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Old 12-28-2003, 03:33 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: NJ
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2 + XP
Posts: 3

Rep: Reputation: 0
Cannot Install Bootloader, XP on hda, Linux on sdb (USB MASS STORAGE DRIVE)

As far as I know, this problem has nothing to do with Linux, as I tried installing Gentoo linux first.

Computer Type: Dell Dimension 8100
Hard Drives:
60GB IDE: One partition- Windows XP on hda
256MB USB Watch: One partition- NTFS format on sda
200GB External USB2.0 on sdb
sdb1- Ext3 format, 50MB (for /boot)
sdb2- NTFS format, 80GB (for extra XP space)
sdb3- Linux Swap 1GB
sdb4- Ext3 format, Approx. 118GB for /

Desired Result:
Ability to dual boot between XP and Mandrake 9.2

Best Case Scenario:
Ability to default boot to XP, use boot disk/CD to boot into Mandrake.

Acceptable Scenario:
Ability to default into XP, and use a bootloader like Lilo/Grub to give option to boot to either.

The Problem:
Mandrake says it can't make a boot disk, and whenever it installs LiLo or GRUB onto hda's MBR, it destroys it. (Three times and counting so far, but i got my data back each time)

I can install Linux onto my USB drive just fine. I just can't find a way to boot to it. Preferrably I don't want to have to touch my hda more than i have to, as I have important files on there, even though most are backed up.

My Gentoo Experience:
Can successfully boot computer with their CD, and install gentoo linux onto my 200GB External USB drive.

Install Lilo.
"E1 E1 E1 E1 E1..." etc on boot.
Restart and use XP Recovery Console to rewrite MBR.

My Mandrake Experience:
Can successfully boot computer with CD, and install onto 200GB USB Drive.

Cannot create Boot disk for some reason, so I install Lilo onto hda.
Finish Install, Reboot.
"07 07 07 07 07 07 07...." etc. on boot
Do the FIXMBR trick.
Reboot with Mandrake CD again.
CD Verified that install was done correctly.
Return to Bootloader menu.
Install GRUB.
Computer boots past the Dell logo/loader bar,
Outputs "GRUB " with a cursor. No options, can't type anything.
Restart and do the FIXMBR trick.

Current Situation:
Mandrake 9.2 is installed onto sdb successfully, but i can't boot to it.
Any suggestions would be great. I'm pretty computer literate, as I've been into the programming scene for a few years, but pretty new to linux. I tried to be as descriptive as possible, but if there're any questions, i'll be watching the thread.
Old 12-28-2003, 06:35 PM   #2
LQ Guru
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Danville, VA
Distribution: Slackware, Windows, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Mac OS X
Posts: 5,296

Rep: Reputation: 168Reputation: 168
the boot errors tell me(unless i'm mistaken) that lilo is confused. could you post your lilo.conf(if you may have saved any of them or the text therein)? if not try lilo again and post your lilo.conf. it may shed some light on lilo's confusion. if, however, you need to boot from the windows boot menu, take a look around the threads, you'll find some that describe the proper entries for your windows boot.ini.
good luck.
Old 12-29-2003, 05:37 PM   #3
LQ Newbie
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: NJ
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2 + XP
Posts: 3

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Alright, new idea for a solution:

I install the Linux bootloader onto the USB drive, and use Windows XP's bootloader to specify which drive to boot up.

What I need to know, is how to find out how to reference the USB drive in XP's partitioning format
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS = "Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

If that's the windows equivalent of hda, what's the windows equivalent of sdb?

I figure i could just put something in like:
multi(#)disk(#)rdisk(#)partition(1) = "Mandrake 9.2"
Old 12-29-2003, 05:57 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: NJ
Distribution: Mandrake 9.2 + XP
Posts: 3

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
I also saw something interesting at:

I would do this first, but I don't know how to get access to my USB drive when i boot with the mandrake 9.2 disc in rescue mode. It doesn't detect the drive until where it goes through the partitioning.

If anyone could tell me how to get it to recognize my USB drive in rescue mode, this might work.


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