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I have recently decided to install linux on to my computer,as my secondary hard drive is spare.
I went out and bought the complete idiots guide to redhat 9.0 (complete with redhat linux and installed on my machine as the book instructed)
It told me to install the GRUB boot program thingy on the 1st bootsector - and to not over-write my XP bootsector (otherwise I would be unable to load windows XP) So I did this.
I successfully installed linux on my second hard drive - HOWEVER now my computer just loads windows as normal and doesnt give me any option to boot up linux installed on my second hard drive (VERY ANNOYING - DAMN YOU MICROSOFT!) Anys have I done something wrong and is there an easy way for me to correct this little problem....
You should install lilo (or grub) on the MBR (master boot record) and not on the first boot record. Let lilo look for windows partition(os). You can always add entries to your lilo.conf file later on to accomodate windows. For more info read this:
Also the book kind of suggested that linux bootloaders would cause problems if they replaced NT bootloaders - when loading nt based systems such as XP - is this the case??
This is not a problem - there's probably been about 25-30 people posted a similar situation in the last 2 months and we've helped them with no probs. - The typical way of doing it is to install XP first then a Linux dsitribution second - install LILO or GRUB to the MBR. If LILO or GRUB dont pick up the XP installation initially its a simple matter of adding an appropriate entry to the relevant config file.
I have a dual boot on my computer: Windows XP and Red Hat 9.0. I would suggest you to install first Windows and then Red Hat. I use Grub which, I think, is being more and more popular. At the installation, I have created my Linux partition manually (in fact with some help during the Red Hat installation). If you do not trust the installation program, you can always create your own big partition yourself with Partition Magic (for example), under Windows.
You do not really need to know a lot about Lilo / Grub. They detect automatically the other OS and manage them accordingly. A file you should have a look at is /etc/grub.conf once the installation is finished. I have never had problem with LILO (which would have failed in detecting other OS). Hope this helps. Do not hesitate to ask for more information. Good luck.
So basically what your saying is intall red hat linux 9.0 on my XP system and then replace my existing windows bootloader with the GRUB bootloader and everything will run ok - windows wont decide to die on me, refuse to cooperate - have any kind of temper tantrum at the thought of sharing its computer space with an alternative operating system/being loaded by an alternative bootloader???
Oh Additionally need to mention - my hard drive is NTFS file formatted not FAT32 - which is a format linux cant read - I do have partion magic 8.0 (so I suppose I could change the file format if I have to) - will this cause problems in a dual boot system?
I would suggest you to use EXT2 / EXT3 for the Linux partition. EXT3 is better (journal mechanism and easier recovery in case of crash). Red Hat can read NTFS partition (but can not write on it- still experimental and risky, from what I have read, for your partition) BUT, in order to read NTFS partion, you have to apply a patch on your system (I can give you the location to download it if needed).
Anyway, you can have Windows running on NTFS partition / Linux on EXT3 with LILO / GRUB as boot loader.
If there were problems with a Linux distribution picking up your Windows installation, typical entries in Lilo.conf or Grub.conf wouls be - (these are only examples - more often than it will all work fine from the start)
other = /dev/hda1
table = /dev/hda
label = Windows
I prefer LILO - others would suggest GRUB.
Usually there arent any major problems if you install Red Hat correctly.
Most Linux distributinos can READ NTFS easily - Red Hat is an exception
( Red Hat currently doesn’t include a NTFS driver because of uncertainties surrounding the legal status of the driver)
So - to READ a NTFS partition from Red Hat, you can either:
Download and install an RPM – or
Compile your kernel
Your best just getting the relevant RPM - Check out this site for an RPM
If it cant read the NTFS file format of my XP drive - is it still able to bootload windows XP.
NTFS doesn't cause problems when I install red hat - because its going onto a second hard drive. But I am worried that the NTFS system will affect the linux bootloaders ability to successfully boot up windows XP.
If it does go horribly pear-shaped can I boot linux from a floppy or bootable CD -instead of using a bootloader, and if I replace the XP bootloader and it doesn't work - how do I restore the original windows bootloader?
Even if you dont get the RPM for Red Hat to READ NTFS you will still be able to boot into XP - providing its installed correctly in the first place. You just wont be able to READ NTFS - The other option is to just create a separate FAT32 partition to be used as a shared data partition - both OS's can read/write to/from FAT32.
Yes - near the end of the Red Hat install you can make a boot disk.
If I remember correctly - you can also use your Red Hat 1st cd rom as a rescue disk to get your original Windows bootloader back if you want to.