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Old 03-28-2005, 05:57 AM   #1
Registered: Mar 2005
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Newbie needs advice on dualbooting distros

Hi all,

I am a total newbie (and I mean totally wet behind the ears - the command line scares me!!) I am a windows user and looking at making the switch. I have mandrake 10.1 installed a mo and looking at dual booting with FC3, is this a really really easy option? and should I be trying out FC3 or sticking with MDK10.1 as a total newbie??

Old 03-28-2005, 06:06 AM   #2
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
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dual-booting is not that hard to set up, but i recommend you stick to one distro and learn that before trying another. if you have already partitioned your hard drive completely for mandrake, you would need to reinstall it and leave space for fedora unless you have a program like partition magic to resize your mandrake partition. as far as user-friendliness goes, mandrake shouldn't be much more difficult than fedora. if you really want to dual-boot, simply install both oses and run "lilo" or "grub", they should detect your installs and create a menu of your choices in the boot sector.
Old 03-28-2005, 06:07 AM   #3
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: Dresden, Germany
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No fear amigo, it's really easy.
At the very start of your HDD there is a little something called a boot loader. This is a program that gets started at boot and loads the operating system kernel. What you need to do is modify that boot loader to display you an option: what kernel is to be loaded and what is the root partition or HDD?
In order to help you I need you to tell me what boot loader you use - again not too difficult. Mandrake has (or had) a tendency to use LILO, FC3 uses GRUB.
From what I get you have only Mandrake installed so do this: Install FC3 on a seperate partition, define the mount points as they were in Mandrake and DO NOT format anything. There should be an options that allows you not to modify the existing boot loader (a check box with the caption "Install GRUB", I think).
I might be clever to also create a new /etc partition - I did, no problems as yet.
When you are all done and reboot your PC Mandrake should boot without problems. Call up a command line and type "info lilo". You will be presented with detailed descriptions of how to make lilo let you pick which OS to use.

Old 04-01-2005, 10:21 AM   #4
Sunil Datta
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Jalandhar, Punjab, India.
Distribution: Redhat Linux
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if u r now 2 linux. i think u should first make urself comfortable with vi editor, emacs, some shell programming(though not required to understand Bual Boot). Understand what GRUB and LILO is then u should opt for dual booting.
one more thing, start experimenting dual boot with window2000 and linux. After being comfortable with this. Try different flavours of linux.
but if u want to get exact procedure let me know. may be i can help u out.
Old 04-01-2005, 10:25 AM   #5
Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
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I had Mandrake Linux (or should still have) 10.1 installed on HDD1 and since then I installed Fedora Core 3 on I think my HDD2 (I didn't do any formatting of drives, so should still have Mandrake on). But I have no idea how to make this machine now a dual boot??

I need easy step-by-step instruction (preferably using GUI)
Old 04-04-2005, 06:46 AM   #6
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: Dresden, Germany
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OK, take a deep breath!
The idea is that you need to indicate what kernel to boot on.
You want it step by step, so i'll try to guide you through this. Unfortunately I'm a bit old school and rarely use GUIs, but you'll be OK.
First of all, what boot loader are you using? If you don't know take a look at your /boot directory. There should be a directory called GRUB in there. If there is you are using grub, if not you are most possibly using lilo. Anyway, what we want to do is add an entry or two to the grub.conf file that will do the following:
-tell grub to display a "what operating system do you want to start"-display at startup
-tell grub which partition to use as "root" (the partition is on your HDD1) partition, that is where the / filesystem starts
-tell grub where the kernel image is that needs to be loaded

All the above information are also required by lilo, so they are in the /etc/lilo.conf file. Now we need to locate this file. It is on your HDD1, where you installed Mandrake, called /etc/lilo.conf. However it is to be expected that you have partioned this disk and that FC3 does not automount it and it is not defined in /etc/fstab since it is not imperative for FC3 to function.

In order to help you I need to know several details.
1) How many partitions are there on your HDD1?
2) Which one is the partition mounted into /etc as Mandrake?
3) Do you have access to it (is it defined in /etc/fstab)?

In case you have acces to your HDD1 and have found the /etc of your Mandrake installation just post the content of i and I'll tell you how to proceed.

if you have no idea what a partition is and how to manipulate it please do the following:
call a console and type this: "ls -l /dev | grep hd" (omit the "), and then post it. Perhaps you might even remember what file system you selected them to be when you installed Mandrake (the part with DiskDrake...).

