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Old 12-18-2003, 01:17 PM   #1
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Loading GRUB from FAT32 partition


I would like to start GRUB form a FAT32 partition. However I don't want GRUB actually installed on any of my partitions MBR. I could keep GRUB’s files (stage1, stage2, …) on the FAT partition and use boot.ini to run some file that would eventually start GRUB.

Besides if you know how could I boot linux (using maybe other boot-loader than GRUB) with ability to give a kernel and a initrd image than problem would be solved.

Thanks in advance
Old 12-18-2003, 01:59 PM   #2
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Methinks you want loadlin rather than grub.

Last edited by fancypiper; 12-18-2003 at 02:02 PM.
Old 12-18-2003, 02:58 PM   #3
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Do you have Win98 or W2K/XP? What distro of linux are you running?
Old 12-18-2003, 05:12 PM   #4
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You could look here. It covers using NTLDR / Grub to do just what you want. I found it doing a search with the keywords:
boot howto boot.ini grub.


Much of the article deals with avoiding the 1024 cylinder limit for computers with older bioses. You could try ignoring the part about adding a partition before the windows partition to begin with, or maybe look at some of the other links for instructions better suited for what you want to do.

Last edited by jschiwal; 12-18-2003 at 05:23 PM.
Old 12-19-2003, 09:39 AM   #5
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Fancypiper is right, what I actually need is something like loadlin, and my problem would have been solved if I had windows 98 or the like. I have Windows XP.

What I actually need it for?
I installed Linux Red Hat 7.3 on an ext2 partition. Then I put the whole partition in a file (that I keep on my FAT32 partition) and deleted the ext2 partition. I have made a initrd script that mounts the ext2fs file as root and then starts linux. Everything goes (almost) normal with loadlin, however I have to boot in DOS (I use a bootable CD). I know I could just install GRUB on the MBR but I want (most from interest) to boot linux without touching MBR. So you may assume that I have only one partition which MBR I cannot touch.

I tried to give to boot.ini stage1 file but all it writes is GRUB (and it’s understandable). I tried also concatenating files stage1 and stage2 (as presented in “info grub”), it goes a bit further with writing “GRUB Floppy Error”. Maybe I’m on the wrong track with this ?
Old 12-20-2003, 09:12 PM   #6
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You are trying to load in Red Hat with the entire partition a loopbacked file in a fat32 partition? Mandrake can do this by entering lin4win in the expert install options. The performance is reduced since all access is going through the loopback device. Is the FAT32 drive the first booting drive. If thats the case, there should be no problem installing lilo to the MBR. If not, install lilo to the FAT32 partition and follow the NT-Linux Boot howto. You do need to make changes to get linux booted up through a loop back device however and I don't remember if this involved using loadlin.

Why, if you had a partition for Red Hat prepared do you want to do run linux through a loopback. I did this once on an old laptop with a small harddrive just to be able to play around with it.


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