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Old 07-22-2004, 12:08 PM   #1
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Registered: Jul 2004
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Some Dual boot questions


I am reletively new to Linux. I have attempted to do a sucessful dual boot configuration for some time now with no luck so I decided I'd post here and see about getting some help.

Let me start by posting my computers cofiguration:

I have 2 80 GB IDE Western Digital hard drives. The first hard drive (hda) is completely formatted NTFS and is running WinXP Pro Service Pack 2 (RC2)

The second drive has a 52GB FAT32 partition which I store captured video on. The remaining 21GB (the drive only reports itself as being 73GB) is unpartitioned.

I have an Asus P4c800 Mother Board with a P3 3.0 Ghz processor.

My goal is to put linux in the 21 GB of left over space on hdb and dual boot with XP on hda.

I first tried to use Fedora Core 2. I went through the default desktop install just fine. Upon reboot though I was kicked to a GRUB> prompt with no keyboard functionality (I have a logitech USB elite keyboard). I fixed my master boot record by booting into rescue mode of the XP disk and using the fix mbr command.

I then downloaded the (on dial-up this can be quite painfull lol) SUSE 9.1 Personal ISO because reviews were good and it was only one disk. I thought that the problem I had previously with FC2 may have been due to a problem with GRUB so I chose to use LILO when installing SUSE.

Once again the install went fine (went with default partitioning) but upon reboot I simply had a L and no keyboard once again.

Again I repaired my MBR using XP rescue mode (fixmbr). I had now determined my problem was not due to GRUB or LILO (or the problem was shared between both) and this was not caused by the distro I was using.

I then thought the problem may be that my MBR is a drive that is formatted NTFS. I searched Google for and found this site: ( I can't post the link yet as this is my first post to find it search dual boot on google, it's the second in the results.) which explains how to use the Windows boot loader to get to the Linux bootloader and boot into linux. I followed the instructions and put GRUB on the "first part of the boot partition" as the SUSE install put it. I then booted to the rescue console from the SUSE disk. I logged in as root and typed the df command as instructed to be sure I knew where the boot partition was. For some reason the only partitions it lists are / and /dev/shm partitions. I even tried adjusting the resizer partition during install and creating a /boot partition manually but still had the same result.

So this is where I'm at. Please educate me as to what I may be doing wrong. I am very interested in using Linux (I've fallen in love with Firefox and Open office and want to go to the next level. Thanks for any help and guidance you can provide me.

Old 07-22-2004, 02:31 PM   #2
Registered: Dec 2003
Location: Northern VA
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There have been some people saying they've had problems with FC2 and dual booting, I know there's documentation out there on it, but nothing I've looked at because I don't dual boot.

Make sure you load XP first, which it seems like you're doing. I'd suggest going with FC1 then updating from there, possibly. Otherwise, do a search on dual boot XP or something along those lines and look at the links that other people have posted.
Old 07-22-2004, 03:28 PM   #3
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Distribution: Vista/Ubuntu&Sidux sometimes
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I also have a dual boot system XP and SUse 9.1 and no problems with it. Suse itselfe says, that its better to prepaire a non formatet partition for Linux, thatīs what I have done and everything works well also with the grub bootloader.
Old 07-22-2004, 03:34 PM   #4
Registered: Jul 2004
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i run WINXP(NTFS)and SUSe9.0 on this putr, and i have no problem whatsoever
Old 07-22-2004, 09:33 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your your help and ideas. I am still uncertain as to why I appear to be having worse luck than others are but I hope to answer that in time.

Old 07-22-2004, 10:28 PM   #6
Registered: Mar 2004
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Distribution: Arch Linux
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i dualboot winXP and FC2. i think your problem may lie in that your keyboard is USB instead of PS/2. i don't know why, but that may or may not have something to do with it.
Old 07-23-2004, 03:32 AM   #7
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Smile hmh

Thats interesting, I've heard that some people got problem while instalation with an USB-mouse. So thats the reasion why I put my USB-Keyboard and also my mouse into a USB/P2-adapter before I began to install the OS. Everything works fine. After finishing the installation I changed the adapter , went into YAST to change the mouse and put the mouse into the USB-port, everything also works fine. Maybe I shall try to use it now with the USB-keyboard without the adapter...I will see, if it also works...I never tried it before, because I can't use it in BIOS: My motherboard is a bit to old to do so.

Last edited by horgelym; 07-23-2004 at 03:35 AM.
Old 07-23-2004, 06:48 AM   #8
Registered: May 2004
Location: Germany, Munich
Distribution: SuSE Pro Releases 7.3, 9.0, CentOS 4.0, Kubuntu 6.0x
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Hi trekkie77,

You cannot use your USB keyboard during the boot process of any Linux distribution. Unlike Windows, Linux loads itself in many stages. First is the boot loader, then the filesystem-independant portion of the kernel, the file system itself and finaly the file system-dependant portion of the kernel.

Linux "knows" your hardware first when it loads at least the first portion of the kernel (there're the harddisks, the video and probably other hardware drivers&modules). If the kernel was compiled with module support for USB and not as built-in support, then by no chance you can use any USB device prior the last part of the kernel has load up.

The boot loader (regardles of LILO, GRUB, LOADLIN or any other one) also does not know anything about USB, so you can use only standard PS2 keyboards if you want to have keyboard working at boot time.

So, provide an USBtoPS2 adapter for your keyboard (I hope it is selfpowered, because if not, you can't use it even you provide that adapter) and then you can use your keyboard at the GRUB prompt.

Then for the problem you have with the boot loader. If GRUB drops in the command line, without showing any menu or boot interface, this means the second stage of the boot loader (the portion that locates the kernel to load) was not found and GRUB gives you chance do do the boot manually.

If you manage to get your keyboard working, do the following at the boot promp of GRUB:
GRUB> find /boot/menu.lst
This should tell you on which partition GRUB can find its configuration file. Let suppose it returns no error, but says this:
/boot/menu.lst: (hd1,2)
Then just write these commands to boot Linux
GRUB> root (h1,2)
GRUB> kernel (h1,2)/vmlinuz
GRUB> boot
Post here if you get into Linux, if not, post here any errors you get when you try to do the commands listed above.

Kind regards,


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