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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 12-06-2006, 07:39 AM   #1
lnxlrnr
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dual boot using Windows MBR


Hi...
I'm havin issues trying to install Linux on my Dell Inspiron 6400 Notebook. I would appreciate ur guidance in doin so.

this notebook has the "MediaDirect" application installed on it which wud enable me to watch DVDs without booting into windows.
i'm familiar with the conventional method of installing Linux using the GRUB, wherein Linux wud give the options to boot.

however, i was informed that doing so, i wud disturb the Windows MBR and thereby i may lose the MediaDirect feature to play DVDs directly. ( i wud like to know if this is true...and is MediaDirect independently installed on a different partition or does it need the Windows MBR? )

thereby, i would like Windows to give me the boot options and retain the MediaDirect feature...
i hav not installed Linux yet... i wud like to do that with some expert guidance.

plz help me out here....
 
Old 12-06-2006, 08:31 AM   #2
pixellany
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This would be a question for Dell---but **I think** that the feature simply allows the DVD player to run the screen without booting at all. If so, then it does not care what's on the mbr.

Do you have a Windows install disk for this computer? If so, it will be easy to re-configure if the Linux install causes problems.

If you want to leave the Windows mbr untouched, then search here or on Google using "dual boot with NTLDR"
 
Old 12-06-2006, 04:21 PM   #3
Duck2006
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wingrub will let you dual boot windows and linux with out writing to the MBR
 
Old 12-06-2006, 05:58 PM   #4
Duck2006
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the web site for the wingrub is

http://www.skyjammer.com/files/knoppix/
 
Old 12-07-2006, 01:48 AM   #5
lnxlrnr
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thnx for sharing that with me guys.. i really appreciate it.

i have the windows install CD if that's what you wanted to know. Just for more info, i have a MediaDirect button which switches ON the laptop launches the Media/DVD application directly and then plays the DVD.. and when i shutdown the application i get the Windows logo on the shutdown screen. this is why i was concerned if the Windows MBR lauches the stand-alone application instead of the operating system. will the "boot.ini" file clear this doubt?..

this is what my boot file looks like at the moment:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

the "wingrub" sounds like a great idea. thnx. i hope the wingrub is not too complicated. and just to make sure... did you mean that "wingrub" would give me the options to select "windows" or "linux"?.. i mean, will wingrub become my main Boot Record File?.. and if i ever need to remove linux, will i still have windows working fine?..and all along will MediaDirect be working fine?..
please excuse me if my questions sound silly. i'm a little new to these kind of issues.
 
Old 12-07-2006, 04:31 AM   #6
Duck2006
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Windows boots with the boot.ini file. Wingrub adds a line to that file that looks like this

C:\GRLDR="Linux System"

Witch is used to boot linux. If for some reason you don,t want linux you just uninstall wingrub and windows is left in tack

This sould walk you through it

http://grub4dos.sourceforge.net/
 
Old 12-07-2006, 05:30 AM   #7
saikee
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Haven't use wingrub myself but I had tried Grub4fdos. I believe it amounts to installing (1) Linux on a separate partition (with another partition for swap, as every standard installation), (2) Install wingrub inside WIndows and (3) Amend wingrub to boot the installed Linux.

The Section C in the second link of my signature is another alternative. It describes how one can use Windows to switch the active partition to a fat32 partition where Grub alone resides. On booting up Grub any installed Linux can then be booted. One can use Grub to switch the active partition back to Windows any time. The process is one of the three methods of installing a Linux while keeping Windows MBR untouched like a virgin.

There is another thread describing the same technique of Grub booting 2 copies of Windows vista when not even one Linux needs to be installed.

The above uses the fundamental characteristic of Windows MBR to boot up a Fat partition that Windows obligated to support. Standard Linux does not reside in a fat partition but Grub can so there is no technical problem of using Grub as the middle man to boot up any operating system foreign to Windows, as there is no PC system that I know Grub cannot boot. This technique does not need to use Windows NTLRD boot loader and boot.ini plays no part in it.

Last edited by saikee; 12-07-2006 at 05:33 AM.
 
