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Old 03-09-2004, 05:42 PM   #1
Ice Dragon
Registered: Aug 2002
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
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Dual-boot question: Problems with Windows/anti-virus?

Hey, I'm wanting to dual-boot my computer, but when I searched around (about 1 1/2 months ago) and found this . This complicated things for me because I wasn't aware of this issue with having a non-windows boot-loader in the MBR. Well, I screwed up somewhere along the line with the dual-boot and have been unable to use half of my HD because Linux won't boot up (just goes to the black screen with the little gray carrot at the top left of the screen), and until recently haven't really wanted to bother fixing the problem.

My question: Is all this necessary? Do I need to worry about this problem or are the cases of it happening only few and far between?

My system:

AMD Athlon 1.10 Ghz
384 MB of RAM
80 GB HD

Any help would be appreciated!
Old 03-09-2004, 06:05 PM   #2
LQ Guru
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You haven't indicated which windows operating system you have installed.
The instructions at your link are for NT, Win 2000 or WinXP. If the boot drive is formatted in the NTFS file system, then the instructions may be the best bet. If you have Widows98 with Fat32 partitions, then just install Lilo or Grub normally on the MBR ( usually hda ).

Good Luck!
Old 03-09-2004, 06:06 PM   #3
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The problems of using Lilo/Grub to boot an NT based system seem to be almost random. Some people have tremendous problems and need to use the Windows bootloader (if you can call it that) to boot their Linux setup. Others, myself included, have never had a problem just installing a normal Linux bootloader and having an entry for Windows that simply points to the appropriate partition. As far as I am aware, Windows contains boot details in both the MBR and in the 'boot sector' of its main partition.
Old 03-09-2004, 06:16 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2003
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okay, so the problem isn't with the boot loader? as in, when you select windows in your bootloader, windows boots, but selecting linux you get nothing?

also, are you using the windows bootloader (like in the article) or have you installed grub onto the mbr

i suggest that you go ahead and (re)install your linux bootloader into the mbr; windows shouldn't complain if the grub/lilo config files are setup correctly (all that is needed is a chainloader command)
Old 03-09-2004, 06:39 PM   #5
Ice Dragon
Registered: Aug 2002
Distribution: Fedora Core 3
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jschiwal: Windows XP with NTFS. The question isn't how to fix the problem I am having, however. I've already decided that I want to use the FAT32 filesystem for my Windows partition so that I can share music and web site files (testing) between the partitions, so I am going to format my Windows partition.

Another issue that scared me was the BIOS 1024 cyclinder limit. Would that issue apply to me? My computer isn't old (although outdated by current technology), so I wouldn't expect there to be a problem. What do you think?

BTW, thanks for the help so far! I think I just go for the simpler install as long as I don't have a problem with my BIOS.
Old 03-09-2004, 07:03 PM   #6
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That was a problem with really old versions of LILO. I doubt that you could even get copies of that old version. Don't worry about that. I have a 20G drive and I had 5 OSs installed on it (crammed, though) all booting from Windows.

BTW, that BIOS issue is a non-issue for any motherboard that is more than a 1st gen socket 7, as in Pentium 1 (non-MMX). If you have a super 7 or anything newer (slot 1, socket 370, or any AMD board), don't worry about it. The machine can't handle handle more than an 8.4G drive (1024 cylenders) without software intervention (which, I believe, LILO has bypassed anyways - people correct me if I read this wrong this wrong)

Last edited by vectordrake; 03-09-2004 at 07:10 PM.
Old 03-15-2004, 07:05 PM   #7
LQ Guru
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If your windows XP partition will be Fat32, then you should have no problem letting the lilo or grub installation overwrite the MBR.

To get into linux, you will need to boot up into the rescue system.
On most distro's, the first disk also contains a rescue system. Usually press F1 to be able to enter your boot options. Enter "rescue" as the option.

Hopefully, the rescue system will locate the Linux partitions for you. There may be a menu option which will rewrite the Lilo or Grub loader for you.

There should also be an option to mount your linux partitions on /mnt.
This usually isn't done right away, because if you need to repair a bad partition, you need to do this with the partition unmounted. (usually referring to it by the device name)

Assuming that you didn't have an option to write the lilo/grub loader to the mbr, and you have the linux partitions mounted on /mnt, you can change the root partitition to /mnt. Presently, the /root filesystem is on ramdisk.

chroot /mnt

Now I prefer at this stage to run the root login scripts. You can do this by running bash with the login option.

bash -l

Notice how a ls listing now may include color coding of directories and and executables. By running the bash setup scripts, your paths and aliases are not set normally.

Now, you can get to your main objective, getting lilo or grub to work. I use lilo, so that is what I'll to into now.

cd to /etc. This is where the lilo configuration file is: lilo.conf. To be safe,
let's back this file up with the command cp lilo.conf lilo.conf.backup.
Load this file into an editor like vim.
Make sure that the boot= entry matches the boot drive. It will probably be hda. Look at each section. Make sure that the files referred to actually exist. There will be an entry for the vmlinuz file and maybe the initrd file for each linux menu entry. Often, they will refer to the same files, but the append= line will differ between entries. The default entry will probably refer to a symbolic link for each of these files.

If the lilo.conf seems OK, then re-run the lilo command. If it runs successfully, a line will be printed out for each section in the lilo.file. If there is a problem with one of the sections, then you will need to determine what the problem is and re-edit the lilo.conf file.

If the section that errors out is for one of the menu entries that you don't use, you could delete this section for now and rerun lilo again.

Now try rebooting,and keep your fingers crossed!


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