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I've serched for help with this, pardon if I repeat a question addressed elswhere.
Here's the shtick;
Single drive, all new installs, windoze xp installed first, then Ubuntu 5.10. Did not install grub to MBR (don't want to), instead put it on floppy. Followed recommendations found several places; copy using dd if...512.. count1, copied it onto a shared fat 32 partition, copied it into C:/ and added a line to the boot.ini.
So what then?
Win loader shows up, Xp boots fine, choosing Ubuntu once yielded something about a bad allocation table, and since then a plain "-".
However Ubuntu boot fine from the floppy!
My question; how can I troubleshoot this? how can I determine where this is falling apart?
You need to re-install grub to the root (/) prior to doing the dd over to your XP environment.
You don't have enough smarts in the boot sector record to initiate the load successfully (you effectively need what's on the floppy).
*** THIS WILL NOT WORK FOR AN NTFS %SYSTEMDRIVE% AND ASSUMES AN EMPTY DRIVE***
Before a WinXP install I create a stripped down Win98SE DOS only install to C:\DOS using the contents of a Win98SE start disk (Google for Win98SE+start+disk). You will probably need to add the updated fdisk.exe to it from Microsoft otherwise it will not accurately partition drives larger than 64GB (MS KB263044 - Fdisk Does Not Recognize Full Size of Hard Disks Larger than 64 GB).
The procedure goes something close to this:
Boot from start disk
FDISK (Leave room for your Linux stuff!)
copy a:\*.* c:\dos
copy d:\*.* c:\dos (This may vary by system but it is the MS-RAMDRIVE volume)
cd c:\dos (Much of the junk in there can be removed, do it if you know how)
Now you will have to move/create/edit the autoexec.bat, config.sys, msdos.sys files and put them in C:\. Mine are:
SET DIRCMD=/A /O:GNE /V
Make sure you use MSDOS EDIT or something that will write DOS line endings (CR/LF)
Use ATTRIB -h -r [filename] to remove the hidden+read only status
Make sure WinXP (after install) does not parse autoexec.bat. Get MS Powertoys/TweakUI to set it.
After WinXP install you will probably have to remove the last 4 lines from msdos.sys
Now install WinXP. It will think you have Win98 installed and ask if you want to upgrade or install new. I can't remember exactly which one it is as it's been a while but your chances are 50/50.
After installation you will get a boot menu with Windows XP & Windows. Select Windows and it will drop you to a C:\ prompt.
Now you can use loadlin to boot your Linux machine. After you install it of course...
If you already have WinXP installed, no floppy drive or bootable Win98SE CD, FreeDOS(.org) may be the way to go. I have not tried it myself but I heard it will install and add a bootsect.dos (512 Byte boot sector) and entry to boot.ini on an existing WinXP system.
until I had to move the whole thing to a different (larger) sata.
Well, reinstalled Windows and Ubuntu, put Grub in /boot and boot from the floppy, worked perfect! Then I started tried to change to using the XP bootloader, same process at before and it doesn't work. It yields 'GRUB Geom Error'.
To recap, this is the same box, processer, memory, everything except moved from a small pata drive to a medium sized sata. And it works perfectly booting from the floppy, it just errors booting from the XP loader.