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I have an x86 machine that currently has WinXP on it. I would like to use this hardware to gradually move to Linux.
I was thinking of putting a new hard drive in this PC, and dual booting. I just wondered whether anyone knows if Linux and WinXP will happily dual boot in this fashion?
My action plan would be:
(1) Add the new drive (this would be an Ultra ATA IDE hard drive) - the WinXP drive is currently an SATA unit.
(2) Boot with the FC5 install DVD and hope that it gives me the right options to install on to the IDE HDD without affecting the SATA windows disc.
Also, assuming this works, would the Linux install set a boot manager on the HDD drive (so if I set my BIOS to boot using this device it will let me boot to Linux), or would I have to keep changing the boot drive in the BIOS depending on which OS I wanted to run?
Generally speaking I have had good success in dual booting Windows and Linux (mostly red hat distros in my experince). I generally find that the process goes best when you start with you Windows installation in place, and then install Linux. Most distros (including Fedora Core) will see your windows instance and walk you through the process of creating a dual boot system.
It will ask you where you would like Linux to take residence (this will be the extra drive in your case). And it will create a boot loader. You will then get to choose which OS you wish to be the default. Thus you will not need to go into BIOS and select a boot drive.
Note that it is likely that the SATA drive will likely be your primary drive, this process will load the boot loader there, so that it is seen in the start up process, but the main body of the installation can be performed on the additional drive (ATA) if that is what you select.
In this kind of dual-boot setup, where the operating systems are on different harddisks (and now the other one is SATA, other is not, if I read right), you might bump into some problems with the bootloader:
- Grub/LiLo/other "is installed", but still only Windows boots
- Grub/LiLo/other starts, fails and you can't boot neither OS
- Windows won't boot (unlikely)
When installing the bootloader you are given the opportunity to choose where to install it: MBR is the preferred choice, but that might create problems too. Because of this, it's a good habit to create boot diskette for each OS (unless you have bootable CD/DVDs already) so if the worst happened, you could more easily fix the problem (yes, the problem(s) can be fixed).
One thing where I've heard errors may occur is a setup where there are two IDE drives (so this migt not apply to you), on the primary cable there is one HD and one CD/DVD, and on the secondary the other HD - in this case there is a possibility the bootloader fails to load completely. As I don't have multiple harddisks myself I'm unable to create a bullet-proof how-to, but usually the working receipt in any case is the one that's said here multiple times: first install Windows (since it overwrites other bootloaders), install bootloader into MBR of the primary harddisk and so on.
One more thing: if you dislike using non-Windows bootloader, it's perfectly ok: Windows' own bootloader is fully capable of booting Linux, you just need to create an "image" of the /boot of your Linux, place it under Windows and configure Windows' bootloader so it sees it. And it works, though not everyone knows that (still I myself prefer Grub or LiLo).
The reason I posted here is because of the SATA vs EIDE issue.
The first time I tried to install FC5 on my machine, it failed with an exception because it couldnt access the SATA hard drive (the error message from anaconda suggested this might be an internal bug). I disconnected the WinXP SATA drive and reinstalled and it worked fine, then reconnected it and now both operating stems seem to be present and correct, but a couple of things have happened:
(1) Fedora seems to be picking up the network domain, machine name, et cetera from the WinXP drive! Is this possible? Well, I guess it must be possible, but is it configurable?
(2) Fedora works absolutely fine, but I have no mouse cursor!! I get a mouse cursor when X server starts, and I get one while it is initializing, but as soon as it gets to the login screen the pointer disappears. Fedora then starts as normal, but with no cursor. I can still move the mouse and the UI reacts as if the point is there (i.e. I can select menu options, etc) but no pointer? Any ideas?
Fedora is a good distribution, but have you considered SuSE? I have found that SuSE finds and correctly installs most hardware with no problems.
Also I wanted to point out that WindowsXp should be on the first partition of the primary Hard Drive. If you have problems with Linux and decide to remove it, you can repair the MBR by using the following commands from the recovery console of the WindowsXP install disc:
This will reinstall the original windows NTLDR.
What issues are you having with EIDE? You mentioned it, but did not elaborate.
@ usav_sp: As regards EIDE it was just that my system has a serial ATA drive (with WinXP on), and I wanted to install another drive to put FC5 on - but this device was EIDE - I was unsure how they would work together in terms of booting etc.. Not really a problem. Have got it working now, but I have to keep changing the boot drive in the BIOS which is a bit annoying. Ideally I would have liked a software boot loader to offer the choice..
I assume that when you did the Linux installation you had pulled the windows drive out? Otherwise I suspect that the default would have been to install the bootloader on the Windows drive and you would not have any need to change BIOS settings to boot (of course you still had the option to not install a bootloader during the install process). Regardless it looks like you might have a lot of work ahead of you to get this the way that you would like from here.
Here are two pages that you may want to review.
Here is an O’Reilly page on using the Windows boot loader to select between Windows and Linux: