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There's nothing really wrong placing the boot loader at the MBR. But since you've got the same problems with all the above distributions, I'd recommend you making a boot disk during the installation and boot using it _without_ installing any boot loader at all. If you are going to stick dual-booting, I'd also recommend you using FAT32 instead of NTFS for safely writing to that partition. I have had problems installing grub once when using NTFS, no problems with FAT32 but I don't know the actual reason for this...
If you are just willing to learn Linux, then I'd stick with the boot disk or a live CD as Knoppix. If you still want to give another distribution a try, I'd say, try Libranet, but chances are, that you will get the exactly same problem... But Libranet is a nice and fast distro anyway
i dual-boot (multi-boot?) xp with suse and slackware..i use a boot disk to boot into slack and suse...it's easier for me, and it doesn't mess up my xp...i think it had something to do with knocking the hal.dll out of xp somehow...so i'd suggest the boot disk too...
1. I hate the speed
2. I use the floppy drive to make a daily backup of my wifes text docs in Windows, which I then burn to a CD. The floppy must always be in for the script to make the backup.
3. My wife is comfortable with all the setup. I cannot count on her to remember to put a floppy in after she boots. As it is, she is unhappy that she cannot access her account with her settings. Lucky for me I have her work backed up and let her use my laptop for now.
Therefore, I want bios to be set with no floppy boot. I am not to add hardware like tape drive before I am fully satisfied with the switch I am making.
I am running Professional. Something went terribly wrong and all my dlls are hosed. I tried installing windows on the existing system but it decided to forget about keeping ther dlls. So I am now reformating and installing as new. Maybe a blessing in disguise. I am now reformating in FAT32. I believe, Linux is able to read write to it. I had it NTSF before. Will post my outcome when all are installed and I have something to cheer about or complain about.
My problem is still not fixed. After installing Win XP and used Libranet and let it decide on how to setup the boot loader. When the system reboots, I get
Grub Loading, Pleas wait...
This is happening for a while now with all the distro I try. I am really lost and tired and do not know whether to give up or not. I am not just built to give up though so I keep trying. I am hoping that someone will see the stupid thing I am missing.
As for your original question, I'd recommend a Slackware dual boot with XP, and to install lilo in the MBR. (Personally I don't like GRUB and would encourage that you go with lilo) It has worked aces for me on 3 different machines, and no troubles at all. My view of the "MBR or not MBR" controversy is that in the past, Yes, messing with the MBR may have been a risky move in the past, but honestly, as long as you're running a modern OS release on a modern machine, you should be OK. My very first dual boot Linux/Windows attempt in Jan 2003 included the "install lilo to MBR" option, not that I had any real clue about what I was doing, but it was perfectly fine. I like lilo because during the boot process it very clearly gives you the available OS choices, and it's highly configurable.
I will backup MegamanX's suggestion however about using something like Knoppix if you are still exploring Linux, since you can run Knoppix without installing anything. If/when you know you want to install Linux full time, I'd recommend trying several distros, to determine which one best fits your style and needs. This is a good central source: www.linuxiso.org
Lastly, it seems to me that if you finesse this situation, maybe you could persuade your wife that what would really be best for the both of you would be to pick up a brand new PC, yes??? Good luck either way -- J.W.
PS - if so, dude, clue me in to your secrets. I'm dying to upgrade the P3 600Mz box I've got.
Just saw your latest post after my lengthy reply. What is your partition layout? How many hard drives are you using? Can you post your fstab?
In the vernacular, are you using one, two, or three hard drives, and do you have them split into multiple pieces (ie, you may have a single hard drive that you have created 2 partitions on, equivalent to having a C:\ and D:\ Windows drive on a single drive). If you have successfully installed Linux on this box, can you copy and paste the contents of this file: /etc/fstab
Knowing those things may be helpful in getting to the bottom of this situation. Don't give up. It may be discouraging in the beginning but it's worth it. As Ringo once said "You got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blues, and you know it don't come easy" Words to live by -- J.W.
Thanks J.W. for the backup One more suggestion to btexpress problems though...
It's possible to use NT, 2K and XP boot loader to boot Linux. Although this is not a conventional method, it's known to work. Problem is, you will waste a hole lot of time trying to find howto's on google, since everybody simply uses Lilo or Grub for that matter. I've found two tutorials and they describe how to get FreeBSD to boot with WinNT/2k. Here is one:
which teaches how to get both FreeBSD to boot using WinXP boot loader. If you need a translation, let me know .
As I never tried it myself (I simply dedicated a box FreeBSD only), I've no idea if those methods would work, and I know even less if they would work with Linux. But hey, we are running out of options here since you don't want a boot disk or live CD and your PC dislike lilo and grub .
Well, here is what I have so far. I put XP as new. Then added Fedora Core 1. When I chose to use grub boot loader on /dev/hda, same error. I lost my XP boot loader, so I decided to repair it and reinstall Linux without a boot loader. fdisk -l is
Disk /dev/hdd: 80.0 GB, 80026329600 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdd1 * 1 13 104391 83 Linux
/dev/hdd2 14 9664 77521657+ 83 Linux
/dev/hdd3 9665 9729 522112+ 82 Linux swap
Disk /dev/hda: 20.4 GB, 20411080704 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 2481 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 * 1 2480 19920568+ c Win95 FAT32 (LBA)
As an added note, I have played with Knoppix 3.3 Live CD for a while. I use Linux at work and simulate it with cygwin on my laptop. So, this exercise is not to get familiar with it but to embrace it. So far the transition has benn painful. I hardly see my wife as she goes to sleep while I try to figure this out until about 02:00 every day for the last 10 days.
Boot with it, you should get a GRUB prompt, then enter the following commands:
grub> root (hd1,0)
It should say filesystem is ext2
grub> setup (hd1)
If you get error messages not being able to find various stage files and config files, boot back into Linux, copy the entire grub/ directory on the floppy to your /boot, and manually create a /boot/grub/grub.conf file.
References to (hd1) in /boot/grub/grub.conf should be changed to (hd0), so you grub.conf should look somethnig like:
Once thats done reboot and go back into bios, set the secondary slave (Linux drive) as the first device, and see if everything works.
Also there's a utility called "ms-sys" on the floppy, you can use it to write a Windows MBR to /dev/hda so that Windows will also load when you set it as the 1st boot device in bios.