begins
image = /boot/vmlinuz
root = current
lable = backtothetrizzack
read – write
#Linux bootable partition config ends

If you can’t cut and paste correctly then you will have to go directly to jail without passing go or collecting the glue stick you were planning to eat later.

Don’t forget to check what your partitions are labeled, the ol’ hda vs sda conundrum. Use whichever one you have. You can change the “label = blah blah” to whatever you want, even naughty words, as long as you know which is BT and which is XP.

Click the save button in the toolbar, it looks like a floppy disc.

Close the file. Its ok, you saved it right?

Now open a bash shell, you can find an icon that looks like a little black screen, its in the lower left hand corner of the desktop.

You will be wisked away to a winter wonderland tour in a BASH shell. Since you are logged in as ROOT (right?) it should be blank with one small word, “slax” followed by some symbols or whatever, if it says something else then you need to log out, stand up, spin around three times, sit down, and log back in as root.

In the bash shell, just type “lilo” (no quotes) into the command line.

It will say


Noob Tip: The asterisk means that Windows will be your default OS, which means if you reboot your machine and don’t press a button it will boot to windows. If you just hit an arrow button or the space bar then the countdown will stop and you have been “gives us the free” to choose whichever OS you want.

Now, close the BASH shell or window or whatever you wish to call it.

Log out. Shut down. Restart your machine.

You will be greeted with a stunning Lilo bootloader screen with your two labels as choices to start up. (Remember the last Noob Tip) Pick one and you’re off and running.

Now go out there and be somebody!!! YAYAYAYAYAAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYY

Care Bears RULE




16 responses

8 09 2006

I got your comment about Slack 11 and backtrack. I’m not familiar with editing live CD’s, but you might want to look into tgz2mo (I think) other than that I would recomend trying the slax forum at or whatever the official slax forum is, and a slax irc channel. If you’re a really patient person I’m sure that the next release of slax/backtack will have slack 11 built in.

Sorry I couldn’t be of much help.

21 09 2006

[…] – Backtrack installed on your system. So you will have already downloaded the LIVE CD booted it and installed it to your hard drive in a small partition. If you are having troubles with the installation and dual boot go HERE for a tutorial on that. […]

6 12 2006

nice style of writing 🙂
made me read the whole of this article 🙂

6 12 2006

@ Moe
Thanks. SRLSY, Thanks. Its comments like those that keep me goin’.

7 12 2006

hey whats up i like the writing had me craking up
Now i went to the Bash and entered lilo and i get back
“Added slax *”

any idea why?

7 12 2006

@ norton
Did you make the needed changes to the lilo config file? Cause it sounds like you just set lilo to boot to whatever you have labeled as “slax” with no other choices.

If that’s not it then…Let me know what you’ve done so far so I can see where the problem might be.

19 12 2006

Hey great blog! So from scratch make a linux ext3 and swap partition at the end of the windows partiton install backtrack to it from the live cd and then follow your instructions?

23 12 2006

Hello! My bash shell shows this:
“Added slax *
Added Windows”

How do I make my Windows my default OS?

My lilo.conf looks like this:

boot = /dev/hda
timeout = 20
vga = 0x317
image = /boot/vmlinuz
root = current
label = slax

#Windows bootable partition config begins
other = /dev/hda1
label = Windows
table = /dev/hda
#Windows bootable partition config ends


Please reply & thank you! 😀

10 11 2007

I am all good on your steps right up until lilo. I get Fatal: create /boot/map~: Read-only file system.

Any idea why. I have double checked the drives, I am using hda as my drive, hda1 is the windows part.. and hda3 is the BT part… hda2 is swap.

7 02 2008

super cool article. the “backtothetrizzack” had me rolling!

I had my backtrack/xp dual booted perfectly using this guide, but then in a wave of frustration I reinstalled XP while leaving the backtrack partition in tact. Since there’s no more boot screen to get into Backtrack, is there a way to set up the bootscreen from windows? Do i have to start over?

13 02 2008




Hilarious. =))))

Hope you keep writing, I’ll be around to read 😉

22 09 2008

Good article. I read it over while installing BT3.

I wrote a quick tutorial describing how to do the opposite. If you have Windows XP, and want to install BackTrack 3 Final, you can follow this:

28 10 2009

Also enjoyed this article, thanks a ton… by the time I found it I wanted to do what Pubal explains but using Backtrack 4. I found this article to be very helpful:

Even though I have a Toshiba netbook the steps ended in the same result.

Working dual boot BT4 + XP.

18 02 2010

I read the whole thing and Im still confused.. whats lilo.. damnit..

15 06 2012

I really enjoy examining on this site, it holds fantastic content. “Never fight an inanimate object.” by P. J. O’Rourke.

6 02 2013

a fool ? fools never try to succeed
but you did try and got what you want
to me that’s not foolish at all

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