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I'm almost an MCSE. I've been at this for about fifteen years, since my Amstrad. I've installed Windows hundreds of times, I am convinced any idiot could do it, assuming they can read. Dual boot? Answer a couple of questions and it works.
So, now (at last, some say) I come to LINUX. I downloaded the 3.1 Debian Linux (Sarge) images, put them on disc and got stuck in. I have an empty space, I start up the machine and start following the instructions...
xxx?! I've made it one step more complicated because I want to dual boot with XP and 2000 Server which are already on there. This requires that I start fiddling around with bootpart, GRUB and LILO before I can even install LINUX as far as I can tell, although I'm still not clear. I want to be clear before I screw up the MBR and have to start all over again. Is there a free version of LINUX that has a decent installer program which can handle things like dual boot? Is there a set of instructions for using GRUB or LILO that are written in plain English?
It will go like this: C: - XP and boot, D: - 2000 Server, E: - Linux, hopefully. E: is currently completely empty and has 5GB of space.
Is it true that I need to move the XP partition? Why? Where to? Can GRUB or LILO load Windows? Why can't I add Linux to BOOT.INI and use NTLDR? As long as you point at the right place, what difference does it make? Is the swap partition absolutely necessary?
So many questions - can you tell I'm new?
I'll keep looking but everything I've found so far has just confused me even more. If anyone has any useful suggestions I'd be very grateful. Just "read this and it should all make sense" would be great. I did search but I couldn't find it on this forum. geocities.com/epark/linux/grub-w2k-HOWTO didn't help. I was hoping for something in English.
Hmm... a lot depends on not only partitions but also disks. I'm going to assume it's all on one disk, in the order [C, D , E].
In that case, no, you don't have to mave the XP partition. GRUB and LILO can load the Windows boot loaders (it's called chainloading), and NTLDR can be clubbed into loading a boot sector saved to a file on the NTFS (I assume) file system. This has the disadvantage that whenever you want to update the boot sector on E:, you also have to update the boot sector file. It's generally easier to boot w. LILO or GRUB first than w. NTLDR first.
The necessity of swap depends on how much RAM you have. I have 512 MB, and I think I could live w/o swap.
Anyways, I think the manuals are reasonably clear. Before you start mucking with any boot sectors (incl. the master boot record), make sure you have boot disks for all OSes.
If indeed your disk layout is [C:, D:, E:], their corresponding LILO names are hda1, hda2 and hda3, and their grub names are (hd0,0), (hd0,1) and (hd0,2).
try mandriva, it seems ideally suited for you. Hell its easier than installing windows, and for someone who is almost an msce it will be no problem.
Whatever distro you choose almost certainly you can get a bootable install cd just like windows. Tell the setup partition to install it iin your spare hd, and not to touch c or d. When it automagically configures booting, tell it to install (whichever bootloader you like, i.e. lilo or grub mainly) on the mbr, windows will still boot and youll get a funky graphical menu sometimes.
As it sounds like you know your way around a windows www.opensuse.com could be a good distro to practise with, its install routine is quite nice. and you can control many differnt options.
From what I gather:
it is actually one disk with 3 partitions (C, D, E) with what is now E is to become the linux-partition.
First: go for grub instead of lilo; it is easier in the end - you just need to get the naming sceme used by it - it starts counting partitions from 0 (for the first one)...
Second: Make a swap partition
You do that by deleting the partition which is now "E" and recreate 2 new partitions - one for swap and one for the linux filesystem
If it is one disk with
windows on the first (XP)
another windows on the second (2000 server) - which is the first of the logical partitions as I get it...
linux-swap on the third
and linux itself on the fourth partition
and the windows-xp is on the primary partition, while all the others are on logical partitions, the layout would be:
/dev/hda1 --> windows-xp --> (hd0,0) in grub /dev/hda3 --> win200Ŗ ( hda3 because it is a logical partition - hda2 is taken to store the partition-table...) --> (hd0,2) in grub /dev/hda4 --> linux-swap (size: twice the RAM you have - but 512 MB should be more than sufficient - I'd only go completely without swap if you have 1 GB or more of RAM) --> would be (hd0,3) in grub - but swap does not matter for grub setup /dev/hda5 --> linux (the rest of the available space) --> (hd0,4) in grub
I felt like a bit of a nerd saying 'nearly MCSE' like that but I wanted to avoid the instructions on how to partition a disc and the old 2GB limit, stuff like that. I was quite frustrated by the time I got here. The Debian installer seemed to want to do something but I didn't understand what it meant exactly and if you're not really sure it's usually best to wait until you do. Jomen gets what I'm trying to do, I'll look into the other distributions.
I suppose I should have expected NTLDR to not like Linux, Microsoft isn't a charity, is it? As usual, just when I thought I was getting it, there turns out to be a whole lot more to learn. Still, if I get it figured out properly I can say I'm MCSE and Linux, which has to make me worth more. Well, employable anyway.
