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Engineeringtech 04-15-2011 09:00 PM

26 months trying to get triple boot to work. Linux remains the holdout
 
I need skilled installation help. I tried to find answers at the Ubuntu and Fedora forums, but either they couldn't figure it out, or I am too inexperienced to understand.

It's embarrassing to admit I have been trying to add Linux to my formerly new, (and still unused) desktop for TWENTY SIX MONTHS. I built the machine in March of '09 to learn CAD and get a better job. I wanted DOS 6.22 to run some old engineering apps I still use in my work, Windows XP for my CAD software, and Linux for virus safe browsing and email.

I built the box in two days. All new hardware, including a SCSI raid card and SCSI drives. (RAID for data security). I setup the array, partitioned it for DOS, Windows, and Linux, and was able to get DOS and XP to both boot with NT Loader. I installed Fedora, but it didn't detect my other installations, and wouldn't boot. My friend (who worked in IT) helped me get it booting, with Grub" chainloaded off NTLoader. The OS's worked fine, but I fought with hardware, driver and application issues for the next FOURTEEN months, all the while unable to get any useful work out of the $2000 computer. I never even got the CAD apps installed.

Then the SCSI RAID card failed. I didn't have the money for another,SCSI card so I ditched the expensive SCSI drives, bought three SATA drives, and spent the next SEVEN months trying unsuccessfully to get the "Fake RAID" working. I even got the motherboard replaced, and repeated the whole process. But that didn't heip.

At this point, my experienced IT friend told me I just needed another hardware RAID card - a SATA RAID card. I sunk another $160 in the RAID card, and spent another 2 unsuccessful months trying to get it to work.

Fast growing weary of trying to get the RAID working with the triple boot, I decided to just implement the triple boot on a single SATA drive. I followed the same procedure for partitioning and installation,which I had used on the SCSI array. But no matter what distribution of Linux I tried (Fedora or Ubuntu), it didn't detect my other OS's. I tried to chainload Linux off NTLoader, but it appears that GRUB is not being properly installed, no matter what I do. Neither Grub Legacy, or Grub 2 are putting a "bootsector" on the Linux install partition, (or in the MBR when I've directed it to install there.) I tried to get it booting with "SuperGrub" and that did not work either.

All told, I reformatted and reinstalled Ubuntu or Fedora a total of 10 times, using either the Live CD's and Alternate Install CD's. I Never got any error messages from the installers. The Ubuntu and Fedora user groups tried to help, but I never got a resolution, and I overstayed my welcome.

So I just have some simple questions for now:

Does the Ubuntu or Fedora installer require that Grub go on a primary partition? (My Linux partition is a logical partition.)

Does the Linux partition have to be marked "bootable" for Grub to install properly?

Why doesn't the installer detect my other OS's?

Could there be some other problem I am overlooking? Like the size of the hard drive (500 GB)? Or the order of the partitions?

Could this be a compatibility issue with my Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P motherboard?

Thanks for listening.

peterson.julia 04-15-2011 10:13 PM

Does the Ubuntu or Fedora installer require that Grub go on a primary partition? (My Linux partition is a logical partition.)

Don't know. It shouldnt be a issue.

Does the Linux partition have to be marked "bootable" for Grub to install properly?
YES

Why doesn't the installer detect my other OS's?
It wont tell you that it has detected the other OS's it will automatically find it.

Could there be some other problem I am overlooking? Like the size of the hard drive (500 GB)? Or the order of the partitions?
Take a look in your bios setup maybe something over there...

Could this be a compatibility issue with my Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P motherboard?
I don't think so. Ubuntu runs on everything

Are you able to run the OS/Ubuntu just from CD? If yes then I would try disconnecting all HDD leave one blank where you can play with settings and try to install it. If it wont work then disconnect from PC other PCI cards/modems/etc. and run the install....

Larry Webb 04-15-2011 10:16 PM

No linux or grub do not require a primary partition.

No grub does not need to be marked bootable

I can not answer that, especially after 2 m/bs and a couple of different hds.

Take your ubuntu and as live cd in terminal run sudo fdisk -l (small -L) and post results.

I will ask does your m/b bios detect your sata drives?

EDDY1 04-15-2011 11:08 PM

Quote:

Why doesn't the installer detect my other OS's?
It wont tell you that it has detected the other OS's it will automatically find it.
Usually it does, but I've had it not detect other OS

sudo update-grub
The following solution worked for me in debian squeeze & Ubuntu 10.10
If update-grub doesn't work
Boot into either OS, Debian or Ubuntu
mount root partition for other OS
then run either
update-grub
or
sudo update-grub
it should detect them.

stress_junkie 04-15-2011 11:11 PM

IMO you have made things unnecessarily hard on yourself by using fake RAID. That complicates installation and kernel updates.

You should have set your sights lower in order to reduce the number of new issues that you have to learn in order to make a Linux installation work.

If you get rid of the fake RAID you should be able to reinstall your MS-DOS and MS Windows in one day and install Linux in a second day. It really isn't that difficult on a simple hardware platform.

Phorize 04-15-2011 11:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Engineeringtech (Post 4325998)
So I just have some simple questions for now:

Does the Ubuntu or Fedora installer require that Grub go on a primary partition? (My Linux partition is a logical partition.)

Does the Linux partition have to be marked "bootable" for Grub to install properly?


