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You may get your dual-boot system working after days and weeks of agony and gnashing of teeth, but the bottom line is: Windows does not play well with others. It wants to be the only operating system when it is installed. I'd say your path of least resistance is to back up all your files, wipe (aka. zero-fill, low level format) your hard drive, install Windows (leaving plenty of HDD room for Linux), install Linux, and restore your backup.
Loading both operating systems and essential drivers takes about an afternoon if you have a decent CPU and a fairly fast CD-ROM. (Getting all the patches downloaded and installed takes far longer and involves six hundred and sixty-six reboots for Windows, but patching depends more on your internet connection speed.) How much time have you invested trying the other route--so far, without success?
Some software that has helped me greatly: Ranish Partition Manager and Darik's Boot and Nuke. One problem I ran into: Windows fdisk program skipped sectors on the hard drive to start partitions on an even cylinder boundary. This drove disk druid nuts later on when I tried to install FC3. If you force the first NTFS partition to start immediately following the MBR--without skipping any sectors--disk druid has a much easier time. If you need a shared partition for Windows and Linux to exchange files, format it FAT32/VFAT because both Windows and Linux easily read and write it.
Sorry, I'm still here, I'm listening. I've been in mid-term-mode and needed to shut myself away for awhile. You know how it can be That, and I don't have internet at home. (argh!!!!)
That Boot and Nuke program is what I've been looking for! A Godsend! Thanks tnandy!Before trying to dual-boot, I didn't quite know what the MBR was and why I was having so much trouble trying to get Linux and Windhoes to cooperate. Of course, it makes sense that a major software company would want to be the dominate species in the OS world, thus the child-like whining from XP when it can't be first. HA! It's certainly not anything the Windhoes Wizard or the F3 Puppy tells you about. Despite any of these troubles, I'm having fun. I would rather have these struggles and enjoy the end result than go to WalMart and buy a cheap imitation that would blue-screen me every five minutes.
I’ll mess with the Nuke and the Partition Manager and let you know how everything goes. I’ve decided to throw on a small version of Puppy too, so by the end of this I hope to have Win, FC4, and Puppy. The keyword being hope. lol
There is no technical requirement that Windows must be residing in the first partition or to be installed first. However the following point may be relevant to favour it being installed first.
A Dos-based Windows may have a difficulty to recognise a large disk. For example Dos has a limit of addressing only 8.4Gb. Therefore if the first Linux partition is more than 8.4Gb then a Dos-based Windows will not be able to find a space that it can calculate and locate to install itself, even if there is plenty space in the 80Gb hard disk.
A NT version of Windows, like a XP or Win2k which used NTFS partitions and capable of at least 137Gb without the Service Pack1 will have no problem of being installed at the end of a 80Gb disk, as long as there is no MS partitions like Fat16, Fat32 and NTFS partition in front. It such a partition is present it would take over the drive "C" first.
That Boot And Nuke did the trick. Wiping everything allowed my Win disk to be read and it's loading up as I speak. YEAH! I'm not sure who was more surprised at the time...me, that my disk actually loaded, or my algebra teacher, when I stood up and yelled in triumph! (It took all afternoon to finish)
The only thing I'll need to fix is that I mounted it NTFS by mistake and I eventually want to connect through Samba, so I'll have to reformat that partition again to FAT32, but hey, right now, nothing's spoiling my mood
Thank you all again for your help. I've still a little ways to go but I think this finally moving in the right direction, and I understand a lot more than when I started. Definitely Nuke was the right move to fix this problem. Down the ISO, burn it, boot it, NUKE IT!