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Old 04-14-2009, 06:52 AM   #1
RetiredPCTech
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boot manager for linux and windows 7


Hello;
I am new to this site and to linux, and I apologize if this was not the right spot to post this. I am a retired pc technician who is very familiar with windows and small networks, and I am looking to start using/learning linux. I recently purchased a new Lenovo Y530 laptop, removed vista, and installed xindows7 on a portion of the drive. Now I would like to install linux on it as well so I can start using it as my main os and use windows7 for some games I like to play. From google I learned that a number of linux users have reported that both ubuntu and linux mint distros will work well on my laptop. I have also read that mepis is a good linux distro for beginners. I was wondering if there are any 3rd party boot managers that I could use to handle boot management between windows 7 and linux? I would like to have the ability to easily install and uninstall several different distros of linux, while still allowing me to get to the windows7 os without any problems. This way I can really play around with the different linux distros mentioned above until I find one I really like and one that works well on my laptop. I have seen suggestions on the net from others about some programs like easybcd, osl2, and OSL2000, but I have never used them, and I don't know if they will do what I would I am looking for. If anyone has any advice on how I should proceed, I would really appreciate it.
TIA,
RPCT

Last edited by RetiredPCTech; 04-14-2009 at 06:55 AM.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 07:25 AM   #2
linuxlover.chaitanya
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If you want to hop around the distros until you find something that attracts you then you should look for using a live distribution. It will run directly from the media and this way you will not need to install it. And once you find one that attracts you, you can go and install it.
Ubuntu is a good choice as is Linux Mint. Mint is based on Ubuntu though it has got its own repositories and the binaries for Mint may not be compatible with Ubuntu now.
As you have not described much on anything like what is the primary use of your lappy and what resources it has, Ubuntu seems to be a nice choice. You can also look for Fedora10.
As far as going for third party boot loader is concerned, I havent used any but most of the distros today come with Grub and it should be capable of booting windows 7. You should not need a third party boot loader. If you just need it so that you can install and de-install distributions and change them frequently without any harm to windows, that can still be done without much effort without needing third party and grub should always be fine. Just make sure to install grub whenever you install a new distribution.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 07:28 AM   #3
johnsfine
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The boot manager I suggest is probably not what you would call "third party". I suggest GRUB, which is the boot manager many Linux distributions (including Mepis) will install by default.

If you plan to change distributions a lot, I suggest:

When you set up the first one, use a separate boot partition. You might want everything else in / or maybe have /home separate as well.

The first Linux install will set up Grub in that boot partition and create entries there for it self and, I think, for Windows as well (since it sees Windows was there before you installed Linux).

Look at the menu.lst file that creates and make sure you understand the syntax of the entries.

When you install additional Linux distributions, tell those installers not to install any boot code. Then manually edit the menu.lst file to make any changes or additions needed for those distributions.

An alternative, if you intend to always keep at least one previous Linux install when setting up the next:
On each linux install, set up grub the default way, inside of /boot which is inside the / partition set up for that install. After each of those installs, open (in any text editor) both the new menu.lst file and the second newest (of those you haven't deleted yet) and copy all the entries that are still valid from that second newest one to the newest.

Last edited by johnsfine; 04-14-2009 at 07:33 AM.
 
Old 04-14-2009, 08:49 AM   #4
onebuck
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Hi,

Welcome to LQ!

I also suggest that you look at some LiveCD distributions. You could look at 'The LiveCD List' or 'DistroWatch' to select distributions to play with until you decide.

These links and others are available from 'Slackware-Links'. More than just SlackwareŽ links!

BTW, bootloaders can be a personal choice. I prefer 'lilo' over 'grub'. I don't use the 'M$ ntloader' if not necessary.
 
