Little question: ubuntu recognizes other OS already installed?
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Yes, Ubuntu will detect other operating systems and automagically add them to grub.
However, best to take copies of your data, I always do. Make sure you chose the right install option. i.e. do not tell Ubuntu to delete!!! I have successfully got Ubuntu to 'add' itself to a PC and two laptops, all different makes.
It should, but just in caes make note of which is which, i.e. if win98 is on first partition will be hd0,0 in grub or /dev/hda1. XP should be hd0,1 and /dev/hda2.
Also, you might want to make a separate /boot partition during install in case you want to nuke the linux install. Then you'll still have a bootable system, even if you just delete the main linux partition. Otherwise, what will happen is that grub will boot up after the bios and fine it's config files gone and won't know what to do....
Also, be sure to backup data and defragment/scandisk/etc the two windows partitions.
you might want to make a separate /boot partition during install in case you want to nuke the linux install. Then you'll still have a bootable system, even if you just delete the main linux partition. Otherwise, what will happen is that grub will boot up after the bios and fine it's config files gone and won't know what to do....
not sure i followed you here, are you saying that i shouldn't istall grub to the MBR?
if the linux install works i will only be messing with it in a few months, when i'm through with win98, full format, so no big deal, but in case something goes wrong while messing with linux i'd certainly like not having to reinstall win98++xp, kind of work i can spare
i'm also planning to make an all purpose/all access fat32 partition for data, so data loss won't be a problem, but could you elaborate on your answer a bit, please?
You certainly should install it to the MBR. Grub (and most other boot loaders for that matter) work in two stages. The first stage gets installed to the MBR. The bios calls the first stage and then the first stage reads its configuration files and loads the second stage.
When you partition the drive, you can create multiple partitions. Generally I create a /, swap, and /home. But in your case, you'll also want to create /boot so that grubs config files for the 2nd stage loader live in /boot. Otherwise they'll live in a /boot directory under the / partition. Confused yet???
/dev/hda7 FAT32 shared partition (linux can't reliably write to NTFS, this is how you share files between linux and windows)
Now if you want to delete /dev/hda6, you won't have an unbootable system because grub can still find its config files in /boot. If /boot lived under / (all on /dev/hda3 for example), when you deleted linux, you'd delete the grub config files and have an unbootable system. Clear as mud???