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Old 07-22-2003, 01:11 PM   #1
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Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
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Question Dual boot setup attempt thwarted by Partition Magic(?)

I got two hard drives so that I could set up a dual boot
computer on which I could keep the Linux (RHL 9) and
Windows 2000 on physically separate drives. I've been
struggling for a long time trying to get it to truly
dual boot, but after not getting the Linux Documentation
Project's "HowTo" GRUB setup to work, I'm still having to
go into the Bios to determine which disk to boot up from
(at least I'm no longer physically swapping jumpers).

I thought I'd put enough effort in that I'm at the point
where I need to post my question here, mainly because a
Linux guru friend "Jim" told me that I created problems for
myself when I re-partitioned the Windows disk using
Partition Magic. I got Partition Magic on the advice of
my at work Linux guru "Rajesh" in order to have a FAT
partition readable by both Linux and Win2K, which did
work (now I can transfer files between the two drives in
Linux) and I had been led to believe from the Partition
Magic literature that the same Utah company's Boot Magic
could boot my Linux disk and give me the dual boot
computer I wanted, but Boot Magic was a failure, and I'm
back to GRUB.

But Jim tells me that Partition Magic is to blame for
GRUB failing to boot the Win2K disk, and that it is so
embedded in the Win2K's disk Master Boot Record (MBR) that
it's not worth trying to get it out: Jim says I'm better off
moving all my files off the Win2K disk onto a 3rd hard
drive, reformat the Win2K hard drive, and then restoring
the hard drive with Win2K and my files.

But I want to see if there's an alternative that's less work
(also, since I really don't have a 3rd hard drive, I may
have to write over my new installation of RHL 9 on the
Linux Drive, and then after using it to temporarily store
my Windows files, I'd have to re-install RHL 9).

Any better suggestions?



(Website at Georgia State University Astronomy section of Physics and Astronomy websites (search on "CHARA"))
Old 07-22-2003, 01:46 PM   #2
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Registered: Jun 2003
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Hi astrostuart

I personally would start from scratch.

A few things to keep in mind if you do so.

Don't use Partition magic's Boot magic - use a Linux bootloader such as LILO or GRUB - I personally would use LILO but others might suggest GRUB.

Install Windows 2000 1st on your first hard drive

Install Red Hat 9 2nd on your second hard drive

Install either LILO or GRUB to the MBR.

You should create a NTFS partition on your 1st hard drive for the main install of Win 2k - create a 2nd partition on your 1st hard drive and formatt it with FAT32 - you can use this as a shared data partition -both OS's can read/write to/from FAT32 with no problems.

Let Red Hat 9 create its own partitions on your 2nd hard drive - dont use Partition magic to create the Linux partitons.

Red Hat 9 has partitioning tools built in to its installer.

After you have installed both - if Red Hats bootloader doesnt recognise your Win2k install, people here will give you the neccesary modifications you'll need to make to your boot configuration file - either Lilo.conf or Grub.conf

Good luck and re-post if you need to.

Last edited by Skyline; 07-22-2003 at 01:47 PM.
Old 07-23-2003, 08:39 AM   #3
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Wipe everything first and use 3rd disk?

Hi Skyline,

So you apparently agree with my friend Jim to entirely reformat the disk, requiring the use of a 3rd disk to hold my Win2K files? Jim said that is the only way to clean the disk of Partition Magic; not even reinstalling Win2K will clean the MBR, he claims.

Do you mean to then install GRUB (or LILO) to the Win2K disk (you didn't specify which, but GRUB is already put onto the Linux disk by the RHL install).

Thanks for your reply,

Georgia State University CHARA project (we use Linux big time!)
Old 07-23-2003, 09:11 AM   #4
Registered: Nov 2002
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I used PM to partition my HD - I had no problems. I agree that it would be easier to just wipe all and start again. I also agree with the partitioning recommendations - if you're going to have a shared data partition, it should be bigger than the system partitions. I would suggest cutting W2K down to around 4-5 gb (unless you are planning to install stacks of programs on it). And yes, install Grub/Lilo to the mbr and use it and not PM's boot system.
Old 07-23-2003, 10:51 AM   #5
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Hi astrostuart

As I said before, I would just start from scratch - you'll have to back up anything you want from your Win2k drive - if youve got a cd burner that would do.

