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FirestarterIT 06-16-2006 02:09 AM

Fedora Core 5 & XP Dual-Boot Issues
Hi LQ,

I decided to install Fedora Core 5 on my main pc. I have used earlier versions of FC, RH9, SuSE 9.1 & Mandrake 10.1 on my other pc before, and I've had similar troubles w/ the past few versions of FC (3-4) to dual-boot w/ XP. However, usually it's ok if I install it standalone. So, with FC5 out, I wanted to give it another shot, and on my primary pc using the x86_64 version.

I have 4 hd's in my system: 2 SATA drives in RAID 0, and 2 IDE drives (1 of which I use for data backups). My now-former XP install resided on the RAID 0 array. So, since XP was on the SATA hd's I thought I'd be safe to install FC5 on the 2nd IDE hd. The first part of the installation ran through fine. But then when I tried to restart it, GRUB wouldn't load FC5 and all I'd get was a command prompt with "GRUB" on the cmd line. Then, when I tried to boot into XP, I'd get the infamous "Error loading operating system" message.

I've tried running fdisk /mbr and fixmbr from the recovery console, but no joy. I guessed it was b/c the SATA drivers may not have been loaded yet, but even when I try it w/ the install CD and loading the SATA drivers w/ F6 I get the same thing. Right now, I've installed XP MCE 2005 on that same 2nd IDE hd, and installed the SATA RAID drivers, but I still can't see anything on the logical drive. And of course, I didn't bother to back up stuff either.

If anyone out there has any suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate it. I'd like to be able to boot up to XP again, but I really just need to be able to access my drive to pull stuff off. Thanks for any help!

drakebasher 06-16-2006 10:39 AM

Your problem is certainly because Grub does not recognise all of your drives the same way that FC5 did during the install. And as you say, it may be because of the not-yet-loaded SATA drivers. If you get the Grub prompt, that's good. At the Grub prompt, type 'root (h <tab>' where "<tab>" means the tab key. Grub will report what drives it sees in its (hdN,N) format where (hd0,0) is the first recognized partition on the first recognized hard drive. Grub counts sequentially and starts with the first drive it finds ("0"), so if you boot from hdc1, Grub will name that (hd0,0). Grub doesn't count CD drives, etc: only hard drives.

So anyways, by entering 'root (hd0, <tab>' and root (hd1, <tab>' and so on, you should be able to recognize your drives from their partition layouts. If not, you can learn more like so:

grub> root (hd0,1)
grub> kernel / <tab>

Grub will then reveal the directory structure in the drive you named as "root". Re-define "root" and try again to see another partition. Doing that, it is possible using only Grub, to see every file on every partition that Grub recognizes.

So what if your boot files are on a drive Grub doesn't recognize? You'll need to move (or copy) the boot files to a drive that Grub does recognize, and then change the Grub "kernel" statement to point to the correct root directory. (Note that the "root" referred to in the "root" statement for Grub is not related to the "root" defined in Grub's "kernel" statement: the first is where Grub is to start from and the second is where Linux should start from.

I think in the end, you will do well to create a Linux /boot partition on one of your IDE/ATA drives (which Grub should recognize) and then share that with whatever Linux distros you have in your system. That drive should be your boot device. Once the Linux kernel is loaded, your SATA drives should be accessible.

FirestarterIT 06-17-2006 12:53 AM

Thanks for the help, drake. I had to ditch the FC5 install completely though, so that I could at least get a functional XP setup. I think at this point there's not much I can do to restore my old XP. I'm probably just going to suck it up and re-install XP on my SATA drives. Then, maybe later on if I'm up to it, I'll try loading Linux again. It was much easier when I had a spare comp I could install it on by itself, but now it's being used for the family.

drakebasher 06-17-2006 02:23 PM


Originally Posted by FirestarterIT
Then, when I tried to boot into XP, I'd get the infamous "Error loading operating system" message.

So how did you try to boot XP? On one of my systems, I can boot XP if I do the following at the Grub prompt:

rootnoverify (hd1,0)
map (hd1) (hd0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
chainloader +1

The 2 "map" statements are needed because the drive with XP is not the first drive grub finds. Windows wants to be on the first drive, so in this case the "map" statements fool it a little. If your XP is on the first hard drive, omit the "map" statements:

rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

I think it's possible that you might have a recovery partition before the Windows partition. You might be able to check that by doing

root (hd0, <tab>

Grub will list all of the partitions on (hd0) and their type. The Windows partition is "partition type 0x7". If that's not the first partition on the drive, change the "rootnoverify" statement accordingly.

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