Old 12-09-2006, 03:28 AM   #8
lnxlrnr
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thnx again for sharing the knowledge. the two of you hav worked wonders to enhance my understanding of the concept. with all this info, i feel much better now. i wud work on it right away. my major doubts are all clear now. however, before i get started wud you plz provide me some guidance concerning the following issues:

during the installation, at the "Boot Loader Configuration" screen, i believe i shud use the
"Advanced Boot Loader Configuration"
and select the second option viz,
"/dev/hda1 First sector of boot partition". (..i'm using Red Hat Enterprise 4)
Do i have to do something else here?..like select some other option?
Should i select "boot partition of hda1" irrespective of which hdan i wud be installing my linux on?..or does wingrub take care of this?

and shud i install the wingrub first and then install Linux or it doesn't matter?.. i know that installing wingrub on Windows has nothin to do with Linux, but, just in case priority matters..

I remember, trying to install Linux just like that before consulting you all. and, the automatic partitioning did not work back then. it said that i'll have to manually create the partitions. i believe the /, /boot and swap wud be the basic required. but if you cud let me know if /home and /usr are useful to implement that'll be gr8.

i need to install oracle 9i on this linux at a later point of time. is there any advice concerning sizes of these partitions that you wud like me to implement or some additional partitions that you wud like me to create?.. we do not have to be concerned with oracle if unnecessary. i believe i can install it on the / partition and that shud work fine.

Last edited by lnxlrnr; 12-09-2006 at 03:33 AM.
 
Old 12-09-2006, 04:45 AM   #9
mjolnir
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Here is another good link: http://www.knoppix.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11796
 
Old 12-09-2006, 02:44 PM   #10
saikee
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Quote:
during the installation, at the "Boot Loader Configuration" screen, i believe i shud use the
"Advanced Boot Loader Configuration"
and select the second option viz,
"/dev/hda1 First sector of boot partition". (..i'm using Red Hat Enterprise 4)
Do i have to do something else here?..like select some other option?
Should i select "boot partition of hda1" irrespective of which hdan i wud be installing my linux on?..or does wingrub take care of this?
To install your Linux in the root partition, as you suggest above, will cause the Linux unbootable by itself. The arrangement is for "chain loading" only. In other word you use another boot loader residing the MBR to put up this Linux.

In a nutshell there is only one MBR so you should install the first Linux to take over the MBR. Thereafter if you proceed to install anoth 9 Linux then everyone should have a boot loader inside its root partition, so that you can amend the Linux controlling the MBR to boot these 9 distros.

There is nothing to set up one theboot loaderdestination has been selected.

If you use wingrub then you need to put Grub inside Linux root partition because you are effective boot first to Windows and use wingrub (inside Windows) to load Linux.

When you install wingrub is immaterial.

For a user new to Linux I recommend using a single partition for the whole of the Linux and a swap partition for the first Linux, as second Linux onward no swap is needed.

When an installer is told to use one partition to mount "/" and no ther partition is given it will put /home, /usr, /boot....etc as subdirectories to "/". Therefore you only worry about the size of the Linux partition. A 10Gb will do in the majority cases. If you need a big partition for your own data you can create it later. The footprint of most Linux is about 2.5 to 3.5Gb.
 
Old 12-10-2006, 12:27 AM   #11
lnxlrnr
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i guess we got a little confused here. i did not mean to install a second linux. i meant that i wud install "Oracle 9i" software on the "/" partition. anyways, we don't hav to worry about the Oracle software. lets just stick to Linux. i appreciate ur effort for the explanation above.

i believe the following doubt wud be the last one for me to get started.
as far as i can recall, during the installation ( of Red Hat Enterprise Linux ) we get the screen to select the "Boot Loader Cofiguration" with two options:

1) /dev/hda Master Boot Record (MBR)(this is the default option)
this option wud direct BIOS to linux GRUB ( and i don't want that. )
any restarts after the installation is done, wud pull up the linux screen with the list of operating sytems..coz the GRUB has taken over. Can we fix this later on using the wingrub?

2) /dev/hda1 the first sector of boot partition
what does this option do?.. shud i select this one?
i wud like to know if deciding where to install the GRUB makes a difference?
a description on how to set this up and then configure the wingrub wud be great!!

Last edited by lnxlrnr; 12-10-2006 at 04:15 AM.
 
Old 12-10-2006, 04:46 AM   #12
saikee
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If you think of it then it will become obvious.

In (1) Your Red Hat will fire up if the machine is switched.

In (2) Your Red Hat will not appear but ready. It will fire up if you use another boot loader, occupying the MBR, to boot it. The easiest way to "multi-boot" is to ask one boot loader to boot another.

You can actually opt for neither (1) nor (2) and have Red Hat fired it if you have another Linux occupying the MBR. A Linux can boot another fellow Linux without using another boot loader but it can do it easier if the second Linux has boot loader (like Grub) in its root partition arranged with Item (2).

In your case you can go for (2) and will be able to access Red Hat (after selecting (2) in the installation) by

(a)Use Windows NTLDR boot loader to boot Red Hat as a choice in additional to Windows. Task E4 of last link of my signature refers.

(b)Make a Grub bootable CD. Without it PC boots to Windows. With it you boot to Red Hat with the following commands (assuming you put Red Hat in the 5th partition and remember Grub counts from 0)
Code:
root (hd0,4)
chainloader +1
boot
Two methods to make a bootable Grub CD are documented in Task J3 of the last link of my signature. I am assuming your laptop has no floppy otherwise a Grub floppy will do exactly the same.

You can accelerate the booting process by having a menu.lst in the Grub floppy or CD to eliminate the need of typing. The one inside Red Hat will do just fine but it should be in /boot or /boot/grub subdirectory of the Grub floppy or CD.

(3) Create a data-only Fat32 primary partition and put Grub inside. If you want Red Hat you have to use Disk Management program to make the fat32 partition "active" so that on a reboot the fat32 partition is booted to Grub. From Grub you boot to Red Hat. At any time you can switch the Windows partition back to active (in Linux or in Grub) and have it fire up on a reboot. This technique is described in the Section C of my second link in the signature. This method only works if the fat32 partition is a primary. Windows MBR only boots a primary partition, which has to be MS own kind (hence FAt32), if it is active. Being data only there is no operating system to compete the boot sector with Grub. Every partition you create has its first section rerserved for the boot loader and that is why this method works.

Hope the above is clear to you.
 
Old 12-10-2006, 01:57 PM   #13
Duck2006
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Quote:
If you use wingrub then you need to put Grub inside Linux root partition because you are effective boot first to Windows and use wingrub (inside Windows) to load Linux.
When your system boot the first thing it looks for is a loader. When the loader starts, it tells the system where to find the files for the system it boots.

The first thing the windows boot loader see is the boot.ini file. That is the file that tells the system where the system files in windows are to be booted from.
 
Old 12-11-2006, 01:55 AM   #14
lnxlrnr
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Saikee... ur articles in the "links" provided are "state of the art". Why didn't i check them before!!
i cud not find any articles as descriptive as the ones you had written. they are VERY USEFULL for the NEWBIES of Linux and gives a very clear idea, not just with the steps but also an understanding of the concepts. i finally understand how we can use GRUB for dual boot...
i must say...its a brilliant work.
Now, i don't have a Live CD yet, just the four installation CDs for RHEL..so, i guess i'll have to go with the wingrub. however, i'm getting better now and thnx to ur articles, i think i can try to sort things out.
i'll start workin on it and get back to you.

Duck2006...thnk u for ur response. ur advice goes in hand with the discussion.

Last edited by lnxlrnr; 12-11-2006 at 02:02 AM.
 
Old 12-11-2006, 02:53 AM   #15
saikee
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I do find booting is typical of Linux. Everything is in the public domain. People contributing Grub only interested in providing the functions/facilities and it is up to us how to use it. The links are just the summaries of things I picked up from the various forum.

I am just passing the knowledge I learned from others. Glad they are of some use to you.
 
  


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