I'll come back again and post from Linux about how it works next. (fingers crossed)
"Your terminology is a little different..." That's a nice way to say it. People have put it much more strongly.
Last edited by Icanneverthinkofanam; 03-20-2006 at 07:01 PM.
Is it true that I need to move the XP partition? Why?
No - you don't have to move anything to anywhere if the disk-space available is enough for you (5 GB will be ...)
Linux does not care where it is installed.
Just grub should go to the MBR of the disk you are booting from.
There are solutions using the NTLDR to boot linux (by pointing it to where grub is installed...) but I think these are not very elegant - but that may depend on my point of view - I'm using primarily linux and have windows for "just in case" situations - haven't booted it for months and have _never_ done anything real with it.
I am posting from the GUI I got going eventually after I sorted out Linux. I opted to use GNU in the end, it seems to understand what I want OK. Once I resized the extended partition so it was the same size as the first logical drive in it everything started to seem clearer. Then the second logical drive space I had before was now unpartitioned and the description I saw in the partitioner looked like what I was expecting.
I build websites, program, mail, game, make music, make films, build half life maps and other things, watch films - all in Windows. What I have at the moment in Linux seems like a step backwards to the days of 3.1 running on top of DOS. Quaint but awkward. I'm sure it'll get better as I become more familiar with it and tune it to suit me.
Thank you for your help folks. I think the installer and the instructions need to be run through a user-friendliness processor but with your help I made it...
Is there a free Mandriva I can download? I couldn't see it.
Right. Back to the learning...
Aha! Now 2000 won't boot. I really don't like the GUI and I gave up text OS ten years ago. Not very impressive so far...
Last edited by Icanneverthinkofanam; 03-21-2006 at 10:57 AM.
I wouldnt worry too much about messing up your boot settings, since both linux and windows have MBR repair utilities built into their recovery consoles. Basically if you want them to boot correctly you just have to specify the correct drive numbers in the config files for the respective bootloaders (lilo.conf, grub.conf or boot.ini for windows) Granted boot.ini is a pain to edit manually, and grub and lilo are much prettier. In the case of what distro to use...if your are new to linux, don't use debian, its really unfriendly and you will spend most of your time just getting your hardware to work. Try mandriva or fedora, both of which can be found at linuxiso.org or if you want some nicer install packages look around on some torrent sites. Both distributions have nice hardware detection features, and are very friendly.
The Windows Recovery utilities have always proven useless to me. When the system denies that files you can see are there no amount of replacing them will help. I got the point where I had to go through a series of menus to get to Windows, I didn't like that, then 2000 wouldn't start once GRUB was finished with my computer.
I downloaded Fedora 4 but that seems to be incapable of comprehending what I want, with the two options being to use GRUB instead of NTLDR or not to have anything, like some petulant teenager. I think I'll try the Debian one again, that seemed capable of doing what I want.
To get away from GRUB screwing up my boot sector, I'll use bootpart, that way I only have one menu too, which I like.
I'm not too worried, I don't like Linux, I just wanted to know how to get it going and I think I've got it now. It's just a matter of finding one that doesn't insist on screwing up my computer.
To get away from GRUB screwing up my boot sector, I'll use bootpart, that way I only have one menu too, which I like.
It is very likely not screwing your boot sector - there is little fun in that...its _far_ more likely that you just didn't set it up to show you both of your windows installations...
I'm just saying this, because you didn't ask any question and assumed that this is supposed to "just magically work" somehow - and because it didn't it "screwed up".
I didn't say it referring to your last paragraph - that is your opinion and I couldn't care less...
Not sure what that is supposed to mean...
What I meant was: If somebody asks and I 1.) know and 2.) have the time I will answer and try to help - I just care about the problem someone seems to have - not if he likes this or that.
As for any OS wanting to screw something... - you assume too much
You did help. It's hard, as a monkey, not to have an emotional reaction to the way things sound in your head when you read them, especially under stress. I'm sorry if I come across wrong. Life in an eggshell with your nightmares painted on the inside...
That would be cool, I thought. Iíll have a machine that I can boot XP or 2000 Server, then I can have a machine to play and study with simultaneously. Then I thought, why not add Linux as a third option, since Iíve often wondered about it. Some time laterÖ
Although FDISK says you canít have more than Primary partition on a disc, when you install Linux it creates a new Primary partition. Since my disc had two partitions originally, one Primary of 5GB and one Extended of 10GB, Linux reduces the Extended by 5GB and creates a new Primary partition after. Thus you have two Primary (2K & Linux) partitions, which pushes the Extended (XP) to number 3. That means you need to change BOOT.INI too, which just didnít come up in all the instructions. It was only after going through the process a couple of times that I figured it out. So, now I have the GRUB boot loader on the new Primary and the right numbers in BOOT.INI, everything works.