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I have been doing upgrade installs from previous versions, so my FC2 was an upgrade from FC1, and it just left the partitions it found alone. (It's the partition table that can get mis-read or mis-written, not the boot sector, I think, and it was related to the kernel or something else in the final version of FC2, so I was not at risk going up from FC1.) If you can tell Fedora to take over your existing SuSE partition(s) I can't imagine you would have any problem either though, unless you use ReiserFS, which I don't think FC supports on installation. You will be able to step through the partition portion of the installation before you really have to commit to it, so you can do a dry run and tell it to use so-and-so existing ext2/3 partition for this and so and so existing ext2/3 partition for that, and see if it complains. And if you let it install it's grub bootloader to your MBR, it will do fine for the dual boot stuff too.
Interesting points. I'm not clear on the grub stuff.
Now that I've a dual-boot with XP and SuSE, SuSE has its grub installed and so when I install FC2( after all dry runs ), at the end I've to install the grub( of FC2 ) anyway isn't - to be clean. I do want to get rid of SuSE stuff anyway, so I believe installing grub from FC2 is what I prefer.
So I guess I do have to expect the partition screw up anyway. But at what stage is the alteration of partition occur ?
Ok. Then I think you will be fine if you just tell Fedora to "take over" the SuSE partition. It will do what it needs to do (make 3 partitions out of it) and I don't think you will get bit by the bug. I started the same way, with Partition Magic, but I did it to leave 10 GB unallocated, and then told Fedora to use the unallocated space.
Here is a tip though, in case you get into trouble somewhere. One of the CDs that came with your Dell is a WindowsXP CD. At any time, you can hit F12 when the machine boots and tell it to boot from the CD. It can boot from the WindowsXP Dell CD. You can then tell it that you want to go into the Recovery Console and it will get you to a command prompt. If you type:
it will tell you you have a broken mbr and that it might not be able to fix it (because it considers anything Linux to be broken) but that you can let it try. It will replace whatever grub you have installed at that point with the regular WindowsXP boot stuff, and from then on your machine will just boot straight into Windows. You could then go back to Partition Magic, and use it to delete the SuSE partition and turn it to unallocated space, and then you would be right were I was when I installed Fedora, and hopefully with no bugs or problems or glitches.
I would roll the dice and just try letting Fedora take over the SuSE partition and save the fixmbr routine in case it didn't go right. And I would be sure I had a good backup of my Windows data files.
Thanks for the all information. Really appreciate it. But I'm sorry - I gave one wrong info. Its is of type reiserFS.
Its been a while since I installed SuSE and I believe in Partition Magic I had formatted it to be ext2/3, but I think when SuSE installs, I was asked to use this partition-type and I believe I chose yes.
Does this change your suggestion.
As a dry run, I popped in the FC2 CD and that's when I noted its of type reiserFS, but anyway, I believe I can get into manual partitioning mode and get it used for FC2. Is my assumption correct ?
You can tell Fedora to "take over" that partition, yes. And then it will give you a choice where it does the rest for you, or you can do it manually. I'm banking on the notion that as long as you don't tell it to do anything with the Windows partitions, that it would have no reason to alter the parameters for it in the partition table, and therefore it would avoid the possible bug. I wish I had read more into what it was about, but isn't it something to do with LBA and BIOSs that were from the time when that was just starting out? If so, that is way before the time of our machines, so it shouldn't be an issue.
Yes, that is the same bug I was referring to. I'm going to check in the BIOS and see if it has the LBA option they mention or if it is actually locked into LBA. I'm not an expert on this, but I still have the impressionm that this is a bug that affected machines with older BIOSs and perhaps installs of Windows before WindowsXP, where almost all the DOS stuff was eliminated.
If you are really afraid, and don't have a way to make a decent backup of your Windows stuff, you could maybe do an install of FC 1 first, like I did, which is still the 2.4 kernel (no bug then) and then do an upgrade install of FC 2 shortly after on top of it. That was the way I did it and no bug here. I don't think FC 2 (2.6 kernel) had to bother with partitions at all in that sequence.
I'll post back in a moment if I find any clues in the BIOS here.....
When I tried to find more details about this bug( which they actually don't refer as a bug, but more of an expected alteration ), I only read about XP, not XP by itself as a upgraded product.
Even in a such a case, it shouldn't matter isn't, because if XP was an upgrade to any previous version of Windows, its would alter the boot-sector accordinly, anyway. So it could happen to a new XP installation, that's what my understanding was.
In my case, I don't think BIOS is an issue as this is just 1+ year old laptop.
Appreciate your time and information.
Last edited by shankariyer; 08-08-2004 at 04:12 PM.
I just checked in the BIOS and there is no option to turn LBA on/off, like there used to be a few years ago, so it has LBA locked on or it couldn't use hard drives of our sizes. I'm going to see if there is any useful info in Partition Magic partition info. The link you gave above seems to have very thorough instructions for fixing back up if you do get "bugged".