Old 04-15-2009, 09:03 AM   #5
RetiredPCTech
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Thanks to everyone who has responded! It sounds like it would be a real pain in the ass to have more than one linux disto installed at the same time, so I think I will forgo that idea. I will definitely try out the live CD's of Ubuntu, Mint and Mepis and maybe even pclinuxos too for now and hold off on installing linux just yet. I heard slackware is more for linux pros and power users, so I think that would not be a good distro for me.
To answer the first person's question, my laptop is has an Intel C2D, 3gb ram, nvidia 9300 integrated video (I think if memory serves), and has a 320gb hard drive. So far I have made a 75GB NTFS partition C and installed windows 7 on it, and a 120GB NTFS partition D for all my data. I plan on using windows7 for some casual gaming and also for my wife if she wants to use the laptop for surfing, etc. I want to keep all my files, etc on the D drive separate from both the OS partitions that way my data will be separate, and I believe linux can read NTFS partitions, so that way I will be able to access my data from either os. The rest of the drive (minus a 15gb hidden partition that houses the lenovo recovery software-I left that alone) I have left to install linux on (almost 100GB to play with).
I previously read (but I can't find the site again now for the life of me) that there was some issue with grub and my laptop that had something to do with the dvd drive not being mounted on bootup or something. I believe others suggested a fix to use lilo instead. If and when I decide to install one of the above distros, is that an option, or do I have to pick a certain distro to use lilo? I am guessing it is available in all of them, but just thought I should ask. Also, if I go with lilo and then later decide to uninstall linux, what happens to the boot process with winows7? I guess I have a lot of questions about using lilo and why I previously was looking for a easy 3rd party app that would manage all of that. One thing that I also noticed with windows 7 was it created a small 100mb partiiton before partition c. I guess that is some new boot partition for windows7. I have tried searching "dualboot windows7/linux", but there isn't much out there. I did find a liux article, but it was for someone who wanted to try 7 with an already existing linux system-opposite of my situation. The other hits I read was where I found out about easybcd, and those other apps. I would be willing to try out lilo, if others can confirm I can set it up with out too much fuss with 7 and what I would need to do if I was to uninstall and reinstall a different linus distro. Again, your input is appreciated.
Thanks,
RPCT
 
Old 04-15-2009, 09:12 AM   #6
linuxlover.chaitanya
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If you think it is pain to install various linux distributions then you might not be as correct. Grub can and will happily boot most of the distributions out there including your windows. So there is no need to worry about.
If you want to install linux go ahead and install the Grub boot loader. And in future if you feel like installing another distribution, install it and then over write the grub. This is the easiest way. You will not need to edit the grub files manually.
Your laptop seems to be quite well on resources and there is no need to worry about harming your windows if you take a little care while installing and knowing on which partition you are installing.
 
Old 04-15-2009, 09:34 AM   #7
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredPCTech View Post
It sounds like it would be a real pain in the ass to have more than one linux disto installed at the same time
I didn't intend to give that impression and I don't think anyone else responding here did either.

I think you would need to edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst file after installing each additional Linux distribution. But editing that file is easy.

At the moment I have both Mepis 7 and Mepis 8 installed on my own computer (in separate / and /home partitions, sharing the same swap partition). Doing that was just the easiest way to smooth my transition from Mepis 7 to Mepis 8. I did need to edit the menu.lst file after installing Mepis 8. But that was trivial and I don't know of any other complications from having both.

Last edited by johnsfine; 04-15-2009 at 09:39 AM.
 
Old 04-17-2009, 09:08 AM   #8
malekmustaq
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RetiredPcTech:

Q=="Again, your input is appreciated."==

Linux world is far different from the world where we came from. In M$windows we only use one bootloader --that which is given by microsoft. Here in Linux bootloaders abound.

But we do not need to learn all the boot loaders. As for me, an old man I am, I found out by testing and constant reading, that Grub has the better off edge than Lilo, so I decided to concentrate learning only GRUB, this manner I save much time. I only use one boot loader to handle all; and I installed it only once, not in every system.