Have you read the grub manual? It answers most of what you need to know including on where grub installs to.

http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/man...S-installation

I recommend using a the most simple partition set up you think that you can use and start there. You might also want to look at lilo; it's as old as the hills but is dead simple and works.

sunnydrake 04-16-2011 02:07 AM

Huh SCSI? old days:)
First proper ways to handle bootloaders chain is to install windows then tweak bootloader for dos and then install linux grub. Becuse linux grub can boot NT loader nativly.
FakeRaid is ok(i have same config) as long as dmraid support your chipset(intel software raid supported). i need to mentions that usual installs without dmraid preloaded will not detect windows partitions so you need to boot livecd and configure dmraid before you run install.

your questions:
1)dosen't matter, grub not need separate partition, it will auto rewrite mbr and if no special partition created can boot kernel from root partition(but still some restrictions apply).
2) bios will seek first "active partiton" on specifyed disk or raid array to boot this apply to all bootloaders.
3) read at top.
4) ... not much tech info to detect possible problems.
5) i don't think so.
And last all your problems lie in one thing you don't have experiance or people with it(who willing to help) near you. You spend your money not efficient but gain good practical experiance(if you finish what you stated).

arizonagroovejet 04-16-2011 11:25 AM

26 months? Seriously? Bloody hell...

I don't know about all this SCIS RAID stuff but as for triple boot, well that just sounds overly complicated. Could you not just dual boot Windows XP and Linux then run DOS 6.2 in a virtual machine using VirtualBox? VirtualBox is even available for Windows and Linux so you could even have the same DOS virtual machine available from within Linux and Windows.

Dual booting XP and Linux is easy. The trick is to install Windows XP first then install Linux. The Linux installer will see the XP install and add a GRUB option for it. (If you install XP second it will just wipe GRUB out and leave the machine only booting XP.)

Engineeringtech 04-17-2011 06:50 AM

Thanks. Please give me time to digest this...
 
Thanks for all your replies. Been offline for a couple days doing some repairs to THIS computer (not the target of my posting). Give me a couple days to digest your responses.

JC

Engineeringtech 04-17-2011 11:59 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Ok, thanks again. I've made a quick read of these replies.. The SCSI and Fake RAID are both gone. Only a single drive now. (The guys at the Ubuntu forum instructed me on the removal of the "RAID metadata" too.) The DOS and Windows XP dual boots just fine from NTLoader. I really don't want to start over. I just want to add Linux.

I have a "results.txt" file generated by a script they also gave me. Can anyone here interpret it, and find out what happened to the Grub installation?

micok 04-18-2011 12:09 AM

Triple boot is not too difficult, but is it really necessary?
 
I think you'll find the answers in the GNU GRUB Manual 1.99~rc1.(from www.GNU.ORG) I had a triple boot desktop for a couple of years. Linux, Windows 2000 and a stripped down Windows 98 i.e. just the command prompt. Linux for all internet access, Win 2K for Nero 6 and couple of old favorites and W98 command prompt for QB 4.5. Win 2K on the 1st partition of the first drive and Linux on the 2nd partition of the 1st drive, and Win98 command prompt on the only partition on the 2nd drive. Remember Windows/DOS need special consideration because they don't like being in other than the first partition on a drive and if there is more than one version hiding or swapping partitions will be necessary. This configuration worked but did occasionally swap the drive order in the BIOS setup.
To install this extravaganza I reordered drives 1 and 2 in the BIOS setup, installed Win98 command prompt, reset the drive order, installed Win 2K then Linux. Grub did not see the OS on the 2nd disk but a manual edit of /boot/grub/grub.conf fixed the problem.
I don't know what DOS programs you need to run but what about DOSbox in Linux. Doom 2 and Quake 1 do OK in that environment. A complex boot configuration is likely to be problematic. Avoid it if you can.

micok

EDDY1 04-18-2011 12:32 AM

You can use Ubuntu 10.10 cd to mount ubuntu & reinstall grub ubuntu should see the other os.
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Gr...ing%20GRUB%202

Engineeringtech 04-19-2011 12:53 PM

Dosbox
 
I don't care to use DOSBox. Emulation has all sorts of issues with hardware and software. Nor do I want to destroy my DOS and Windows setup, on the off chance I will get Linux. My system dual boots DOS6.22 and XP just fine right now, using NTLoader. All I want to do is ADD Ubuntu to the mix. Everybody keeps telling me that's hard... Why?

The process I used to get the triple boot onto the SCSI RAID array wasn't difficult at all. All that's different now, is I have a single SATA drive instead of a SCSI RAID array. I've run the Ubuntu installer 10 times. Each time, it installed to my Linux partition without any error messages, but apparently failed to put a boot sector at the root of that partition. If the boot sector were there, I could chainload it off NTLoader, and get into linux just as I did with the SCSI array.

As for reinstalling GRUB, I have done that multiple times. It doesn't matter if I direct it to the MBR or the Linux partition. Linux doesn't boot, and apparently it's because GRUB is not writing a bootsector. Actually, I'm not certain if the GRUB reinstall process is supposed to place a new bootsector. To do this, it would have to locate the Kernel, and write boot code pointing to the kernel. Is it supposed to do that?

bonixavier 04-19-2011 01:23 PM

On the installation, choose manual partitioning and choose Ubuntu's partition as the destination of the boot-loader. At the bottom of the options. Then you can chainload.
http://karuppuswamy.com/wordpress/wp...creenshot5.png

EDDY1 04-19-2011 01:49 PM

Post output of
Quote:

fdisk -l


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