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I recently installed fedora on a ntfs partition using partition magic and boot magic software now whenever i boot the boot magic screen shows windows xp, swap and linux i choose xp it works fine if i choose swap or linux i get message saying linux preparing to boot but it never does.if i boot linux from bootdisk it works fine. HELP PLEASE
Welcome to LinuxQuestions.org. The best thing is to install Fedora's boot loader on the MBR. I doubt it will damage your winxp installation (it happens, but difficult). If someday you want to remove Fedora's boot loader, it's pretty easy, you could:
use a win98 boot disk, and at the prompt do "C:\>fdisk /MBR", or insert WinXP CD, boot on it and choose fixboot on Repair mode. I've done it a hole bunch of times and it worked every time with different machines. Those fancy boot magics are buggy and there are very few peoples using it, so you won't get much help unless you are using a Linux native loader .
the first time i dual booted linux and xp i used bootmagic. BIG mistake. i used grub for red hat 9 and lilo for mandrake 10 after that and they are much better. just my 2 cents. i think bootmagic should be avoided at all costs if dual booting linux/windows.
ok first things first. Recover your original boot configuration in XP, that is, restore your MBR using a windows bootdisk, and then boot into XP.
Once there, get rid of your bootmagic partition (or format it, or whatever.)
Now, put your RedHat/Fedora/whatever distro disc1 into your cd drive, and reboot your machine. Go through the install process, WITHOUT partitioning, or formatting, or installing any packages. When you get as far as where it asks you do you want to configure a botloader for your system, put in `'yes', or whatever. You want to install Grub to the MBR, and then it will scan your system for partitions, and ask you to set defaults, and bootloader passwords, and all that. I'd leave all that as standard, it can be modified in RedHat again.
Then finish off the install process of RedHat, and remove the CD.
Reboot your machine, and hopefully you will have a Grub startup screen, all going well.
The major problem with dual booting linux/windows machines with bootmagic, is that bootmagic is looking for windows partitions to boot. it's for people who run a few windows versions on their system ( why anyone would want to? ). It requires serious tweaking to get it to work with a linux partition, not for the faint-hearted or me!!!
The first and most obvious is
"What do I have to do to make BootMagic actually boot the Linux system?"
A second question if there is no real answer to the first is
"What do I have to do to install grub and make it work?"
An OS loader such as GRUB or LILO is necessary to load Linux, bootmagic alone won't do it(AFAIK).
If I remember correctly bootmagic installs itself to the MBR and reads its configuration file in the fat32 partition, therefore what you need to do is install GRUB onto the bootsector of your /boot partition, and add an entry in bootmagic for it.
To install grub to the partition bootsector, boot with your Fedora cd into the rescue mode, chroot /mnt/sysimage(mount first if necessary), run /sbin/grub to get into the GRUB prompt, then assuming your /boot is the first partition on the hdd:
grub> root (hd0,0)
grub> setup (hd0,0)
thats should be it, if you can't get it to it I recommend uninstall bootmagic and use GRUB(setup (hd0) will install it to the MBR), it should happily boot both operating systems if setup correctly.
Thanks to all for the pointers and the how-to. I have successfully demoted BootMagic to oblivion and am now using grub. I have successfully used it to select and boot XP. I am still having problems getting FC1 to boot. That's over in another thread on the "Linux - Distributions > Fedora" forum. (If anybody can help, the subject there is "FC1 boot hangs on dual boot system")