Grub can ---

1. Handle to boot more than a hundred different system kernels in one hard drive, an ability that remains only in the the realm of imagination in the windoze world;

2. Handle to chain-load Microsoft system without a trace of conflict nor issue doing the job while Grub is installed by and sits in a Linux system partition; this means, install Grub in Linux and tell it to chain-load a microsoft system from different partition at boot time;

3. Work using its own command prompt "grub:>" using minimal 'bash' commands or its native commands;

4. Be installed only once in a Gnu/Linux system and load all linux distros or M$windoze found in the hard disk; meaning, you don't need install Grub each time you install subsequent distros; for this to work you only need edit /boot/grub/menu.lst; an ability to do "multi-boot" not only dual-boot;

5. Be easily hacked to use your own wallpaper when it boots.

Yes Grub can handle all these if you install it unto the Master Boot Record (MBR).

-----------

Q=="One thing that I also noticed with windows 7 was it created a small 100mb partiiton before partition c. I guess that is some new boot partition for windows7. I have tried searching "dualboot windows7/linux", but there isn't much out there. I did find a liux article, but it was for someone who wanted to try 7 with an already existing linux system-opposite of my situation."==

Comment:

100mb initial partition does not exist in Grub. As the number of partitions in the logical drive multiplies the mbr of first 512 bytes containing partition table may require some space nearby but 100mb is too much and I did not notice this in my current grub overseeing 14 partitions of my hard drive.

------------

Q=="I would be willing to try out lilo, if others can confirm I can set it up with out too much fuss with 7 and what I would need to do if I was to uninstall and reinstall a different linus distro."==

Comment:

If you learned how to use Grub you don't need to use Lilo (although Lilo is a good loader too). What Lilo can do Grub does it better. You can cash my word in the bank. I am a Slackware votary, fanatic, user, bigot or a consummate lover but I never install Lilo in all machines, this one I use right now I boot this regularly telling my Grub at the Mint partition system to do it for me.

Installing or uninstalling another Gnu/Linux distro does not affect Grub so long as you are not uninstalling the distro that currently holds <installed with> the Grub. You may only edit the /boot/grub/menu.lst accordingly after uninstall or install. Moreover, Gnu/Linux distros, unlike Windoze, are not stupid to meddle with the mbr upon exit: Gnu/Linux respects the right of other systems to exist.

FINALLY, in order to enjoy your Gnu/Linux moments download and read Grub:

http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/grub.html

and here's a well written Unix/Gnu/Linux tutorial for download and offline reference:

http://www.freebookcentre.net/unix-b...heer)-PDF.html

Goodluck and welcome to the Linux community.

Hope this helps.
 
Old 04-25-2009, 01:19 AM   #9
RetiredPCTech
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Ok, I got mint installed and dual booting with win7

Thanks to everyone again who have posted advice and suggestions. I just want to give everyone an update. Since my last posting I have been just "trying out" the live cd's for ubuntu, mint, mepis, and linuxpcos. I found that I either didn't like or had problems with mepis and linuxpcos, but I found that I liked both ubuntu and mint. I found mint to be the best, so I decided to dive in and instal it. You guys were right about grub. It is working great with windows 7. I do have to edit it or something because it has like 3 or 4 listings for mint and 2 for windows. I think I need to do some searching on how to edit the grub file on this site. I am going to install ubuntu on it as well soon, but I am going to play with mint first for awhile. Some problems I have ran into so far are minor annoyances to larger annoyances. They are:
1) My username isn't entered at sign-on. I know that this isn't a big deal, but to have to type both my username and password at each bootup is..well..annoying. I have played around with the "administration->login window" but can't seem to get it to come up with my username for me. The autologin works, but I don't like that in the event my laptop gets stolen, etc. I just want it to be like windows (forgive me for saying that)where there is icon with my username or a login box with my username already entered.
2) sound was way too low. I did some searching on the mint forum, but no luck there. I found a thread on ubuntu forums with suggestions and it seemed to have worked. The sound is much louder, but the speakers don't turn off when I plug in headphones. I haven't even tried the mic yet.
3) screens dims on bootup and shutdown. Also the dim keys work in reverse. I think I saw a thread with a fix for the latter that has to do with remapping them, but haven't tried it yet.
4) A lot of the function keys don't work. Also the y530 has this "touch inductive panel" at the top with specialty keys like dolby surround, audio mixer effects, etc. and media player buttons (play, pause, ff, etc.). The media player buttons work, but none of the rest of them do. Again, this isn't the biggest deal, just something I noticed that doesn't work.
5) The biggest annoyance is that the suspend/hibernate features don't work. From the little reading I have done, this seems to be a common issue with linux and laptops. I think some users have stated that "tuxonice" works for hibernate, but suspend is still an issue. I have no idea what "tuxonice" is yet, so I have more reading and googling, etc. to do.
I want everyone to know that I am liking linux so far. Everything may not be working exactly yet like it should, but I am going to remain optimistic and not give up. When I decide to install ubuntu, I believe (from one of the posts earlier above) someone said that when I install the second distro to tell the installer to not install the bootloader. Is this correct? Do I have to do anything in grub under mint for ubuntu or will grub just pick it up? I am a little hazy on that part. Anyways, I will keep playing with mint and try to get some more of my above issues resolved.
Later,
RPCT
 