I hope this will help you (and me helping you)...
Old 04-04-2005, 12:03 PM   #7
Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
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Hi, Thanks in advance for your help

In my boot directory I have folder called GRUB

Here is the info you required from the terminal command:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 3 Apr 2 19:21 cdrom -> hdc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 3 Apr 2 19:21 cdrom1 -> hdd
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 3 Apr 2 19:21 cdwriter -> hdc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 3 Apr 2 19:21 cdwriter1 -> hdd
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 3 Apr 2 19:21 dvd -> hdc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 3 Apr 2 19:21 dvdwriter -> hdc
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 0 Apr 2 19:21 hda
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 1 Apr 2 19:21 hda1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 2 Apr 2 19:21 hda2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 5 Apr 2 19:21 hda5
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 6 Apr 2 19:21 hda6
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 64 Apr 2 19:21 hdb
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 65 Apr 2 19:21 hdb1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 3, 66 Apr 2 19:21 hdb2
brw------- 1 ste disk 22, 0 Apr 2 19:21 hdc
brw------- 1 ste disk 22, 64 Apr 2 19:21 hdd

Hope this helps
Old 04-11-2005, 06:56 AM   #8
Registered: Mar 2005
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Of course it does. OK, here's what this stuff means.
every hd-something unit represents some device hardwired to either your scsi bus or directly to your motherboard. if for example you have a cdrom set as primary master it would be represented as hda.
Now take an exact look at that something with hda1, hda2 and so on. There is also that raw hda. the hda is your harddisk as a device, the hda1 represents the first partition of that hard drive.
I am not sure if by you saying "installed Fedora on I think HDD2" you really meant hdb, so I can't really tell were you have Mandrake installed on - yet...

so in short we have to determine where Fedora is installed on. hda or hdb. Since you are running Fedora the filesystem of the given harddisk should be "mounted". Call up a console and type "mount". That will list all mounted filesystems. It should say either only hdaX or hdbX (X being a number).
Remeber what we are searching for - the /etc directory of your Mandrake installation. So if your mount command turns up a bunch of hda's, we will have to search hdb for the given partition. If you can see BOTH hda and hdb mounted with the mount command it can save you a lot of time.

If you can see both hda and hdb mounted that means that Fedora has mounted your Mandrake installation for you, that means that it is available to you as just files, yet not as an operating system. mount should also report where the filesystem has been mounted. Check out what HDD is mount as /, thats the one FC3 is on. the other one is obviously what Mandrake is on, just go to the given folder and search for lilo.conf.

If only one HD is mounted (hda or hdb) thencall up the console again and type "su". This will give you root priviledges after you type the right password on THIS console only. Then type "mkdir /tstfs". This will create a directory called tstfs (for testfilesystem) in your FC3 root directory.
Now you have to mount and unmount one filesystem after another and check out if it is the one with the /etc directory. This is done as follows:
type "mount -t ext3 /dev/hda1 /tstfs". In words that means "mount the partition hda1 of the filesystem type ext3 (windows partitions are vfat, so are most usbsticks) at the directory tstfs". If your mere mount command has turned up hda as already mounted that of course means that you need to mount /dev/hdb1 instead of /dev/hda1.

If you get an error try replacing the ext3 with ext2 or vfat, if nothing else works try minix, though i doubt it is even used anymore.

Now you can open konqueror or any other filebrowser and check out the /tstfs folder. As a simple user you can only read (copy), but that is OK. What you are searching for in this folder is lilo.conf. It is a simple text file, just use the find file function of your browser or the find command of the console to search for it.
If you find the lilo.conf file post it's content and i'll explain you how to proceed.
Searched the directory and turned up nothing? Make konqueror display the root folder (otherwise the partition is labeled "in use" and you can't unmount it). Go back to the console and type "umount /dev/hda1" (or hdb1...).
So on to the next partition.
"mount -t ext3 /dev/hda2 /tstfs" - search tstfs for the lilo.conf file, if you don't find it just,
"umount /dev/hda2" and on to the next partition. Get the idea?
If FC3 is on hda you only have two partitions to mount, hdb1 and hdb2... anyway, lilo.conf has to be out there somewhere.

Rest assured that through mounting and unmounting filesystems you cannot damage your computer, FC3 won't let you do anything that might damage your HDD's.

Good luck and be patient, we will make progress as we already have.
Old 05-04-2005, 07:09 AM   #9
Registered: Mar 2005
Location: Dresden, Germany
Distribution: OpenSuse 11.2/3, Debian 5.0 , Debian 1.3.1, OpenBSD
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Rep: Reputation: 32
To much at once? OK, let's take a smaller step then - do me a favor and post the contents of the file "/etc/fstab". This file lists where what partition get's mounted.


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