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Old 11-25-2009, 04:41 AM   #1
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Dual partition, dual OS, but not dual boot.

Hi All,

I'm looking for a way to be able to install linux with Windows. But not in the traditional dual boot sense. It's probably best if I explain my set-up first before proceeding, so here goes...

I have a HDD that has two partition. One 30GB, and about 450GB. I use the larger partition for dd images of different OS's which have been installed to the smaller partition. So far, I only have different versions of Windows saved as dd images.

What I'm looking for, is to be able to install a linux distro on the smaller partition, take a dd image, but then be able to pull down a Windows over it should the need arise. Basically so I can switch back and forth between Windows and Linux on the same box using dd images.

Is there a way I can do this? Would GRUB remain persistent in the boot sector, and disrupt any Windows images I pull down to the hard drive in future?


Old 11-25-2009, 04:44 AM   #2
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At first hand I'd say you'll have to go with VirtualBox or something like that and create virtual machines that boot from the image.

Kind regards,

Old 11-25-2009, 04:45 AM   #3
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Unfortunately I can't use virtual machines. It's for a testing environment that isn't allowed to be based on VM.

Shame really, as VM would of been the easiest option.
Old 11-26-2009, 12:51 AM   #4
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I dont see any reason why that should be a problem.
dd will copy everything including the boot sector.

In the future if you restore a windoze image with dd it should also restore the windoze version of the boot sector.

why not try?

good luck
Old 11-26-2009, 04:20 AM   #5
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Thanks, I'll have to set up a test box to give it a go.

I just thought grub installed on the MBR, meaning that whatever's on the partition wouldn't affect it.
Old 11-26-2009, 05:43 AM   #6
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That will get seriously ugly. If you only "dd" the smaller partition, the MBR won't be touched. Whatever is in the MBR needs its stage2 files - grub or ntldr. If you restore anything else over it, you can't boot.
I'd create a small boot partition, and leave grub in there - always. Chainload the O/S partition - Linux or Windows, doesn't matter, except you will have to install grub to the root partition for every Linux install.
I'd suggest you go get the SuperGrubDisk to get yourself out of trouble whilst you sort things out.

Last edited by syg00; 11-26-2009 at 05:55 AM. Reason: typo
Old 11-26-2009, 08:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by mikalee View Post
I just thought grub installed on the MBR, meaning that whatever's on the partition wouldn't affect it.
That is correct, but......

Grub can also be on the partition boot sector.

One way to multi-boot is to have the "MBR grub" setup to chain-load to the "boot-sector grub". Regardless of where grub is, it needs to be able to find it's config file (/boot/grub/menu.lst). I suppose that you could have a small partition just for this purpose (for the MBR grub-----the boot sector grub can use a config file locally)

Personally, I see no benefit in what you are trying to do---what's wrong with normal multi-booting?
Old 12-20-2009, 11:42 AM   #8
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I have Windows & Linux on two different hard drives, but it's both under GRUB. I use Fedora Core 9, which I'm upgrading to FC12 via Preupgrade in Yum. After installing Fedora Core 9, I was able to make the computer go into Linux first, not Windows. Linux under "Fedora Core"[forgot my kernel version] takes over the MBR and is the first drive, while Windows is under "Other" in GRUB, at least on my computer, is in the second hard drive.

I used to have Windows & Linux dualboot on the same hard drive, then one day Windows partition became unaccessible after lightning struck close to my house, but luckily, I found out that the Linux partition is still alive and kicking!

Unable to get Windows to work, so I had to take out the HDD with working Linux partition and put it into the new computer with the new HDD running Windows XP and this one which I'm writing from, running Linux.

I'd recommend that you not dualboot with Windows because sooner more than later, Windows will screw up your Linux partition too [even if they're both on separate HDDs]! One time, Windows actually almost screwed up my Linux files! After I reinstalled Windows did this problem go away.

Last edited by trien27; 12-20-2009 at 11:50 AM.


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