OK, misunderstanding of the situation I think. I'll try be more clear.
So, I want to dual-boot but writing to the MBR isn't an option as there's a very good, open-source, linux-based media player that has it's own crazy bootloader* in there already (and I'd like to keep it).
This leaves one option: install grub to some other location.
So put grub on some external media like a USB key or a CD (using a laptop with no floppy) maybe?
- Nada, too much hassle - don't want some stupid pseudo-dongle just to boot linux... I almost ALWAYS boot linux - hassle hassle hassle.
So put grub somewhere else... like the root of a partition (as I'm not using anything un-über-grub-friendly like XFS/JFS, I can do this easily).
- Yes, this sounds lovely! Just set this said linux partition to be "checked" first by setting its boot flag!
- except windows will reset which partition is "checked" first every time I boot it
. How? It resets the boot flag to its own partition. >:-@
Any other places to put grub? I don't know any... you might but I'm stumped.
So this leaves... "the problem". Windows resets the boot flag. How to rectify it:
1. Stop windows from changing it in the first place - No idea how. *I'M* ignorant enough to not know if it's windows that's even doing it or my crazy media player thingy.
2. Get windows to change it back after it resets it - No idea how to do this *IN WINDOWS*. I can use linux and parted and do it in one command
parted /dev/sda set 2 boot on
On windows however, I'm stuck. parted isn't ported to windows and I don't know of any good free partition managers for windows that have a non-interactive command line interface (so they can become part of a windows startup script). I could just reset it in XP like you said saikee... but I was wondering if anyone knew of a different way that's less hassle. I don't want to have to teach someone who may use my laptop (and who may use windows for games etc.) to "go to My Computer, right-click.....". One such person, who I don't want to teach, who may use my laptop in this way is me
So, anyone know how to stop windows from resetting the boot flag or of a command line interface program (that isn't interactive) for windows that can reset it?
I'm using XP pro and Debian etch/testing on a Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo M 3438G for the curious.
* It actually used grub and I can even post the menu.lst that it uses [below] but I've tried adding the boot choice it specifies to a grub *I* install to the MBR and it doesn't work. Weird that it works in the first place, reading an NTFS partition like that but then again I don't know much about bootloaders
Still strange seeing as I thought grub needed read-access even more than LILO needs because you don't quite INSTALL it quite as HARD. Gosh, I should stop when I say I know hardly anything about what I'm talking about!