Installing Linux with bitlocker enabled windows

This brief write up talks about a procedure to install Linux OS along side a Windows 7 OS in which bitlocker is enabled. Usually bitlocker does not work ( meaning cannot be enabled) when a partition in the hard disk is not windows partition. This is the case when we have a dual boot system. Like we have a swap & ext3/ext4 formatted partition for linux then when trying to enable bitlocker for such hard disks it fails.
Here is what I did. I took a USB with a live bootable image. I used ubuntu 14.04 LTS for this purpose. I took another USB which is at least 32 GB and supports high speed USB i.e USB 3.0. This is not mandatory but helps.
  1. Plug in both the USB in the computer.
  2. Reboot and press F12 to select boot device. Usually its F12 but this key varies on certain models. So pls check which key to press to goto boot options.
  3. Once we are in boot options, you will see both USB’s listed. The one with the Live bootable image and another USB which is 32 GB+.
  4. Boot from Live USB and select Install Ubuntu option.
  5. When in select install location option, select Custom or “Do Something else” option wherein you have complete control over which memory area to install the OS.
  6. Make a swap & root filesystem partition in the second 32 GB USB. You can also make other /opt partitions as needed.
  7. Ensure that the boot loader is written to 32 GB USB only. This ensures that bitlocker installed in the HDD is not affected.
  8. Install the OS. Now the complete linux OS is installed in USB ( 32 GB) and the boot loader is also installed only in the USB. The primary HDD is not affected at all.
  9. After installation is done, reboot.
  10. Remove the Live Image USB from the system.
  11. Now if you don’t goto boot options windows boots.
  12. If you press F12 and goto boot options you will see the USB 32 GB listed. Select it now.
  13. This will show the grub boot loader prompt.
  14. Select the Linux you want to boot and there you are in Linux without affecting the windows.
  15. You can very well mount windows partition in this OS.
This I have tested with ubuntu 14.04 LTS and it works perfect. This scheme should also work with SD card and other memory partitions also. Just ensure that the MBR of the primary HDD is not touched since this is where the bitlocker resides.

One Comment to Installing Linux with bitlocker enabled windows

  1. Lilly says:

    Good to see real expertise on display. Your coiubnrttion is most welcome.

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