I state up front that it is not my intention to bash this thread. The author should be congratulated for spending time to put togther something for everybody.
My intention, being a member of the forum, is to contribute by putting forward other facts and information that may be useful and relevant to the thread.
Unfortunately I do feel the thread is asking users to sail the boat around Cape Town of Africa not knowing the Suez Canal is open!
I am putting myself forward for other criticisms by stating the following:-
The short route through the Suez Canal
(1) From the 95 distros I installed I would say 75% of them will automatically dual boot Windows without the user doing anything during the installation.
(2) If Linux fails to dual boot Windows during an installation it is a matter of adding just two lines to a Linux boot loader configuration file.
(a) For Lilo’s /etc/lilo.conf we have to add (using the example Windows is in hda1)
(b) For Grub’s /boot/grub/menu.lst the lines to add are
title Windows XP in hda1
(3) If One has for whatever reason to keep the Windows MBR intact the quickest route is to have a Dos partition which can be created after Windows and made active so that it is booted first. There is a free software called Grub4Dos
that is a lot easier for multi boot because it is just a Dos program called grub.exe and can be activated by a bat file containing just one line of command with 2 pararmeters %1
\grub4dos\grub – config-file=%1,%2/boot/grub/menu.lst.
In application if we want to boot XP in 1st partition, Linux in the 2nd partition and Solaris in the 3rd partition we simply type
and so on to boot as many systems as we wish. I believe this has to be a neater method than NTLDR.
The long scenic route round the coast of Africa
(1) As Linux has an automatic dual boot ability built-in therefore to use NTLDR we have to scrap the boot loader or not to install it into the MBR. In so doing we lose the access to the Linux. The boot loader is there but we just don't want to use it!
(2) The Linux has to be fully operational first and needs a workable boot loader ready for copying into Windows “C” drive but is prevented from booting via the MBR. This can be a major effort just to test if the Linux operational or not as not all Linux provide a booting alternative via a floppy during installation. If the Linux fails to boot would the user know it is Linux-related or NTLDR-related?
(3) The boot.ini of NTLDR has to be “unhide” for editing and then “hidden” afterward. Being a protected system file it can only be edited in command mode.
(4) The Linux’s boot loader has to be copied into the Windows “C” drive by a special program outside Windows. The operation involves only copying the first 512 bytes of the binary pattern of boot loader which traditionally MS own advice is to use Linux's own "dd" command instead of using a 3rd party software.
(5) If Linux booting configuration is altered its boot loader must to be copied again every time after an amendment (particular to Lilo only)
Shortcomings of Windows NTLDR boot loader
(1) Windows does not support other operating systems. Therefore it can’t read a foreign partition and unable to find its boot loader if the partition is known to it (believe this is more to do with commercial reasons than tachnical ability). Therefore the only way Windows can boot a foreign system is to copy its boot loader into its own root partition drive “C” for loading into the memory. If Windows wants to multi boot 9 foreign systems it has to have 9 boot loaders copied across individually.
(2) NTLDR uses a static boot screen and only 10 booting choices, including self, can be displayed.
(3) NTLDR can only boot one version of Dos-based system from the MS products. I beieve this is to do the fact with all MS systems share a common MBR. Only NT versions of Windows have information to tell a boot loader which partition and which hard disk there are residing. The common MBR only "searches" from the 4 primary partition and boots the first one with the booting flag "switcheded on". It is a common knowledge that one can use a Dos floppy to restore the MBR of a XP or Win2k.
Linux boot loaders advantages
(1) Both Grub and Lilo requires the user to state up front the partition reference of the system to be booted and can automatically make the subsequent arrangement to boot the nominated system without any further instruction or work from the user.
(2) The instructions Lilo and Grub used to boot a Windows are generic
. The exact instructions, with only the partition reference altered, are used to boot any Dos, another Windows, BSD, Solaris and Darwin x86. A Linux can also be booted by the same instructions if it has its boot loader arranged in its root partition. Would a PC user not welcome one simple, easy and univesal method that can boot all systems?
(3) Lilo also uses a static booting screen but is able to accept between 15 to 27 systems depending on the age of the version. Grub has a scrolling screen and 100+ systems have been booted when I tried. I haven't found out its limit yet.
(4) Both Lilo and Grub configuration files are not hidden and can be edited quickly, in either command prompt or graphic desktop.
(5) If all the MS systems are installed in a PC both Grub and Lilo can boot all of them as both are equipped with commands to hide and unhide a partition as well as re-arrange the booting disk order on-the-fly.
To me if a user bothers to install a Linux then he/she will have to learn how to use it.
Deliberately avoiding to learn the easy Linux boot loaders and persevering with a more difficult NTLDR can also be a sign of ignorance of the differences between the two systems' boot loaders.
In this respect if my reply proves inaccurate then I learn something out of it.
If my information is useful then it contributes to our understanding of the Windows and Linux boot loaders.
So even if the reply sounds bashing this thread someone will benefit from it.