I have a company laptop that came with Windows 7 installed. I shrunk the single NTFS filesystem that spanned the entire hard disk so that I could then install Ubuntu on a new second partition. I did this, GRUB was installed by the Ubuntu installation process, and the Master Boot Record updated to point to GRUB when the laptop is booting up. Great, nothing special there.

My employer has forced hard drive encryption upon me. They're happy for me to continue to have a dual boot system but the hard disk encryption software has overwritten the Master Boot Record. When the laptop boots I must enter my decryption details, after which it is "hard coded" to continue the boot process with the NTFS partition (Windows 7).

Is it possible to install GRUB at the start of the NTFS partition so that, after booting the laptop to the initial hard drive decryption screen, it then boots into GRUB and I can still choose to boot into Windows or Ubuntu?

Installing the hard disk encryption software hasn't altered my partitions— it's a non-intrusive install in that all data on the disk is preserved; Linux is still installed on a separate partition. Using "EXT2 Volume Manager", I can mount my Ubuntu install when I'm booted into Windows 7 and see that my files are all intact. Dual booting is permitted by my employer but not supported by the internal IT department so I have to maintain that myself.

  • 1
    As a work around: Can you boot from other devices? E.g. a small USB pendrive or a SD card? Those could store a bootloader and start Ubuntu. And with a boot menu in the BIOS you could select to boot either from HDD (and corporate MBR and thus windows) or from the SDcard (which would boot Ubuntu from the HDD's second partition).
    – Hennes
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


Install GRUB on the boot sector of the Ubuntu partition and then reconfigure the encryption software. Messing with the Windows partition is likely to end badly.

  • Sorry I should have specified this in my question: I can't reconfigure the encryption software is locked by our network admins. That is a valid idea though so I will have to ask them if they can re-point the disk encryption software to the GRUB install.
    – Baldrick
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 12:01
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    you may be able to boot the ubuntu partition in a virtual machine,m or boot external media after entering the password, and then use ubuntu fdisk to set the apropriate boot flags in the partition table, or you may need assistance from the admin to make the ubuntu partition bootable
    – Jasen
    Commented May 3, 2015 at 12:11

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