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Old 04-05-2006, 10:08 PM   #1
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.10
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A twist on a dual boot system. My problem ...

Here's my situation. I have 2 hard drives on my computer. The first drive is entirely Windows XP (FAT 32). The 2nd drive is split; 10 G with Windows NTFS; and 10 G with UBUNTU Linux. This second drive is a removeable HD.

I have GRUB set up to give me dual boot capabilties - that is working just fine, as long as these two drives are installed in the computer.

Now, when I take out the 2nd drive and replace it with a windows FAT32 drive that I need data from, Grub doesn't work. I expected it to show me the boot options, and would still let me choose the Windows boot, even though the Linux stuff wasn't available on the system. Then I could read my replacement 2nd drive. No such luck. I get errors and then the system goes on to try to boot from other devices based on my BIOS sequence, I guess.

I wonder if there is an easy way around my boot problem, for the few times I need to install the replacement (Windows only) 2nd HD. Do I need to make a bootable floppy? (If so, how?)

Any ideas would be appreciated.

Old 04-06-2006, 12:19 AM   #2
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Lawrenceville GA
Distribution: Slackware, CentOS. Red Hat Enterprise Linux
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I think you'll find that Grub is keeping it's configuration files on the Linux partition and when pull the second drive from the system, you've pulled the Grub config files with it. That is why you can't boot without the Linux drive installed in the system.
Old 04-06-2006, 08:05 AM   #3
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.10
Posts: 31

Original Poster
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That's what I suspected. Makes sense. Is there anything I can do, like creating a boot floppy with the needed boot commands? I don't know how to set up Grub. Ubuntu did it for me when I first installed Linux. BTW, my system is running Ubuntu 5.10.

Thanks for your reply.
Old 04-06-2006, 08:21 AM   #4
Registered: Feb 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Gentoo, Slackware
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You could make a bootable grub floppy.

Another option would be to install lilo instead of grub into the master boot record of the first hard drive.
Lilo writes all of it's configuration data onto the master boot record, so it will have no need of external config files and should boot no matter what you have as your second hard drive.

There's another option if you have any unpartitioned space left on the first hard drive. You won't need much.
You could make a linux partition with that free space and use that as your /boot instead. It would then store all the config files that are currently stored on your second hard drive.
Old 04-06-2006, 08:22 AM   #5
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Put grub on a floppy.
Use the Windows install CD --recovery mode-- when you get to a console, type "fixmbr".

Now drive 1 will always boot windows. If the floppy is installed, and the 2nd drive is installed, then grub will find what it needs on drive 2.

You can also configure the Windows bootloader to boot Linux. Instructions somewhere on this site--search on windows boot, ntldr, or boot.ini.

There are some alternatives as to how to configure you system---why do you need to remove the 2nd drive?
Old 04-06-2006, 08:24 AM   #6
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Or use the windows to boot linux. Basically your create a boot file on your c: drive and add an entry to the boot.ini file. Then restore the windows boot loader back to the MBR.
Old 04-06-2006, 10:18 PM   #7
Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.10
Posts: 31

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Thank you all for your help. I finally figured out ow to make a Grub Boot floppy, and it is doing exactly what I want. And I learned a bit more about Linux along the way. A great forum!


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