Triple booting WinXP, Mandriva and FC4

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RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Triple booting WinXP, Mandriva a

Postby jjmac » Sat Aug 20, 2005 8:17 am

bfinvest:
>>
... After each new system install, you can expect a bootloader problem....
>>

Can't agree there. The last time i had a problem, which was recently, it was traced to a screwy 2.6.10 Ubuntu install kernel. It was set to mount hda7 as root. Which didn't exist on my system as i had installed to hda2 as a test :roll:. But that had nothing to do with the loaders of course.

The more over-complexed the boot process is made to be the more likely it may be that problems will occure. From what i see, people will tend to have problems that are rooted more in a mis-perception of how the bootstrap --> boot process occures, rather than due to any actual inherent diffilculty in that facility. Things like, clobbering one 1st stage on the mbr with another, from a fresh install, and then not configuring for that. Not seeming to realise that if a working Linux loader exists, there is no real need to replace it with one that is supplied by an additional installs installer. Admittedly though, i think if the installers had more extensive info available, built in, a lot of that type of thing wouldn't occure. And so it tends to boil down to the the installers' ability to comunicate really.


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Postby Marrea » Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:58 pm

Bank Holiday weekend, so I've finally got round to adding FC4 to my WinXP/Mandriva dual boot. No problems encountered. I decided in the end to use the NTLDR as the bootloader (rather than Grub) and the triple boot seems to be working well. Busy exploring FC4 at the moment. :D
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Postby jjmac » Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:31 pm

How does the NTLDR work. I don't think i'm familiar with that. Is that some thing associated with the ntfs filesystem ?

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Postby A-Wing » Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:50 pm

NTLDR = NT Boot Loader = Windows half assed attempt at something like LILO
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Postby Marrea » Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:52 am

jjmac wrote:How does the NTLDR work. I don't think i'm familiar with that. Is that some thing associated with the ntfs filesystem ?

jm



jjmac

It's the Windows XP boot loader, which you don't normally see if you are only running Windows XP alone. However you can add other operating systems to it, and even Windows Safe Mode if you wish (avoids having to repeatedly tap F8 and possibly miss the "right" moment). You will then see a menu at boot up from which you can choose Windows, Mandriva, Fedora or whatever. If you select one of the Linux operating systems the NTLDR will then point to that distro's Grub, which boots you into Linux.

If you want to use the Windows boot loader, when you install Linux you put Grub on the first sector of the boot partition rather than the MBR and then post-installation you copy the Linux boot sector across to the root C drive on Windows, and put an entry in the boot.ini file, which will give you Linux as an option on the menu at boot up.

I like using the NTLDR because, as I also use Windows, I've got its boot manager sitting there ready to use anway. I invariably use Partition Magic before installing any Linux distro and, as you know, that is a Windows only program. Also there's no fear of the MBR getting messed up because Grub never overwrites it.

The only slight downside is that most distros reboot before installation is completed and once you've put Grub on the first sector of the boot partition, you can't get back into your newly installed Linux on reboot. (The one exception to this I'm aware of is SuSE where you can get back in very easily after reboot.) I get round this by either opting to put Grub on a floppy disk temporarily, or using a rescue disk to get back in (which is what I did yesterday with FC4). Once in, you can then do the necessary copying of the Linux boot sector for subsequent copying on to Windows. And, of course, if you've used a floppy disk, also transfer Grub off that on to the Linux partition if you want to.

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Postby A-Wing » Tue Aug 30, 2005 12:06 pm

Or you could just remove windows completely and improve you system 10 fold.
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Postby Marrea » Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:47 pm

A-Wing wrote:Or you could just remove windows completely and improve you system 10 fold.


Well, I could - but I happen to like using Windows. Sorry about that :( , but it's my choice.

I also enjoy using Mac :)

I just happen to love using computers generally and don't feel any hard and strong allegiance to any particular operating system.
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Postby jjmac » Wed Aug 31, 2005 11:23 pm

Aha, thanks Marrea,


So, a windows boot loader that allows for <cough> another non windows OS </cough> to be available to boot. Crikey !. Are you sure it's not some insidious plot. It sounds to good to be true, but then ... i have become somewhat suspicious over time (grin). I'll have to remember that though :).

>>
If you want to use the Windows boot loader, when you install Linux you put Grub on the first sector of the boot partition rather than the MBR and then post-installation you copy the Linux boot sector across to the root C drive on Windows, and put an entry in the boot.ini file, which will give you Linux as an option on the menu at boot up
>>

So, do you mean by the "Linux boot sector" the 1st stage loader that you installed on the 1st sector of the Linux boot partition ?. hmmmmm, makes a kinda sense....

