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Old 08-23-2005, 12:33 PM   #1
LUX_Wave
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Slave Boot?


I am very new to Linux and am currently suffering under a WinOS system.
I have one of those off the shelf set ups that doesnít come with a full OS CD to reinstall if everything goes to pots.

So here is my question. Is it possible to install Linux on a slaved second drive so that I donít run the risk of losing the use of the WinOS and still be able to boot into the Linux system?

Thanks!

--LW
 
Old 08-23-2005, 12:49 PM   #2
homey
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I put all of my FC4 systems on the second hard drive, not for Windows though. I use the first drive for testing other distros and various experiments.
When I had Windows on the first drive, none of the Linux distros messed with it at all. You just need to pay attention during the install and make sure not to delete existing systems.

Your best bet to be sure is to make a backup of your Windows system when it is working, not after you have a problem.
 
Old 08-23-2005, 12:53 PM   #3
corfe
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Yes. Linux is very flexible in what it can boot from. You can even set it up to boot from Microsoft's bootmenu that comes from windows, if you feel more comfortable with that than using a linux bootloader.

One obvious way (I used linux for a long time like this) is to boot off the CD to install to the slave drive, and then set the slave drive as the bootable drive in the BIOS whenever you want to boot into linux. Just MAKE SURE you don't write the MBR (master boot record) on the windows drive (you want to write the MBR on the linux drive), or windows will quit booting (until you boot off your windows CD and use the "repair windows" option to repair the master boot record on that drive - then windows will boot again, and it will be the same system as you left it).

Alternatively, if you want a better setup (i.e. you can switch OS's without going into the BIOS between boots), you can set up a multiboot menu with either microsoft's boot loader or GRUB (one of the linux boot loaders). This is the recommended way, but it's a little more complicated to set up. If you choose to use GRUB as the bootloader, then you will want linux to write to the MBR on the drive your BIOS boots from. Some distributions will do this for you automatically (I don't know which ones).
 
Old 08-23-2005, 02:19 PM   #4
LUX_Wave
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Slave Boot

Hey guys thanks! I didnít expect any answers back so fast, I really appreciate it. I have a couple of other questions that I hope you can answer.

First though let me explain a bit more about me. So far the only real experience that I have had with Linux are: an old friend of mine that was religious about Linux systems (not a bad thing, it was just different at the time and I can understand why now), and some Live CD's that I have burned recently. I have also made a backup of my current system but I am unsure if I will be able to use it to repair my system if I screw it up. I have built the hardware ends of several systems and done some pretty good MOD work but I have never done much on the programming end of anything. Most of the time I never even loaded an OS onto a new system myself, I always had a friend or two that would either load an OS off their product CD's or copy it via their small network. So I never had to worry about that. Recently I have decided to try and learn how to do some programming and have been learning about the differences between WInOS, MacOS, and Linux/UnixOS. Now that I want to run a Linux system I am confronted with the problem that no matter how much I may have seen or heard over the years I really donít know how to do the basic stuff like loading a new OS on a blank system. So like I said I have a couple of other questions. Here they are.
  • 1. Is Grub included with most Linux distros?
    2. How should somebody like me that needs to learn even the very basic stuff from the ground up go about getting all the info they need?
    3. What about the partitioning utilities? Most of the Linux distros seem to come with one and then there is Partition Magic. Some people swear by them, particularly the Norton product, but others say they are about as good and useful as a secure wipe of you HDD. So whatís the scoop?
    4. Where might I find a good tutorial for the basic install process? I have not found any good ones on the 'net.
    5. Can you go into a bit more detail (on the quote below) or tell me where I can find more info about this? I would like to set up my system in this way but I just donít know where to start.
    Quote:
    Alternatively, if you want a better setup (i.e. you can switch OS's without going into the BIOS between boots), you can set up a multiboot menu with either microsoft's boot loader or GRUB (one of the linux boot loaders). This is the recommended way, but it's a little more complicated to set up. If you choose to use GRUB as the bootloader, then you will want linux to write to the MBR on the drive your BIOS boots from. Some distributions will do this for you automatically (I don't know which ones).
Thanks again to homey and corfe, you have both been a great help and I really appreciate it!

