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Ok, I am dual-booting XP Home and Debian 4.0. I installed the base system and then asked me where to install GRUB. I have Debian on a different drive than XP. I didn't know if (hd0) was XP or Debian. So I opted out of installing it. It said I could boot into it manually by typing /dev/sdb4 root=/dev/sdb4 (or something like that). Where do I type this in? Is there a map that I can look at that tells me what device is what? Thanks.
There is (afaik) no way to boot into a linux system without a boot loader. (Same with windows, except it uses a different one and doesn't ask you about it).
You might be able to get into your Debian installation by booting from the installation cd (which uses grub). /dev/sdb4 is obviously the partition where you installed linux (4th partition on the second hard disk). If you know grub a little you should be able to tell it to boot with this parition as root. (the grub manual might be of help http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/html_node/)
As a smartass-additional note, you should have just installed grub onto master boot record of hd0 (which is the first hd in your computer and therefore the first option you're offered). This is the standard way and it works for almost everybody, it does not destroy any data but it DOES replace a small portion of boot code so the bootloader can do its job.
However you can do that manually from inside debian once you're in.
If you're unsuccessful in getting into debian, just do the install process again (and install grub this time).*g*
There are two ways to specify files, by absolute file name and by block list.
An absolute file name resembles a Unix absolute file name, using `/' for the directory separator (not `\' as in DOS). One example is `(hd0,0)/boot/grub/menu.lst'. This means the file /boot/grub/menu.lst in the first partition of the first hard disk. If you omit the device name in an absolute file name, GRUB uses GRUB's root device implicitly. So if you set the root device to, say, `(hd1,0)' by the command root (see root), then /boot/kernel is the same as (hd1,0)/boot/kernel.
IF you have GRUB installed on one disk, you can reference any boot loader or boot block on any partition of any disk on your system.
The chainloader feature of GRUB allows you to access any boot record on any partition. You use it by first specifying either root or rootnoverify, followed by the GRUB notation for the partition. For example:
points to the third partition on the second disk (both numbering schemes begin with zero.
Alternatively, you can specifically point to a bootable kernel and initial RAMdisk using a similar method. For example:
These are just examples. The actual settings would vary somewhat. In the second example, you do not have to specify the (hdx,y) values, (they default to the values on the root line) but I do so because it gives me more flexibility when I am editing GRUB on the fly.
is one useful place to find information about using GRUB effectively. Within that thread there is a pointer to the official GRUB documentation, which can also help you with specific details. Read them, then ask questions if there are areas that are unclear or difficult to understand.
Rather than installing Grub with the installation disk, you can run Grub in two ways...either from the Debian system you have installed, or from a live CD (like Mepis, etc) that has the Grub application.
It's been a while, but you'll open a terminal window (may need su?), and type "grub" (and enter). Then type "root (hd2,3)", or whatever your hard drive is (ie. hd2) and the partition number (ie. 3) where the 3 is partition number 4, since grub starts at 0 for the first partition. Then type "setup (hd2)" or whatever the hard drive number is. If grub was setup properly, you'll see a print out in the terminal window if grub found the correct files needed. Finally, type "quit", and you can close the terminal window. Grub will search the hard drive and partition for the /boot/grub/menu.lst file.
Read this, it should answer your questions, I put grub in its own very small partition on hd0 and chainload all my os's. You can do this with removeable drives then you can disconnect and not loose boot to other os's.