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I want to install a GNU/Linux based operating system on a computer with Windows preinstalled, but unfortunately, the BIOS is set to only boot from the harddisk, and there is no way to boot from something else without altering BIOS settings, and I don't know the BIOS password. I'd rather not dismantle my computer to reset it or use password crackers.

Now how can I install GNU/Linux on my PC?

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If Windows came pre-installed, you're probably not going to have the partition space (short of doing something partition magic on the windows side, which costs $$) in order to install windows. – Bratchley May 18 '13 at 12:53
@JoelDavis There's a partitioning step in almost all Linux distro installers... – Jop V. May 18 '13 at 19:08
Yeah but it's going to kill your windows install because Linux can't resize NTFS to shrink the filesystem to make room for a new Linux partition. – Bratchley May 18 '13 at 19:16
@JoelDavis Nonsense. I installed Lubuntu this way yesterday. – Jop V. May 18 '13 at 19:20
Alright, apparently there is a ntfsresize on Linux now: linux.die.net/man/8/ntfsresize – Bratchley May 18 '13 at 19:24
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Follow these steps:

  1. Start up Windows just like you normally would, and download the latest (non-test) version of Plop Boot Manager here.
  2. Extract the zip and open the folder "Windows" in it. If you have Windows XP, double-click the file InstallToBootMenu.bat. If you have Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, right-click the file InstallToBootMenu.bat, click Run as administrator, and then click Yes when prompted. You should now see this: enter image description here Press y, then press Enter. Wait until installation is finished and press Enter to close the window.
  3. Restart your computer. You should now see something like this (if not, restart your computer again while hammering on the F8 key, and when a menu appears, select "Back to list of operating systems" using the arrow keys and press Enter): Windows 7 Boot Manager with Plop installed
  4. Press to select Plop Boot Manager and press Enter. You should now see (something like) this:Plop Boot Manager
  5. If you are trying to install using a CD or DVD, select CDROM using the arrow keys and press Enter. If you are trying to install using an USB-stick, select USB using the arrow keys and press Enter (If your computer freezes after choosing USB, restart your computer, select USB using the arrow keys again, and this time hold shift while pressing Enter. If it still doesn't work, try a different USB port and try again.).

Your computer should now boot from your installation CD/DVD/USB-stick. Good luck and enjoy your new operating system!

If something doesn't work or you need clarification, feel free to comment.

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Some distributions provide an installer that runs in Windows, for example Ubuntu's Wubi. The installer creates a large file on the Windows filesystem that is used by Linux as a virtual disk. Afterwards you can migrate the installation to its own partition.

No matter what solution you choose, you need administrator permissions on Windows.

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