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Old 02-07-2006, 12:08 PM   #1
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dual boot with two hard drives

I have a Dell Precision 670 workstation that I want to use as a dual boot machine (Fedora and XP). I have installed a second 160 GB HD and plan on installing FC4 on that disk, while keeping all of the WIndows programs on the original 160 GB drive. I have never used Linux before, and have what are probably simple questions.

When setting up the installation of FC4, is the booting information (MBR) written on the first/original HD? Which HD does GRUB go on? When setting up the partitions on the Linux drive, should there be a /boot partition on this drive if the MBR is on another drive?

Thanks in advance for your help!
Old 02-07-2006, 12:42 PM   #2
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The first sector of a hard disk is the MBR but the PC always reads the 1st bootable disk and so the MBR in the second disk goes on holiday (nothing to do). If you dual boot XP with FC4 you need the boot loader in the MBR to carry out the dual boot duty.

(1) Choice 1 - using Xp's boot loader. That is the hardest.

(2) Choice 2 - Let FC4's boot loader takes over the MBr of the 1st boot disk. That is the easiest as almost nothing needed to be done. Every Linux will dual boot if installed properly.

(3) Choice 3 - Keep the XP's MBR and use the second disk MBR to dual boot (only needed if you don't want FC4 messes up XP's MBR. Read Section A of my second Link in the signature).

FC4 suggests multi partitions installation. Modern Linux doesn't need a /boot partition any more and so you only need a swap partition of about 1Gb and then about 5 to 10Gb for FC4. The /boot will be housed automatically inside the FC4 partition.

Last edited by saikee; 02-07-2006 at 12:44 PM.
Old 02-07-2006, 01:54 PM   #3
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Confusing, huh???
Bootsector, mbr, /boot directory (partition), boot loader.

Code in MBR is typically called bootloader, but might be only one stage of the bootloader. From mbr, you might be sent to /boot directory (GRUB) or to the partition boot sector (Windows).
In Linux, /boot is where you also eventually load the kernel from


Suggestion to consider: Both OSes on the same physical drive (leave lots of empty space to use later for --eg backup
Format the other drive FAT32 and use it striclty for data---easy to access from either linux or that other OS


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