--LW
 
Old 08-23-2005, 03:07 PM   #5
corfe
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1. GRUB should be included in most any normal distribution

2. This forum, google, and HOWTO's / documentation regarding your specific distribution, when you choose one.

The MBR isn't too hard a concept - each drive has a master boot record (MBR). When you tell the BIOS to boot from a drive, the MBR is what it's loading and running to start the boot process. Ever wonder how bootable CD's work, and why you can't create a bootable CD by just putting files on a CD? That's because it needs an MBR.

Now, when you install any version of windows, it automatically writes the windows bootloading code to the MBR of whichever drive you install it to. You don't get any say in this at all. When installing a linux distribution, it'll ask you whether or not to install to the MBR.

Since each drive just has one MBR, windows and linux can't install both their MBR's to the same drive. If you want to load them both from one drive, you have to setup a boot menu (which can be done using MS's or GRUB's bootmenu - check HOWTO's on dual booting - here is an example), or you can just put windows and linux on different drives for now, and choose which one boots by telling the BIOS which hard drive to boot from (that's the ultra-safe, but annoying-to-switch-between-OS's way).

3. Backup important data first. After that, try partition magic, or GNU's parted (the free software partition resizer) if it supports your filesystem and you're feeling brave / or you're comfortable with the command-line. Some distributions come with partition resizing programs, that setup dual booting for you.

4. I'd choose a distribution first. Try looking up information on Ubuntu, Fedora Core, and Mandrake (for some user-friendly options), or Slackware, Debian, and Gentoo (if you're masochistic, comfortable with the unix command line, or you just want to learn a lot about unix from the beginning). All (at least most) of these systems should have live CD's, which are CD's that let you try the distribution just by booting off of a CD, without installing to a hard drive. Warning: live CD's are slower than a real install.

5. First thing is pick the distribution. Look at webpages for the various distributions, check screenshots, reviews, and once you pick a distribution you can check their official install instructions, and google for HOWTO's on installing that distribution. I'm a debian user, so if I had to recommend one to you, I'd recommend Ubuntu, which is user-friendly, and based on Debian.

And of course, we're here to help you whenever you have any questions.

Anytime, hopefully you'll soon have a useful linux system setup that you can try out! Good luck, and feel free to ask more questions if I wasn't clear or you have more!
 
Old 08-23-2005, 04:13 PM   #6
LUX_Wave
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Slave Boot?

Corfe,

Thanks again! You have helped me out a lot and I think that I have a good direction to continue in.

I actually have a Live CD of Ubuntu already and like it, I just haven't been able to do much with it like save files or anything so other than a peak at the GUI I donít feel like I have learned much. Anyway, I will follow your advice and get a second drive and load a version there. That way I can learn more about it without the drama of repartitioning and command lines and all that (yep I am neither brave or interested in headaches, and I have only fooled with the command line a handful of times, with a requisite aspirin afterward ).

Thanks again for answering my questions. Hopefully, as you said, I will get Linux up and running soon. If I have anymore questions I will look you up!

--LW
 
Old 08-23-2005, 05:35 PM   #7
corfe
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No problem! I drift on and off these forums, but if you find nobody's answering to your post, private message me - it'll send me an e-mail, and I'll be sure to reply to your post as soon as I get the chance.
 
Old 08-23-2005, 06:19 PM   #8
waterhead
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To learn more about how to use Linux, consider buying a book on your distribution.

About a year ago, I bought the book "Red Hat Fedora Linux 2 Bible", and it has been an essential reference for
me to navigate the Linux system.

It was somewhat expensive, at $49.99, but it comes with 4 CD's containing Fedora Core 2.

I am trying to install WinXP & Fedora Core 2 on one drive, and Fedora Core 3 on another drive. This setup is not working
too good, as I have to unplug the second drive to boot into the first drive - I get "drive is write only" errors.

Just stick with one Windows and one Linux distro, this setup always worked out great for me.

Good luck, we've all started out as a newbie.

Last edited by waterhead; 08-24-2005 at 07:37 PM.
 
  


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