So -> mbr -> generic bootstrap with the partition that Windows is installed on set active, -> at boot, it reads the table, goes to the windows partition and loads the first stage windows boot-loader into low ram -> 2nd stage etc win loaders will be in the root C:\ drive, as they always are -> at some stage, probably with the 1st stage loader, it brings up a menu -> if a Linux is chosen, it goes to its' C:\ root looking for the file thats mapped to the menu item -> which just happens to be a copy of the Linux 1st stage that was installed to the linux boot sector, hmmmmm. Interesting. Windows insisting on only looking to its' own C:\ root makes sense.

If your using Grub as a Linux loader in that senareo, as Grub will always read its' config when its' booting so there is no need to update any config changes ... if thats the process above is correct, then it sounds like it should work quite well. I wonder how Lilo would work there ?. I haven't been able to decide if, after /sbin/lilo is re-run after a change to /etc/lilo.conf, whether only the map file in /boot is the file that is updated to reflect changes, or whether there are changes made to the lilo 1st stage it self as well. I really need to check on that. If it's just the map file that is updated it may work with Lilo too, with out having to copy over a new copy to Windows after each config change in lilo.conf.


A-Wing:
>>
NTLDR = NT Boot Loader = Windows half assed attempt at something like LILO
>>

Must admit, i'm a little suspicious of the motive at least (grin) :) ... there must be a catch some where ... oh the joys, and the pains of the cynical :roll:


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Postby Marrea » Thu Sep 01, 2005 8:23 pm

jjmac

First of all, I don’t have your vast knowledge of boot procedures, so I’ll just set out in simple terms what I know about NTLDR.

Windows NT, 2000 and XP all natively support multiboot capabilities. I think the idea behind this was to enable users to retain DOS, or an older version of Windows such as 95 or 98, then install Windows NT, 2000 or XP, and be able to select between DOS/old Windows and the later operating system of their choice. It works (so I understand) by placing a special boot loader program called NTLDR in the boot sector of the hard drive’s active/bootable partition. NTLDR reads and acts upon boot disk, partition and operating system information found in a hidden configuration file named boot.ini. After reading boot.ini, NTLDR loads and executes the appropriate boot code for the operating system you have chosen.

Very conveniently (and I’m sure Microsoft didn’t have this in mind!) you can also boot Linux from the NTLDR. It works with either LILO or GRUB, although I have never tried it with LILO myself.

In outline, the basic procedure is:
1. During the Linux install, you make sure you place GRUB/LILO on the Linux partition – say for example /dev/hda5 – not the MBR.
2. After you have set up the Linux bootloader thus, you then need to grab it and save it into a file with the dd command
# dd if=/dev/hda5 of=/bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1
(You can call the output file anything you like. For instance I used “bootsect.lnx” for Mandriva and “bootsec.fed” for FC4.)
3. Then you need to copy bootsect.lnx over to the root of your boot partition, which is normally the Windows C drive. I usually do this via a floppy disk.
4. Next, you go into Windows, open up the boot.ini file and add the following line to the [operating systems] section
c:\ bootsect.lnx=”Mandriva Linux”
(Here again, you can put anything you like, it doesn’t necessarily have to be “Mandriva Linux”. It could be “Marrea’s Linux” !! But what you put here will be the name which appears in the list of operating systems shown at boot-up from which you make your selection.)

My boot.ini file looks like this:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Safe Mode” /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog
c:\bootsect.lnx=”Mandriva Linux”
c:\bootsec.fed=”Fedora Linux”

so at boot-up I am presented with a menu from which I can choose Windows XP, Windows Safe Mode, Mandriva or Fedora.

And I have my drive partitioned as follows:

/dev/hda1 Windows XP
/dev/hda2 Extended
/dev/hda3 Fedora Core 4 root
/dev/hda5 Mandriva 2005 LE root
/dev/hda6 Linux swap

As I said, I use Windows XP and therefore have its boot loader available, so I have tended to use it in my dual (and now triple !) boot systems. One of these days, though, I think purely for my own education I need to experiment with doing it the other way round: using Grub on the MBR and adding Windows/other Linux distros to that.
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Postby jjmac » Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:05 am

Marrea

Aha :) hehe ... that clarifies it well, sounds like quite complete explaination to me. Lets hope they don't try to "fix" those extended capabilities with one of their updates (grin).


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