Old 04-28-2009, 11:49 AM   #10
Python Rider
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hi ..im a newbie in linux world ..n bit crazy too..to wanna install 3 os in a single hard disk..
i want to install windows 7 since there are some programs which run on windows only and basically im a newbie..
the second os i want to install is backtrack 3 final from live cd..
the third os i want to install is linux mint 6 kde..

i partitioned my hard disk as follows..
dev/sda1 primary partion NTFS C: 27 GB
dev/sda2 primary partion NTFS D: 40 GB
dev/sda3 primary partion SWAP 5 GB (RAM = 2 GB)
dev/sda5 logical partion / ext3 10 GB
dev/sda6 logical partion /boot ext3 10 GB
dev/sda7 logical partion /home ext3 12 GB
dev/sda8 logical partion reiserfs 10 GB

i installed windows 7 first ..thn installed linux mint 6 kde ..everything worked fine..grub was perfect..although i didnt do config.

thn i tried installing backtrack 3 final from live cd ..

thn now i can open nly windows ..linux mint wont open although it shows in grub..and backtrack wont show in grub..

i think both distros got installed in root

wat to do ..how to install..plz help me out..

thanks to linux geeks...
 
Old 04-28-2009, 04:57 PM   #11
onebuck
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Hi,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Python Rider View Post
hi ..im a newbie in linux world ..n bit crazy too..to wanna install 3 os in a single hard disk..
i want to install windows 7 since there are some programs which run on windows only and basically im a newbie..
the second os i want to install is backtrack 3 final from live cd..
the third os i want to install is linux mint 6 kde.. <snip>
I suggest that you start a new thread instead of hi-jacking this one.

This subject has been covered so do a search here on LQ to see a load of answers.
 
Old 04-28-2009, 06:35 PM   #12
jefro
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I think you'd be much better off running a virtual machine. No muss, no fuss.
 
Old 05-16-2009, 09:52 AM   #13
gargamel
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Regarding the original post, there are several directions in which you could go.

1. Live Distributions
PRO: No installation necessary, good way to get a first impression of the different flavours of Linux (i. e. the different distributions).
CON: Usually there are some functional restrictions or limitations compared to a harddisc installation. E. g., the Live CDs of openSUSE may help you decide, if you prefer Gnome or KDE, but their runtime performance is pretty inferior. Installed to harddisc openSUSE is among the best performers in the Linux universe, then. So choosing a distro after using its live cousin has the same risk as juding a book by the cover.

2. Mulit-boot installation
PRO: Optimum performance and hardware support in all systems.
CON: A little more complicated. However: If you, e. g., first install Xubuntu and then openSUSE, the installation and administration tool YaST of that distribution will detect the existing Xubuntu system and automagically set up the bootloader so that you can choose which one to boot next time you turn on your computer. However, not all distros offer this level of comfort. If you install Slackware as a third system, you will have to edit /etc/lilo.conf by hand, in order to be able to boot all three systems.
If you go this way, my suggestion would be, that you first install all other distros, and then, as the last one, openSUSE. In the respect mentioned it's the most comfortable distro I know, and even if you don't want to use it for any other purpose it may make sense in your scenario to have at least a minimum install of it on your machine.
But as I said: Install everything else before.

