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-   -   no grub menu after startup in dual boot FC3 and XP (

Remko 12-21-2004 07:59 AM

no grub menu after startup in dual boot FC3 and XP
Until recently, I used Red Hat 9.0, dual booting with Windows XP. Since I don't want to overwrite my MBR, I placed the bootloader (GRUB) on the Linux root partition, which I also made the active partition. This seems to hide the Windows partition, so in order to avoid errors concerning autochk.exe not being found, I added a line

unhide (hd0,1)

to the Windows-part of grub.conf. This worked perfectly well.

Now I wanted to try Fedora Core 3, and used exactly the same setup.
After installation and rebooting, I get my grub menu, and am able to choose both OS's. But whenever I go to Windows once, and then reboot, the system does no longer present me with any choice, and directly boots to Windows.

It seems WinXP makes itself the active partition, whithout saying so:
Disk Manager politely shows the Linux partition as active. But good old DOS' fdisk shows two active partitions, and so does Partition Magic 8.0 (which for that reason probably refuses to repair things).

The only way to get back the grub menu is the following:
1. Make the Windows partition the active partition with Diskpart
2. Use Partition Magic to change the active partition to Linux root. (since PM seems to be the only program that automatically hides the windows partition) and
3. reboot.

But this only works as long as I do not use Windows again...

I seem to be in a dilemma: the Windows partition must be hidden in order for the MBR to detect the Linux partition as the active one, but to be able to boot to Windows succesfully, I have to add the "unhide" line to grub.conf. Can I let Windows hide itself when it shuts down? (Probably not...) And why did it work with RH9.0 (I don't remember to have changed some other settings)?

Thanks in advance for any help!


adriaanbw 12-21-2004 09:04 AM

Hi Remko,

Well unfortunately i dont really know enough about how Windows XP and the MBR are associated, except that you can have both the WinXP and Linux booting successfully. Here is how i have mine set up:

I only have one harddisk and i dual boot XP and FC3. I installed XP first on hdc1 (as its known by linux). After that I installed FC3. I created a \boot, \swap, and large \ext3 partitions and commenced to install the packages. FC3 recognised the XP installation during its configuration of GRUB.

Thats all there is to it really. I didnt change the active-inactive status of any of the partitions and both systems work happily side-by-side.

Remko 12-21-2004 03:20 PM

Hi Adriaan,

Thanks for your reply. I'm happy it works for you, but for me, it really doesn't. Is your /boot partition within the 1024 cilinder limit? Could that be the problem? But still, RedHat had no problems with that. My hard drive looks like this:

hda1: OEM Recovery partition
hda2: Windows XP
hda3: extended partition
hda4: /root partition for FC3
hda5: programs (NTFS)
hda6: data (FAT32)
hda7: backup
hda8: /swap

FC did recognize XP, and wrote a correct grub.conf file. The problem must have something to do with active and hidden partitions, since the procedure I explained works, be it only once.

Can anyone think of a solution?

Remko 01-14-2005 08:49 AM

Is there really no one out there who can help me with this? I'm currently booting from a floppy every time I want to use Linux, and find this procedure annoying (yes, I am a perfectionist)!

TIA, Remko

ham_man 01-16-2005 05:07 PM

How importat is it that you do not install Grub into the MBR? I have tried multiple times to not use the MBR, and yes, I generally make boot floppies just in case also. I really have taken the path of least resistance and use the MBR method exclusively now.
For what it is worth, I like to have multiple distros on my machines so I can evaluate them. On my primary machine I have XP, Yoper, Suse 9.2 and Fedora Core 3 x86_64. My secondary machine I have XP and Yoper. My third machine I currently only have Mepis, and that's because I couldn't get Yoper to install.
So, with all of those I use Grub in the MBR. I can ALWAYS get back to XP by using one of the utilities to reset the MBR. I use Partition commander rather than FDISK or partition Magic just out of preference. But as you know, once you reset it, you have lost your way to the linux distros unless you have a boot floppy or can get to them from the CD.
I am personally interested in how I can save a copy of that MBR image so I could recover either way, a) back to XP through a reset or b) back to last good GRUB with whatever it might be.

Well, don't know if this helps but I've tried it your way and now I just use the MBR method.

Remko 01-18-2005 05:32 AM


Thanks for your practical solution to my practical problem. At least, you made me feel more sympathetic about writing grub to the MBR. But still, I don't understand why it worked in RH9.0, and not in FC3. As I said, I am a perfectionist, and that makes my problem one of principle...

ham_man 01-19-2005 05:44 AM

I can't explain why it worked for you before. It should work if a person has it set right. I honestly didn't spend a whole lot of time on it. I probably only experimented with it on 2 or 3 distro installs and from what I recall it worked. But it just wasn't to my liking. I like more than 2 OS's on the machine so I think that is why it didn't work so well for me. Maybe if you get it all figured out you can help me understand that method better, and more importantly if it is a superior method. Good luck!!!

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