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Old 11-01-2011, 04:24 PM   #1
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Distribution: Debian squeeze, BT5
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Multi boot and Grub questions

Hi all,

I have used Linux over the past 10 years from time to time but please consider me as pretty much a newbie !

I have a laptop I use for work, and have decided that there are a few things that are best left to Linux to deal with.

What I have got is a triple boot system with XP, Debian and BackTrack5.
The reason for this is I need to use XP to log on to certain systems, I want to use backtrack for penetration testing, and for when on occasion I go to some site and they don't know what their wep key is and use debian for learning Linux and doing some other types of work on.

To try and cut a long story short - I sort of messed up grub and the Debian partition when I installed BT.
I have repaired the Deb part and now have grub working, and I have managed to fiddle around a bit with the grub config so it displays things in a better order and with the correct descriptions.

But the thing is, I seem to have 2 grub installs, one on debian and the other on BT.
The layout is:

sda1 - Win XP NTFS
sda2 - NTFS
sda5 - debian ext3
sda7 - BT ext4
sda3 - win encrypted data drive

If I run sudo grub-probe -t device /boot/grub Debian says grub is on /dev/sda5 and Backtrack says grub on /dev/sda7

So is this correct ? should I have 2 grub's, I suspect not, and if so what should I do to correct this.

I have some experience with the older grub, I have used/still use grub 4 dos for some software diagnostic tools I put together on a usb stick, and am familiar with the menu.lst system, but grub2 sort of alludes me!

I ended up installing 'grub customizer' on BT which was the last OS I installed and seems to be the one that actually affects grub on bootup.

But eventually what I want to do is find which tools in BT are useful to me, learn how to use them properly , and then install them in Debian and wipe the BT partition.

Would one of you kind souls give me so pointers as to what I should do as far as grub is concerned.

Many thanks

Old 11-01-2011, 06:41 PM   #2
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It's normal for each system to install boot-loader code - including XP. So you actually have 3. You can not install grub, but it generally just makes things more difficult down the track.
However there can only be one boot-loader in charge of booting - i.e. in the MBR (Master Boot Record). Master means master after all. Generally this is the last system installed, but can be changed anytime. In your case you might simply want to run grub-install from your Debian system. This will update the MBR and you can then remove BT anytime you want.
Old 11-01-2011, 07:17 PM   #3
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Thanks syg00, that was very helpful, I will give that a go on Debian tomorrow when my head stops hurting

Old 11-01-2011, 07:59 PM   #4
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You can download boot_info_script from and run it as root. The output will be stored in RESULTS.txt in that folder which you can post here. It will clarify all the partitions as well as booting and grub info.
Old 11-02-2011, 02:43 PM   #5
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Thumbs up

Thanks again syg00 and rng (that bootinfo script is very useful)
I have run grub-install in Debian, it all went well, I even got back the debian splash screen !

Have now installed grub customizer in Debian as well and can edit my menu entries.

All is well



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