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I am one who tinkers, and plays with distros, as opposed to being a 'power user' so I tend to install one, get a feel for it, play with it, and eventually move on until I have time to experiment with another one. As such, I learn to get around in linux, but its more of a sideline hobby at this point in time.
I went years with an older, PII machine, and as such, always set up the boot loader to boot from a floppy, in order to avoid any problems with booting the windows system that I use every day to make a living. Plus, my linux installs were beyond the 1024cyl limit, so it was just easier than shoving things around on my hard drive to make room "near the head of the line."
Bought myself a nice new Intel MB and a P4 for Christmas, and I'm in the mood to try out Fedora 4.
My machine has a main HD of 40G, with various partitions, which boots from C:\ into that windows thing I have to use.
In order to keep it simple, I just want to just plug in a spare 20G drive as a slave, and I hope to install Fedora there, and let it put the bootloader in the MBR. Where I fall short in knowledge is, will Fedora boot from the MBR, being installed so far down the "cylinder list?"
I am not concerned about the "how" for the bootloader, as much as I am not wanting to repeat the past when I learned the hard way that the older PC could not boot any OS past 1024cyls.
Is that enough information, and will I be able to boot properly?
You shouldn't worry. The 1024 cylinder limitation existed for some older hardware but I've never had a problem with it. Grub is very flexible and will boot almost anything. Also, since you plan to install FC on the second HD it's going to start within the 1024 boundary on that disk. Just remember that the BIOS will look into the mbr of the first HD to see which OS should be started and where it resides.
One technique that I use to keep the disks completely separate is to power off the first disk when I install Linux to the second disk. Then you can choose which to install by adjusting the CMOS boot sequence. You have to keep the data cable in the first hard disk during the install to the second disk. That is so that the BIOS will know that there is a disk there and the Linux installer will put the right info into the boot loader. This will keep your Windows disk completely untouched.
1 - Power off the computer and disconnect the power cable from the first hard disk.
2 - Set the CMOS boot sequence to boot from the second hard disk.
3 - Install Linux.
4 - Do any post installation work on the Linux system.
5 - Power off the computer and replace the power cable on the first hard disk.
6 - When you want to boot Windows you can change the boot sequence in the CMOS to boot from the first hard disk. When you want to boot Linux you can change the CMOS boot sequence to boot from the second hard disk.
This way no matter what happens you can replace or move either disk and the other disk will still boot its operating system. It's not too inconvenient. You will probably boot one system or the other 90% of the time.
The idea is OK, but you don't have to do anything that elaborate. After doing your install on the second HDD you can simply install grub to the MBR of the second drive. Then make your 2nd drive your first (!) and add the necessary lines to start up windows (which is now on the second). Before the typical
lines place the following:
map (hd0,0) (hd1,0)
map (hd1,0) (hd0,0)
That way windows will believe it's on the first HD and won't cause any problems at boot.