3. Virtual machines

PRO: No hasseling with bootloader configuration.
CON: Restricted support for your hardware, and need for large RAM.

4. Genuine live distro

Using distros like Knoppix or SLAX is becoming more and more an option for dayly use. These distros are not designed just to give you an impression of Debian or Slackware, from which they are derived, but are supposed to be used as replacements for them (Knoppix) or rescue/repair systems.

Recommendation: Start with option 4. Then install Slackware. (Well, that's personal. But I have tried many distros in the past, always looking for something I was missing, but since I found peace) .

Good luck!
 
Old 05-16-2009, 11:27 AM   #14
johnsfine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Python Rider View Post
the second os i want to install is backtrack 3 final from live cd..
the third os i want to install is linux mint 6 kde..
Quote:
dev/sda5 logical partion / ext3 10 GB
dev/sda6 logical partion /boot ext3 10 GB
dev/sda7 logical partion /home ext3 12 GB
dev/sda8 logical partion reiserfs 10 GB
Sharing a / or /home directory between distributions is probably not for a beginner. I'm a bit beyond beginner myself and I still wouldn't know what I could get away with in such sharing, what the pitfalls are nor what tweaks would be needed to make it work. You also probably have no good reason for /boot separate from / and maybe not even for /home to be separate.


Quote:
i installed windows 7 first ..thn installed linux mint 6 kde ..everything worked fine..grub was perfect..although i didnt do config.
All as expected. Most Linus installers notice a previous Windows install and automatically configure Grub for one Windows and one Linux (though each might be represented by more than one choice in the boot menu).

Quote:
thn i tried installing backtrack 3 final from live cd ..

thn now i can open nly windows ..linux mint wont open although it shows in grub..and backtrack wont show in grub..
I assume you shared the existing / and/or /home partition and the backtrack installer was confused by that and installed wrong, probably trashing the Mint install. Probably you also made some choice in the Backtrack install to avoid overwriting the Grub installed by Mint, so Backtrack wouldn't be in the Grub menu until you manually edit it.

Quote:
wat to do ..how to install..plz help me out..
I would need a much better understanding of what you have to give you easy instructions for fixing it.

You may want to boot from a Linux liveCD and look around a bit before reinstalling. If you can find it, you probably should save your menu.lst file before reinstalling, because it has a correct entry for booting Windows.

I would delete all the Linux partitions and repartition. I don't know whether you should have more than swap plus two / partitions. If you have more, decide in advance which are for which distribution. To avoid complications the two distributions should not share anything but the swap partition. Each distribution can mount the Windows partitions and the other distribution's partition(s) but the partitions the two distributions install into should not be shared.

If you repartition (maybe even if you just reinstall Linux) you will lose the existing menu.lst file, which contains an entry for booting windows. If you saved it (to usb or to the Windows D drive or wherever) then you can open both the new and saved copies in a text editor and copy the Windows entry to the new file.

Last edited by johnsfine; 05-16-2009 at 11:29 AM.
 
Old 05-16-2009, 03:16 PM   #15
gargamel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnsfine View Post
Sharing a / or /home directory between distributions is probably not for a beginner. I'm a bit beyond beginner myself and I still wouldn't know what I could get away with in such sharing, what the pitfalls are nor what tweaks would be needed to make it work. You also probably have no good reason for /boot separate from / and maybe not even for /home to be separate.
[...]
I support this, and from my own experience I cannot recommend doing this. It is possible, but the results are just not predictable.

You can, of course, share data in your /home directory among systems, but don't try to share configuration files. Unfortunately, sometimes these are buried deeply in a directory tree below a hidden directory, that also contains data. KDE is such an example, with all kinds of stuff under .kde.

If you don't use the exactly same versions of all the software you use, using such files and directories with one system may make them useless for the other one. And even if you have the exactly same version of, say, KDE on all your systems, you cannot be sure if it was compiled with the exactly same options.

Best regards

gargamel
 
  


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