Just follow the points I mentioned (a few things to keep in mind)

Regards installing LILO or GRUB to the MBR - The MBR is always the first sector (boot sector) on the first hard drive - so when you cjoose to install LILO or GRUB to the MBR the Linux installer will take care of putting it in the first sector of the first hard drive (the one on the primary IDE channel)

You dont have to worry about doing anything here.
Old 07-23-2003, 02:01 PM   #6
Registered: Apr 2001
Location: New Jersey
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I have Partition Magic with Grub and WinXP and Libranet, everything works fine.

I did find that Partition Magic gets mad when I use a different program to partition drives, or change sizes. When I installed Libranet, I made sure that I had the drives all ready to use (via PM) and so the install program skipped those steps. Grub works, and so does PM. I can still go into WinXP and use PM to resize my partitions.
Old 07-23-2003, 04:35 PM   #7
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Barking, Essex, Britain
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If you can get the system started at all, with internet, download a "boot image" and make a floppy from it. I suggest Partition Image, a Linux equivalent of Ghost. Download the boot disk and root disk images, the root will be useful for later. Start the computer running the boot disk, and when it asks you to press Enter, don't. Instead, type


(or whatever is the device number of your Linux setup). It will boot your Linux setup. You may find that the old kernel used will change your CDRW and mouse settings, but don't worry, you can always change them back later it's no big deal.

You will be in command line mode, and you will need to enter as root and run the program which configures LILO or GRUB, or if you know how, edit the /etc/lilo.conf or /etc/grub.conf (? I'm assuming this I've always used LILO) file directly. In Mandrake you can use HardDrake from the command line, I don't know for Red Hat.

If you edited the files directly you will have to run the command lilo or grub to install.

Next boot it should all work. You'll probably have to unload Boot Magic before you do any of this though.

Old 07-23-2003, 04:55 PM   #8
Registered: Mar 2003
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I have 2 seperate drives one with WinXP and one with Slackware 9.0 and I am dual booting fine with no partition magic product. I think XP, and 2000 use the NT filesystem and structure. Look at In it it will explain a simple method to dual boot(look at NT section). SInce you have 2 seperate drives you have the easiest. Start from scratch, as the other have said. Here is a summary of what I did...

1.) Install WIn2000 on the 1st drive
2.) Put your Linux CD in your CDROM drive and when you are prompted choose to partition the 2nd drive how you wish(fdisk or cfdisk etc)
3.) I installed Lilo as my boot loader, but I installed it in the 1st sector of the root partion, NOT the MBR of the 1st drive. Opinions vary on this, but I have heard that with XP Home at least , if the MBR is written two windows won't load. EIther way this is safe.
4.) Create a linux boot disk.
5.) After you have installed Linux sucessfully restart the PC with the bootdisk inside the drive.
6.) You should be in linux at a prompt
7.) Type this: dd if=/dev/hda2 of=/tmp/bootsect.lnx bs=1 count=512
(replace hda2 with your linux partition)
8.) Copy this bootsect.lnx onto a floppy disk
9.) Reboot the PC and don't have any floppy in the drive, get to Win2000
10.) Put the floopy you just used in the machine and copy the file bootsect.lnx to your C drive
11.) Find the file boot.ini and edit the file by adding the floowing line at the end of the file C:\bootsect.lnx="Slackware Linux"
12.) save the file
13.) Reboot your machine with no floopy in the drive.
14.) THis time you should see a boot loader screen giving you which os you should load. Choose and hit enter.

15.) You should be all set!

I have to go now, if you don't understand a step let me know. It worked the really well for me, and I was in teh same boat as you a few months ago.
Old 07-28-2003, 12:13 PM   #9
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I appreciate these directions and knowing that the consensus is that Partition Magic and/or Boot Magic get themselves so emeshed in the MBR that I need to go thru all the effort of wiping the Win2K disk clean even tho it was a fair bit of trouble getting it to work with the hardware. I admit trying to put the Linux "bootsect.lnx" method without starting from scratch in hopes of sparing myself the full trouble since I'm leaving for Maine 31 Jul to 08 Aug and wanted to report something back. (Well, I did get things together to remove and restore everthing on the disk but found I didn't have all the CDs or a new enough Win2k install disk).

So I'll report back on my return my use of your suggestions (which I've saved).

Thanks again,



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