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The core problem, Iíve eliminated Windows XP and need to put it back on, but now I canít get the computer to recognize my recovery CD.
So, hereís what I did...
I had this ďbrilliantĒ idea to set up my HD with three partitions. One for Windows, a second for shared files and a third for Linux (FC4).
The initial Windows install went fine, or so I thought. I got everything set up and working. Then I installed FC4 on the third partition. While doing so, I noticed that there were already some files on the partition. No problem, I thought, I probably saved some files from Windows to the wrong partition. I had backups so I just formated the partition and merrily installed Fedora. (I realize that this is most likely where I made my big mistake)
So I set up Fedora and rebooted, expecting to be given an option to boot into Windows. But instead of an option that reads DOS it says ďOtherĒ. I try it but no luck, it doesnít boot.
It is then I realized that Windows must have made that partition I had just written over with Fedora my Windows boot partition. Oops.
Oh well, I figured Iíd just reinstall Windows again and get it right this time. However, when I put in the Windows installation CD, it gave me nothing but a blank screen. It gave me the option to press any key to boot from CD and starts to read the disk, but then it gives me a quick text message across the top of the screen (too fast to read) and goes to this blank screen. Then it just sits there. My HD light is on, but I canít hear it spinning. Iíve let it sit for over 10 minutes to see if it was just processing, but no luck.
So, can anyone tell me a) why this is happening? And b) how to fix it? (meaning, get the Windows CD to function again)
Iíve set up a dual boot system successfully before, though I hadnít done the groaner move of overwriting my original boot partition (if that is indeed what I did). Also, the CD is not scratched or dirty, just to eliminate the obvious.
Windows usually needs to be installed to the first partition. If you are using grub,
make sure you have
title Windows XP
in your /boot/grub/grub.conf and there is a symlink called menu.lst pointing to grub.conf. If not do ln -sf grub.conf menu.lst.
the easiest way to dual boot is to install to the mbr using
grub> root (hd0,0)
grub> setup (hd0)
It sounds like Fedora detected your windows install and named it "other". I don't know why your windows cd won't boot. As long as you have a hard drive it shouldn't matter what's on there. It sounds like you know what you're doing so it shouldn't be too long before you find the fix.
I forgot an important detail. After the failure with Windows, I did a reinstall of Fedora wiping out all of the partitions, so XP is no longer anywhere on the machine.
Also, I've just read elsewhere that XP needs some space. (like 30 or 40 mb) at the beginning of a HD to effectively install. Does this sound reasonable? If so, how to I make sure that 30-40mb is there at the beginning of the HD?
If your windows XP cd is recent, you will have a problem getting XP to even install with linux partitions. My XP cd started the installation but froze in black screen soon after. Why? I do not know. Here's how I got around the problem:
1. delete all partitions.
2. make one single partion
3. install infamous windows
4. download the linux rescue CD www.sysresccd.org/
5. use the CD to repartition your hard drive using qtparted. You should not loose any data
6. install Fedora (I used the MBR for my bootloader, but supposedly that is risky. I can't really say what is the best way to install the bootloader.)
If you fallow these exact steps, everything should work just fine.
I just have a couple more n00b questions. You say to delete all my partitions. Do you mean reformat the hard drive? If so how do I do that without reinstalling Linux at the same time? Could I do this with say, the SLAX or Move Live CD's?
1. Repartition your harddrive however you want. For now, just partition it into two: The part you want WinXP to live on (making that the first partition, this is important), and all the rest.
2. Install WinXP on the first partition.
3. Install FC. As a part of that installation process, divide the remaining partition however you want. I would recommend at least four:
- a vfat/FAT32 partition to share files between WinXP and FC
- a partition that will contain your actual FC system, the mountpoint being /
- a partition that will contain your user files, documents, and whatever else you throw on there, the mountpoint being /home
- a swap partition
As part of FC's installation, it should install GRUB, it will identify WinXP as "other" just as before, but this time, since WinXP is front loaded, and there is no possibility of any system fiels being anywhere else, you should have no problem booting it.
WinXP is designed to only be booted from the first partition, and to dominate the boot sector. GRUB gets around this on the boot sector, but WinXP will absolutely refuse to load from any other partition. This was originally shortsightedness on MS's part back in the DOS days (right up there with an arbitrary 640k max system memory support... if anyone remembers that craziness...). MS has maintained that as a way to combat the current trend of ease-of-use and dual-booting in modern OS design.
Inflexible, cranky OS = first partition, master drive only.
Last edited by TheGiantPotato; 07-01-2005 at 10:04 AM.
I only say delete all partitions because my XP CD would not boot with another partition on the hard drive. Of course, I have two hard drives which means I really have a minumum of two partitions. To delete partitions get a bootable linux disc. I recommend once again the system rescue disc offered earlier. There are many ways to delete partitions, but the two I use are on the rescue CD. Type run_qtparted in bash. Yes, you will loose all the data on your drive so backup what you need. The program should be really easy to fallow. Once you delete all the partitions reboot with the XP CD and it will repartition and format the drive.
I suppose if your XP CD will boot with two partitions on the hard drive. Make two partitions with qtparted and format the first NTFS and the second ext3 or reiserfs or a filesystem of your choosing. The procedure is the same basically. Also, if Fedora wiped out your hard drive with autopartitioning select manual partitioning.
If you have to manual partitioning, you will have to do so before installing Fedora and most likely after you install windows. emember you must have one root partition. You should have some swap space. I always use 2Gigs of swap because with the size of hard drives, why not? After the swap space and root partitions are made, you may partition in any way you want. I recommend that you fallow TheGiandPatato's advice and make a FAT32 partition to file sharing between XP and linux. I'm still a linux newb myself so I do not have any fancy suggestions about partitioning, but there are plenty of online books about partitioning.